Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Los Roques 2009 - Photo Essay 2

Now on to day 4 I think the whole group was amazed at how fresh we felt despite a lot of traveling, a reasonable amount of walking and of course some hard fishing. However ...

Chris Yrazabal who operates the Sightcast team who looked after us use these brilliant Pangas to ferry their clients from island to island. Quick, comfortable and reliable there is plenty of room for gear, with rods neatly stowed in racks along each side of the boat. Leaving more than enough room for tackle backs, anglers and of course the obligatory cooler box. Prepared by our fantastic Posada (Acuarela Lodge) the coolers came complete with fresh salads, sandwiches, biscuits for a sugar rush, watermelon and of course gallons of water. Just the kind of refreshment needed after hours under the sun on a flat. Its well worth remembering too that eating and drinking are not the only important factors to remaining well on these tropical trips, cover up well with a high factor sunblock, use a lip block too and I just cannot imagine a day on the flats anymore without a Buff. These are amazing and especially the new angler series incorporating UV protection which you can see here.


Here's a Buff in use covering my rather large ears! It is also covering my neck which if exposed to the sun is bound to cause illness at some point, be it sickness/diarrhoea within hours or of course the possibility of the big C. I also use my Buff to cover the rest of my face during especially hot periods and when fishing around mangroves the mosi's have no chance of getting up my nose! The cool new shark and offshore patterns don't make them that hard to wear anyway and they cost so little that investing in one for a trip is no hardship. Again I always look to what the guides are wearing and without fail all of them were covered up with Buffs, especially as the sun grew more intense through the day.


The invisible man a.k.a. Al Lambert sporting his Buff and a little snapper caught in the Mangroves. During this session Cayito our guide called to me to head back to the Panga. Thinking that Alasdare had not heard and was deeply engrossed casting at a Mangrove with his back to us I shouted loudly to him. In fact he was staring straight back at me. Very funny at the time!


While there are ridiculous amounts of shallow flats, mangrove areas, beach's and pancake flats, they are surrounded on all sides by deep ocean. Here is the entrance to a lagoon showing the considerable water movement present. This kind of dark water next to light is a particularly good place to look for Cuda. I didn't fish for these seriously during this trip but must do in the future as there are plenty to have a go at. In fact a few were landed during the week by boatmen and we ate a couple back at the lodge. Wow, Cuda is delicious! Like eating chicken. Sadly a couple of my Bonefish fell foul of these aggressive predators, one while still on the line which hit with such ferocity out of no where that I jumped out of my skin and the other had been revived only to swim straight off the flat and disappear in an explosion of water and teeth. Believe me the flats are a tough place to live out your days ... unless you are a Cuda or a Shark!


During our entrance to this lagoon another amusing moment took place as the boatman decided to take a closer look at the mangrove with Cayito the guide bellowing instructions in his ear! Look out for my mission in possible style decamp from the bow and the wave of sympathetic laughter that follows from Sam and Al! And on a serious note see the beautiful colours of the water, the clarity and the big blue sky ... life in the tropics is so tough!



This was the scene of the first Cuda attack. Hard to believe that such a sedate looking flat could unleash carnage on a Bonefish just a few minutes later. This is Alasdare with Raphael, I am out of shot taking the picture while stalking the Bonefish that became Cuda chow down.


Wildlife is an all important part of the Los Roques experience. You will see many different birds, lizards, some big spiders and of course Sharks plus a variety of fish. Now and again you will also catch a glimpse of Turtles, such as these that were being held in a tank ready for release back into the wild. At least that's what the locals told me, I hope they were not about to become soup!


The penultimate day to our trip was awesome, in fact all the days were. But getting a triple hook up on Gummy Minnows was a highlight and lots of fun with guide Raphael.


Especially as the fish were a little like those Russian Dolls ... Big (see mine!), Sam's ... medium and Stu's .... little!



