Really nothing you can say in a situation like this...I wish you all well and hope that we are one day going to be in a position that we can forget about our troubles and just concentrate on that boil of bubbles that flash of a dorsal or that frigate hovering 2’ over the swell...See you on the other side!
....Good Tarpon fishing, with some big Jack Crevalle in the mix and even a Snook(probably the last one left here). Lots of small Bone fish and a few 5 and 6lb mediums no double digits this year although I have seen a couple.
Several cancellations because of the Covid 19 panic so several open spots the rest of this month if anyone is interested. March Bone fishing is typically the best of the year.
Call, text or email for info
...Great week with long time client Jim Alberg. Jim released 6 bonefish and two Tarpon. He caught countless Snappers, Jacks, Mackerel etc. Jim is a fishing machine and a real pleasure to fish with always!
Finally got to the North side with John Agostinelli and his posse. These boys are spoiled! When you only catch two King Mackerel and two Blackfin that’s a slow day. Great guys to fish with who hung in there in poor conditions..rough as bricks.
Dan White and his girl friend Jessica smacked down the live bait fishing in windy rough conditions. They caught yellow tail, Mutton’s, Cero, and Jessica whooped a monster Jack Crevalle in the 18 to 20 lb range on a light spin with 8lb braid. It was non stop action all morning. One of our better days this year with some cool people..more to come
Cooler weather has brought the bigger Cero Mackerel into our small boat reach...Chumming with live bait then throwing the long rod for these mouthful of teeth has preserved my sanity from the mental challenges of trying to catch the last Bonefish in Culebra....Just a cool fishery! Wether a Cero or big Blue runner or Crevalle grab your fly first it’s as visual and heart stopping as it gets..Just got in from a trip with long time client Jim Alberg who killed two Cero, released a Tarpon and then released two Bone fish, all in less than 3 hours. Jim will be fishing two more times with me this month. He just set the bar pretty high I think!..Check out the video! Crosby and Antonia Flecha are super talented and also fun to fish with...
.... More of a return to normal winter conditions have triggered off some better fishing. Schools of smaller Bone fish have returned to the mangrove bays in decent numbers much as they did last year during the winter. Although granted not as popular as stalking a tailing fish on the flats our anglers are still getting the the screeching runs and excitement all bone fish bring to fly fishing and light Tackle. An added bonus is the return of the Cero and King Mackerel close to shore. This is a great specie on the fly producing breath taking takes and smoking runs guaranteed to draw blood as your reel handle smashes into wrist and fingers.
The draw back are the winds. Christmas winds in the 20 to 30 kt range have destroyed us this past week. Conditions look better in a few days and hopefully we can get back to catching. More reports soon....
Worst fishing I can ever remember in Culebra. Bonefishing is limited to a few non wading locations and mostly small fish. Weather for blue water has been terrible and not many fish when we can get out. The only reason I bother getting up in the morning is because I have seen bad spells before and seen things change over night. So I hope for the best and will certainly work as hard as I can for my clients as I always try to do. Hopefully better reports coming soon. Happy Holidays
....very slow fishing in general, but have hooked and caught bone fish every time I have taken someone, even caught one myself. The traditional areas have no fish but have found pockets with one school of over 100 fish or more in areas we never saw fish much before. Only boat access for the most part.
Good Permit showings on the right tides but no congregations of bait to bring the Tarpon together like last fall.
This is a fluid environment I work in and things change constantly. I doubt my next report will be similar to this one. Check and see!
A lot of Bone fish were caught this month by a lot of talented anglers. Fish were spread out and basically a thing of the past at our main flat Dakity. We did have on or two good days there early on with multiple Bones as many as three caught on a single tide
Tarpon were chased and managed to release at least a half a dozen this month and jump another dozen.
Itâ€™s that time of year for me and I got to go do a real job. Iâ€™ll be setting up shop early fall this year and plan on fishing 7 months next season. Call text email for reservations next fall and winter. Stay in My daughters 2 bedroom apartment on the water in town for a week and get a free half day guided trip. Apartment is only available before November through Christmas ...updates soon..
Lost my outboard end of last month..didn't owe me anything,14 years and 2800 hrs, but middle of high season is the wrong time to hustle up a new outboard. Got it done with a little sticker shock, so cheapest guide in the Caribbean just changed his moniker..yup rates are going up! Hardest part was losing week of Charters ...hard to disappoint especially people who had been looking forward to fishing all winter.
Bonefish have been doing their winter thing, staying on the darker bottom in deeper water ...not technically sight fishing but almost always productive if you put the time in moving around. Tarpon on the beaches are still making a showing as are a few on bait in mangrove back bays.
Offshore has been crippled by weather. Our calm December and January has given way to the fierce trades of March. Schools of Cero and small Sierra available on certain tides in calm water, always fun on light Tackle. Looking forward to a month of big Bonefish as often happens this time of year..be checking back soon..enjoy the video with Bob Hirshe, Eric, Justin, Kathy, Bill and others....
....when the weather is good the fishing reflects the weather. January was great weather for a normally windy month and most of February so far has had good conditions. Most of the Bonefish caught this month have been on spin tackle in non wadable areas poling from my skiff in 2 to 5 feet of water. I just haven’t had a lot of Fly anglers but that changes next month with almost all fly trips booked for the next two months. Fish post hurricane are very transient and rarely stay in the same areas for very long requiring a lot of searching but to me the hunt is the “game”..
Offshore trips continue to produce mostly Kingfish (Sierra) and big ones! Plenty of “smokers” up to 40 lbs..Had a great bunch of anglers this month old and new and look forward to returnees and first timers coming up in March
Lots of sargasso weed has made trolling nearly impossible on the North Drops but when we can go clear lots of fish still around both Blackfin and Kings. When tides are right lots of medium Salma (mutton Snapper) in my Snapper holes great for eating and just making the rod bend...my continued research with ultra light spin and fresh water technologies has yielded incredible results on Bonefish and Jacks..we’ve come a long way
Kurt Hoepig and his Dad crushed fish on North Coast Beaches(pictures in the video) including a monster #25 Cubera Snapper. Kurt uses Musky techniques from the mid west and has got our fishery wired using his methods..More reports soon..check out the video...!
....Great talent in Drew Shane from the West Coast and Abbie Shuster and Justin Painter of Kismet Outfitters, Martha’s Vinyard, East Coast ....These folks made my job super easy. Bones were scarse but Tarpon of all sizes in clean water made for some memorable takes.
Fishing for the Dinghy Dock with my partner Max one to two days a week or when schedule allows. Last trip we ran out of ice in 2 1/2 hrs with a mix of 12 Blackfin and Yellowfin Tuna, several king Mackerel or Sierra and assorted Bonito, Ceros and others. In the current video is a shot of our friend Aldo with one of the largest Rainbow Runners I’ve seen in these waters.
I was Santa at our local Colmado “Milkas” Christmas Eve. Thank you Hector and family for your generosity to the community of Culebra. Feliz Navidad a Todo....
....Have had a few good days sight fishing for Tarpon, mostly small 10 to 30 lbs around bait balls all fly fishing so far but light Tackle opportunity’s are countless if anyone wants to go that way. Good numbers of fish over a fairly large area...Most if not all of my Bone fishers have caught at least one fish a morning with multiple shots when conditions are right. Stocks are way down and will probably take years to recover if ever. We are not catching a lot but the most are big. Had shots at two different double digits last week both totally ignored us..Enjoy the video!
....Bonefish populations on Culebra took a hit from Maria. We have been catching fish this fall but having to work a bit in out of the way places. The main flat on the West end of the
island is full of sharks and big Barracuda and the few fish left are spooky and gun shy. Bigger populations have showed up in other places but are constantly moving around making it tough to get dialed in.
The good news is there are massive bait balls around and Tarpon and other fish making for some epic fly fishing when conditions are right. Hopefully this will hold up for a few months. Videos and more reports soon....
...A good month of Bone fishing ...all my clients caught fish which is normal for March fishing. Some caught just one others caught as many as five in one day depending on angler skill levels, weather, and of course luck. Barracudas and Ospreys joined in but nobody told them this was a catch and release fishery. There are two Ospreys wintering in Culebra and they are having a very successful winter killing Macaco.
The flats have changed here since the hurricanes dramatically. Some of the flats I have fished successfully in years past have silted over and are now barren desserts. The biggest casualty of the storms has been the turtle and manatee grasses which provide refuge for most of the creatures that Bone fish feed on...No food, no fish unfortunately. Other flats have fish where it used to be hard to find any...never boring because things are constantly changing when you work on the water and see it everyday..See you in April
.. just cleaning out the video drawer..Feb.14 2018
Things are back to normal, typical winter trades are blowing 25kts everyday putting a slow down to our Offshore fishery for the time being . When we can get out the fishing for Blackfin Tuna, King Mackerel, Wahoo and Mahi has been as good as I can ever remember. Inshore the Bonefishing has started to pick up when the weather cooperates with some anglers releasing as many as five fish a morning. Recent anglers include Luis Galarza, Ponchollo Carbonel and Fernando Monllor , all catching Bones up to 7llbs. The video this month is one I took of Fernando presenting, fighting and releasing a Bonefish in a maze of rocks and coral. This had to be one of the most epic battles on the flats of Culebra I have ever witnessed. His line was snagged countless times on Coral heads yet with incredible agility one of Puerto Rico’s finest anglers managed to run through a minefield and save and safely release his fish.
Busy this month but lots of open days in March. Get out of the cold and and come throw some line!
...2018 starts tomorrow and my Offshore partner Max made a solo recon to the North and in just about two hours ran out of ice filling the box and putting fish on deck. Big Blackfin Tuna, medium Kings (Sierra) and a 50# Peto or Wahoo. On the flats I have made just one trip a few weeks ago and have been waiting on parts ever since for my Etec. I saw a fair number of Bones and a few Permit. I will be up and running again in just a few days.
I am offering packages this season to help our tourism to get back up and running here in Culebra. Casa Romero is right in town on the water. 2 bedrooms, bathroom full kitchen and decks. $900 includes 3 nights stay and 2 and1/2days guided fishing for up to 2 people. 3 people can stay in the apartment
...A few nicer Bone fish this month and generally a good spring despite the recent down turn of fish population on the East End..
A request to those who fish here on your own..enjoy yourself but please respect the resource and fish barbless. I keep hearing stories about so and so hooked and broke off this many fish...If you are breaking that many off you are making some basic mistakes, not my problem but something you need advice about obviously..regardless , with a barbless hook a Bone fish can rid himself of the hook far more easily when he rubs his jaw on the bottom to get rid of the hook. Just stay tight during the fight and you will never drop the fish.
While fishing here and you witness a gill netting incident on the flats report it just for the record. Nobody will do anything about it but the more complaints the more likelyhood of something being done down the road. Don't interfere yourself there are some bad dudes out there.
