Los Roques - Angler Report - March 2024

by Philip Stanier

Destination: Venezuela

Holiday: Los Roques

We had an interesting trip for sure. It didn’t start in the perfect way as our bags got delayed in Madrid, so we ended up in Caracas with absolutely nothing between us except what we were wearing. We had received an email from Iberia informing us that there was a delay with our luggage but it was much more difficult to figure out when it would arrive. Jon initially thought I might take several days due to the infrequent Iberia flights to Caracas, so we were suitably worried how it was going to impact on our fishing time. He first took us to the new hotel to check in, but later came back and returned us to the airport to fill in forms at the Iberia desk, which all took a number of hours and was quite anxiety inducing. We talked to Felipe and Ramon over the phone, who reassured us that we could use some loner gear and they would provide clothes too. So next morning, we then flew as scheduled to LR. Felipe provided us with some new spare clothes he over bought for the guides and sun lotion. We went out with his 8wts and a 10wt that he provided. We were also informed that our bags were put on the next flight and Jon picked them up in the evening. They then came over in the care of a Swiss pair who were flying in next morning with FFLR. So we simply waited around until it all arrived and rapidly set up our own gear before heading out with only an hour or two delay. Felipe handled everything in a calm and assured way, that you would expect given his nature! So only a relatively minor inconvenience ensued, despite some psychological damage! It turned out the first day was just Tom and I present, and the next 4 days was only us and the two Swiss lads. A group of 9 Germans arrived on our last day, which meant 6 boats out but we didn’t see them. Therefore, it was very quiet, as we had hoped.

The fishing was good but seemed a little different pattern to previous years. For example, there seemed to be less bonefish on the flats. We visited a number of previously productive long flats that simply had no fish on whatsoever. Most bonefish we caught were from the resident schools that always live in the same place. Here it was possible to catch a number of fish whilst remaining stationary, rather than what I would prefer, catching sporadically as slowly progressing down the length of as flat. That said, there were definitely a surprising number of permit this time. In our two previous visits, we had encountered only I permit each. Oswar took us permit fishing on the morning of day 3 and we must have come across around 30, with at least 10 good shots each for Tom and I. Sadly there were no eats for any of this… we mainly used an Avalon fly, however, Oswar then produced a smaller and more unique keel fly he had recently been given by a client.. in fact he had been given two, one was used the previous week and immediately resulted in a permit capture and the fly went off as a memento. I was on the rod with the new fly, and yep, almost immediately resulted in a take.. The permit kited left and skiting the pancake flat got tangled round a rather large turtle that had been minding its own business. We managed to shake the fly line free, then the permit took off across the flat at high speed nearly emptying the spool. Jesus tried to get the boat going and I was just putting some line back on the reel when the leader went as the fish dived off the end of the flat into deeper water! Oh well! Surprisingly, we came across permit on a number of other occasions, including on bonefish flats (where there were no bonefish).. but without the magic fly, none were to eat.

The previous day we had a session for tarpon and snook which was eventful. From the boat I managed to catch a modest one and Tom had a few on but just wouldn’t stick. Then when wading Tom caught a snook, followed by a couple more. I had only managed a bonefish but couldn’t buy a take from a snook.. this was the scene of my 7-0 to the snook in our first visit, so I was getting increasingly desperate. I finally got a take from what I thought was a good snook…turned out to be a small black tip shark…a first for me on the fly! A bit latter Oswar said come on, “lets go bonefishing” and was walking away, when my last cast went tight, finally I had a nice snook!  We then carried on a bit longer to no avail… Oswar.. “come on lets go bonefishing”.. so I start winding in and BAM, a large head comes out of the water and engulfs my fly.. first thought very large snook, but soon revealed as a large tarpon exiting the water in a spectacular leap. Some time later, Oswar is able to grab the mouth of a ~50lb fish! Result!

Nothing else was quite as spectacular but we continually added more bonefish and some very nice bar Jacks as well as numerous other species.. 18 different species in total. I also hooked and lost a large parrot fish on the 8wt. We also had a morning when we headed out looking for Tuna, which was a bit hairy on the high seas and completely futile, with only a dolphin sighting to show for it.  We spent the last day mainly fishing for Tarpon. Despite numerous hook ups, we couldn’t get any to stick and all too soon, that was that. I had some fun in the early mornings catching quite a few bonefish and other species from the dock by the airport, but not much further to report.

Ramon came over from the mainland and it was very nice to meet with him. Both Felipe and Ramon were great hosts. Despite the early hiccup, everything went well and we had a great trip. No events on the way back so all good.

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