Fishipedia Top 5: Family-friendly fishing lodges

July 29th, 2011| No Comments

It’s the old conundrum – how do you balance fishing with family time? One of these places might help…

Family-friendly fishing lodges

You want to go fishing, your wife wants to sit and read, your kids want to play in the pool and generally run around screaming with other kids who want to play in the pool. Or maybe your kids do want to go fishing… great! But what’s this – now they want to go in again because they’re bored, having not caught anything in the first 20 minutes. You know the drill. Fortunately, the five lodges we feature here know the drill as well – when it comes to catering for families, this lot are top of the stack…

Hawks Cay ResortHawks Cay, Duck Key, Florida US

The set-up: If you’ve ever watched Tom Rowland and Rich Tudor’s Saltwater Experience, you probably already want to go here. In between footage of them hauling trophy bones and permit out of nearby backcountry waters , you see them kicking back at Hawks Cay, palms swaying in the background as they dissect another awesome day’s fishing  through mouthfuls of lobster linguine. It’s a great show but it’s also a stunning showcase for a superb destination. Villas and guest rooms combine a laidback Keys vibe with all the trimmings you’d expect in a resort like this – there’s a fitness centre, kids’ clubs, watersports program, dolphin interaction programs, a saltwater lagoon, five swimming pools and a selection of restaurants and bars.

What’s in it for you? Crucially, staying at Hawks Cay puts you pretty much slap-bang in the middle of the Keys. On one side is the Atlantic, on the other Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, and all around are some of the richest fishing grounds in the world. And of course, Hawks Cay’s program is appropriately top-class. From backcountry guides to deep-sea charters, with everything in between, there’s a full selection of skippers working out of the marina here.

Hawks Cay ResortWhat’s in it for the family? There’s a chance your kids will enjoy this place more than you. Kid-friendly reef-fishing and near-shore charters can easily be arranged, but otherwise there’s a Kids’ Club (ages 5-12), Tweens’ Club (9-12) and Teens’ Club (13-17). Kids and teens can be left for either a half or full day, and it’s a great way for them to make friends while you get busy on the water. Fishipedia’s family-friendly-ometer is in overdrive at the very prospect…

>> Find out more about Hawks Cay here


Glades Haven, Everglades, South Florida US

The set-up: Located in the heart of the Everglades and the 10,000 Islands, this family-run hideaway is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Old country-style cabins, a private boat dock, deli & liquor store, bait shop and of course, access to fishing in the Everglades National Park.

What’s in it for you? Offshore fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, plus some of the finest backcountry light-tackle and fly-fishing to be found anywhere in the world. Tarpon, redfish, snook, trout, sharks (and that’s just the A-list) thrive in this extraordinary wilderness. The full-service marina with boat ramp is just outside your door and offers boat, kayak and canoe rentals all with direct access to Chokoloskee Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

What’s in it for the family? Even the hardest-to-please kids will be blown away by the Everglades. If you’re taking them fishing, you’ll find the backcountry waters so productive that little time is spent without a bend in the rod. Fishing aside, the wildlife is staggering in its abundance and diversity – you’ll see alligators, wild hogs, deer and bobcats along with the occasional panther, as well as all kinds of birds. There are also dolphins and manatees swimming close to the surface alongside mangrove trees and oyster bars. And if you really want to fire things up, how about a 45mph ride in an air boat?

>> Find out more about Glades Haven here


El Pescador, Ambergris Caye, Belize

El Pescador Lodge, BelizeThe set-up: An Orvis-endorsed, family-run lodge in a paradise setting, catering to families and hardcore fishermen alike. A quick run-through of the check-list: luxury lodging, restaurant and bar, three swimming pools, massage services, exercise room, complimentary kayaks, complimentary bicycles, diving instructor, WI-FI, tour office and tackle shop. This place has the lot. No wonder the Outdoor Channel decided to shoot the recent series of Buccaneers and Bones here.

What’s in it for you? A stunning mixed fishery and the very real possibility of catching a grand slam – bonefish, permit and tarpon all in one day. Fly-fishermen who’ve yet to catch a permit on the fly will get plenty of shots here, while the excellent bonefish numbers will certainly keep you interested between chances.

El Pescador Lodge, BelizeWhat’s in it for the family? El Pescador are currently running a Family Adventure Package – a  6-night package taking in (among other things) snorkelling, fishing, kayaking and exploring Mayan ruins. At $2160 it’s not cheap, but then, it’s a holiday none of you are likely to forget. Of course, you could always tailor your own trip to suit. The provision of complimentary kayaks and bicycles is a welcome bonus.

>> Find out more about El Pescador Lodge here


Tropic Star Lodge, Piñas Bay, Panama

Tropic Star Lodge, PanamaThe set-up: A sportfishing mecca, Tropic Star has become a byword for quality and it’s not hard to see why. Cut out of the mountain-side at the edge of the Darien Jungle on the Pacific coast of Panama, Tropic Star caters for just 36 guests at a time and is accessible only by boat or plane. The fishing is a mixture of inshore and offshore.

What’s in it for you? The finest billfishing money can buy. See if any of this floats your boat: black marlin, blue marlin, striped marlin and sailfish, as well as large dorado, yellowfin tuna (some over 200 pounds), roosterfish (many over 50lbs), big cubera snapper, amberjack, rainbow runner, wahoo, grouper and mackerel. And when you’re done fishing, you can kick back in stunning surroundings. Tropic Star’s reputation may have been founded on the action offshore, but it’s been bolstered by first-class service onshore.

What’s in it for the family? Well, for one thing, kids under the age of 18 go free from June to August (one child per fishing adult). This deal is part of TSL’s commitment, in cooperation with IGFA, to getting kids into sportfishing. Frankly, you couldn’t choose a better place to persuade them that fishing is for them. And it’s not all about fishing – whale-watching, bird-watching, kayaking along the coast and up the Piñas River, snorkelling, jungle hikes to the nearby waterfall or kicking back and getting a massage… you can do as much or as little as you like.

>> Find out more about Tropic Star Lodge here


Casa Batida Fishing Club, Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba

The set-up: The Hotel Sol Melia is now the primary base of the Casa Batida Fishing Club, an operation previously located at Cayo Largo on Cuba’s southern coast. The option to combine this programme with a stay at the 5-star Sol Melia makes this Cuba’s best family-friendly fishing holiday destination.

What’s in it for you? The fishery here has developed a reputation as a word-class tarpon destination, but that’s not to overlook the action available from bonefish and permit, alongside jacks, cudas and snapper. Fishing is a mixture of wading on hard-bottomed flats and traditional casting from a skiff, but each day should see you encounter a variety of different challenges.

What’s in it for the family? Because Casa Batida have based their operation at the Hotel Sol Melia, your family have access to everything this 358-room all-inclusive resort has to offer. Swimming pools, spa facilities, a range of dining options and kids’ clubs – it’s got the lot.

>> Find out more about Casa Batida Fishing Club here


Your favorite family-friendly lodge not on our list? Let us know the place you would have included below…

Share this

No Responses to “Fishipedia Top 5: Family-friendly fishing lodges”

Leave a Reply