The last day came all too soon. It was cool to head out for the session in the company of Stuart and Alasdare who just a few years ago had never picked up a rod. After a fly fishing course the pair became hooked and met for the first time during a hosted trip that I ran to Los Roques with Aardvark McLeod in Feb 2007. Our venue for the day under the watchful eye of Jesus (a guide who I think has vastly improved in the past few years) was Dos Mosquises, a series of islands 30 to 45 minutes from Gran Roque, situated in the far South West. It is one of the most heavenly places I have ever come across ... it was very hard to leave.


But there was fishing to be done and I was chuffed to hook up a fish patrolling the margins on one of Jesus's mini Clousers. As you can see ... I am just a little happy .... note the customary silly "I have a Bonefish on!" grin!


And the fish was gorgeous, a perfect Bone which gave me a decent scrap in the waves of the beach. This is why I love Los Roques so much, the versatile terrain. I am convinced it is the most diverse Bonefishing in the world. Contrary to popular belief these fish also do not require 25 yard casts into a 30 mile per hour wind. Instead get practiced in short, accurate casts. Gentle presentation. Casting off opposite shoulders. While also being able to kiss the water to stay low enough in a short range attack while a guide shouts instructions in your ear! Double haul would also be helpful. If you need to learn you can book a course with me right here.


Lunch was enjoyed in the shade on a little island all on its own. Stuart and Alasdare mulled over flies and tactics meanwhile ....


I amused myself by fishing for lizards. Water Melon was the top bait, followed by ham, then bread ... water melon seeds were no good so don't tie imitations for your next trip. Who needs Bonefish when you have Lizards! Watching them charge after a bait attached to some 12lb Rio Fluoroflex + (it had to be fluorocarbon!) was very amusing. Well, I found it funny anyway.


Where was Henry Gilbey when we needed him! With his expert eye he would have made so much more of this shot than I did with a hand held digital. You can see just the kind of result Henry comes up with here in his brilliant Los Roques photo essay from the 2007 trip. See the fish in the foreground with Stuart Forsyth manning the rod. I had been tracking down a bunch of Parrot fish which next time I visit Los Roques I will fish for seriously. Meanwhile Stu spotted a pod of Bonefish, chucked at them and hooked up. He had to play the fish hard and fast due to the serious amount of coral in the area. I forgot the Parrots and got behind the camera. Spotting his own fish, casting to and hooking it is a serious achievement considering this is only his 2nd ever Bonefish excursion with a gap of over 2 years.


And what a fine fish it turned out to be. I love these shots with the fish still in the water. After all that adrenalin it is a quiet moment and then seeing the fish swim away into the clear waters of Los Roques does something for the soul which is hard to describe. I can think of only one word ... magical.


Shark Attack.
My adrenalin was upped again later in the day when I was abused by two fish, both hooked at short range on beautiful pancakes in the Dos Mosquises region. The first one ate a DNA fry, shot off and my line whipped up behind the butt. Gone. A few minutes later the best fish of the trip that I had a shot at (8lb plus) came into view. Arse in the water, heart rate up and adrenalin pumping I got the fish to eat the fly just yards from the tip ring. It then went into turbo charge in seconds and off the flat, my reel squealing! Afraid that any moment I may lose my fish to the coral I was off in hot pursuit and while stood on the edge of the coral with the deep blue ocean before me I felt suddenly that I may actually land this fish. Then the line just kinda fell limp. It couldn't have been coral, the fish was way out and my knots had held all week. I felt dejected. Then the boatman started waving frantically at me to go back to the boat. With all these fish on the flat and just 1/2 an hour of our trip to go? Not on your life! I just kept shouting "Mas fish, mas fish!!!". Then in the distance I heard Alasdare shout "SHARK"! Turning around I froze as just 30 feet away were 4 BIG Lemon sharks hunting along the edge of the coral. It was one of the most amazing sights I have seen and I was so awe struck that I fumbled the camera but never got to it before they were gone. A shark had devoured my last fish of the trip and it was only later that the boatman said that in fact at one point he could see 7 Lemons up on the surface! It was only afterwards that I realised how stupid I had been to follow that fish to the edge of such deep water, had I tried to land it and the pack had gone into a frenzy ....


