Los Roques has a feel and character quite unlike any other flats fishing destination in the Caribbean, it is quite possibly the most attractive saltwater fly-fishing location that we have had the pleasure to fish. Emerald green flats give way to azure and then cobalt blue waters, all of which are interspersed with every type of fishing environment you could hope for. White sand beaches, clearwater lagoons, cays, mangrove islands, ocean-facing flats, the synonymous Los Roques pancake flats and much more. The entire archipelago teems with life and energy ranging from the thriving island fishing community on Gran Roque to the surrounding seas that teem with fish.
Los Roques archipelago is a collection of some 350 islands and cays covering several hundred square kilometres and offering some of the world’s finest saltwater fly-fishing. Laying 140km offshore and only a short hop of 40 minutes from the Venezuelan mainland the main island of Gran Roque is a surprisingly sophisticated settlement of 1,500 or so souls. The islands are a highly preserved national park and a favourite sunspot and retreat for both Venezuela’s elite and adventurous holidaymakers.
The main island acts as a confluence spot for truly monstrous shoals of minnows stretching for kilometres along the waterfront and attracting the attention of some of the worlds most sought after saltwater game fish. It is completely unexceptional to wander from your Posada and see tarpon, bonefish and jacks hammering schooling minnows right onto the beach, all within yards of your guesthouse / hotel.
Los Roques has become known as one of the best flyfishing destinations in the Caribbean. The numbers of bonefish can be compared to the Seychelles but the real appeal to ardent fly-fishers is the excellent opportunities for good-sized tailing fish. This is a place for those who love to stalk fish on foot rather than being confined to a boat. While the archipelago is famous for its pancake flats the area also offers great opportunities on its coral banks, sandy beaches, massive flats and mangrove lagoons. In addition to world-class bonefishing, other opportunities include tarpon, permit, jacks, tuna, snook, and barracuda.
Fishing in and around the waterfront can be exceptional for big bonefish and tarpon in the 30-80lb range however it is merely the shop window to what is on offer around the archipelago. By ranging far and wide throughout the hundreds of kilometres of flats, mangroves and small islands a roving fly fisher can have magnificent sport stalking big spooky bones on white sand flats, pitching to tailing permit and intercepting marauding Jacks. Exploring into the mangrove bays and islands produces abundant shots at small to medium sized Tarpon and even Snook in places. If you can take the adrenalin hit then Barracuda on the fly is an explosion of savagery and power that many have yet to experience.
Bonefish are the primary focus of anglers on Los Roques. Everywhere in the archipelago Bones take advantage of the feeding opportunities presented by the innumerable small silver minnows that make up the primary food source. You can blast away at huge schools of fish or target wily individual or pairs of Bonefish as they cruise the flats. An average fish is around 4lbs but much larger fish are common and in some places they can reach 12-13lbs.
Gran Roque provides the focus point for the larger Tarpon, 30-80lbs, which cruise along the waterfront although fish of 100lbs+are caught. Further out in the archipelago there are great numbers of 5-35lb Tarpon. Get the timing right and it is possible to hook 30+ fish in a session. Tarpon can be caught on Los Roques all year round but the greatest concentrations are from Sept-Dec when the tides are highest.
The other big attraction is the Horse-Eyed Jacks (5-40 lbs). Smaller ones work in groups and attack the large schools of minnows in periods of frenetic activity and being able to drop your fly amongst them during these frenzies will practically guarantee between one and half a dozen strikes as you work the fly through the school.
Barracuda fishing is outstanding. Large bonefish type flies and poppers work well. Barracuda can be found everywhere and there are some huge fish although it pays to have a spinning rod to hand for the really large fish.
Whilst not abundant there are some very good-sized Permit within the Los Roques Archipelago and if you choose to seek them out some specimens are possible. As with all permit fishing, they require the utmost stealth and a good degree of luck!
Italian owned and run Acuarela is a medium sized posada, (guest house/hotel) which caters for both fishing and non-fishing parties. The atmosphere is very much that of a Caribbean hideaway as opposed to a dedicated fishing lodge and consequently it is as popular with both anglers and non-fishing partners. Run by Angelo, an enigmatic Italian whose passion for food is matched only by his flare for art, which decorates the walls, and the warmth and hospitality of the staff. The standard of the food is exceptional; the mixture of Italian recipes and fresh seafood is without equal.
