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Bonefish, Tarpon, and other Obsessions Turquoise water, silver demons on the fly

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  #1  
Old 07-16-2004, 04:31 PM
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Aruba

I've got an opportunity to spend some time next March in Aruba with my wife, and some friends. I'm not interested in the shopping, drinking, eating, etc.

What I'm interested in is the possibility of flats fishing. Anybody been there after bones? Contacts?

Thanks for any info you can supply. I have to make a decision at the beginning of August, and if flyfishing can't be a large part of the trip, I'll have to decline the invitation.

Simms
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Old 07-16-2004, 04:57 PM
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Jim

I've not fished Aruba but I have fished the Caribean and it rocks Its down there by Venezuala so there will be bones and probably permit and tarpon tucked away. Baracuda are always lurking somewhere. Just offshore is sailfish heaven along with Mahi Mahi, Yellowfin etc. etc. I expect some of the others have more specific knowledge but I would be there in a heartbeat
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Old 07-16-2004, 06:57 PM
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Jim -

It's a nice place but far from a bonefish mecca. I did however catch two bones at the wreck.

Do a search on aruba (above) and I will see if I can dig up some maps.

Where are you staying? It makes a big difference because of where you can get to before the beach crowds, etc.
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Old 07-17-2004, 07:26 AM
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Adrian, Juro: the plan is to stay at Divi Aruba Beach Resort. After doing a search of threads, it appears that there is limited opportunity for bones, but I guess that is the challenge.

I'll start purusing the maps, and see if I can find some contacts.

Thanks,

Simms
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Old 07-19-2004, 07:42 AM
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The Divi is very close to where we stayed last winter. The big beach itself gets some jacks busting so keep the rod handy and a popper on a floater.

To the south from the Divi there is a cove with a rockpile on the left and the beach leading to Divi on the right. At low tide rising I saw some bones there but did not hook up. The bottom is not ideal but you might have luck before breakfast or when you only have a minute to spare.

The very best flat I found was all the way down near the Balashi brewery down by the sand / salt piles. I posted the name in the earlier post. There is a public beach / landing where the locals hang out with a big white sand flat where I spooked a few bones at high tide. Again I would go early morning or low tide as the high water made it tough to see them before they spooked. You look down the road and it looks like a tall wire fence, but when you drive down the road goes around the fence and to the public landing. Cuda down there too for sport.

The most bones seemed to be along the beach from the wreck at Malmok down toward the Divi along the sailboarders beach. The area around the wreck stays clear but the beach to the south got milky once people arrived so it's best to fish early in the morning and over in the shallows at the wreck in the evening when you can see their tails (according to the guy who has been renting that beach cabin for decades, I always had to attend to dinner plans in the evening).

I got two at the coral flat on the right side of the wreck although I saw bones on the left side flat as well. These are ocean bones and will grab the fly greedily but cut you off on the coral in a blink once they get your drag smokin.

Baby beach is way on the other side of the island and you will need to fish it either at the crack of dawn before people arrive and make it look like a chalk bath or in the evening after everyone has gone to dinner plans where you are mostly looking for surface distruptions. On the road past the jail there is a gorgeous but windy cove of deep water where I got a big nasty jack crevalle on the fly. Beautiful spot to fish surf style with two-hands.

North from the Divi there is a gravel shoal near the lighthouse with a deep channel on the right side. Fish busting everywhere one day while sight-seeing with the wife. Kind of creepy to wet wade there as it seems any kind of predator could make an approach up that channel right to shore.

Before my fuzzy memory leads me astray here, go read the previous posts to get better details from a fresh recollection.

BTW - there are tarpon in the lagoons on the south side.
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Old 07-19-2004, 11:26 AM
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Juro, thanks so much for the info. If I plan my family obligations carefully, I will be free to roam the fishy spots in the early a.m.

While I would prefer to be in the Bahamas, Los Roques, or Belize, this seems like a fair trade-off to accommodate my wife. There is always next year, plus, I now feel less guilty fishing two months a year on the Cape.