Enjoy the resources that this wonderful Island has to offer. If you need assistance to make your fishing experience more enjoyable during your visit feel free to email me. Don't call or text thank you...
....Always my favorite month as fish start to move around on to flats they avoid during cold January Water and short days...Nothing really big being caught but some solid 4 and 5 lb fish with some cast to double digits but no takes. Chris Jensen, MIchael Wightman, Dorian Crouch all had either first or second Bonefish. Veteran Eric Asnis caught multiples.
Luis Galarza came to Culebra with Tarpon guide Pochy Rosario and Luis scored his first release on a really big Bonefish that looked to be about 8lbs that he caught on his own. Had the pleasure of fishing the second day with both gentlemen and we all had a nice non stressful day of fishing and great company. No open days left this season as we ride it out towards Samana Santa
....March is always the first of the good Bone fishing and they are back like clock work. Most of the bigger fish this Island was famous for for so many years are scarce now but being replaced by decent schools of 2 lb fish. One Bay I used to fish 20 years ago but not much since is home to several big schools of these smaller fish. My client today went 2 for 5 hook ups for the morning and had never Bone fished before. Weather has become an issue and a lot of the places I would like to fish now I can't always get to or at least work.
Haven't been offshore in at least 10 days and will have to cancel offshore bookings this week. Barracuda and Yellowtail have been providing the inshore light tackle anglers with some bondage. Wind lets up it will be lights out! Saludos
...I have had a lot of anglers and wanted to thank and congratulate them on their mostly successes and some failures ..regardless it has been rewarding and interesting as always and at least I had fun!
Darren Laughlin had two thirds of a slam missing out by a hook spit Tarpon to almost complete it. Bob Hirche was back with me again to catch a Bone fish as well as Jack Erler, my client for 20 years, releasing his fly caught Bone..the list goes on..Block Island Jamie with some giant Kings and edible Black fins...and the best fly fishers in PR, the Ponce Posse, released good numbers on the flats as usual..Congrats to all. No body has enjoyed it more than me!
...Looking back at old logs...10 years ago today one of my better fly anglers released 7 bone fish on a morning tide. Fish ranged from 3 lbs to about 8 lbs (27" fork length). We were poling in 2 to 3 foot of water on the flats of Las Pelas on the East end of Culebra. This was not all that uncommon 10 to 15 years ago although 2 releases was considered a good morning.
Those days are gone forever on the East End where there are now just a scattering of Bone fish left. Chinchorros and habitat degradation have contributed to the demise of what was at one time considered to be one of the great fisheries of the Caribbean basin.
We enjoyed a good January of catching Bones on the Western end of the island both on fly and conventional gear. Light tackle anglers are having great days when tide and weather cooperate. Good offshore fishing continues with some Blackfin Tuna finally making a good showing. Weather is the key as always....
...The offshore fishing around our Island continues to be some of the best we have witnessed in years. Poor showings of Tuna but world class Sierra(king Mackerel) catching with most fish averaging 10 to 20lbs and plenty bigger up to 35lbs. Mixed in is the occasional Wahoo, sailfish and Mahi. Both fish and humans are eating well this season.
Continue to see a poor showing of Bonefish except on the popular well publicized flat where individual fish have names and behave like trick dogs with no manners. Regardless my anglers have with a lot of work been able to score on a regular basis in the lesser popular areas when conditions are right. Granted I have had some excellent anglers this season which always makes my job easier.
Inshore light tackle fishing has been steady. Lots of Jacks, Cero Mackerel . March is pretty well booked up with only a few open days but I still have some time in February to fish when you are ready..Call or email DON'T TEXT...
...Slow month for me fishing wise running half the trips I would normally run. I have been busy working on my daughters house here in Culebra. Ran my first bottom fishing trip of the year with Will and Bo from South Carolina. It always amazes me when I do these trips the variety of fish we catch on a few of the patch reefs I normally work. Bo, who is eleven years old, caught four different species of snapper ,a grouper, Jacks, cero Mackerel, and two of the snappers were nice keeper Muttons or Salma. After leaving the reef Bo went on to catch and release an eight pound Bonefish and to top it off his first Tarpon. Wooped that boy!
After a false start because of weather Alex Lee who has fished with before cast and hooked his first Permit this morning. I really thought we had this one. After maybe five minutes of fairly slow runs the fish took off in the wrong direction like a crack head with 50 bucks straight across the reef...see Ya! The good news is my latest Permit tie is 2 for 4. Four presentations and 2 hook ups. For the first time in years I have started to worry more about where the fish is going after he is hooked than if he was actually going to eat. We've seen this movie before as most of you know so only time will tell. Merry Christmas to all!
...Really enjoyed meeting Bob and Dave Kennard. Both Bob and Dave caught their first Tarpon and Dave his first Bonefish. Good company really makes a fishing trip memorable and believe me there have been lots I don't want to remember! We have been targeting Tarpon this past week. Not the ones begging at the Dinghy Dock and Mamacitas Restaurant but their wild cousins who actually work for a living laying up in the Mangroves and balling up schools of Sardines instead of getting fat and lazy eating Fritos and French fries from the tourists. Catching restaurant tarpon to me would be similar to baiting a dog with a hambone with a Gami 5/0 buried in it...maybe that's a little gruesome but the challenge is about the same...To each his own..Don't want to sound like a snob..just sayin'...
John Kinney released two Bonefish while his Dad Bill let go a Tarpon all on the fly their first day...Fun and interesting father son, look forward to another six days with these guys...lots of reports and videos coming up...
Back fishing with varied reports. Been offshore a few times with some great fishing especially in the Mahi Mahi department. Bonefish numbers are down there is no doubt but there are still enough around to make for a successful day on the flats when conditions are good. From observations from last season and carrying into this one I've noticed that Culebra Bonefish have changed there habits a lot. Not only are they feeding in different places than has been routine they are hanging out in different depths at different times. This shouldn't come as any surprise. Fish are constantly changing it up adapting their feeding habits to the natural changes and variations that nature provides in this life. Bottom line I have to work harder to provide my guests quality Bonefishing. You may well see me at one of our other Culebra out islands chasing the fish that have relocated and Dakity may just be a flat from the past.
Wild Tarpon are becoming a rarity. Most of our fish hang out at the restaurants begging for scraps like dogs! There are still a few fish in the mangroves to the East which I will be chasing this week. Share your Intel and I will gladly share mine but not over the Internet. Text or call or ignore...I'll still be fishing!
Jorlie Cruz and I checkin it out! Guide Nat Adams, Andros Beach Club..It don't get any better
....It's once again time for me to move on. It's been an interesting 6 months. I would have to categorize this season as one of the worst I have seen in 22 years. The highlights were the outstanding North Side fishing in Dec. and Jan. for wahoo, king mackerel and Tuna....Feb. March and April unfortunately just sucked! Tarpon fishing just never happened. Bone fishing which is the staple of my business has been the worst I have ever seen. Numbers are way down...by almost half if I had to guess. You will see fish if you come over this summer and fall but your 2 or 3 days fishing won't give you the true picture. I am basing my doom and gloom report on 100 plus days of flats fishing every year. I am not as smart as you but I sure have more time on the water. Enjoy! And shoot a gill netter if you see one on the flats!
I will be back next season fishing in a limited capacity. I plan to host a few trips to other destinations and book just half the trips in Culebra I would normally fish Oct thru April. If you wish to fish with me next season let me know when and as soon as possible...People wise it's been a wonderful year. My anglers make this the best job in the world!
I will be posting videos and reports here all summer. I always welcome your insights and comments. Email anytime firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text 609 827 4536
...First part of this past month brought unseasonable winds and rain that really put the damper on flats fishing. Interestingly not only are we seeing fewer Bone fish but much smaller fish than we are used to here in Culebra. You can see from the current video that the fish we have been catching are more typical of Belize than Culebra. At least in the last few days I have started to see a few larger schools but still smaller fish with only the occasional 5 lber the size that used to be the norm here.
The offshore fishing has also been slow. After the red hot January fishing we experienced with lots of Sierra,Tuna and the occasional Wahoo,Dorado and sail things came to a screeching holt! The wind didn't help. There wasn't any fresh fish here in the restaurants for almost a month. Finally yesterday Max and I stumbled on a few fish including a monster 58 lb King Fish one of the largest we ever caught here.
As I mentioned in my previous report next year will be a little different. I will be bookin fewer trips in Culebra and hosting several trips during the season to other Fishing destinations. I will keep all the updates on this site...
...I fished with three good, no I take that back, great fly anglers this past week. Bone fishing in Culebra is tough especially in the winter and especially this winter with the decrease in local fish population we are seeing. If I had to guess I would estimate that Bone fish are 30% down in numbers as compared to two years ago. The point I am trying to make is if you can catch and release more than two fish in a morning...You are Hot! Remember this isn't Sept/Oct fishing...This is Jan/Feb and you better have your game on. George Knoell,Art Howe and Jim Sepelac have been getting it done. Art Howe is the compleat flats master and it was a pleasure just to walk behind him have him throw my patterns film him and unhook his fish. Thanks Art for restoring my faith...My clients this Moon got to cast to a dozen Permit. Two tip downs,one hook up and a swing and a miss. No releases this season so far.
My plan is to cut my schedule in half next season partially to take some of the pressure off of what's left of this invaluable resource and also to allow me time to host several trips to other Bone fish destinations. Updates on these trips will be updated here...
...Brian,Pat and Riley catching there first Bone fish between breaks in the weather. Congratulations to all!!!
...You take the good with the bad as far as weather in this business and as nice as January was February just plain sucks. Four straight days of rain topped by SE winds kept my days very short. Several of my anglers have caught Bone fish but only by pure luck. A nice run of big Cero Mackeral has kept my light tackle anglers happy but that has been only occurring on certain tides. We have also had to deal with Kite boarders who have taken over the flats. They have made Dakilty for all purposes unfishable driving away the few remaining schools of Bonefish there . These people are mostly off of cruising sailboats and are mostly Canadiens and Europeans. They go where ever they please and have come as close as ten feet from me and my clients while we were fishing. They have a right to enjoy their sport but don't have to be assholes when they are doing it. I don't fish Dakity anymore and haven't much in the last years anyway. If you come here don't waste your time until about October when the Euroweenies have left with their toys. Better news next week!!
...Winter brings the snow birds and it's always good to see old friends and faces. With all the bait on the beach it's great to see Nancy Walton back on her thrown at Flamenco in fish heaven. lady throws more miles of fly line in one day than most anglers do in a year. Had some Homies this week. Capt Buzz Mogck of the Cape May Beach Patrol caught his first Tarpon ever with me and was a master angler in both the use of a circle hook ,slack on the jump, and down and dirty. Slack Jack me how ever handed him the fish while I positioned the camera but forgot to tell him to hold on. The fish Jumped out of his lap and swam away before I could shoot. Not my first day on the job either.
