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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

7. Guinea-Bissau

World-Record Territory

When it comes to tarpon, Guinea-Bissau can back up its contention of giant fish with this claim to fame: The IGFA all-tackle world-record tarpon came from this country in 2003. It weighed 286 pounds, 9 ounces. Like some other "quality fisheries," however, you have to be motivated and patient. "It's not about several bites per day, as in Florida; it's about several bites in a week in GB," says Patrick Sebile, internationally known lure designer/manufacturer and GB tarpon guide for years (who guided angler Max Domecq to his first-ever tarpon, that 286-pound world record). Anglers can fish tarpon year-round with live bait on 400-pound leader and big circle hooks from boats anchored nearshore in the Atlantic. But the biggest fish show up during the February-March run of bongas (shad) inside estuaries along the north coast. Sebile's meticulous records show tarpon caught in this fishery running an impressive 200 pounds plus. Rolling fish here don't bite, says Sebile, but it's an "incredible spectacle" to see hundreds of 200-pound tarpon rolling for hours. Big tides here may necessitate long runs when extensive sandbars become exposed. Fly directly into Bissau via Portugal. Visit the Acunda Island Fishing Club at www.atlantic-evasion.com, or e-mail contact@atlantic-evasion.com.

Photo courtesy Patrick Sebile