And that exciting moment was the last fishing of the trip. For now our trip was at an end, just memories.
Before us lay the journey back which I have to admit I never enjoy. Getting out of Venezuela seems harder than getting in! But I don't think anybody in the group begrudges a little discomfort during the journey, this is after all world class fishing. I feel privileged to have hosted a group there for the 2nd time and I am still absolutely buzzing after a few days back in blighty. I have a feeling I could be buzzing for some time yet and already I am planning our next visit which looks like February 2010. And if my words and pictures have not convinced you to visit this archipelago then go to Los Roques for the good looking fruit. Here's Sam getting cosy with one of them on our last night out on the Cerveza!



By Email:

Dear Nick

Just a very short note to thank you - I thoroughly enjoyed last week at Los Roques with a very nice and friendly group, some most enjoyable fishing and your very compitent leadership.

Again, very many thanks

Graham

By Text:

Thanks again Nick.

Had a brilliant time and company could not have been better.

Sam.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Los Roques 2009 - Photo Essay

Pictures say a 1000 words and after a truly memorable trip to Los Roques I can think of no better way to demonstrate just how good this venue is than through images from our trip. During our stay I kept the blog up to date and I know plenty of you were watching it, judging by the amount of emails & calls I have received with the word "envious" in them! I can understand why .... Los Roques is just one of those places that gets under your skin ... you should try it sometime! I will certainly be hosting a trip in 2010 so watch this space and if the below is inspiration enough and you want to get on this trip now then contact nick@hartflyfishing.demon.co.uk and of course check out the very best in international fishing destination providers ... Aardvark Mcleod.


This is the team. Back row, far left, Brian Seaby a scrap metal dealer from Birmingham, first from left ... the legendary Mr Fish now retired and hunting down fish on a global scale. Middle, Stu Forsyth, what he may lack in height he makes up for in fishing prowess and you will struggle to meet a better fly tyer, a veteran of Los Roques who fished with me in 2007. First from right, the joker of the pack and Bonefish new boy, Sam MacDonald. A week was just not enough, the practical jokes had just started to get going. Based on Sams reaction to the trip, I reckon we maybe up for round 2 sometime in the future. Far right, Alasdare Lambert from Twickenham. Al fished Los Roques with me in 2007 and that proved to be a life changing trip for me in many ways. As always it was an honour and a privilege to share fishing time with this guy who only picked up a rod for the first time a few years ago. And front row ... the host ready for action!


This is day one, out with Sam MacDonald on a pancake flat.
Sam is an awesome artist who specialises in fish which he painstakingly constructs from metal. See some of his work here So he tells us this was a "research trip!" OK Sam, we believe you, but the grin is this picture doesn't scream "research" to me! Instead this is the grin of a man who has just landed his first ever Bonefish. Just like your first Trout, Salmon etc ... you never forget! Well done to Jesus, Sams guide for the day.


At this point I had not landed a fish, only managed to lose them, so instead I revelled in Sams success! In all honesty seeing these guys hook up fish was just as much as a buzz as it was hooking them myself.



Fishing with a real, live ... Mr Fish on day 2, was one of the highlights of my trip. Graham is a charming man who has lead an adventurous life, heli skiing, climbing, racing cars and has spent 99% of his fly fishing career (which he came to late in life), fishing for Bones in Cuba, the Seychelles and now Los Roques. He was top rod on this day taking 12 fish with guide Raphael. I only hope that when I am 71 I am as fit and outgoing as Mr Fish.


Day 3 arrived all too soon but it was a session I had been really looking forward to as I was to fish with Al Lambert. Our guide for the day was Raphael who found us some of the biggest fish of the trip. Here Alasdare displays a superb double figure fish taken on Crasqui (just a short trip from Gran Roque) that took well over 10 minutes to land and had him a long way into the backing on 5 occasions. No doubt our lobster lunch available for an extra $45 helped Alasdare maintain the strength required to land such a fine specimen!



Apologies regrading the quality of this shot, it was only at the end of the day that I realised the lens was dirty! We needed Henry Gilbey for this one!