Ed Dobbs from Cape May caught two Bone fish his first day out. Ed is a professional guitarist and holds a Bone fish like he is strumming a chord. Both anglers were delighted to release their catch and watch it swim away which is normal for us but the town that these guys and I are originally from Cape May is so ensconced in the traditions of Commercial fishing that the idea of letting a fish go as in catch and release doesn't even translate. Very similar to the traditions and culture of a lot of Puerto Rico. It's a slow transition these changing times!
Ron Ems caught his first Bone fishing with me the week before along with a host of bottom fish including a huge Sama or Mutton snapper. The Northside continues to produce with mostly Kingfish and a few Blackfin Tuna. Average morning will put 4 to 7 of these great eating critters in the box. Come join us!....
...One of the things I look forward to most this time of the year is some of the great live bait and trolling we have available just a few miles North of our Island. The fishing really kicks in the early part of January and just gets better and better right through March and April. With the cooler water temps the Sierra or King Mackerel start to gather near the inshore reef edges and the Blackfin Tuna and the occasional Yellowfin along with Wahoo and sailfish are often found in the mix. Last week we had the pleasure of the Walker Family joining us once again for two days offshore. The first day was a classic with 7 King Mackerel along with a monster 80 lb Wahoo as well as breaking off a big Yellowfin Tuna and having a Sailfish tease us for several passes. Next day Chris and his son Colin and other friend Chris were primed but it never happened. After breaking off 3 good size Kings our luck only turned long enough to catch and release a big Almaco Jack and some small Grouper. We witnessed the first Tinglados or Leatherback turtles of the season and had some good laughs about the sea going myths of bananas. Great company and pretty damn good fishing.
Bone fishing continues to be slow as it often is in January. Bryan Anderson and Ken Hartman both did manage to catch there first with me but only after a lot of hard work and perseverance on the part of my anglers. Congratulations to all!
Wind is blow in' like ..lord I can't even say it..Big holiday crowds in Culebra, Kite boarders in heaven ..so what you do ? Plan B. No Bone fishing this week or next ...just thankful that a small Bahia set up with some Sardinas a few tarpon and some nice Jack Crevalle. Short video with some Jack anglers this past New Years week both live bait and fly. Don with a nice Jack and his first Bonefish, Duncan with some pretty casting and Jack time and Kurt with the photo of the month of señor Crevalle in the AM showing colors that remind us why this is such a classy fish world wide not just here in PR. You guys rocked it this week in less than ideal conditions...
...Best wishes for the holidays to all my friends and family...Christmas winds are right on schedule and we are fishing every day so life is good! A new short video and more reports to follow next week....Let them swim away right side up in 2015!!
...Slow times. Just a few trips on the flats in the last 10 days. Good time to mend the hole in the roof ,in the truck, and my daughters car. Tropical living! No complaints!
Bone fish disappeared off the flats again. Same phase of the moon same tide as last month. This time they didn't go offshore to breed because a friend of mine found them in gigantic schools in deep water not 3/4 of a mile from the flats. the mystery continues!
Had the pleasure of fishing with a former casting student of mine Scott Peterson. Scott came to Culebra with his good friend Tom who was brand new to fly fishing. It was absolutely amazing to watch the casting development of these two guys over the few days they were here. Scott had already fined tuned a really pretty casting style and Tom by the time he left was throwing loops with top and bottom legs 12" apart. Scott got his first Bone fish on a fly and it was a just a real pleasure spending time with these gentlemen...one of the best things about my job for sure...cool people in an awesome setting. thanks to all my anglers for making it so..more reports soon
...Light winds made flats fishing a pleasure this week and helped continue our streak of all my anglers fishing with me catching Bone Fish in the Month of November. This has been in part to a new light tackle technique that has made it easy for my non flyfishing clients to catch Bone fish on the flats. All artificials no live bait! ...Now that I have patted myself on the back let me even this out by kicking myself in the balls! I killed a Bonefish! Not on purpose but through total neglect and not paying attention. This remorse may sound hypocritical especially from a guy who used to kill fish for a living not by the pound but by the ton! I have no regrets of my past I loved the people and the life but now see the world in a different manner through the eye of a single being and take great pride in catching hundreds of Bonefish and releasing almost all of them alive...except one yesterday...which was two weak and ended up in two pieces with the help of a 30# Barracuda. Forgive me Father..there won't be a next time...
...I always prided myself in being able to take a relatively novice angler Bone fishing for the first time and having success. Well this past week I had three anglers who took the work out of the equation. Two of them were Bone fish Vets and the other just a damn good fresh water fly fisher who picked the game up quickly and went 2 for 3 on Bones his first time out. This short video is testament to these three gentleman all who fished with me in the last 4 or 5 days. I apologize about the date on the intro, in my mind I am always a year ahead for some reason. Thanks to first timers Terry Lynch and Terry Kishiyama and of course the veteran and my long time client and friend Jack Erler for sharing your week with me...the last clip is of one of the biggest bucks I have I have ever seen here in Culebra. He was about a mile offshore and headed for St. Croix when I found him and persuaded him to return to Culebra. He did and is fine and back lookin for his bitches...
....Water is super dirty from the 5 inches of rain and only a few flats are holding Bone fish. Both Jack Erler and Terry lynch caught fish with me this week ...just one fish apiece!! Hoping things will settle down when the water clears. Terry found some fish on his own on a flat close to town but went back the next morning and saw Nada! Just a boat loaded with a gill net tied to the shore. Same old story. To old and tired to fight. There is no one to officially complain to anyway. We've survived these slow and frustrating spells before and I know from experience things can turn around in a flash. Lots of Mahi both North and South and there should be some Wahoo showing soon. Chasing Jacks and tarpon with Jack again tomorrow. Great reports to follow....
...Culebra is known for having limited flats and a small fishable
area and having very big Bonefish. My latest video is a compilation of release photos taken over the last 10 years only. Most of the fish were in the 7 to double digit size range using the Dick Brown fork length formula which I and most others have found to be quite accurate. How big do they get here? I have seen a couple through the years that would make your diapers fill up and could only guess at they're size."They are so big you can't even catch 'Em " Señor Buffet would say.
Does size really matter? Of course! I for one having fished here over 23 years find it hard to get excited about any bonefish less than 5 lbs unless it's January,blowin' it's ass off and have been beating the water to death for 8 hours just to catch one fish that has a tail and an attitude regardless of size.
....Spoiled? yes! And I am blessed with the opportunity and the passion to share it with others. Nothing pulls as hard as a Bonefish! Except a really big Bonefish!
Wrapping up another season as the horror of Semana Santa approaches and I am so out of here before the troops hit the beach. Once again this tiny Island becomes the property of the Beer company's and a mass of tourists who's sole interest is to party. The whole concept of Easter in Puerto Rico as being a religious event totally sabotaged by Coors Lite.
The current video are high lights of the last two weeks with some really small and really big bonefish and the occasional tarpon. Eric Asnis and Jack Erler took care of the Big Boys with several fish from 8 lbs up to double digit with a legit 28" fork length Polaris sub as the biggest of the season. I fished for Doug Langs camera as part of an on going project and managed to catch a couple of dumb ones just to prove I can still practice what I preach. It felt great! I have had the opportunity to cast at fish only three times all season and really miss the other end of the boat once in a while.
Thanks to all my clients for a wonderful season and look forward to seeing everyone next fall. November is already booking up so if you want to fish that month let me know as soon as possible. There is a good possibility I will be fishing Culebra in August and September for a few weeks but that is totally booked to honor a prior commitment. I will continue to post videos on this site all summer to update my friends and clients about bookings and other news...Take Care!!
...The Nice thing about the spring here in Culebra is how the Bone fish materialize out of no where the Mutton snapper make their annual spring spawning party and the bar jacks start to reappear in numbers. Virtually all my clients caught Bonefish last week some with as many as five or six hook ups a morning. It's good to see some smaller fish showing up some as small as 2 lbs in fairly big groups. Saw a school of over a hundred big fish within 2 casts of one of our more popular restaurants and two groups of mudding fish in one bay where you would never expect to see any Bones but where we see them come spring on a fairly regular basis. Jack Mackenzie hooked a permit here after releasing two bonefish only to have the perm break the mainline on an unforeseen nick. Jack also pulled the hook on a big Snook he was trying to pull out of the mangroves. A lot of making up to do after a lousy January and February as we get ready to start winding this party down!
....Many many of my clients are fresh water anglers with little or no salt experience. It is always a challenge and always interesting to introduce some one to flats fishing who has only small stream casting experience or limited open water fishing time under their belts. The chances of a first time fly fisher catching a Bone fish in Culebra with no previous either salt or Bone fish experience is slim or none. This isn't the Bahamas or Belize! Fortunately this past week I was proved wrong not once but three times! ...and on three consecutive outings! What was more amazing is that two out of three of these first timers caught their fish on the very first cast to the very first Bone fish these guys had ever seen in their lives!!John Adams, Steve Mueller congratulations and you should have gone straight to the Casino after we got back to the dock. Doug Liebenger got his first Bone fish the 3rd day on almost the first cast but not quite, whatever! Close enough...I'm sure reality will raise it's ugly head and I will be back to trout sets and big loops before I know it. It's all good!!
...Great weather for old friends, clients for years, in the case of Eric Asnis at least a decade and Vic Kopnoski, century's for sure. Best part of this business which I love with a passion...Fish on you slack ass gringo...and I will!
King mackerel (Sierra) are everywhere mixed in with Black fin Tuna and the occasional Pez Vela or Sailfish. Not a bad March making up for the worst January on record and only a yawn for February..Great morning for Eric Asnis with four bone fish releases including one that measured out at 28 1/2". The man was flawless? See you again Thursday!
Congratulations to Jon Shamel on your first Culebra Bone Fish and Mark Papson on a super attitude and a cast that is just about ready to kick ass!!
...And I can never remember the cutesy little saying about March but it's definitely been Lamb like this week, finally! It was a little blustery the last of February with Rick Claridad and Zach Robinson chasing Permit and catching Bone fish but downright slick ass cam for the first few days of March. Our offshore fishing(3 miles to the North) has been on fire for the last week between the blitzes of Blackfin Tuna, big Sierra (King Mackerel) the occasional Pez Vela (Sailfish) and (Peto) Wahoo . It's been as good as it gets. The current video with this report is a compilation of inshore charters from the past week and a "meat" fishing trip with my Offshore partner, Max. Max and I try to keep the local restaurants, especially the Dinghy Dock where my wife is one of the Chefs full up with local fresh fish. If I can't go He will often fish by himself. Some of the video footage is of max pulling a Planer a technique of fishing we used in New Jersey and North Carolina that I introduced to Culebra about 25 years ago. Most of the fish in the box that day were caught on a planer!
I have only four open days left this season . A season that started out slow but has but has turned to be super busy and crazy. Hope to try something different next season and organize some trips for my clients and me to some of the better fishing destinations in the Caribbean and North to Cuba and the Bahamas. We will see. if you are interested please let me know and we will start a mailing list with prices and updates.
