Los Roques February 2013

This February I went 2 weeks to Los Roques in Venezuela to get away from the cold Danish weather. I have done so many times before and contrary to many others I do not mind going back to where I have been before. It gives you advantages to know where to find sleep, where to fish etc. and it also nice to see some of the people you have met before again. So for the umphth time I went to Los Roques. this time I went with Gunnar and Ib. Ib is not a fly-fisher so his agenda was to relax, read, swim, drink rum and have a nice time and as he nicely puts it: be with passionate people.

This time I fished a lot on my own which is Ok but when you release the fish and want to do that quite fast it does not give many photo opportunities and therefore the quality of the photos this time is even worse than normally.

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This classic sight from the airplane before landing can always make long for the coming days

 

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The first day we went to Madrisqui and Pirata and here Gunnar amongst other caught this bonefish.

 

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Around Los Roques many of the bonefish primarily feed on small baitfish at many occasions the gummi minnow is the preferred pattern despite they in the wind are quite annoying to cast.

 

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The black market exchange rate has skyrocketed the last months so everything was more or less half price compared to last year and we had a very inexpensive trip. Here I am with my lunch one day, a lobster prepared with side dish and dessert – app. 20 USD. Actually we sometimes had fish for lunch as we were tired of lobster, that is luxury.

 

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I the morning I often fished from the main island Gran Roque before breakfast. I hoped to catch some of the few baby tarpon or some of the schools of jacks making attacks at the minnows close to land. One morning I got the smallest bonefish (app. 2 lbs.) on the whole trip on a black and red tarpon fly – the Black Death.

 

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We fished a few days with guide and here Gunnar is on a pancake flat with our guide Antonio. Gunnar has hooked a bonefish which is hard to see at this distance but unfortunately he later lost it. It was not that easy to get a guide as there were many customers and due to the exchange rate their salary had  more or less doubled as they are paid in USD so they did not feel the need to work that much.

 

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I found many times tailing fish but as I am more a fly-fisher than a photographer I did not get nice shots of one of most thrilling sights I can think of. But here you can see a single tail near the mangrove to the right.

 

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All fish were released here a bonefish from one of the flats start its return.

 

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and way it goes.

 

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After a day on the beach or on the flats we went to the beach bar drinking mojitos and piña coladas in the bean bag chairs. Here Poul a Danish flyfisher on is own has joined us.

 

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The sunset from our bean bag chairs – not the worst option in February seen from a Danish point of view.

Bonefish was our main target but whenever we got the chance for something else we tried to grab it and sometime other species just grab our fly.

 

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a small grouper

 

2013-02-21 22.58.22a pompano – a small version of a permit

 

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a blue runner – many of the schools of fish that attacked the minnows near the beaches this year were blue runners

 

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but there were also some horse eyed jacks at times.

 

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and sometimes yellow tail snappers

 

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There are some big fish in the waters around Los Roques – here Ib pose with a ray the local fishermen had caught

 

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The last day I did not want to fish much but as there was a school of blue runners chasing in front of us I had to grab the fly rod.

 

All in all this trip was business as usual but the fishing was a bit worse than normally as it was extremely windy and therefore the waters were a bit more murky than normally and there were more clouds than normally which also makes it harder to sight fish and finally the water was cooler than normally. The good thing was the exchange rate that made this trip the cheapest in many years.

 

 

 

 

Los Roques february 2012

As the temperatures in Denmark was well below the freezing point (actually down to -20 degrees below) it was nice to go back to Los Roques once again with warm weather, sun and plenty of fast swimming fish.

The Danish Los Roques team was Rene, Ib, Eigil, Niels, Niels and myself. Christian and Berit that lived in a posada a few blocks away from the Plaza was also present but not at the moment of this photo. Eigil and Niels travelled by themselves but were at LR in the same period as the rest.

We stayed at posada Doña Magalys which is in the budget end but we were very satisfied with the hospitality and the food. Magalys is apparently a big fan of Hugo Chavez – why I don´t know.

Lorenzo is the name of the posadas pet parrot which was very fond of Rene.

Our primary target fish was the bonefish which can be caught blindfishing with minnow patterns in deeper waters or sight fished on the flats. I definitely prefer the sight fishing despite that it often not is a productive, but it is better fun.

When unhooking a bonefish it often makes the fish much calmer if you put it upside down.

Rene with a nice bonefish. The average size on Los Roques is quite good app. 4 lbs. This year I did not catch any big ones but even fish in the 4 -6 lbs. range can produce spectacular runs when hooked. Actually all kinds of fish down here are much stronger and faster than what we are used to back home.

