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May 05, 2010

14 of the World's Top Tarpon Spots

14 top spots to fish for tarpon, from Mexico to Africa

5. Angola

Winter Fish Outside the Rivers

Angola is Tom Gibson's favorite tarpon-fishin' hole these days. So what?, you may wonder. Just this: It's unlikely that anyone, anywhere, has logged more miles and hours all over the world in search of great tarpon fishing than Gibson, of Houston. Consider west Africa alone, which he's visited on at least 40 different trips since 1980. (Gibson's records document 79 tarpon exceeding the 200-pound mark - all but three taken in African waters.) Unlike some other west African hot spots, Angola seems to have more small tarpon in addition to the usual 80- to 130-pound fish, which can reduce the time between strikes. But Angola remains a good bet for true giants, October through April (December through February is peak); for example, just last February, Gibson released an estimated 225. This is another "blind" fishery with the best fishing outside the river. Few tarpon can be seen rolling, but they're there. IGFA rep and Angola resident Iain Nicolson says live baits such as sardines, bumpers and small jacks provide the best action. While targeting tarpon, expect the occasional cubera snapper to 100 pounds and the odd giant African threadfin. On his last trip, Gibson caught his first threadie, nearly 90 pounds. He says he's never felt threatened during any of his trips to Angola and considers it a safe destination. Fly into Luanda via Europe; then allow 1½ hours in traffic for the 40-mile drive to the coast, where you'll find a fish camp with air-conditioned cabins and good boats/guides. For more information, visit

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