...For the second time in my guiding career of over twenty years I got the chance to fish with an angler who was ranked on the Walmart FLW Pro Bass Tour. For those of you unfamiliar with the FLW it is a tournament circuit comprised of the best of the best fresh water bass fishermen competing for a gazillion dollars in cash and endorsements. These events are televised nationally and are as popular as college football in the Midwest and South.
My no name (by request) angler showed me with a light spinning rod how to flip and skip, limb line and all sorts of cool tricks working the Mangroves the same way he would work a pile of hydrillas in a Florida lake. He caught fish where I never knew they existed pulling them out from way under the mangrove cover so fast that I was a steady dehookin' fish releasing fool for two straight hours. lord that was fun! Thanks Nathan!!
Caught a few Bones with my clients this week after the wind eased up and a nice tarpon and some jacks and Yellow tail for Sean and his father Jim. "Wicked Tuna" had nothing on my offshore partner Max Guiterrez as he single handedly caught enough Tuna and king Fish Monday to keep the "Dinghy Dock" supplied for 3 days!!
...Mobs of people on this island! way more than we can handle comfortably. Culebra has seen a change in the last few years. It has been "discovered"and like the domino effect when one person tells another you have an explosion of pink meat and golf carts . The effect on our natural resources is immense from the reefs to the flats to the beachs. There are few fish left in Culebra and I am sad to be writing this but it is true. My business barely survives only because of the inaccessiblity of some of the Bone Fish flats but that will be over soon as kayak rentals and stand up paddle boards make every piece of real estate easy to get to. For every turtle at Tamarindo there are now fifty snorkelers. On the non protected reefs most of the legal size fish are gone and the conch and lobster are only found in the deepest waters. Things are always changing in life and Culebra was never going to stay as it was and we have come to accept that but the Tourism Dept. of Puerto Rico operates on the ethic that more is better and hell with the effects down the line. So bigger ferrys more people are the new reality and the devastation to the resources the increase in crime and the general over taxing of our local infrastructure are all acceptable collateral damage apparently.
Things will quiet down a little after this week but there will never be any slow periods in Culebra again! I promise the next time I write it will only be about fish!...I hope
With Bone Fish as educated as the ones we have here in Culebra you can not make any mistakes on your fly fishing presentations. If the fish see your fly line...game over!...You have been Made! The margin of error of course increases with the amount of wind. To keep the fly line away from the fish we want to turn the leader over to the max to get the fly as far from the fly line as possible. I have started experimenting with 60# and even 80# pound mono butt sections of my leader ,tapering after that to 40# then 20# and then to class which we normally use out of 15#. This leader configuration has worked amazingly well in the heavy wind conditions of winter especially with the less experienced casters.
Bone fish generally tail into the wind and current when coming on to a flat from the deep. I will generally walk with my angler in such away so that he or she can present down wind so the fly is in front of the approaching fish. There are times when the fish get behind us and we must make an upwind presentation or lose the shot. Not ideal but doable with a little bit of practice. By starting with a high down wind back cast you can bring your presentation forward and down so the cast is angling towards the water below the plane of the wind with the tightest possible loop keeping in mind where the rod tip stops and points the line will automatically follow. This is a lot easier than it sounds and really works! You can now present into a 20kt breeze at least 30 to 40 feet and place the fly ahead of the tailing fish and having it drift back down towards that picky bastard!
...Poor conditions almost always result in poor fishing as has been the case for the past couple of weeks here in Culebra. It has developed into a typical January with Christmas winds cranking out of the stationary North Atlantic high pressure systems that during the winter months become "stuck"to the N orth East of the greater and lesser Antilles. The results are a lot of stirred up dirty water , high winds and rough seas making both fly and conventional tackle opportunitys limited at best. The good news is that this should all change as Spring draws nearer. Feb. and March are historically good months here both on the flats and offshore. For right now it is a struggle to find B one fish and poling my skiff is a challenge . It would be interesting to find out what The University of Mass. Electronic Tagging program, which has been in existence here for almost 2 years, could tell us about the winter movements of the few fish we have left here...but Hello! That ain't likely to happen..there has been almost no info out of these kids for what ever reason. Too bad . I felt we went way out of our way to help and provide local info to them and have received nothing in return. I stopped supporting them when they went on the internet last year to raise money with their adopt a Culebra bonefish campaign. I felt the few fish we have left and the limited area they live in did not need any additional angling pressure as a result of the publicity. I believed in the program but because of my stand I have been relocated to the "quiet corner". So be it...There is a wonderful group of Anglers on the Main Island who would love to hear some results..I don't want my views to spoil ther chances of learning something about the Bone Fish of Puerto Rico and Culebra
...We lost one of the great ones last week, John Krebs, Fly fisherman,Oyster Shucker, Bartender, Bon Vivant and a fixture on the flats and beaches of Culebra for many many years. John was one of those people who gave much more than he received. He always had time to stop and talk to a stranger or local or just help a tourist with directions and a chat. His presence was huge! He was a big guy. You knew he was there. He had a loud but gentle voice. His hands were as big as baseball Mits yet he could throw a fly to a fish and make the most delicate presentation you could imagine. His passion was the Permit hence the locals name for John "Johnny Pompano". John would spend hours, days, weeks out on the flats chasing his nemesis the mighty "Pompano". As sailors and fishermen we all have our "White Whale" and John's was the Permit.
I will never forget you my friend and when I see old sickle fin giving me the finger again as he feeds on the surf moving up with the tide on to the flat I will think of you and the passion for the water we shared through the years. Carry on Old Captain! Carry on 'till the day comes when once again we can walk some distant flat together!
...Through the years people have asked me what I should tie for Culebra. So here are my favorites. No secrets...Caveat! I have always been a firm believer in Tina Turners (Ike and Tina! Remember) philosophy of "it ain't the meat it's the motion" which basically means having a local pattern(any where) is only less than half the battle. You still have to do something with it!...
...Before you get your panties in a ruffle let's establish a base line of givens for fly tying. One...Every pattern you see is a variation of a variation ! there are no original patterns only original concepts! Such as...the Clouser, Bob Clouser...The Whistler, Dan Blanton...Deceivers, maybe lefty but probably some poor Scottish Gilly...and of course the latest, Pulse Discs! Etc, etc! Individual patterns of these concepts are all stolen, period. You just added more hackle or palmered something that three million fly tiers already tried, trust me!
So put your artistic ego back in the sack and create for the much more satisfying purpose of creating something you believe in that will fool the fish that you cast to.
All the flies in this short video are variation of variations just patterns I tied with no other purpose than to fool the fish here in Culebra.
That said special respects to Victor Oliver Pucho and Orlando Orly two of the best in Puerto Rico and beyond and of course my hero, Tom McQuade. It's an honor to copy and steal from you gentlemen . Imitation is the ultimate form of flattery
...No video this week camera card went south and Olympus doesn't ship to PR...Couple of Bones for Steve Burke and son Corey to start off the week then offshore with the same group to grab a mess of King Mackerel, Ceros and lots of Bonito. Bonito is also called a little Tunny or false albacore and in the States is almost inedible. Their diet is so different here that the same fish and yes it is the same fish has a flesh that looks and tastes like Yellow fin Tuna . It is not the blood red oily basically in edible flesh that you are used to 15 to 20 degrees North of here. Much the same is true of the Sierra or King mackerel that in the states looks and tastes like Blue Fish in this part of the Caribbean the same fish is almost pure white meat and is the sweetest meal you have ever had from the ocean.... Ron Howard Goldmark will be back on the set next week with more live action
...just like the song. Sux...We'll deal with it. We always do. Tarpon are still on the bait but Bones are super tough to predict with the weather.
Jack Ehler finished out last week with me. That's Jack on this weeks video battling a West End Bone Fish. The rest of the film is me finding the dumbest fish in Culebra who is now swimming free after his release and renamed luckiest and no longer dumbest...So it goes! Doug Lang said 'catch me a Bone Fish and I'll film it in HD'...Lucky Me for sure.
Today produced a shot at 5 or 6 spooked permit and a couple of tailing Bones for repeat Jack Rosavelt. Slow! Slow! Bring on the tarpon tomorrow...
Main Island Fishing friends...Save your pennies until this wind stops. Soon I hope!
...We had casts to at least 20 different Permit the other morning with interest but no takes. The best reaction has been from one of my favorite Bone Fish patterns tied on a 1/0 Gami weedless, a pattern developed by the master from St.John , Tom McQuade.
...And then the rain!! Jack Ehler and I found some really hungry Tarpon chasing sardinas between the lightening and thunder which at one point was making our hair stand up...Solid sheets of falling water were completing the electrical ground..."Wanna quit Jack? Nope!"...So onward, the man can put on a show, whoopin' two Tarpon back to back. Check it out on the Video! Short break then back on call this week with several fly anglers and hopefully a shot offshore...
...Early part of November the flats on the western end of the island were showing plenty of Bones. On November 12th there was not a fish to be found ,not one, on any of the western flats...Gone! I have seen the fish leave before but there was always a few stragglers behind but I never saw anything close to this. This was just a few days before the full moon so it made sense that they left to go where they go and mate...Sure enough 10 days later they were back in force and hungry!! There were witnesses this time to where they had been so it made the whole puzzle that more interesting. There isn't a day on the water you can't learn something and there isn't a day I wouldn't want to be on the water.
Chasing permit this week with all the high water. Saw a first last week with a permit caught on an old Yellow Mister Twister on a jig head. Why do I even bother tying Permit flys!! New video is a composite of Tarpon stills and short video clips and really got to get to HD...Soon. Still practicing!
...Great time with Kevin McDevitt and Wife Maureen this week...Saw a lot of Permit and caught a nice tarpon ! Bonefish were scarse! Big schools I saw last week of small fish...Gone. The amount of permit I have been seeing has me excited. Jeff Storm fishing with me today had casts at 10 different fish on this mornings trip. one take....not hard enough!...Screw the Bones I'll chase permit everyday! Albies made a late afternoon showing and I'm on the case first thing AM ...Top of the flood...I promise my videos will get better!
...In another time, years ago , I was responsible for estimating the size of a school of fish before we killed them all...Long story short..It involved planes, sophisticated comunication and electronics but mostly just being up on top of a crows nest and using this simple trick. You pick an arbitrary area small enough so you can count or guess how many fish are in that area and then figur out roughly how many pieces of the arbitrary areas fit into the school. This is what I did when I guesstimated the size of the bonefish school in my video I shot the other day here in Culebra. The fish in this school were packed shoulder to shoulder and they were small fish. the total area of the school was about 75' wide by 15' deep. So you get the idea. interesting to see so many small fish here. unusual but great for recruitment. Sign up here boys and girls!
...Of my self and a few Buds flipping and jiggin for south jersey Red Fish last week
Fernando Monnlor helping with a new format. Idea being to supply our clients with a weekly video high lighting their trip and others .