Simms
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Old 07-19-2004, 12:22 PM
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Jim... don't fall for all the bonefish hype also.... a great and hard fish no doubt...but, as Juro also says, and I also agree, I always enjoyed hooking a feisty Jack, or a yellow tail.... and The Cuda are really a lot of fun too..... Then there are fish at the time you catch them that you haven't the fogiest idea of what they are... that's fun too..... I caught a Permit also...but I did that blind casting....pure luck... but fun.
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Old 07-19-2004, 12:35 PM
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Los Roques... just a short puddle jumper away to the east...
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Old 07-30-2004, 04:07 PM
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The name of the very good flat was the Barcadera, a locals public beach and dock area with huge piles of white sand (or salt?) just to the east on the south side near the Balashi brewery. You will want +/- 2 hrs around the low early morning or evening there, textbook tide situation. Baby Beach could be great across from the chair rental shack but once people show it's soupy and crowded. Dawn patrol or bust and it's a looong drive from the Divi.

Best jack fishing I found was at the trench near the lighthouse on the northwest tip, and the jailhouse beach near baby beach on the other end of the island.

Your best bet is to go up to the wreck at Malmok in the mornings and evenings and keep those Monomoy-trained eyes pinned for green backs. This is a place where true-color sunglasses are better than high-contrast for me anyway, because the color differentiation is the key to seeing these fish in coral. These oceanic bones are aggressive and not all that spooky compared to flats bones - especially since there are waves. I cast into a wave as it rolled over a fish's path and when the wave passed and cleared out a window my fly was descending into the sweet spot. A twitch or two and bang! off to the races but pay special attention to clearing the line over the coral as this is about the easiest spot to get cut off by a smart bonefish I have ever fished. I only landed two but on sand I would have landed several more on the day I hit them just right.

Note - the day before I was spotting lots of bones from horseback riding with my wife and father in law on the sailboarder's beach just north of the Divi. The next day I hit a bunch of them, and from that day on there were no bones to be seen there when I could sneak away. My theory is that these oceanic bones roam the shoreline and could be anywhere as opposed to the flats and mangrove dwellers who have the compulsion to return to the same spots on queue based on tide activity.

The guy who lives right across the street from the wreck beach says the tails come out in the evening calm regularly, but that time is usually reserved for shirt and tie dining with the family and I never got to try it.

BTW there are also tunoids like true albacore in the rips just offshore. The boats near the officers club at baby beach are local fishermen who handline for wahoo and albacore. They told me a piece of shrimp fished along the beach at night would produce bones galore. Never tried that either although it would be pretty interesting to try right on the Divi beach.

Good luck in March.
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Old 07-30-2004, 06:03 PM
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which divi beach?

Juro, which Divi beach are you referring to? As you probably know, there are a couple of Divi resorts beachfront on Aruba.
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Old 07-30-2004, 08:17 PM
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The Divi Divi down by the bunker bar is the one I am referring to. Just south of the bunker bar there is a little cove with a high bank on the left (looking to sea) where a lot of the locals fish spin gear. In the cove on a low tide rising there would be bones, you can just tell looking at it.

Another spot not too far off is the airport flat but I was not as adventurous in passing the barbed wire as my mentors from Seattle who wrote the first account of aruba bones on yer own I've ever found on the net... or anywhere for that matter. BTW they also caught bones at the wreck as well as the airport flat and the windsurfer beach. I hit paydirt at the wreck but the windsurfer beach was always milky while I was there and you couldn't sight fish.

Too bad they don't rent pangas in the lagoon. Definite tarpon and big cuda opportunities in there if you had some mobility to get around. Not very accomodating from shore though. The point out at the officers club Rogers Beach? Had some potential as a big jack /cuda spot. Might see some oceanside bones there once in a while too, very interesting reef structure.

