Fly Fishing Forum - View Single Post - Bone Fishing In Aruba
View Single Post
Old 03-22-2004, 10:44 PM
juro's Avatar
juro juro is offline
Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Steelhead country|striper coast|bonefish belt
Posts: 20,594
Bob -

Welcome to the Aruba Bonefish Club!

I'm afraid to say it's far from being a 'destination' for the ghosts of the flats but they are there and I had the pleasure of finding them right where I wanted them on one morning at Malmok on the flats surrounding the wreck on Arashi Beach.

Thanks to our charter members who wrote the earliest known articfact on the topic, the area around the wreck is a known bonefish hangout. Well I wouldn't call it a hangout but they are definitely prone to work those small shelves of broken coral bits and sand flats on occasion, and if you are there when they come by and have a decent presentation you will be off to the races with some really nice sized bones in the mix - some looking like 10 pounders.

But this area is a surf area (albeit often light) where you either need to see them moving water, tailing during morning and evening or cruising when the sun is high. The day I hooked up I had to sight between waves and wait for the suds to clear before I could track their movements.

I'd go with tan, brown or pink gotchas and charlies on a floating line with 15# flouro minimum due to the coral. 18#-20# might be better. I hooked a couple of turbo jets while blind casting that I am certain cut me off on coral. Going too light out there is a mistake. There are flats on the other side of Orangestad that are fine white sand but the coral here calls for a tougher leader.

The oceanside bonefish had a very faint olive green hue over their ghostly grey bodies and you could see the sheen on them like tidewater steelhead on a pacific summer day, large tails in proportion and most distinctly distinguished by the way they swim than anything else. Where stripers are smooth on a flat, bonefish are silk.

The locals talk about them as if they were impossible to hold, being mostly handliners. They say that fishing with fresh shrimp at night along the sandy beaches is deadly for them, but the guys I spoke with almost regarded them as undesirable compared to snapper and other eaiting fishes.

My favorite flat by far was Barcadero, about 1/3 of the way between Orangestad and St.Nicholas on the southwest side. I got off the main drag near a marina just past the airport and drove to the east parrallel to the lagoon (which is a tarpon and snook hangout) close to the Balashi brewery and took a small road that looked like it was fenced off at the end. The road veers to the left and leads to a public waterfront with docks and local fishermens shacks on a beautiful white sandy beach, a stone's throw from the large while sand deposits that are visible from a great distance. This flat was wonderful to fish and should be explored around the bottom of the tide during off hours. It's not a huge flat but a good one.

Another wonderful flat was found on a large public access area heading closer to the refinery. A road veers off as you are heading east with oil pipelines along the side of the road. A short way down the road passes over the pipelines to a large turtle grass and hard sand flat that is loaded with pilchards and wadeable area for over a half mile.

The flat right downtown to the west of the airport fence looked promising but I saw nothing while I was there and it was not comparable to the Barcadero or Malmok (despite the surf).

Baby Beach and Roger's Beach were nice, my favorite part of Rogers was over by the old officers club where the beach meets the reef. I saw some huge cuda and all kinds of fish including what looked to be yellowtail or some kind of jack. It was far from being ideal bonefish water with the wind conditions I had that day but it was a good spot should they come by.

Baby Beach proper was fantastic except both times I was there it was crowded with beach people - it's very popular for bathers and snorkelers for good reason. I would imagine getting there at dawn would be productive.

For a real adventure fish the beach in front of the jail at the east end near the road to Baby Beach. It's a classic surf situation with the possibility of any open ocean fish coming in for a bite. I landed a nice jack there on the Atlantis in blistering headwinds, a good test for the rod by both counts.

Most of the north side (the Conucu) is out of bounds for flyfishing due to incessant wind, surf and rocks.

The last place I liked was the rocky shoal that reaches out from in front of the lighthouse at the northwest tip. The channel reaches close to shore on the right side and gamefish often push the bait right into that channel. I saw bait getting exploded there while sightseeing. Figures!

Be careful of sharp coral and spiny sea urchins while wading, bring good footwear and I'd also opt for the long zip-off style pants verses shorts to protect the legs from frying like bacon in the equatorial sun. That sounds appealing right now after such a miserable northeast winter, but it's hard to regulate without covering and the lower legs can get burned to the point of agony.

The #1 spot for bonefish in Aruba is... Los Roques, a $200 flight via Caracas two islands over to the east! :hehe:

Raise a Balashi to the Bonefish club and good luck!
Reply With Quote