...Thanks to some great anglers over the past two weeks! people like Vic, Jack, Bill who have been fishing with me for years and my new friends who I hope to see again soon. It's been a strange fall, winter, spring with some super windy conditions and as far as Bone fish go a significant reduction in numbers here in Culebra, mostly on the Eastern End of the Island. The big fish are still around with many double digit fish seen this spring but only one caught. My clients used to catch and release several over ten pounds every year but this was definitely an off year both in numbers and size. The good news is I have seen a few schools of Bone Fish in the 1 1/2 pound size group up on the flats of Dakity so there is new recruitment!...Tarpon fishing was out standing last fall and I would love to see a repeat next October ,November and even December. Snook have made a great come back and with some more attention paid to releasing the big breeders maybe we will see a resurgence of what used to be a common game fish here.
Puerto Rico has made some strides but has long way to go managing it's marine resources. lack Of enforcement and failure to inform the public exactly what the current regulations are have been the biggest problems. Posting harvesting regulations at marinas and other launch points would go a long way towards educating anglers to what they can kill and what is protected. Works well in other places of the world!! Just sayin'... Enough bitchin'..Keep the slack out, the rod tip down, and the glass half full!!
...Grand Slam Bill Gehman only angler in PR history to register a Flats Grand Slam heads off to the deep with myself and my offshore partner the legend Maximo Gutierrez. In just a short rock and rolling couple of hours Bill Jumps a Pez Vela or Sail Fish kills a Nice Mahi, pictured on the right, and adds four Sierra to the box. man is just a fish killing machine except for releases on the flats of course. Always a pleasure Bill. look forward to our next adventure
...It always amazes me after the annual Samana Santa bachennal that there are not Bone Fish swimming around the flats dodging empty Coors Light cans like no wake bouys...but it is amazingly clean out there!! Credit to our visitors..Sure they rearranged the seascape in a few places not realizing that birds standing in the water probably means to the sober a general lack of water depth, but hey! All for a good time and the sea grass probably need a little mowing anyway
It always pleasantly surprises me how every spring when the water temps jump up how the numbers of Bone Fish re appear. This unfortunately is not true on the East End of our Island where local gill netters have severly decimated those stocks. Schools of a hundred fish used to be common out there now we are lucky to see twenty fish in a day. Tony Loyola on the right with a nice East End fish, his first ever on a fly.
King Mackerel or Sierra catches have been off the wall when fishermen can get offshore...Getting a lot of reports of Dorado South and East of Vieques. St Thomas charter boats should be targeting their first Blue Marlin in that same area the end of this month. Lots of trips in the next 2 weeks so plenty of reports to come!!
...WTF..Any way delightful time on the flats with Brad Clark from Santa Cruz or in Gringo , St. Croix. Brad is an accomplished fly fisher and a pretty cool guy to hang out and fish with..any anybody who hangs out and fishes with Tom Mcquade and George V. Roberts can't do no wrong any way. Brad and I had a good day and a bad day...Good day on the right with a couple of releases and the following day like fishing in a desert...Welcome to Culebra! Hope to do it again and with Meagan with us ...got it right!
Our little Island during Samana Santa ...Makes you wonder which has more of an influence on our loves during this week of reflection, his Holiness or Coors Light? ...Coors is definitely got the edge on advertising for this event and it seems that the majority of people in attendance are spending way more time drinking Coors than attending Mass...but what do I know ...So I'll stick to fishing..Gill Nets at Playa Larga this morning..Will things ever change? Some day I hope!!
...More than I could ever write. Luis Alberto Rodriguez in the picture with a Culebra Fatty, his first ever on the fly. Luis is one of the new generation of fly anglers here in Puerto Rico and a prime reason why we must move now to protect our inshore resources! Talk is cheap and so far that's all there has been cheap talk...Tagging is not the answer. We need laws that are going to be enforced not just written into law...and not long term study's about how our fish move about...If you don't protect them there won't be any thing to study any way!! We need Ranger presence on the out islands of Culebra and Vieques to the lagoons of San Juan and the Rios of the North and South Coasts. We need to protect th recreational angling resource of Puerto Rico Now! ...Before it's too late and Luis's first Bone Fish becomes his last!
Don't get me wrong I support research but research takes time and is often more about the science than the Fish...Our fish don't have time. they are disappearing before our eyes...Don't just take my word...Ask Till ask Pochy ask Marcos ask any guide who spends as much time on the water as we do and I'm pretty sure we would all tell you the same thing..we are losing a battle and need help! ...Help for Luis and his generation so that they can enjoy what we once took for granted!!
...Most under rated fish in the book...Heart of a lion ,balls like you you don't have any, fish on the right just before re Acclimation by Don Scott. Amazing! I would chase them all day if I could find them. Good reason to live on Florida..Nah!
...Few Bones around doing their spring thing and a surprise Tarpon gathering with the latest hatch of snot bait..My oldest client and good friend Richard Rogers cashed in on a quick release before going off to pick away at bottom stuff...good stuff, more to come...
...Good luck is just the result of a lot of practice and nobody knows better than George Costa. After several false starts in the form of the wrong tinted glasses, trout sets and poorly tied knots by a some one who should know better George scores on the right. Excellent fly fishing my friend you deserve that one. George is partners with Chad Schmukler of Hatch Magazine fame. both anglers have fished with me for years for Stripers in New Jersey and finally George made it down to Bone fish in Culebra. He'll be back...and tying his own knots if he's smart
...Of course this is just my opinion, just an ignorant fish guide who happens to be on the water almost everyday wishing I could remember half of what I forgot...There has been a collapse of the Bone fish stocks here in Culebra most probably as a result of the gill netting that takes place almost every spring and summer and also as a result of habitat degradation , increased angling pressure and just the amount of kayakers, flats walkers etc. intruding on a very delicate habitat. I am probably as guilty as anyone. Even though I practice strict catch and release and try to minimize my presence on any one particular area half the people that fish with me come back on their own and fish and and are continually adding to the recreational angling pressure. Very few of my first time Bone fishers have caught fish this season some thing I used to be proud of that I could get a first timer to catch a Bone in Culebra. Now a rarity! The regulars and experienced are still coming here and catching fish but not without a lot of work and time on the water. Eric Asnis has fished with me for years and connected on his visit this time just like he always does. Man is just plain good!. Talk about good! My friend Fernando Monllor on the right with his latest effort this March . Fernando is one of the great fly fishers we have here in Puerto Rico....as far as I am concerned some of the best in the world are right here in PR. For True my son!!
...Panchollo Carbonell and Fernando Monllor are no strangers to Culebra. Both anglers have fished here for years and always kick butt when they visit . Their last visit was no exception. they released several fish to 7 lbs and even had a double fishing next to each other, something that doesn't happen a lot here or any where for that matter. It was good to see good friends back on Island again and look forward to fishing with them in April. Picture on the right is Panchollo with a nice Bone prior to release...These boys do it right!! That fish never left the water!! I really think things have gone to far we stick electronic pingers up there ass, stab them with needles and insert plastic tags in there back ,corral them with haul seines and knock all their scales off so we can tag lots of fish at one time but God forgive if their poor little backs get dry for 30 seconds for a picture....I think I will just keep doing it my way...
....Not to change a tropical subject but if you happen to be in the North East at that time call me...609 827 4536 ...and get in on some great fly and light tackle fishing for big Sea Trout or Weakfish, pictured on the right. They are back and they are Possibly the most gorgeous fish that you will ever catch. Also mixed in the catch are Striped Bass ,Blue fish and others. Now back to the Tropics...
...I never get tired of saying that. lots of anglers on the flats this week. Hope they had good luck and more importantly good fun...Kevin McDevitt on the right with one of the Bone Fish he connected with fishing with me the other day. Kevin and I never fished Dakity or fished near another angler and still saw at least 80 fish. The bonus of fishing isolated flats is the fish are not pressured and will almost always eat a good presentation. Kevin is a great angler and rarely let me down on the presentation part.
There were also a few fish caught by anglers fishing on their own on the North side of the Island. Great accomplishments considering the amount of wind these guys had to put up with. Nice job Dan and Eric! Paul Hartman from Musky country caught two Bones on Dakity Thursday. Paul and I fished together last year and for sure took notes. You rockin' it Paul...
...I was invited to fish Grand Bahama..Never been there...Short trip..My foremost impressions?..What kept rattling through my head the whole time was an old expression Lou Tabory used to mumble when he fished here ' if you can catch a Bone fish in Culebra you can catch one any where in the world'...Now I'm saying all the Bone fish in the Bahamas are stupid but there is definitely a disproportionate amount of big dumb fish hanging around the North side of Grand Bahama. One of the purposes of my trip at least from my angle was to test out some of our Culebra Bone fish patterns and see how they work out of town. Unbelievable! Terrific results on all types of bottom. Keep your gotchas and Charlies in the box if you come to Culebra and save them for some of the dumbest fish in the world 900 miles to the North West. The one fly that seems to work in both locales is a pattern we have used a lot here called a Meko special named after Omeko Glinton the head guide at Deep Water Cay on the Eastern end of Grand Bahama. I spent most of my time in GB fishing with Omeko's father Stanley the head guide at North Riding Point. Stanley is my age ,an old fart, an exceptional guide and great company. I lost count of the number of fish I caught in one day but way up in the double digits, smallest 4 lbs Up to 8lbs on the top end. You want to catch a lot of big dumb Bone Fish, Grand Bahama my son, and don't look back....
....Although there are a few Snook still making an appearance. That's Jill Dietz on the right with her latest. There are also some some big Lady Fish showing up. These are 2 and 3 pound fish with an occasional 4 pounder thrown in..God's truth! A big Lady fish rivals any other fish I have targeted with a fly rod. They sky rocket 8 feet, do double backs and half gainers all combined with drag smoking runs making this big doe eyed beauty one of my primo targeted species...The big ones mind you, not the 1/2 pound children they use for bait in Florida.
Cool scene going down at the Dinghy Dock Restaurant. After about 9pm almost any night you can sit there and count over 20 Tarpon in the lights. Interestingly enough you will also see a few Permit . These gladiators of the flats have just recently developed a taste for French Fries! ...And will suck one up in a San Juan minute..
Off to the Northard for a few, exploring new grounds...Back in a few
...Ben Lavoie has only been fly fishing for a few years but has a cast the Rajeff Brothers would be proud to call their own. Ben has been consistently hooking fish on his visit but has been cursed with every possible form of ' what can go wrong' ism. This is something we all experience in our angling careers and we placate it by passing it off as a bettering experience which is really just a crock .Bad luck is just what the two words claim it is and nothing more. Better luck next trip Ben, you deserve it!