Releasing the fish I grabbed this shot and looking at it on the monitor it really shows how big it was. It almost looks Tarpon like! The image also shows just how well these fish camouflage themselves. But, check out the shadow below, on sandy flats this is what I look for and then suddenly the fish materialises. Flick out your Gotcha or similar, giving the fish a bit of lead. As it arrives add a bit of life with a couple of short, smooth strips. Often the fish will pounce in the blink of an eye. Set the hook with another strip and then hold on as the reel springs into action .. zzz, zzzzzzz, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! And pray your backing knot holds!


On the way back to the lodge that evening I had the fever, I needed to keep fishing! Raphael had talked up the airport flat and so Alasdare and I stopped off to grab a couple more hours on our own. Within minutes I had spotted and hooked this fish just feet from the shoreline on a Gotcha. Nice .... and just a 15 minute walk from our lodge & cerveza!



The walk home was taken slowly, with much fishing banter. With a sunset like this and having just enjoyed a fantastic days Bonefishing we just didn't want it to end.


More from the next 3 days of our trip in tomorrows post and don't forget to check out Aardvark Mcleod if you would like to join the party in 2010. Many say that these trips are expensive but in fact if you take into account that flights, guides, boats that travel miles everyday, food, lodging etc., is all included for around three grand this has to be one of the best, most diverse and inexpensive tropical saltwater destinations on the planet. And anyway I have a moto that I live by ... we only live once!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

What a Blast! - Los Roques Day 6

The laptop battery is about to go, its late and we are quaffing Cerveza so I will write more about todays events when I return to the UK. All I can say is this week has been one of the most fun I can ever remember during a foreign fishing adventure. The fishing, the company and the atmosphere has been cool and I so wish we had another week. This is not a sales pitch, just straight from the heart ... I have got the Los Roques bug ... BIG TIME! Check it out for yourself here and my blog in a few days for pictures from the week.



All I will say about today was that it was eventful and included Lemon Sharks! The Bonefishing was some of the most interesting and exciting I have ever enjoyed. And to top it all the day was spent with Alasdare Lambert and Stuart Forsyth who both began their fishing careers with me around 6 years ago. It is quite a leap from Exmoor streams to the pancake flats!

We are now in our hotel in Caracas chilling out prior to our departure this evening for Portugal and then on to London. The last steak I had here was awesome so I am off for a dip in the pool and a decent lunch so I don´t have to suffer the muck they serve on the airline! We are also already planning our next visit, there is so much more to be done in Los Roques. This time around I really feel I have started to learn about its fishing and have also enjoyed the fantastic atmosphere this beautiful island exudes. I have always enjoyed saltwater fly fishing but for some reason during this trip I have been bitten by the Bonefish bug. Thank god it wasn´t by a shark ... more of that next time.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Day Dream Bonefish - Los Roques Day 5

Yes that's day, not wet, although the fishing out here is almost that good!

It struck me today that more than any type of fishing I think about other stuff while out searching the massive flats for another Bone. Wandering over many miles, scanning the pristine water sends me into a trance like state and then the old mind gets going. It could be anything ....

For example. What will we have for dinner tonight, at our excellent Posada from the hand of its fine resident chef? Why did we let so many overpaid idiots run the financial world in the UK? Was it the chicken or the egg fir ... oh f**k that is a Bonefish! Or rather was ... as it sods off across the flat at blistering speed. Which sets off another day dream ... how I would like my line to be following!

So my advice is if you ever make the wise decision to book a trip with Aardvark McLeod to enjoy the incredible diversity of Los Roques and its Bonefish ... don't day dream!

Alasdare and Graham certainly had their wits about them today while being guided by Jesus, scoring around 8 fish each to gummy minnow tactics. Al has been really impressed with Jesus and his ability to pass on new skills, despite speaking very little English. Meanwhile Brian took his best Bonefish during this trip so far going 7lb, part of a 12 fish haul with Cayito.

I had the pleasure of sharing my fishing with Sam and Stuart. As usual Raphael made us walk miles and today we were not rewarded heavily for our efforts. I picked up 3 to 5lb and should have had more but in the strong winds the guys struggled. So we headed to a beach and while I got far too over excited at a number of tailing fish the guys slammed some nice Bones on Gummies. I could not resist getting in on the act myself and at one point all 3 of us were hooked up as a Bonefish school mopped up minnows ... exciting stuff!!!

