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For traveling anglers: We enjoy some of the finest fishing anywhere right here in our area, but if you're looking for a different experience, you may want to put sport fishing the Pacific coast off Guatemala on your list of "things to do." The fishing is phenomenal, the folks are friendly and it's only a two-hour flight from Miami. On a recent trip there, we caught 25 sailfish in two days. And they're big. Unlike the ones caught in the gulf or the Atlantic off Florida, most of these fish were more than 100 pounds.

Looking ahead: Most interesting was the care the Guatemalans use to protect their fishery. Though the country has its share of poverty, all marlin and sailfish are released. The exclusive use of circle hooks helps prevent gut hooking that could be detrimental to the fish's well-being. And although we never used heavier than 25-pound-test main line, great emphasis is put on quick fights and fast releases to minimize damage to the fish.

Jay Mastry charters Jaybird out of St. Petersburg. Call (727) 321-2142.

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