Aruba report - Fly Fishing Forum
Bonefish, Tarpon, and other Obsessions Turquoise water, silver demons on the fly

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Old 06-22-2010, 06:35 PM
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Aruba report

I will preface this report by stating that I have not done nearly as much bonefishing as some others that I know. What little I have done, I have liked very much and wish to do more and more. I believe that my sight fishing for stripers translates very well to spotting bonefish, and that in many cases a fish is a fish is a fish in terms of behavior and response to a fly.

Aruba is not a flyfishing destination per se, but there are opportunities if you are willing to look for them and use some savvy. I have gleaned information from various websites (including this one) and had realistic expectations for the fishing. That being said, I did use the services of the only flyfishing guide on the island early in the week just to get my finger on the pulse of the area. I fished the wreck at Malmok the day before and spotted no less than five bonefish on that expanse of flat early in the morning. Granted these five spottings may have been me seeing the same two or three bonefish more than once, but I was highly encouraged, especially after reading that many folks fish Aruba and don't see any bonefish period.

The day with the guide was enlightening to say the least. We explored some UDLs and saw fish at each one, and I caught one nice fish at our last stop. We also fished under a bridge in a narrow lagoon for some tarpon, and although I jumped one, I did also manage to catch my first several barracuda...they were tiny, but boy did they want that tarpon toad fly.

The rest of the week was spent at Malmok, mostly west of the wreck where there is less coral, either early in the morning or for a few hours in the evening. There were more tailers in the evening (as suggested by several threads on this site), and I did catch one in that situation. Although there were fewer tailers in the morning, there were more fish, easily seen in the calmer morning water when the trade winds were at the weakest point of the day. I also caught one in that situation. All week long, I only ran into one other angler, a flyfisherman on the last day. He had been fishing for several days and not seen anything; then again, he was wearing a bright mango shirt and the fish probably saw him coming from across the island.

Lessons learned from Aruba:

1. The fish are there. Some areas are frequented by the bonefish more than others, but with a tidal range of only 1.5 feet, tide really doesn't seem to be too much of a factor there. Again, I saw fish every time out, not in huge numbers, but they are there.

2. Patience pays. A lack of it might explain why so many folks don't see fish for an entire week. I spent periods of fifteen to twenty minutes absolutely still like a heron in the water, and the fish fed actively less than thirty feet away from me several times. It was too late to make a proper presentation, but it was exciting to see. If you don't disturb them, they'll go about their business. Which leads me to the next point....

3. If you can't make a proper presentation, then don't. It's better to let the fish continue on its course and have it return to the flat on its next lap than to spook it with a casting motion when it's close or by bringing the fly in an unnatural attacking path. These are ocean bonefish, and when they are on the flat they are not in large pods. The largest group I saw was a pair, and the largest group that the guide has ever seen is eight. If they are spooked, they might be gone for a very long time and your next opportunity might be a long ways off.

4. Presentation is key, and fly is secondary. This is true for many fishing situations, but Aruban bonefish on a flat are very active hunters. I caught all three bones on a Corona Crab pattern, but I really believe that many flies would have worked, provided that presentation was correct.

Anne and I barely scratched the surface of all there is to do in Aruba, so we will probably be back at some point.

One of many tiny barracuda...



And the Aruban Bonefish Club grows....

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Old 06-22-2010, 08:21 PM
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Nice report Mark! I've only been thinking about trout lately, but I wouldn't mind bonefishing about now.
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Old 06-23-2010, 08:24 AM
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Great report Mark. Wife is insisting on a vacation this coming winter and Aruba is on my short list.
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:03 PM
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Mark, excellent report and thanks for sharing. You did a lot better than I did this year, but I'll be back next year.
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Old 06-23-2010, 09:26 PM
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Funny

I JUST read your report on your trout blog... then I check in here and pow... there you are. Good stuff.
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Old 06-23-2010, 10:27 PM
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Welcome to the 'club' Mark!
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bjorn
I JUST read your report on your trout blog... then I check in here and pow... there you are. Good stuff.
I don't have a trout blog, so maybe you have me confused with someone else?

I have placed this report in a few places, so perhaps one of the others is what you are talking about.

Thanks for the comment.

And thanks to everyone else....some of you provided input that led to my success on the island.
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Old 06-24-2010, 10:08 AM
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turns out...

Someone lifted the whole report and the photos and put it up on a blog about trout fishing in Arkansas. Glad I asked!
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:22 PM
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YO,
I was there for spring break with the family. The wreck is past the Marriots right?
I casted to several tailing Bones but no joy. 1st time. I also went out with Aruba's 1 FF guide Laurenz and had several shots at 50 lb tarpon with no joy. Again I was a 1st timer. WE loved th e laid back feel of the place and will return. I will spend many hours on that flat by the wreck next time.

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Old 06-28-2010, 10:43 AM
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The wreck is the one past the Marriott...it's pretty tough to miss, and is probably the best known and accessible bonefish spot on the island.

Laurenz is a great guy, and can cuss in several languages.

Anne and I also loved the island and will probably be back.
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