Tomorrow is our last day and I cannot believe we will be heading back to the cold UK on Saturday. The grand finale will see the class of 2007 out, being Al, Stuart and myself (we all fished Los Roques in Feb 07), so its time for some Zs and maybe a dream or two!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Comfortable Bonefishing - Los Roques Day 4

I started thinking about this post through the day as it struck me that I now feel more comfortable than ever when spending a day on the flats. The trick is to fish light of course but when wading away from the Pangas it is imperative to think about the flies you may need and all the other accessories required to ensure you can make quick changes. For example a few days ago I happened upon a few Permit and yesterday a Cuda. These fish require alternative flies and in the case of the Cuda, a wire trace.

The best way to go about carrying the items required is in some kind of pack. The guys on this trip have packs of all shapes and sizes. Watching them fish I would say most are too big and overfilled. Carrying your pack on your waste also puts strain on your back, so today noticing that the guides sling their packs across their back, I followed suit. Why haven't I before! Far more comfortable and you can wade deep without giving all your hard earned flies and tools a bath. That aside my next tropical saltwater trip will be with a fully waterproof pack, far more sensible.

So pack on my back I am comfortable. But what is in it? Well as discussed, flies and leaders for a variety of species. Lip block ... a must! Spare leaders, tippet, forceps, lens cleaner, reel oil, spare sun block and on the outside a set of nips. This leaves room for a water bottle. On average I will aim to drink a bottle an hour at least.

Another revelation for me during the trip has been Costa Del Mar sunglasses. I am sold on Maui Jims but I find the Costas glass 580 lens truly awesome on the flats. The copper lens comes highly recommended but I have been using a blue mirror version and they are outstanding. The fact that all the guides use them offers further reassurance so I am glad we are adding them to the range in the shop very soon.

So I can see just fine (and today we saw plenty of fish on the pancakes), my pack is dry and not straining my back while dehydration is not an issue and any fish who dares cross my path has a fly waiting for them, all be it they may decide not to take it! But what about the sun? On the advice of world wide traveller and photographer Henry Gilbey I use Bullfrog quick gel which unfortunately is not available in the UK. An amazing product, I am very fair skinned but with just one application a day I do not burn. But there is another secret that Henry let me on years ago, Buffs.

All the guides wear them here and I have an ever growing collection, plus of course we sell them in the shop. A fairly nondescript looking piece of material this amazing garment will shield your neck, ears, nose and face from the sun, especially during the hottest part of the day. Granted we all now look a little like Ninjas wading across the flats and even had one tourist shout "take me to your leader!" as we passed them on a beach today. A convoy of us striding to our next destinaion sporting hat, sunglasses and Buff I can see the reason why we may look a little alien on a sandy beach! Alasdare has become named the invisible man due to his white buff and big black sunglasses incorporated with a sunhat! Today, a way off in the distance I was frantically calling him as we were about to had to a new location. I was shouting loudly thinking Alasdare had his back to me but in fact he was staring straight back! Such is the power of the buff to cover the face.

There are all sorts of other little things I am learning to help make a day on the flats as enjoyable as possible and most of them seem to assist quick changes of tactic and above all comfort. Feeling very comfortable I was really pleased to pick up an early fish of 4lb on a pancake flat which charged off the side and tried to do me on the coral. The light was perfect and there was just a gentle wind, but the fish were very tough. All the guys reported spooky fish and I watched today as 3 separate fish followed my fly and then turned away. If things stay the same tomorrow I am going to break out the 7 weight.

Fishing with Alasdare and Sam we had yet another action packed day with Cayito who took us to some seriously interesting terrain including a lagoon where Sam picked up another 5 Bones to add to his day 3 tally. Alasdare and I came across a few fish but it wasn't until we headed to a beach that the fun really began for us. Fishing Gummy Minnows on the drop we hooked a number of Bones to 4lb by wading out, banging the flies as far as we could and then stroking them back in. Watching Bones pick off Minnows stunned by Pelican attacks it an awesome bit of sport as we threw at nervous water waiting for a hit at any given moment.