We fished some days on our own and other days with guides. With our first guide Jesus we had several double hookups on the flats but every time one of us lost a fish during the fight. This was the first time we succeeded landing two fish at a time but from the boat. We did it later again with our other guide Alet.

One day fishing with Alet we fished for fish hunting at the surface. This is always very intense and I really like the action of this fishing. We kept the fish so we could have it for lunch as Alet promised to cook it. As you can see we got to lobsters not by fishing but by exchanging some of our fish.

Here Alet prepares our lobster and fish lunch on some Venezuelan design furniture including both chair and table in one.

A bonefish in its right element just before landing. It was hooked at this depth as well so one of my favourite hookups on the trip.

We caught also other species than bonefish – here a snapper

And a carite – a spanish mackerel. You need luck or a wire leader to land this fish and a plier to unhook it. They have incredible sharp teeth.

a small tuna

a blue runner

a pompano looks like a permit but never grows big. An austrian flyfisher got a 14 kg permit one of the days, a very impressive fish.

Eigil with a false albacore

Rene with a yellow tail snapper

A lady fish. Also called poor mans tarpon. They jump like tarpon but don´t grow big. I caught 3 ladyfish in 3 casts and then Rene tried for 20 20 minutes without any luck – I could not get my arms down 😉

Rene he caught a tarpon on the main island. That is really an achievement as we almost did not see any and even when you see many it can be very hard to catch one. Rene fished most af the time with a head cam and he got all of his tarpon fight on video. I hope and expect that I later can put some of his video on the blog.

Los roques, february 2010

A trip to Los Roques for app. 2 weeks with Knud, Lasse and Thomas. Lasse and Thomas were rookies while Knud has been here five times before. The trip was good with some minuses. Like always on Los Roques you get plenty of bonefish and they are well-sized, so you get to see your backing on a regular basis and combining that with sun and warm waters you can never go wrong – especially in the winter time when there is ice on the Danish waters.

Lasse´s camera did not work so he borrowed mine and Knuds cell phone did not work so he borrowed mine, I had a vacation without any electronics 🙂

If I have to sum things up we had more problems than ever before with lack of water and lack of electricity. Two days and nights in a row with no electricity means hot rooms at night and warm beers. Furthermore the shops were several times out of goods and restaurants had to close due to no gas or no food to sell. Hugo is really catching up with his idol Fidel, Venezuela more and more looks like Cuba.

Furthermore the number of fishermen were larger than ever end also the number of other tourist and this increased the pressure on the beaches and flats available for the guideless flyfishers – the cheapskates  i.e. us most of the time. For example kite surfers can really destroy a flat when they cross it at 50 km/h.

My most memorable moment was when I caught a kind of garfish (the local garfish has a lot of teeth up to 6-7 mm) after I released it into the water it opened its mouth and bit me in the knee, then it backed and swam to the guide and bit him in the leg. After this incident with a 1½ pound fish towards two 200 pound humans both humans were bleeding. It was clear who won that battle.

Thomas with a bonefish, this is classic Los Roques

Lasse with a very nice sized bonefish from the main island Gran Roque.

Los Roques and diving pelicans is a classic. This year the pelicans were diving quite close to the fishermen given them great opportunities for catching bonefish that approaches the pelicans when diving – but sometimes you also catch a pelican. This type of fishing is not my way of fishing bonefish but it is very efficient.

Thomas with a bluerunner. He spotted a school attacking very close to the beach while we were waiting for our lobster at a restaurant on Craskey and he ran down and got this nice fish. We were hesitating a bit and got nothing, determination pays. Normally there is many opportunities like this but this year we did not see many attacks and that is a pity as I find this type of fishing very intense and entertaining.

The lobster Thomas ran away from. It is not the cheapest lunch but it is one of the best. 

Our guide Chapin on a pancake flat. We had some very interesting fishing on these pancakes and I would recommend Chapin as guide, he really knew his stuff.

I also managed to be in a picture – even with a hookup

And then a quick release and a bad photo – that is life

While moving around with the guide Lasse had a handline out and got this barracuda. A nice fish that really woke him from his sleep, but as chairman of the bombayfly he will have a hard time explaining that he is fishing with a handline.

The local fishermen lands many different species like Wahoo, sailfish, barracuda etc.

Los Rouqes is not just bonefish, you may catch many species a lot them we do not know the name of but it is always fun to catch something you don ´t see back home. 

A carite – a small spanish mackerel.

A small jack.

A pompano – looks like a small permit

A yellow tail snapper

floating device when swimming

If you when fishing in the tropics need to cross a channel too deep to wade then you may use your stripping basket as a floating device to keep your gear dry.