|02-25-2004 06:07 AM|
Great report Juro, welcome back!
Can't wait to the the pix
|02-25-2004 12:29 AM|
Well, back at the ranch after a long commute day. Here is a short summary report on Aruba, it's past midnight so I will keep it short.
Aruba is not a flyfishing destination when compared to the Bahamian archipelago which I drooled over on the flight back to my pit stop in Miami. I mean islands that are 99% flats and 1% island in that chain! Aruba has very little in the way of flats, a very small percentage compared to total shore types, and although the tuna species, wahoo, sailfish and marlin are abundant for a fly guy from shore the options are somewhat limited compared to other islands in the Carribean and tropical atlantic.
You could have a lot of fun fishing the Atlantis with a big fly from the beach from Eagle up to Palm each morning or evening as there were a lot of fish spraying bait and busting, but for some reason these places scream "flats fishing" to me and I had to say I was obsessed with finding bones and more bones with only a couple of hours to fish on each of the last three days I was there. These areas were few and far between.
Basically I came to realize that my bonefish encounter at Arashi Beach the first day was a fluke and I had a heck of a time reproducing that kind of action the rest of the time no matter where I went. The beach fishing on the oceanside coral flats is tough when there the waves are up, so little time can be spent spotting between waves and there does not seem to be any predictability in the fish's cycles out there.
On the flats front, my favorite flats were at Barcadera which is a relatively sheltered unmarked flats area just to the east of the De Palm Island ferry, and other flats lying along the coast between Barcadera and the refinery inside the barrier island. These flats were turtle grass and large sand patches with some coral marl present at points and bars. Unfortunately they were void of bones when I fished them. There were bones in the area in deeper water and the tide was high while I was there, better to come back at an early low tide rising next time.
Locals who fish live shrimp on handlines say the bones are very active at night but I had family obs and never got out in the evening or night to find out, not to mention I have this thing about sight fishing for bones.
Thanks to Roop I did find the Spanish Lagoon where tarpon and snook hang out, but without a skiff the only options would be to fish it from a bridge. I never took a cast, but had some great stories told by locals live-lining scup-like fish for them.
Although not a destination for flyfishermen, for anyone who is going there anyway I would say definitely bring a fly rod along! You could walk right into dozens of bones as I did, or slip away in the evening to try for tarpon in Spanish Lagoon, or barter with a local fisherman to take you out in their wooden boats so you can get a pilchard fly in front of little tunny, true albacore, yellowfin tuna, wahoo, etc.
I would also suggest hitting the big bowl-shaped beach near the prison on the southeast tip using conventional striper techniques for a variety of species, morning and evening when the wind is lightest.
Very windy all the time. Striper guys are pretty used to it. Pretty water, but when the swimmers and boarders get going it gets milky from the agitated coral dust and you can't see in the shallows.
Cuda and other species are pretty easy to hook when blind casting.
Renting a kayak would change everything if you had a day all day to explore. I would focus on the inside areas of barrier islands for safety and inshore species.
More info and pics to come, good night.
|02-24-2004 11:23 PM|
Were you using your Loops? If so, I'm curious as to what you thought.
|02-24-2004 09:19 AM|
Ahhhh yes... I can recall with crystal clarity the last time I was out on the flats in pursuit of bones. Not so much as one taker, though we spotted quite a few (one of them was honestly a monster, I'd say easily in the 8- to 10-lb. range; he was tailing on a flat about 20 yards from a deep channel and ignored the few casts that got anywhere near him on that blustery day). Crevalle are by far my favorite fish to pursue on the long rod, for though they may not have the distinction of the bones, permit, snook, or tarpon, they really peel out line and fight light bulls; give me a jack over the others any day. Oh yes, and in my experience they tend to take a fly with a little less apprehension than some of those others.
Juro - you're one lucky guy. The rest of us are freezing our butts off (snow in the forecast for NYC today) and only dreaming of warmer times when the fishing is allowable, and in the tropics at that! *sigh*
I'll tell you one thing: I'm not complaining about hot weather when it arrives this year! Good luck with the remainder of the trip!
|02-24-2004 06:57 AM|
That's more then I've ever heard of anyone doing from the shore with a fly rod there!!
Timely report, just looking through some photos of a guy off the Divi over 10 years ago fly fishing, looks like a younger, bigger, drunker version of me
Hope you find some tarpoon!
|02-24-2004 12:29 AM|
i just about fell out of my chair, Dana!!!
oh, yeah, my casting debarbcasts
Long Live debarbcasts casts!!!
and juro, i'm FREAKIN' jealous!!! its 10 FREAKIN' degrees out here in FREAKIN' eastern Oregon!!!:eyecrazy:
|02-23-2004 12:33 PM|
glad you are having fun!
but tell us truly...does your casting suck?
|02-22-2004 06:39 PM|
|striblue||Great report...wish I was there.. I remember catching Jacks and they are a great fighting fish... glad your having fun!|
|02-22-2004 05:53 PM|
I GOT JACK!
Jack Crevalle that is, fun but not part of the slam suite.
Bones.... Same spot, tide... NADA! I saw two likely suspects one of which I am certain was a ghost while the other could have been another species due to the angle. I spotted for twice as long as yesterday and the waves were so high I had a guy surfing less than 50 yards out and the clouds cut the quality time to a fraction. Ocean side bones are not reliable I guess, these fish were in the suds yesterday. First time in fact as previous bonefish outings I've had were on the inside flats and mangrove lined bays, etc - not many of those to be found here.
