Guatemala isn’t known as the “billfish highway” for nothing, as this is where sails, stripes, and blue and black marlin cruise underwater mountain ranges less than 10 miles from the dock. Billfish are plentiful year-round, but usually it’s easier to find the fish during winter simply because there are more boats fishing. With that being said, fishing pressure is nowhere near as high as most destinations, as there are may be a total of 20 boats in the entire country- less than half of which are pros.
In this bluewater playground, skilled captains like Mike Sheeder on the INTENSITY often produce billfish grand slams, and it’s possible to have a 50-fish day every month of the year.
One of the things done by billfisherman in Guatemala better than anyone is to keep release records. This goes back to Fins n’ Feathers Resort founder Tim Choate, who also happens to have founded The Billfish Foundation (TBF).
INTENSITY, built by DCN (the Costa Rican-based builder credited with building early Gamefisherman Boats), was first owned by previously mentioned Tim Choate, and is now expertly ran by Captain/Owner Mike Sheeder. A 37’ custom flybridge sportfish, INTENSITY has released more than 60,000 billfish – 25,000 of those with Sheeder at the helm – to become known as “The World’s Top Billfish Release Gameboat”.
Founder of Casa Vieja Lodge and Release Boatworks, Jim Turner, has spent countless hours fishing on various Gamefisherman, and he recently recalled two of his most memorable days aboard this famous billfish battlewagon. One of those days, they were dead set on being the first boat in Guatemala to catch 5 marlin in a day. They did just that, releasing four blue marlin and one black. The other most memorable day was when Turner released three sailfish on two pound test. He says he broke off at least 10 sails that day attempting to finesse them to the boat- understandable and still wildly impressive to have released any on such light tackle at all. To attest to the fact that you should trust Turner’s judgement when he recommends fishing with Mike Sheeder, you should also know that he holds the world record for most billfish released on fly – 54 in a single day!
Captain Mike Sheeder is arguably the best fly fishing captain in the world right now. We highly recommend booking a trip to the sailfish mecca of the world on the best boat with the best captain, because, well, you’d be crazy not to!
For more information or to book a trip, visit https://www.intensitysportfishing.com/ or call/text (305) 632-4372.