The other guys all got Bones today but the general consensus is that it has been tough. Low wind does make for easier casting but the fish spook far more easily and gentle presentation becomes paramount. There has also been a lot of changeable conditions this last few weeks and we don't seem to be seeing large groups of fish, possibly because they are out in deeper water? Most important is that all the party are catching and having a great time. It was certainly not easy fishing today, but it is very challenging and a bit of effort is rewarded.

Writing this at 10.15pm I am the late one up, the guys have been knackered after all the excitement out on the flats and are all in bed by 9pm most nights! I had better head off too. Apologies there are no photos to accompany these posts, I have plenty and will load up a photo essay to show the highlights from the trip upon my return to the UK.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Bonefish & Lobster - Los Roques Day 3

It seems like a long time since we were on the plane travelling to Los Roques. We now have three hardcore days fishing under our belt, with Alasdare Lambert and myself putting in 12 hours today. But we had a boost as for lunch we parked up at a small outpost on a beach seemingly in the middle of nowhere. For starters Al promptly hooked up a Bonefish of around 8lb+ that bust him off on the coral!

Main course consisted of shellfish, snapper, conch and as the main event, a huge section of Lobster each. What an awesome way to spend an afternoon, but there was more to come. Returning to the Panga with our guide Raphael, Al hooked up another Bone that just went and went and went. In fact it had him well into the backing half a dozen times. By the end Alasdare was knackered but elated when Raphael finally grasped his prize, a Bone of 10lb+!

This was just part of a spectacular day with Raphael. We have seen a huge range of terrain from shallows close to reef breaks, pancake and sand flats, plus a little mangrove too. I am also really getting into self guiding, spotting the fish far more quickly but still prone to a little Bonefish fever! However I got it together landing half a dozen fish and losing some too. My own highlight after Alasdares big fish, came late on in the day. Heading back to base we had Raphael drop us off at a flat around a mile from our Posada. Almost instantly we found a couple of decent fish mooching around and first cast one of them nailed the fly without hesitation. A solid 6lb this proved to be one of my best fish so far during the trip.

Heading back to the Posada a few hours later we did not contact anymore fish but did see a few. The light conditions were tough as the sun was low but it was the tide which did us no favours staying just a little too high to allow us to target tailing fish. But it did not matter, we had an amazing day and also our thoughts had turned to the tremendous food that out accommodation serves. Sitting around the table the banter is always lively as we swap fishing stories including my own about the moment when one of my Bonefish was chopped clean in half by a Cuda. Curious to see what had become of it I started to pull it back in but realised the Cuda which had demolished the tail in one explosive bite was now tracking the head section. Weighing at least 30lbs I did not relish tangling with it and so when it grabbed the remaining half I opened up the drag, let it charge off (reel screaming!) and waited for the inevitable .... time for a new tippet!

Meanwhile Stuart took a Cuda on conventional gear today, along with a few Bones. Mr Fish has also been amongst the fish while Brian continues to catch consistently. But for me the other high point so far to add to the lost Permit and 10lb Bone was Sams 5 fish. All specimens that he saw, cast to and hooked himself. A newcomer to tropical saltwater fly, this is a hell of achievement for Sam who has just 3 days experience and he could not contain his happiness this evening as he talked us through all that he has learned sop far.

So another fantastic day here in Los Roques. Now already half way through the trip all the guys are heading to bed praying the high light conditions continue, coupled with falling wind speeds. And whacked myself I am going to close the day 3 report here and do the same myself. Although just before going I will add a link to Aardvark McLeod who put this hosted trip together. Check out their site for some amazing fishing locations including Los Roques.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Fishing with Mr Fish - LosRoques Day 2

Yes honestly. Today I achieved a lifelong ambition and fished alongside a real Mr Fish. Graham Fish is quite a character. A guy who has fished just a handful of times, but during that time has included the Seychelles twice (and a GT!), Cuba and now Los Roques to his list of must have options. Today he was telling me he hopes to do the Seychelles again soon. Mr Fish can also fish. Granted he could do to learn how to double haul and may head down my way for a course, but right now he can cast a straight accurate line and with the quality of the guiding here that means he is catching. In fact he stuck 12 Bones today to a solid 6lb!

