World’s top five fishing holidays
By Sheena McKenzie
Editor’s note: MainSail is CNN’s monthly sailing show, exploring the sport of sailing, luxury travel and the latest in design and technology.
(CNN) — Silently huddled on the water’s edge, waiting hours on end for a hint of action, may not be everyone’s idea of a pleasurable pastime.
But the joy of fishing — much like its catch — comes in many shapes and sizes.
From wrestling ferocious Amazonian amphibians, to casting a reel in the shadow of Cinderella’s Castle, here are our top five aquatic expeditions to expand the mind and get your pulse racing.
Pretty fly fishing
A luxury Aspen hotel gives new meaning to the term “fly-fishing” by offering helicopter rides over the dramatic Rocky Mountains to a secluded lake.
Guests at Colorado’s five-star Little Nell’s Hotel are flown to a private ranch where they can fly-fish for trophy trout.
Requiring a gentle touch and the stamina to withstand long hours knee-deep in water, fly-fishing is not for the fainthearted. But instructors are on hand to show beginners the tricks of this historic trade.
Those lucky enough to catch a trout can also enjoy it for dinner that night, after learning the secrets of seafood cooking in a class run by the hotel’s chef.
Called the “black gold” of the sea, lobsters are some of the most elusive — and prized — catches of the ocean.
One of the best places in the world to get up close to these monstrous delicacies is the remote Great Orme coastline in north Wales.
The Lobster Safari offers boat trips beside the towering cliffs, with on-board marine biologist Carl Davies explaining the process behind catching the elusive creatures in huge traps, known as pots.
“During the trip we haul numerous lobster pots so guests can see them up close and have an opportunity to handle the lobsters — and for that matter a whole host of other marine creatures also caught in the pots,” Davies said.
“They can also spot other wildlife, like seabirds, seals, sometimes bottle nosed dolphins and the famous Kashmiri goats that live wild on the Orme.”
Finding the real Nemo
Along with playing catch and learning to ride a bike, fishing has long been viewed as a defining parent-child bonding experience.
But if the promise of the great outdoors and quality time with the folks isn’t enough to lure youngsters outside, perhaps Disney World is.
Along with magical rides and stage shows, the Florida theme park also offers waterways teeming with bass.
Families can cast their rods against the backdrop of Cinderella’s Castle, all with the help of angling experts.
During the 1960s, more than 70,000 bass fingerlings were released into the Magic Kingdom’s Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon and left to grow and breed undisturbed for almost 20 years.
Today, guests can try their luck catching the adult fish, weighing up to 6.5 kilograms.
When it comes to ferocious fish, the South American peacock bass didn’t earn the nickname “freshwater bully” for nothing.
With its striking green and gold coloring, aggressive nature, and hefty size, catching the Amazonian fish can often appear as a spectacular wrestling match between man and beast.
But fearless fishermen can try their hand at the action from the comfort of a traditional three-deck river boat, while meandering down Brazil’s exotic waterways.
“The peacock bass is undoubtedly the world’s most aggressive, hard-fighting freshwater fish,” said Steve Townson, director of the Black Water Explorer expedition.
“When a peacock bass slams a topwater lure, it’s like a bomb going off.”
A real pearler
Nestled in between the windswept mountains of Ireland’s west coast, lies the dramatic Killary Harbor — a breathtaking 16-kilometer fjord, plunging 45-meters deep below the surface.
The piercing blue glacial fjord is also home to one of the largest — and cleanest — collections of shellfish in Europe.
Guests at the nearby 1830s-era Delphi Lodge country house can cruise along the spectacular waterway in a speedboat, stopping at the historic oyster and mussel farms dotted along its rim.
The day trip includes farming demonstrations and a chance to sample the freshly cooked produce with a glass of the nation’s iconic drink — Guinness.
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