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Old 02-24-2004, 11:29 PM
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juro juro is offline
Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Steelhead country|striper coast|bonefish belt
Posts: 20,594
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.
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