I had a ball too fishing with Mr Fish and legendary guide Raphael. What a dude. This guy seriously knows his stuff and placed us on some top fishing. In fact I even got a couple of shots at Permit, resulting in a fish turning on the fly but no hook up. Brian Seaby, a laid back brummy did far better hooking up a double figure fish that sadly spat the hook and also landing a small fish of 2lb. Still an achievement and under the guidance of Cayito who has also impressed Alasadre Lambert no end. He whacked 8 fish today, smallest 5lb and the biggest a shade under 10lb! Awesome!!!!!! Al is just ever so slightly stoked and as I am rooming with him I can safely say that the various captures have been relived more than a few times!!!

My own Bonefishing today went far better with fish to 7lb alongside Graham and Raphael, the morning session in particular wasexplosive. Watching these guys perform is an education, even for a guide, in fact I have been learning a whole lot that has helped me gain several hook ups to save face after my cheque book and pen event yesterday!

With cerveza waiting and the promise of a Lobster lunch tomorrow (they truly know how to look after you here) I had better sign off with a final word regarding Stuart Forsyth who managed to take fish on pancakes that were far from easy in high water. He has not had numbers today but that does not matter, hooking singles cruising deep water is damn fine fishing. But that's Los Roques all over, damn fine and especially when you have had the privilege, as I have, to fish with Mr Fish!!!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Los Roques - Bonefish Fever

I left the UK yesterday to head out to Los Roques, Venezuela with a hosted group on behalf of Aardvark McLeod. I know, its a tough job! And believe it or not it was with mixed feelings as the fishing at home has been awesome recently, the highlight being a mid double figure Pike that a guest caught with me just shortly before I headed over here. That was cool, but there are few things that can compare with the incredible terrain available here in Los Roques for the Bonefish angler. This is my second trip to Los Roques and once again it has blown me away.

Fishing with Jesus (pronounced something like hey-zeus) I paired up with Sam McDonald who is visiting all the way from Orkney. Now Sam is a seriously interesting guy because he makes his living sculpting fish out of metal! And I thought I had an unusual job! He would have us believe that he is here for "research" purposes but having just got back to our fantastic lodge and witnessed his beaming smile I would say he is here for a little more than that! In fact he has done amazingly well as the wind has been pumping, but Jesus, as patient as ever took Sam to some mud's to learn all about hooking up Bonefish. Then after actually casting to and hooking up a number of fish (he never seemed to miss!) which Sam played the rest was down to the man himself. Finally, with just 15 minutes before we were due to head back to base Sam lost his Bonefish virginity, a milestone for any angler but especially for Sam who has never fished outside the UK. What a way to start.

For my own part I had an interesting day, which is a fancy way of saying I blanked! Believe me self guiding over here is not easy, the guides have some of the best "fish eyes" you can imagine and anyone new to Bonefishing could do far worse than book a trip with Aardvark Mcleod and see for themselves just how good they are. I actually saw a ton of fish, including some tailers on the pancake flats but spent my usual first session suffering from Bonefish Fever. This is basically a condition which means that just when you don't need it you will fluff the cast, catch your sun gloves or step on an unseen fish! But I did get it right a few times, especially with one really nice fish which stripped backing at a blistering pace. But like the other fish I stuck during the day, it fell off. I had plenty of other chances but I find that these fish effect me like no other. Watching those torpedo's cruise the flats, or a tail glint in the sun just does something to me. I will try harder tomorrow!

Enough about my own failure. Alasdare and Stuart returned having had an awesome day taking fish to 5lbs and apparently Calito had them hooked up into fish within 10 minutes of starting. They ended the day with 10 fish which in the high wind is some achievement. I am going to go and find out how they did, while also enquiring of Brian & Graham who are also present on the trip. More tomorrow and I will post images when I get back to the UK, with fish cruising around the pier close to our lodge I can stand it no longer, time to thread up the rod once more!