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“Håfa Adai” and welcome to Guam, an island paradise on the doorstep of the deepest waters on the planet. This southernmost Mariana Island perches on a remote volcanic archipelago in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Coral reefs and ocean upwellings surround forested shores, shouting out the promise of Guam fishing to tourists and residents alike.
Guam may be remote but it’s also part of the United States. It’s home to a substantial American Air Force base and all the infrastructure that comes with it. English is an official language alongside native Chamorro, and tourists are welcome here. Scuba diving, skydiving, or just relaxing on the beach with a plate of Chamorro food… vacations on Guam are what dreams are made of. And that’s before we even get onto the fishing. Join us and find out why this tiny island should be at the top of your bucket list!
Types of Fish in Guam
Untold numbers of fish swim the waters around Guam. From the Mariana Trench to the peak of the local seamounts, there’s a whole underwater ecosystem here that still hasn’t been fully explored by humans. But the reason anglers come here from around the world is the size and quantity of the local pelagic fish. Let’s see what you can find below the surface.
No one knows for sure where the name of this fish came from. It’s probably something to do with European explorers and the Hawaiian island of Oahu. But we like to think the fish is named for the sound you make when you catch one!
Few fish put anglers to the test like a Wahoo. They’re are some of the speediest fish in the sea – and they’re also some of the tastiest. Their Hawaiian name “Ono” literally translates as “delicious!” Many Guam charter captains bring soy sauce on their trips so that you can sample this fish as fresh as it comes, sashimi-style.
Wahoo season in Guam peaks in November but you can find them here all year round. The season starts with smaller fish but it isn’t long before the big girls arrive. 30–35 pounders are quite common but they can get much bigger. You can troll, jig, or spearfish for them, all within a mile of shore.
Come to Guam almost any time of the year and you’ll also be in with a chance of catching some type of Tuna or another. Yellowfin Tuna are generally the most sought-after. These bullet-shaped bruisers are experts at diving deep into the ocean as they try to swim free from the fishing line. The effort of catching one is well worth it, though, as they’re yet another local delicacy.
Despite being available year-round in theory, they’re most common from June to October. You can catch them by trolling over the many local seamounts and FADs. This same technique can also put you on their less prestigious – but still delicious – cousins, Skipjack Tuna.
Some of the most enjoyable Tuna to catch in Guam aren’t Tuna at all, though. Dogtooth Tuna are a type of enormous Mackerel. These monsters hunt around Guam’s reefs all year round, and you can target them anywhere from the reef itself to waters over a thousand feet deep. Guam’s record Dogtooth Tuna weighed in at a whopping 170 pounds! Think you can top that?
Guam’s list of species is a who’s who of sportfishing royalty, and Blue Marlin has to be the king. Or, more accurately, the queen! Female Marlins grow much larger than males, and specimens in Guam run from 300 to 800 pounds – or even heavier. However, it’s much more common to catch punier male Marlins here, which rarely grow over about 150 pounds. That’s still pretty impressive, though.
No matter the size, catching any Marlin is the stuff deep sea fishing dreams are made of. You can never guarantee that you’ll catch one. After all, the open ocean is very, very large. But if you fancy giving it a go, come to Guam from June to October and book a longer trolling trip.
Mahi Mahi are all-time favorites in Guam. These brightly-colored crowd-pleasers swim in large schools and experience a kind of collective madness that works out well for anglers and badly for the fish. You can catch them here in winter and spring, with numbers peaking in March. Another sashimi superstar, they make up for the windy conditions at this time of year.
Don’t fancy the deep seas? Check out the reefs. Common Guam reef fish include several types of Snapper, Grouper, and Parrotfish, as well as Rainbow Runners, Barracudas, and Jacks. Ask us, and we’ll say the stars of the show are the Trevallies. Big Giant Trevally (GT) and stunning Bluefin Trevally live around Guam and will put up a fight like nothing else.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that, being an island, Guam fishing starts and stops at the coast. But turn your back on the ocean and walk inland, and you’ll find a whole other fishery. Our favorite Guam freshwater fish are Jungle Perch – pocket rockets that put up much more of a fight than you’d expect of a fish that size. Otherwise, explore the Talofofo River for Catfish, Freshwater Eels, Mangrove Snappers, huge Shrimp, and various species of Crab.
How to Go Fishing in Guam
A rich selection of coral reefs, WWII wrecks, FADs, seamounts, and drop-offs give Guam anglers a wide range of fishing options. We’ll walk you through the most popular methods so you can choose your perfect trip.
Deep Sea Fishing
Most Guam fishing charters focus on deep sea fishing – and it’s easy to see why. Even a short 4 hour trip can result in multiple catches of heavy hitters like Tuna, Wahoo, and Mahi Mahi. That’s all thanks to the dramatic drop in the sea floor just beyond Guam’s reefs.
These trips involve trolling over areas where deep sea currents push nutrients up toward the surface of the water. Thanks to the number of Sharks in these waters, you’ll probably use artificial lures rather than bait. This is an exciting technique that keeps you moving constantly, on the search for the ultimate bluewater prey.
