Destination: Guatemala, Pacific Sailfish Capital of the WorldBen Secrest
Anglers looking for the ultimate Pacific Sailfish bucket list spot definitely have to visit Casa Vieja in Guatemala. This is one of the finest resorts in central america catering to Billfish anglers with great boats, crews, and an awesome resort to call home base for a fishing trip. Excellent staff with 5 star chefs cooking some of the best meals I have had in years. The bar has a history of photos paying homage to Bill fishing in Guatemala. Not only Sailfish but they have a population of Blue and Stripe marlin that spend time in the local waters giving anglers a run for their money. Great way to end an awesome day on the water is slipping into their refreshing pool with your favorite cocktail prior to dinner. If you are a
foozeball or billiards fan they have tables for friendly games after dinner while talking about the day on the water. This is a place you only dream about.
As for fishing, Casa Vieja has a 9 boat fleet that belongs to the resort that include a 35′ Contender, 40′ Gamefisher, and several other 40′ Sportfishers to do the Billfish tango on. We fished on the Gamefisher for our stay which was super comfortable and definitely raised fish. The daily ritual saw anglers up at 5:45 am to eat a full menu breakfast, get last minute rigging down, then on the shuttle by 7:00 am to the marina, a whopping 5 minute ride. Once on the boat you can catch up on an early morning nap with super comfortable bunks or just enjoy the time on the water.
Fishing is as close as 30 minutes or can be offshore looking at a hour and an half drive. We fished with Captain Chris Sheeder who has been living in Guatemala for the last 18 years with his wife who is the manager of the resort. When you get in the area Chris deploys the spreaders and trolls until we see Sailfish behind the boat. They troll rigged Ballyhoo within the spread but the drop back fishing is awesome for the Pacific Sails as they will tag along a Spreader rig like a dog on a walk. If you have not caught fish on a drop back rig, you have to do it just for the visual of the bite. The setup is your favorite 30 to 40 lb rig with a wind on leader with a rigged Ballyhoo.
We were using a Daiwa 30lb Proteus travel rod with a BV-500 spooled with 50 lb braid. Once the fish is spotted you grab the rig and drop it back to where the Sailfish is in the spread of lures. You pinch the spool with your thumb and skip the bait on the surface. The bites are so cool to watch but once the fish takes the bait its super important to let him eat it. Sometimes they pinch it in their bill and will swim off with it, drop the bait then swing back and eat it. All you do is keep the reel in freespool and wait for the line to gain speed. They use circle hooks that are bridled to the baits to ensure a healthy release for the fish. This is some pretty fun fishing for sure.
Casa Vieja is known for the number of fish they can raise in a day and during our stay we had several boats see 20+ fish in a day and catch at least half of the fish they raised including getting interest from a Blue Marlin or two.
Its an easy flight from Miami or Los Angeles to Guatemala and they have a representative standing right outside the door at the airport waiting for you with a van plus a cooler full of refreshments. Upon arrival at the lodge you are greeted by the staff with a refreshing cocktail to help you sink into the atmosphere.
Looking to catch a bunch of Billfish and stay at a 5 star resort with great service? Look into Casa Vieja in Guatemala, its a bucket list experience for the avid offshore angler.