All the rooms have air-conditioning with private bathrooms and are typically a mix of both double and twin rooms. There is a comfortable roof terrace where guests can relax in the twilight after a days fishing and massages can be arranged for a very reasonable rate. Finally the posada is located a couple of minutes walk from the beachfront and the best of the local bars so you are in prime position for an early morning fish or an evening sundowner.
Los Roques is in itself an extremely popular and exclusive destination and should be considered a perfect family Caribbean retreat that just happens to host some world-class salt-water fly-fishing. Powdery sand and sun rule and the options for an idyllic sunshine holiday beckon. Whilst some non-fishing partners prefer to be left to their own on a secluded beach or island there is plenty of space on a boat and a chance to see all the archipelago has to offer.
Almost all the population lives on the island of El Gran Roque, and this is where the guest accommodations and airstrip are located. Just three sandy streets wind between colourful family homes, tiny stores, and the posadas (inns). The central Plaza Bolivar is ground zero for all community celebrations and the place for lively social gatherings. Here tourists and locals mingle to dance barefooted, a potpourri of salsa, rock-n-roll, tango and popular tunes played from a turntable that is rolled onto the plaza most weekends and on holidays.
Diving & Snorkelling
With its numerous protected cays and varied coral reefs, El Parque Nacional Archipielago Los Roques also offers fantastic scuba diving, and there are several certified scuba diving services/instructors from which to choose. If however you would prefer the simplicity and freedom of just a mask and snorkel then you will find the opportunities on offer for the snorkelling enthusiast are boundless along the miles of coral banks in crystalline clear water.
Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
The constant cooling trade winds and the relatively shallow waters of many of the cays provide unrivalled conditions for honing your skills at either of these sports.
The scenes of frenzied feeding that you will witness every day by many of the ninety-two species of birds including the blue-eyed brown booby, pelicans, laughing gulls, frigate birds, terns, lapwings, plovers, and great blue-and white-necked herons should satisfy all but the most ardent and exotic of bird-watchers. The sight of 50+ pelicans rising into the air and simultaneously folding back their wings and diving into the minnow balls never ceases to amaze.
Venezuela has had some bad press over recent years. Political instability and violence on the mainland has deterred a great majority of anglers from considering Los Roques. These issues are however totally confined to the mainland and Los Roques archipelago remains a beautiful, bohemian escape! A typical itinerary involves arrival at the international airport where you will be met and escorted during the transit process. Guests are escorted to the airport hotel, as used by pilots and aircrew on a stopover, just a few minutes drive from the international terminal. The following day you will be collected and assisted with all transfers and check-in prior to the short 45min flight to Los Roques. On island there are no security concerns beyond simply ensuring fishing equipment is not left lying around.
- Arrive Simon Bolivar International airport
- Overnight International hotel
- There is no requirement to travel into Caracas. All transfers provided on arrival to and from hotel approx. 5 mins from airport
- Transfer to Domestic airport
- Fly to Los Roques
- Arrive at Posada
- Full day fishing
Schedule is typically an early start to allow for a full day of fishing on arrival
- 5 Full days fishing
- Breakfast – Posada Acuarela
- Lunch – Local venue in National Park
- Supper – Posada Acuarela
- Depart Los Roques
- Transfer to Int airport
- International Flight
- For travel to the US it may require transfer back to mainland Venezuela on Day 7 after fishing to meet early departure international flights
There are no fixed arrival or departure days and length of stay or number of days fishing can be adjusted to suit your schedule.
$4,250US dollars. Please note this includes 5 nights on Los Roques and 2 on the mainland (extra night on Los Roques in place of a night on the mainland, suitable for travellers from Europe, is an extra $220).
- Seven nights
- Six days guided fly fishing
- Price includes accommodation (based on double occupancy)
- Includes transportation from Caracas International Airport
- All meals, beers and soft drinks during the day
- All license, guides and boat costs
Price does not include evening alcoholic drinks, gratuities, meals prior to arriving in Los Roques or airport taxes.
Los Roques is a true year round location and you can expect great fishing in any month. Being close to the equator Los Roques benefits from some of the most stable weather in the Caribbean.
Lower tides from Jan–May have made this the most popular time for Bonefishers whilst October and November offer the best fishing for varied fishing and migratory Tarpon due to the higher tides.
11Saltwater Fly-Fishing Videos
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