The reefs and wrecks around Guam make the island a hallowed ground for Scuba divers. That’s because they’re full of all sorts of fish. Various types of Guam fishing trips take place over these marine metropolises. Jump aboard, and you’ll experience the sheer variety of life under the water.
Bottom fish the reefs close to shore by dropping a weighted line with some octopus, and you’ll find all sorts of small reef fish. These include Groupers, Snappers, and Parrotfish. Use a similar technique in deeper waters, and Bluespot Jobfish (Opakapaka), Long-Tail Red Snapper (Onaga), and larger Groupers may bite.
Charter a boat and fish the edges of the reef by the dropoff, and things start to get really exciting. Here, you can find Wahoo, Jacks, Rainbow Runners, and Dogtooth Tuna – all of which respond hungrily to jigging. Or try casting poppers around the rocky outcrops. That’s how you’ll get your hands on Giant Trevally.
With its beautiful reefs and dramatic cliffs, you’d think that shore fishing in Guam would be easy. But the waters closest to the shore are also the most fished, which means that decent-sized catches are few and far between.
If you’d like to try your luck, take some light spinning gear and cut bait to any legal shore fishing spot and see what you can find. Unicorn Fish, Convict Tags, and other small reef fish respond well to squid, tuna belly, or the buts of hermit crabs. Otherwise, you can try microjigging from the cliffs on the east of the island.
Fly fishing in Guam is quite rare, as the waters close to shore have been so exploited by net and spearfishing. But it’s always worth exploring. Look out for Bluefin Trevally cruising the surf around the edges of the reef or see if you can find a captain who can accommodate fly anglers on a boat. Just make sure to wear a life vest if surf fishing, as the currents are strong and can be dangerous.
To experience the real beauty of Guam, you’ll want to take a look under the surface. Spearfishing is a time-honored Chamorro tradition and the modern sport attracts fans from around the world.
Lobster hunting around the reefs is a beginner-friendly introduction to the sport. But if you’re already a pro, find a guide and try freediving the deep waters beyond the reef. Mahi Mahi is a rewarding and sustainable fish to target, but there are many other options. Just watch out for Sharks!
Guam Fishing Spots
You can’t ever be more than 6 miles away from the coast when you’re in Guam. So set off in almost any direction and you’ll soon find a place to fish. Some parts of the island are marine preserves or private land, but almost anywhere else is fair game for fishermen.
Aim for the deep seas, though, and you’ll probably want to start from the Agaña Marina or Agat. Both harbors host a fleet of Guam fishing charters that are ready to set out into the calmer waters of the island’s east coast. But once you’re on the water, you might want to check out one of the following hotspots – conditions dependent, of course!
- Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs). A series of FADs and “Shallow Water Moorings” dot the waters off Guam’s west coast. They span 4–12 miles offshore and are essentially a series of buoys anchored with big concrete blocks. These attract all sorts of fish, who congregate around them to hide underneath the structure and feast on prey. These can be excellent places to try light tackle fishing for smaller Yellowfin and Skipjack Tuna, but it’s possible to find bigger game here too.
- Southern Banks. Travel south from Guam, and eventually you’ll wind up over the Mariana Trench. As you continue towards this abyss, you’ll find a series of underwater banks, seamounts, and reefs. These continue for about 40 miles and include famous fishing spots like the Galvez Bank, Stu Bank, Santa Rosa Reef, and the White Tuna Banks. The reefs hold Groupers, Snappers, and Trevallies, while Dogtooth Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and Wahoo hunt around the pinnacles.
- Coco’s Island. The southern tip of Guam juts out into a beautiful lagoon bordered by a small, uninhabited island. Now home to a resort, it’s also a stunning location to fish for Giant Trevally with topwater lures. But while this is a beautiful location, the waters have been polluted with chemicals, so we advise catch-and-release fishing here.
- Agana Boat Basin. If you don’t have a boat or want to continue fishing even after your charter has finished, join the locals at the entrance to Agat’s Boat Basin harbor. Here, you can catch small reef fish like Parrotfish, Goatfish, and Unicornfish. Again, it’s best not to eat the fish you catch here.
Guam Fishing Regulations
You don’t need a license to fish in Guam, either from a boat or from shore. However, there are several marine preserves where fishing is restricted or prohibited. The exact rules depend on the specific area – some preserves ban fishing entirely, while others allow trolling a certain distance from shore. See the full regulations here.
Guam: Get Hooked in the Deepest of Deep Seas
Set sail from the land “where America’s day begins” and you’ll have a whole selection of world-class deep sea fish at your fingertips. This westernmost point of the US is home to a truly unique fishery that’s ripe for exploring. So whether you’re here for work or play, make time to grab a rod and get on a boat. You won’t regret it!
Have you visited Guam before or are you setting off for your first Chamorro adventure? What’s the fish that you’d most like to encounter here? Leave us a comment and let us know!
Title: Guam Fishing: The Complete Guide
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/guam-fishing/
Published Date: Tue, 05 Dec 2023 11:35:39 +0000