My bad luck this month has revealed itself in the form of my Evinrude Etec. 3 fuel injectors in 2 years plus a blown powerhead gasket just doesn't cut it. Expensive , especially figuring down time. I now have invested 50% of the original cost of the engine just in parts this season. Suzuki or Yamaha next for sure. ...That's Pedro on the right with a small Tarpon from a few days past. Young Curt (10 years old) and damn I forgot to write his last name down , was a fine lad whoopin' his first Tarpon on Tuesday, a 60 lber and just about the same size as himself...that kid is going to be a high
liner . he got the passion and that's what it's all about!!
...and not soon enough! January fishing can be really bad and then out of no where the wind stops blowing the sun comes out, tails pop up on the flats, Snook start crashing in the Mangroves, The Ravens beat the Patriots and suddenly things seem kinda right again...and whoops it was just a tease and we are quickly back to January Sucks! One more time.
Pedro Watlington and his lovely wife Zuely managed to sneak in a morning on one of our better weather windows of the month. Pedro , pictured on the right (click on him) with his largest snook to date just minutes later he released a small Tarpon. Zuely relocated a large Jack early on in the trip along with some assorted snappers.
Bone fishing is pretty much at a stand still unless you fish at the hight of the sun and that's only if the clouds give you a break. Better tides next month should see a return to more normal conditions on the flats as long as the weather gives us a break...Back soon
...Albula that is. Latin mumbo jumbo for the two major types of Bone fish we have here in Puerto Rico. That is Jeff on the right holding prior to release a Garcia!! How do I know? Dr Andy Danylchuk has been teaching me. Dr Andy is our in House authority and a world wide respected Bone fish scientist specializing in tagging studies and teaching proper catch and release protocol for not only Bone fish but all the fish we flats nuts target. So no more hero pictures I promise! In fact the only picture I will snap and post is your first or biggest. Picture on the right is a perfect example. This was Jeff's first Bone and he only lifted it out of the water for the quick snap and then back in and see ya! Adios mi Garcia!
Two days of Chasing Permit produced only ten sightings and really only two good shots. One was a pick up and drop. weather has been foul for a week with lots of wind. January weather! No complaints. You won't be standing in snow under grey sky's...Lots of Feb dates open..Come Visit our Island!
...Literally ! About a 10 lb Jack Crevalle with only one eye to issue in the new year for Jan Johnson. land of Pirates..with out the patch! Husband Bill went on later to subdue about a 60 lb Tarpon on a very light spinning rod that broke in half during the fight. Fish was brought boat side and released after a long battle. Angler and fish are reportedly doing fine.
The winter wind and subsequent drop in water temps have arrived. As a result our catch rate with Bone fish has gone from 100% to 50%..Oh well. Great while it lasted. Nice weather days will still produce for the beginners through out the colder months ahead and the long rod vets of the flats just laugh at the wind and catch any way. Happy New year to all and by the way my "office" has reopened...Dinghy Dock, happy hour...Plastic Fantastico , thanks in advance
....and who wouldn't with the combination of beautiful women and big fish....Big Snook are still the major players in our local fishery. Fish in the 28" to 34" are becoming common. That's Vanessa Bowen wearing a slob on the right . One of three she and her husband Frank pissed off the other day. The other two were unstopable motherships that retreated to the Mangroves like steel to a magnet. Big Snook are just flat out a Cool fish. All the Snook we have caught have been released. I don't even know what the Regs are, not that it matters. There is zero enforcement in the "wild west" of Culebra we live in. I am also pretty sure that I am the only idiot releasing these fish..although right now the saving grace might be that I am dialed in solo on both method and 411.
Bone fish remain scarce which is not uncommon during the colder months here. Michael Williamson caught a 7 Lb fatty out of a deep water mud with me the other day. This was his first and caught in typical winter time fashion . 10 to 20 feet of water on 20 knots of wind. It's winter!!!
....Slow on reports with the holidays and back to back trips, I'll catch up shortly..Fishing has been slow with the passage of the last few cold fronts..but as I have always said about fishing in general, If you don't like what you see...Blink!
..for an army of white skinned, pink Croc footed, North Americanos to arrive for their annual invasion..Welcome!
Spent a nice quiet week super slow on the business end which isn't unusual for early December. A good friend from the Northland fly fished with me for a few days. First day out he secured the visual slam ,the ultimate tease, throwing flys to Permit, Tarpon and Bonefish in the same morning. Old boy had terrible luck , putting the wire right off the bat in three bucket mouths with all of them shaking out . The Permit were just being Permit and the Bones ate every part of the fly but the part that counted. I thought it was pretty funny..He didn't
I am surprised at the number of Permit showing on the flats. good numbers compared to other years and fish of all sizes!....Have yet to enjoy the offshore scene this fall. Friends that are fishing are raving about the numbers of Tuna both Blackfin and Yellowfin with plenty of Peto or Wahoo in the mix as well. First cold fronts should bring the big numbers of Sierra or King Mackerel we look forward to every winter. Grand Slam Bill and almost Super Slam Bill with a Snook he released with me last week..My Man!! Baya Boy!!
...A high pressure ridge is locked into the Atlantic just North of us and it's starting to look like a repeat of last years horrific Christmas winds only earlier..You can't do anything but adjust and make the best of it..So we will
Caught numbers of Snook all week with a mixing of big Mangrove Snapper and a few small Tarpon. Evan Padua on the right with a nice Robalo he pulled out of the Mangroves.
"Grand Slam" Bill Wgehman was back with me for another session. Bill is the only angler in the history of Puerto Rico to catch and release a Tarpon, Bone Fish and Permit all in one day. Bill completed his Slam a year and a half ago fishing with me in Culebra for the first time. With those set of creds what else can you do but try for a super slam! Everything started out roses with a Snook and a Tarpon at the very beginning of our Morning and then things as they do sometimes headed South as we say...We never even saw a Bone fish let alone a Permit the rest of the day...Bill as always exhibited some great angling skills and we got to share some laughs and good story's. No super slam but a super day! Thanks...
...Like the return of a species I had all but given up on here in Culebra. It used to be I could count on one hand and a good year two how many Snook or Robalo we would catch in a season. this week alone my anglers have caught more than the last two seasons combined. These are mostly small fish Albeit with an occasional keeper thrown in but impressive none the least. I'm not going to speculate on any reason for this resurgence..I am but a poor reasonably slow on the take Fish guide with a sun burnt brain but a lot of time on the water. It's just cool to see these animals making a comeback. I'll leave the reasons why to the bloggers, soothsayers and persons who have more reason to talk about something like this than I do.
Dave Cook from Montana is back, spending twelve hours a day on the flats trying to warm up in prep for winter out West. Dave came here looking for Tarpon which wouldn't cooperate this fall so he had to settle for Bone Fish mostly. That's Dave on the right with a nice Bone fish he caught during our time together the other day. The wind has been tough this week making tight loops and mega line speed a must....But the fish are still eating!!
...My business is based around repeat clients and two of my favorites have been fishing with me all week. They are "Mainiacs" Richard Rogers and Jack Ehrlers both from parts down East.
Jack has got his Bone fish game tuned up and didn't disappoint our 100% by smackin' a release his first day on the bow.
Richard and I went food shopping on his first trip of the week and right off the bat caught a Bone fish on a live sardine in 30' of water...Groceries followed after the Bone fish release and Lanes and Ceros kept jumping into the boat and into the cooler in homage to the great Fisher that he is...That's Richard on the right with a beautiful Nassau Grouper that we didn't keep. they are rare here!
Jack's second trip resulted in a healthy six pound Bone up wading on the flats. The fish upon closer inspection turned out to be one of the electronically tagged fish from last summer courtesy of Dr.Andy Danylchuck of U Mass. Fish was released healthy and still "Beeping" ...
'Fishing everyday so lots more noise,personal opinion and Love from 84 degrees in sunny Culebra...Soon!
...It has been an entirely different week of fish chasing in that our normal routine in Culebra is mostly based around stalking Bones and Tarpon....The glass minnows have been thick both in and around the Bahias and Bonito, Ceros and good sized Jacks of many flavors have been blowing up on the bait balls for some spectacular top water, strip fast, ball bashing drag screaming fun!! It's not Harkers, not Montauk, but it's cool, for here!!
Lewis Porter fished with me on one of the best of this latest showing with Richard Swaim and Jack Ehler getting in on the Tail end....With a day off yesterday I went solo recon and scouted out an enormous bait ball off about 2 miles loaded with diving Pelicans , first strip and tight and a 4 lb Yellow tail heads for the cooler. Suddenly I have Yellow Tails, Jacks and Tarpon whipping the ocean into a bloody froth and then the Sharks...My Yellow Tails started coming back in pieces...
Jeff Hostetler on the right with his 1st Tarpon on a fly best described in perfect Spanglish as a Tarponita...Regardless of size some great fly casting and great company...
....Flat water is good for spotting tailers and there have been Plenty to look at from the fore deck and poling platform this week. Jorge Ibañez from Argentina spent two days fishing with me in an attempt to catch his first Tarpon and Bone fish. We struck out on the Tarpon but had lots of shots and hook ups on Bone fish with Jorge releasing two fat ones the bigger about six lbs. Jorge that was some fine fly casting!!!
Jeff Hostetler fished with me thanksgiving morning in search of his first Tarpon which he made quick work of with an 8wt early on and then it was off to Bone fish class. After a few struggles Jeff graduated with honers releasing his first Bone the result of some near perfect presentations.
Presentation is everything in Bone fishing and it's something I try to impress upon new clients all the time. You need the right tools and that part you can trust to me. Culebra flys will get the job done, for true!! But, But you gotta put them the right way... and that part is all on you ! We are at a 100% catch rate this fall!! So talk to me and fish with me and we will believe in the presentation!!!
....Interesting second day with Mike McKay, after catching and releasing another small Tarpon Mike went on to catch a Bone fish. Trying new turf we discovered a grazing Manatee, not a big deal anywhere else in the tropics but only the 3rd one I have ever seen here in 20 plus years. Cool animals!! He would not take a fly! Later that morning we stumbled on something else you don't see often here and that was a school of Palometas in a tight bunch tailing on the flats. Mike hooked two and released two . Should have had the 5wt ! Thursday I had the company of Matt and Susie Hall. Live bait fishing they "Mohawked" (as my good friend guide Joe Hughes likes to say) a number of Big Jacks, a red grouper and assorted Snappers. Good Fun! Good People!...I have openings in December but bookings are up from last year. Plan soon if you are interested!
....I thought it was going to be one of those stellar mornings when everything lines up and you just go out and bang 'em...Bait was everywhere for the past week and the Tarpon were on them. Mike McKay and his to be ,Tricia and I headed out early to where they last where ..and the were not..so be it ,plan B ,usually something you don't want to even think about until about 10:30 ...Mike is a great caster and guide from Colorado plus a nice guy and and made easy work of a small Layed up Tarpon a lady fish and assortment of Pargos and Jacks...But no "Slobs" and that was the mission..Tomorrow we will try again, hoping the bait makes up and things settle down so the fish and I and Mike can go to work. Dr. Andy Danylchuck is back. I spent a pleasant day with him, Craig Lillistrom and Larry Snyder checking the receivers he has planted to track our Bone Fish on the flats and surrounding areas of Culebra. I will be reporting on this during the season and update everyone on some of the fantastic stuff that is being learned through electronic tagging..
