These are the 13 Hardest Fish in the World to Catch

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For the auspicious angler, few things can make you feel more accomplished than the challenge of wrestling with, and reeling in, a fish that you can be proud of. Of course, some fish are more difficult to catch than others and we've compiled a list of the 20 hardest-to-catch fish in the world. If you love fishing and you're looking for a challenge, you need to make it your mission to reel in these 20 elusive species of fish.

The Hardest Fish To Catch In The World


Sailfish are a gorgeous fish which are typically found in tropical and subtropical waters that are deeper than 9 metres. Sailfish are particularly difficult to catch because they can cruise around at more than 125 km/hour. Sailfish are the fastest of all the things living in the water and put up one hell of a fight when hooked. 

Giant Trevally

The Giant Trevally, or GT as it is also called, is one tough fish. It is particularly difficult to reel this mammoth of a fish in because of it's size and stamina.


Swordfish are a tough fish to catch. For any angler that has reeled in one of these gargantuan creatures of the sea, you know the level of skill, patience and stamina it takes. Swordfish have one of the highest stamina levels of any fish.

Yellowfin Tuna

Found in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean, when you hook one of these majestic monsters, the Yellowfin Tuna can put up one heck of a fight. If you're looking to add a Yellowfin Tune to your fishing bucket list, you'd better be ready to go the distance. 

Atlantic Salmon

Salmon are a unique fish in that, throughout their lives, they live in both freshwater and saltwater. They spawn in freshwater streams before heading out to the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Atlantic Salmon are becoming more and more difficult to catch because of their scarcity. This fish is now considered endangered in the United States, however, their abundance in Canada means you can still get a license to fish for salmon.


The Dorado is a fish that goes by many names. You might be more familiar with it as the Dolphinfish, or the Mahi Mahi. 

This strange-looking fish is one of the most sought after catches. They're also one of the most difficult fish to catch. The Dorado is a quick swimmer, and tends to be quite clever when it comes to evading a fishing hook. They're quick thinkers and very resourceful. Dorado are known to hide under floating objects like logs or boats. They'll also propel themselves out of the water to keep from getting hooked.


The Wahoo is often referred to as a torpedo with fins, and this fish lives up to the moniker. The Wahoo can reach speeds in excess of 80 km/hour which means that, once you've hooked on of these speedsters, if you're not quick on the reel, the Wahoo can easily reel your line out several metres in mere seconds. 

Wahoo are typically found in warm, tropical waters. They tend to hang out around reefs, where smaller fish are in abundance.


The Barracuda is one nasty looking fish. His rows of large, sharp teeth make the Barracuda look like a formidable foe. Barracuda can also grow to sizes in excess of 2 metres.

If you're looking to hook a barracuda, stick to shallower water around reefs and rocky outcrops. Barracudas are typically found in tropical, or subtropical waters.

Lake trout

Lake Trout are a particularly difficult fish to catch because of their limited location. Lake Trout are only found in certain parts of North America, and only live in lakes or reservoirs. 

Lake Trout are the largest species of char. They can live from 20-50 years and can reaches sizes in excess of 45 kilograms.


The Muskie is another fish that is native to North America. It is the largest fish in the pike family. What makes the Muskie so difficult to catch is the burst of energy and speed it is able to reach when it is first hooked. Fortunately, Muskie don't have a great deal of stamina so, if you're lucky enough to hook one of these fish and resist the first big run, chances are, you won't have too much trouble reeling him in.

Apache Trout

The Apache Trout is a difficult fish to catch because there just aren't very many of them left. The Apache Trout is a member of the salmon family and can only be found in cool mountain streams.

If you're lucky enough to catch an apache trout, you're not going to be able to take this fish home with you. Apache Trout are officially endangered, however, there are many catch-and-release opportunities available for the angler looking for a challenge.

Arctic Char

The Arctic char is a difficult species of fish to catch because of where it lives. Another member of the salmon family, the Arctic Char, as its name suggests, makes its home in the fridge coastal waters of the Arctic Ocean. 

Goliath Tigerfish

Just like the Arctic Char is difficult to catch because of the cold environment in which it lives, the Goliath Tigerfish is a difficult fish to catch because of its home in the Congo River Basin.

Reeling in the Goliath Tigerfish is more challenging than just braving the waters of the Congo River Basin, however. Goliath Tigerfish have large, razor-sharp teeth and can reach sizes of up to 50 kg. What's more, Goliath Tigerfish have a reputation for attacking humans, so if you're going out to reel this giant fish in, be sure to be careful of those teeth!

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