So with limited time I headed to a bowl beach created by a break in the coral reef with the surf pounding like a nor'easter and the wind howling loudly straight at me... Atlantis time.
Within a few minutes of tuning into the hard wind conditions, I got slammed and battled a jack of some kind, the type with the little scale plates running on the caudal peduncle to the tail and the large eyes, nice fish... got a photo too.
Other than a cuda bite off and harassment from gar, that's about all she wrote for today...
Last day tomorrow... maybe I will hire a local fisherman on a panga :eyecrazy:
In truth, the fishing is only a sideline while the second honeymoon with my better half has been priceless. It's been great to have a few days of fun in the sun, no complaints no matter what the fishing is like!
|02-22-2004 03:15 PM|
Good luck Juro!
I am enjoying these posts of yours as I attempt to fix my dying furnace. I bet that you are warmer than me!
The Worldwide Flyfishing Forum feels truly worldwide when one of your local pals is posting from faraway lands with moray eels,warm temps, bonefish and white sand.
Pretty damn cool.
I hope that you scored today.
|02-22-2004 07:05 AM|
In a holding pattern...
Pulled my sandal straps tight this morning and they came apart in my hands. Perhaps it's an omen - the coral cuts I got were nasty and sandals are just not up to the task on the marl. Beaches no problem, like Rodgers and Baby Beach on the other end of the island, but if you are coming bring some flats shoes appropriate for the task.
Another thing - I stepped up onto a large dead coral rock yesterday to get better vis and the rock was a little like a seesaw. When I sawed, what I did see shure shocked the sh*t outta me! Two moray eels were living underneath it and man they were not happy. :eyecrazy:
Haven't seen any sting rays yet but the tops of the feet are what's in jeopardy if you step on one of those as they curl and stab like a scorpion. Of course if you don't step on them no problem. But shoes are a good idea all around.
I am waiting for the local dept. style stores to open so I can find some cheapo scuba boots or something appropriate for the 10 o'clock bite.
Wish me luck.... I have the camera in the diving case today! Hope that didn't just jinx me.
|02-21-2004 07:36 PM|
|Dble Haul||A few of us in Newport today were wondering how things might be going for you down there. Glad to hear about your fish!|
|02-21-2004 06:42 PM|
|striblue||Great report Juro!... sounds like a place that is not crowded with fishermen...looking forward to your report tomorrow and hope you get some pics...|
|02-21-2004 04:43 PM|
Hit two nice bones this morning at Malmok between 10:20 and 11am... both sighted on crazy charlies. The fish were NOT where I would have expected them, I think any experienced bonefisher would agree if you saw the conditions there. They came pretty good for about 90 minutes. I wasted a dozen good shots at fish with an unweighted snapping shrimp (trying to avoid the coral) that didn't get a take, then went back to the charlie and bingo on the second fish which was smaller than the first but took the backing to Venuzuela. The movement went dead at 11am but for a couple spook shots and I had to go tend to the serious barbequeing of my legs in the equatorial sun. I really wish I was not alone to get some photos of the action particularly the screaaaaaming drag and backing out there on the horizon. BUT NO ONE ELSE WAS FISHING! Crazy how unexploited it is. Waves were of the tide surge variety, soaking everything to the nipples so NO IMAGES but tomorrow I will be back with the waterproof case and will post some images. (watch, the stripe will get me if I have the cam).
Also got a really cool looking snapper of some sort, almost tempted to "invite it home for dinner" per the original Aruba bonefish club article linked above but since I have no idea what's what I got it off with the hemostats and continued on my quest for a snook or a permit.
Saw a tailer and cast to it a few times before realizing it was a large trunkfish tailing as it fed
After the #2 bone, about 4.5-4.75 pounds I would estimate, I chopped my toes on the marl and decided to head to the south tip - Baby beach and Rodgers' beach on the extreme other end of the island. BIG MISTAKE - it's CARNAVAL weekend and the place was no less of a mob scene than a Led Zeppelin concert in the 70's. Wasted so much of the afternoon I had only a short shot left and with the sun glare on the west shore I was doomed to doing my beached albino whale imitation (sunbathing) and headed back to the hotel for dress-up dinner duties.
But we all know what will be on my mind... TOMORROW MORNING on the flats! Carnaval shifts from San Nicolas on the south end to the main downtown area so I will try the south end again tomorrow. Lots of sugar sands and nothing to chew my feet up.
One funny story-
after I sliced up my foot on the coral, I headed to the rocky bar near California LIghthouse on the north tip. Fish were busting and pelicans were diving into the fleeing pilchards and mullet. I headed out there with the Atlantis ready to make the long bomb casts into the busting fish when a local pulled up, beeped, and make the shark signal with his hands. THinking about my bloody toe I opted to retreat and headed back down to Arashi Beach (Arashi == bonefish in local dialect). The same guy pulled up asking why I left, I said I cut my foot and he warned me about shark. He laughed saying no "big fish dere!" and I laughed. What a chicken sh*t I am! I will go back there tomorrow with the Atlantis and a massive popper to see if I can raise some big jacks to the surface. It's a long shallow rocky bar with a deep channel alongside coming right to shore loaded with bait and had lots of busting fish and birds while I was there.
Anyway, look for arashi photos tomorrow. Waterproof case will be on the neck all morning. Hope that didn't jinx things!