Time to reflect on the last 6 months ...Always a sad time for me to be leaving Culebra for a while, but the necessities of life some times dictate..Being a Fish Guide ain't all it's cracked up to be and to fill the slow season I got to work . I clean toilets, lift timbers off of docks , and do a lot of body abusing just to make a check..I look forward to returning, ..a lot!
It was a strange season. One of the worst for weather in my 20 years of guiding here. Lots of wind and more rain than is ever normal for winter. The Bone Fish population definitely took a crash. Numbers are down and I don't have a simple answer. There has been some gill netting, and there have been more sharks on the flats than I have ever seen. There has also been a lot of angling pressure on the flats with more and more anglers coming to Culebra. I think all of these factors have contributed to the decline of this magnificent fish and I hope this is just a temporary jog in the population and we again see a rebound. Fly anglers..Pinch your barb !! and no less than 12 lb tippet. This will help on break offs.
The North side on the other hand and despite the weather was spectacular !! Big King Fish, 30 and 40 lbs were common and Black fin and Wahoo made a great seasonal showing along with Dorado. Tarpon fishing in our peak months of Oct, Nov, and December was fantastic both on fly and light spinning. Many mornings saw 4 and 5 releases. We anxiously look forward to a repeat next fall
My last trip of the season was with a client of many years, Henry Whittemore. With the East End being slow we fished Dakity and Henry hooked four and took a picture with the one on the right. Nice fishing Henry and obviously the new fly we tried is working magic but only with your expertise...See you in a couple !
...Bad as this season turned out to be for Bone Fish, the good anglers still caught their share. Rick Meyers came over from St John USVI and fished with me the other day and made it look easy catching two on the fly. The hot offshore fishing slowed way down as we had a change of water. Still a few King Mackerel around but not in the numbers we had been getting used to. A lot of weed and sterile blue water pushed in with no bait and no predators.
I ran my last inshore light tackle trip for the week yesterday with great results for Gavin Hart and Eileen. Started off the morning live baiting snappers when Eileen on the up swing got assaulted by a 4ft Barracuda. The spunky nurse from Charlotte delt swiftly with her attacker which was finally released to terrorize another day. Back in the mangroves Gavin released his first Tarpon and Eileen went on to jump off two more before landing and releasing a nice fat Snook. Gavin up next connected to something that forced us on another 'chase the donkey" . We followed the fish out of the mangroves and into the open bay where Gavin was up and down for a good hour on an 8 lb ultra light until he finally landed and released the monster Jack Crevalle pictured on the right. Great Angling ! Good company, ..Happy Easter!
....Eric Asnis from Vermont has fished with me for many years. He is a quiet New England Doctor with a degree in Atlantic Salmon, two handed presentations mostly, but with an incredible penchant for catching Bone fish. Proof on the right !! He fishes with me a couple of days and then goes off on his own and quite honestly he does better on his own most of the time....Hard to believe !! ...but true.
Couple of other Bones for the week but nothing to brag about . Lots of sharks around and the fish are freaked out. Sean Dickman and his wife Kathy did the Mackerel dance and had some big Salma (mutton snapper) to add to their dinner. I believe Salma are closed season as of today. Not that there is any enforcement of any fishery laws in Culebra any way. This Place don't get their shit together there ain't going to be nothing left. Sad but true ...
...Holy Week, Which ai'nt too holy here on the quiet little Island of Culebra as it is about to be invaded by thousands of Pilgrams from the Big Island on their annual bacchanal...In the name of God and Cervesa and not necessarily in that order...See ya in a week..It's going to be ugly!!
Thank Cervesa or God for the Mackerel we have had this year both to the North and inshore. Mark and Marina Carengelo had a cool Mack blitz going on only a stones throw from the Honda Yesterday. Nice Kings and big Ceros were great fun on lite spin tackle. We killed two Kings and two Mackerella for the Gourmands de Massachusetts who promised to share tomorrow night!! I'm there!
Bone fishing remained tough ! Hook ups but just no numbers....A little light air and that will change ..Good anglers all week so I expect good reports..Its time
...When the Bone fish spread out and invade the rim flats, the Muttons show up both on the deeper flats and grassy channels,Tropic Birds start to show North of Cayo Norte and lots of pasty white flesh starts to roll off the ferry, yes it's ........spring break!....Bob Kelso cut his teeth on Bone fish here in Culebra. There isn't a better education. Catch a Bone fish here you can catch one any where in the world the saying goes. Bob on the right keeping up the tradition with one of two that day .
Andy Danylchuk from U Mass is here to do an extended Bone fish study over the next 3 years here in PR. I had Andy and his colleage Steve out twice last week along with Andy's lovely wife Sasha. I gave Andy and Steve the nickel tour of our Island and flats plus both Andy and Steve got to catch a Bone fish on the tour. Their plan is to install radio micro chips in several fish ( up to 30) and track their movements around the island. Interesting stuff if all goes as planned. They just completed a similar study in Eluthera in the Bahamas documenting fish aggregations prior to spawning.... Lot of spawning going on here right now...But then again it's spring break!! Enjoy your aggregation and drink some green beer!!
...Easily the windiest spring I have experienced in Culebra in my 20 years here..This week alone I had two cancellations for weather. We could have fished it's just that conditions were so poor, especially for fly fishing, and my clients would have been miserable so we called it off. One of the days we did get out this week Gert Walter hooked a Permit fought it for 20 minutes before it found a coral head and earned it's freedom. That's two Permit connections this week. One landed one break off.
The Ponce Posse paid us a visit over the weekend. Fernando, Ponchollo and New member Antonio. Fernando did his usual with 3 hook ups. Good to see you guys and great chops as usual!
My long time client Dick Rogers was back for his spring fling. Sir Richard after we set up on some patch reef went on to bail Cero and King Mackerel along with an assortment of Snapper and grouper. The catch of the morning was a big Almaco Jack pictured on the right boated after another chase the donkey Charlie Foxtrot number with Richard's excellent angling skills winning out. Nice job my friend and see you again March 21.........
...Check out www.hatchmag.com if you have a chance for my latest literary attempt..'Case I break an arm and can't pole at least I can still bull shit,
Jeff Charles from Maine fished with me at the beginning of the week and had a couple of good presentations to some big Permit with a Mantis Fly. Jeff persevered and went back on his own the next day and caught one of them on a crab fly. First catch and release of a Permit here this year on fly that I am aware of. Nice job Jeff..It ain't easy as we all know so well.
Jeff Jones and Lou Ann were great company for the rest of the week. High winds kept me from going East so we played around the usual West end flats and hooked some and ......Jeff caught a Bone. Tough conditions but some really cool people made for a very enjoyable time on the flats. Happy birthday youngster! Jeff on the right with his fish.
Some monster Bone Fish finally showed up here just in time for author Terry Grills annual visit. They seem to show up every year from the middle to the end of February on the same flat. Mind you all of these fish are in the 8 to 12 lb category. Terry hooked one but we were out gunned. Went back the next day and they never showed. I guess they just haven't unpacked yet. Just Fish..We'll try tomorrow.
...a week of high skill in the fly angling department with Jeff Charles, seasoned guide from Maine, Jay from Maine and Maxwell Agnew from the Bayou all top notch and not one Bone fish landed among them. I would guess the three of them combined made presentations to 70 fish with four hook ups and no releases. We have seen this before and will see it again wether it's pre spawn, not enough spawn, mood swings or just shitty luck. It's Bone fishing ...wading in skinny water for really big,smart fish. Jimmy Buffet says about Culebra." Big fish!... in fact they are so big you can hardly catch 'em"..Thankfully we do time to time.
On the other hand the King fishing has been off the charts with the biggest problem not be able to carry enough ice for what we catch. Locals Fred and Oliver Grimsdale took the journey North with us the other day and filled the box to within inches of the top ,about 140 lbs ,with Sierra or King Fish. Largest one was 44 lbs pictured on the right with Oliver. The charter guests take enough fish to feed their family the rest we sell to Mamacitas Restaurant one of the few places still selling local King Fish which is always in high demand in PR.
The chances were slim but it finally happened .If you spend enough time on the water you will see some amazing things. Yesterday I was escorting some birders in the late afternoon to a small flat to look for Herons. On top of the flat there were two Bones tailing happily when a flash from the nearby channel caught my eye and a Tarpon rolled. Not to be out done I glanced at the other end of the flat having never moved an inch and there was old sickle tail standing on his head. There you go a visual grand slam in the same panoramic. It will never happen again and not a rod on the boat.
Most commonly asked questions about fishing in Culebra......( How do I get to Culebra from Vieques?)..It's easier to get to Havana and Vieques is only 10 miles away. Fastest is to fly back to Ceiba and then on to Culebra. Cheapest is to take the ferry along the same route but allow for an extra day or two after the Ferry breaks down and you're stranded at sea. I'm just being real!...(What Fly patterns work best in Culebra?)..Think Mantis Shrimp, and definitely weed less. Quoting noted fly fishers Ike and Tina Turner "It ain't the meat its the motion" which I would translate to say ...put almost any fly in the perfect presentation, and he will eat!..(I'm coming to Culebra to fish on my own. Where should I go ,what should I use, and what tides are best?)...I get this one at least twice a week in season. I only answer this one face to face and preferably after you have paid the info tax to my personal secretary Judy of the Dinghy Dock in the form of a large cold Mug!!
Bob Grant on the right with one of a dozen King Mackerel he and his son Greg caught with us the other day........
...Finally a break in the weather pattern and a let up of the horrendous winds we have been having for the last couple of weeks. When the wind stops blowing here we can pole on the flats effectively. We can fish the off shore drops and life on the water becomes a whole lot more comfortable as well as productive. The best part is the winds are predicted to stay down for quite a while.
John Freeman, long time visiter to Culebra, fished with me earlier in the week and caught Two Bone Fish, his first ever. A few days off the rest of this week and then fishing every day until April 1st...
..With a small, and I mean small, break in the wind my offshore partner Maximo gave me a call to shoot out and re supply some of the local restaurants...seas were head high and gnarled up coming from six different directions..we were literally on our knees hand lining King Mackerel and at one point i yelled at Max.."with a combined age of oh..about 135 WTF ! are we doing" I never got a plausible answer, Experience comes from bad judgement? so does 100 lbs of fresh King Mackerel.
Chris Daly Bone fished with me earlier in the week and caught his fish pictured on the right. Numbers of fish are way down but we continue to get lucky. I'll take luck any day and despite the wind and poor showings it still a cool fishery an experince I hope my clients and friends and the people of this Island and the Big Island can enjoy for a long time.