Is the other Divi in the same area (north/south shoreline on the west end of the island?)
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Old 07-31-2004, 03:36 PM
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aruba bonefish

Thank you, juro, and others for all that great info re bonefishing in Aruba. When I vacationed several years ago on Aruba, I didn't bring my flyrods. Now I am considering a winter trip there with my flyrods so all this great info is appreciated. Yes, juro, from what I can determine from the travel websites, there are now at least three Divi hotels on Aruba, none of them with the same name as where I stayed, thus, my question to you. I think I can determine from the Aruba travel websites that I stayed adjacent to the windsurfing beach which also was next to the all inclusive Divi hotel. So, this info will be very helpful if I return to the "renamed" Divi where I stayed. Now my choice will be: do I appear at dinner to enjoy their delicious food or call "room service" when I return from catching those bones? At any rate, great info and thanks again. To be sure, if I do go there this winter, I will report any bonefish activity I find.
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  #13  
Old 10-20-2004, 05:10 PM
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a few words from a "local"

Hi there everybody, my first post on this forum...

I grew up in Aruba, my parents still live there. I now live in the Netherlands (utrecht) and started fly-fishing about a year ago. Canīt wait to go home for christams and check out the fly-fishing in Aruba myself. As I grew up there I fished a lot, I learned from the native Arubians and allways fished with handlines and dragged out nets from the shore. Still everytime I go home my father and I both go out in our sunfishes (sailing) and troll in search of the better predators. Jacks are common and Cudaīs are all around the island. Sometimes a tarpon or other big game fish, but trolling wth a handline on a small 1-person sailingboat is not the best way to approach fish.
The bonefish (a fish I learned about through my interest in fly-fishing) is a fish we know in Aruba as "warashi", most fisherman donīt do nothing with them, as your english name allready says, itīs full of bones and useless for eating. When I was dragging nets, like 12-15 years ago, we used to meet and greet quite a few bonefish. They allways made a huge impression on me, we nearly ever caught one, they were so fast and jumped way high over the net. We walked out the nets from the shore (net is like 100feet long) and then made half circles back to shore. Then you drag out both ends and see what you catch, a great way of fishing when youīre a little boy. The exact place where we fished is not easy to define anymore, but it was North of the Holiday Inn and I would say it is in front of the Marriott hotel. It has a sandy bottom, but itīs not that shallow at all (approx. 3-5 feet) you wonīt see any tailing there and fish will be hard to spot.
I also am a fanatic diver/snorkeler, the strange thing is that you wonīt see bonefish that often when snorkeling (canīt remember having seen them ever).

About Permits, I never seen one of those before, we do have lots of jack-species, and in the waters close to shore you will find a lot of Palometaīs, a species that is called "pamper" in native language.
Anyway, Iīll keep an eye on this thread, can anyone of the more advanced fly-fishers around here give me some suggestions about what kind of gear/tackle/flies to use and which colours work good in the seaīs of my own island? I got a #8 reddington to go with me, is that heavy enough?
Oh, another thing to keep in mind is the fact that fishing is not really seen as a sport there, you wonīt find any shop to supply you with good equipment when talking about fly-fishing.... So take everything you will be needing with you and think about which items you will want to have spare.
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  #14  
Old 10-20-2004, 05:37 PM
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arubaman -

Welcome to the Aruba Bonefish Club

An 8wt is a fine rod for the task. The coastal bonefish were very willing to grab just about any fly that had the crazy charlie / gotcha design. However I could not get them interested in an unweighted snapping shrimp pattern.

I would recommend sight fishing around the wreck at Malmok in the brightest part of the day in the shallows to the right of the ship, and in the evenings and mornings looking for tailing fish in the very shallow flat in front of and to the left of the ship.

Also, if you have a car head down toward the Balashi brewery and find the Barcadera beach area where the locals launch boats. There is a fine flat there to be fished just before, during and the start of the incoming tide.

I had fun with jacks down on the big crescent beach near the prison down on the Baby Beach road.

I wouldn't go there just to fish, but if I go there again I will definitely continue the pursuit I started last year.
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Old 10-27-2004, 03:15 PM
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ok people, so I am going down to the happy island for my first saltwater experiences. Sights and spotting fish wonīt be a problem as I grew up there and allways fished, dived and snorkeled a lot..
but flyfishing? any tips, what kind of outfit, tippet strengths and does anyone have some realy easy patterns of clousers etc. I am a beginning flytyer, so i can not make all those complicated things yet.
off course Iīll keep you all in touch with my findings and experiences and Iīll make a report on the catches when I am back.. but will check in on this forum a lot of times more before itīs december and the journey starts...
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