Which I'll get to in a minute..More wind and and basically horrible conditions continues to plague fishing efforts with little or no offshore activity and poor bone fishing although we are still managing to catch a few fish, purely by God and by guess and putting in a little extra time and effort.
John Edmis fished with me this week and demonstrated one of the most impressive angling feats that I have ever witnessed. John and I were happily jigging Red Grouper and Lane Snapper over a patch reef when a giant Barracuda grabbed one of Johns Lane's and managed to get the tiny #4 circle hook snagged in the outer top lip of the 'Cuda. This is all happening with a tiny ultra light rigged with 8 lb test. I popped the anchor put John on the bow and off we went for a 45 minute chase the donkey. You can see on the right who amazingly won out. Terrific job my friend and thanks for helping to eliminate 30 plus lbs of Bone fish death.
....Experience comes from Bad Judgement..Which doesn't really amount to anything other than I can write what I want and hope it's entertaining...If I had to choose a place to come to in hopes of catching my first Bone Fish it probably wouldn't be Culebra...Yet two different people did that this past week and both of them were successfull .Which means a couple of things..I was wrong about my first statement or these people had the absolute best Fish Guide in the land of Chollo or there was a huge element of luck associated with all things Bone Fish this week!
Joshua Miller Caught his first Bone Fish on a fly on one of the windiest days of the whole season. We could only fish in a few protected spots and Joshua did a great job handling the ugly conditions. The first day we fished we ran into a patch of 5 or 6 Permit all horned up and tight on a little patch of interest. Joshua made some terrific presentations with a follow or two but nothin' home for mama. Worst week of the season so far for weather but we will keep on fishing..and as I once learned from Bad Judgement.."You got to go to Know".
Joshua on the right with his first Bone
....Culebra has some of the best Bone fishing in this small part of the lesser Antillean Chain but also has a very small area to do it in. When I rarely get a chance to travel some where else and fish the very first thing I do is hire a guide to cut down on the local learning curve. Now i'm not a very smart guy compared to some of the business icons and others who fish with me in regards to day to day dealings but ...concerning anything that has to do with water..consider this... for every day you fish ,I put in 20., So I don't have to be very smart..just awake! Excuse me I digressed..Point being if you are coming to Culebra to fish call me! I don't bite! If you don't want to hire me and try it on your own..Terrific! but take advantage of my experience here and at no charge ( Judy at Dinghy knows what I drink) lets talk fishing. It amazes me sometime the number of people who come here to fly fish that skulk around trying to avoid me..Yes fly fishers are a strange breed..all except Johnny Pompano and myself!
Buzz Brennan came down from Jacksonville Fla. to fish with me yesterday. Buzz is an extremely experienced Red Fish Flats fisherman and wanted to try his skills on Bone fish. Tough Conditions with a lot of wind and a lot of refusals but perseverance paid off and that's Buzz on the right with his first Bone. Nice job my friend and great meeting both you and Heather!
...Just ask Jacky Crawford who has Bone fished with me in Culebra for six seasons and in between Cuba ,and a lot of other places..in other words Jacky is a cut above the average fly angler..by a lot. The first day we fished Jacky had shots at over 40 fish in super conditions ,hooking one and catching one with most casts spot on with out me saying a word. We were both disappointed because he should have caught six that day. The next day it's blowing its balls off, little sun and very few fish with one hook up and a dropped fly before we called it quits. Too much wind to pole the boat with any control so we ducked out early and looked at pictures of Cuba at the bar on Jacky's ipad..I am definitely going to that place!......On the other hand I must have had 10 or more days last year where i had fly anglers catch a Bone Fish who were first timers or had never fished salt water. Moral of this rant?...you just never know..A couple of wise men once said "Time on the water" and "Presentation is everything"..oh yeah and Tina Turner said "It ain"t the meat....It's the motion!" which only goes to show somebody knows!
Eugenio from Italy on the right with his fine Blackfin Tuna result of his "grocery" trip. He also caught two other Tuna and 5 Kingfish..cio y'all
.....This was the 4th time Dave Richards fished with me this season. His first trip with me last fall he caught his first Bone Fish on a fly a hefty 8 lb East End special. Dave caught his first Cero on a fly this time with me but no Bones as conditions were poor. Dave caught some Red Grouper our second day the first time I've seen them here in Culebra. Red s look a lot like Snowys with just a touch of orange around the face and are not to be confused by Red Hinds which look entirely different.
Chris Pasternak who caught his first Tarpon on a fly last year with me had no luck this year with the Bone fish. Fish are few and far and spooky . Fish have completely left the East End Pela Flat I hope temporarily as one of the largest Barracudas I have ever seen has taken up residence there. How big?.... 60 lbs easy!
Eugenio Bigliocca from Italy fished his first of three days with me this morning. Great company and wooped him bad with a combination of Cero after Cero, Red Groupers,Muttons and some big Jacks. Taking Eugene offshore tomorrow, grocery fishing. Report back soon amigos!
Spent yesterday teaching a fly lesson to two great kids, Percy and Louie from England. After going over the basics and working with both kids so they could present the fly at a reasonable distance we started walking the flats for some hands on. We were on an east end pocket flat walking around walking around some rocks to access the other end of the flat when at a distance of 6 feet we were confronted with the largest Bone fish i have seen in my life. I would guess 36" overall in length....of course he spooked and left me clutching my heart and babbling like an idiot. Poor Louie and. Percy having never seen a Bone fish thought. I was crazy......... Spent the previous three days fishing with Mike Carl ,his son Glen and Jose an exchange student from Spain. Both mike and. Glen are experienced fly fishers and. Glen caught a monster bone his first day. Jose and I left the boys on the flats the last day and took off to catch Jose an assortment of small fish, his first in salt water. That's his lady fish on the right.. In retrospect it was a great couple of days fishing with some cool kids who all stand to become accomplished anglers. Thank you Percy,Louie,Jose and Glen
,,,and if you put another person on this Island it will sink!..Typical Post Christmas Crush here in Culebra with everybody getting ready for the Famous New Year Celebration in the Plaza...Thank God for the Mackerel!..Really fun Cero Mackerel fishing on ultra light tackle has kept my business alive. Throw in a few Salma (Mutton Snapper) and big Jacks and we had a pretty fair week and just before the weather goes down the toilet again.
Ted Schreiber Bone fished with me about 7 years ago and returned to Culebra to fish with his Nine year old son Jake. Jake is not a long rodder yet so we pounded on the Mackerellas with light spin tackle and had a blast. Jake is an excellent angler. That's him on the right with a Caro. It's probably one of the most rewarding parts of this job to watch a young angler enjoy him or herself so much and to know that the day you shared with them will last in memory for a long while. ..Happy New Year to all the great people that have shared time with me on the water..Tight Lines, Tight Loops, health and Happiness
..All my trips prior to Christmas were disasters in the catching department and sadly with some really great people. It was great meeting Bill Saxton and his family from California but with all the wind and poor conditions we only caught fish one out of three days. Will Lyle and his wife had to put up with the same scenario.. It was just way off with the strong NE Christmas winds. Finally got a break the day after when the winds slacked off a notch and Dan Diaz and his dad Rudi witnessed a Sierra (King Mackerel) ambush. 20 to 30 lb Mackerel made short work of our 8 and 12 lb ultra lites. We were targeting the Cero Mackerel and the beasts showed up and made us look silly. Dan and his Dad still managed to catch and release a variety of Snappers, Jacks and assorted reef fish. We finished the day out chasing deep water Bone fish muds that had lots of small Bones and afforded Dan his first ever on light spin tackle.
To all my fly fishing Buddys to the West. As far as the Arubian Kayaks go..no fueron completamente honesto.. but still impressive!
Less Wind, More Fish ! and a Healthy Happy New Year
....Christmas Winds have started and Bone Fish are into their winter habits which means fewer fish tailing on the flats but good fishing if you know where to find their winter haunts. Richard Rogers finally got his Bone Fish for this visit after catching a Tarpon and a mess of Mackerel and various reef dwellers. With a steady 25 out of the North East we ventured into an area where Bone Fish like to hang out under these conditions, Cold and Wind, ..not to be disappointed the fish were there, big time! First cast Richard lands and releases his fish on the right.
It was great to have the slow pace of the last week or two but that is about to change. I have a few days open the latter part of January but that's it for the near future at least. Time to go to work and very thankfull I can. Long time client Willie Schlein out with me Monday and several new clients the rest of the week. We will keep you posted
..Some people will go to great lengths to protect Culebra from the main stream mass of south bound Tourists looking for a new Tropical hide away. ..or maybe it's witness protection ? or this guy really is a celebrity ? I can't reveal..and don't really care. All I know is Senor X wanted to catch a Bone Fish and a Tarpon have his picture taken then blank his face out so no one knew who he was or where he was vacationing and fishing. He paid, so I did what I'm paid to do. He caught his Tarpon and then went on to catch a 26" fork length Bone that had it been fatter would have made it just a Mantis Shrimp dinner short of double digit. Not bad for your first ever Bonefish.
X you were great company, no body will ever know it was you my friend, and now that I have developed a specialty in anonymous clients Holly wood will probably be bangin' at my door..or not
...Spent Most of this week Guiding Richard Rogers The last in the list of three old timers from Old Timers Week. Richard and I always start our trips with a live bait session in one of the deeper channels around Culebra. It's a place when the tide is right that you can catch an amazing assortment of fish and of all different size groups from small Yellow tail to King Mackerel and even one time a couple of Yellow fin Tuna. This Morning was no exception with Big Cero Mackerel,Sennets,Red Hind,Mangrove snapper and Horse Eye Jacks and Blue Runners. Richard is pictured in some beautiful morning colors with a Jack from location x. Yes that's a well known Culebra land mark in the back ground but if your off by two numbers you won't catch anything ,trust me.
Second day with Richard we both realized that in all the times we have fished together he has never landed a Tarpon. We set off on a mission which resulted in a double hook up and Richard finally landing and releasing his first Tarpon. We still have one more day together and we'll target Bones. It will be hard to best the eleven Pounder he caught with me 6 years ago and maybe we will catch nothing. I don't really think he cares. You know what it will just be fun for both of us just to be there..
....Bernie Gastrich,Jack Erler, and Richard Rogers have all fished with me for the last 15 years in Culebra and New Jersey at least once or twice a year. All three fished or are fishing with me this next week here in Culebra. It was Jack's turn today and he set the bar high besting Bernie's 2 for 5 Tarpon morning. We had to abandon our first stop to a fleet of Orvis looking long stickers in fancy Kayaks who rightfully had first claim to the grounds they were working. So after a short steam to the south west and within the space of two hours Jack had cast to several Tarpon and released two Snook. The release of two snook on the fly I believe is a first for Culebra at least with my clients. We are obviously not the Snook capital of the Caribbean. A short Jog to a sandy pass and Jack quickly caught and releasrd two Bones best one topping 5 lbs. To top off the morning Jack made some super presentations to a Permit on a west side pan cake flat that unfortunately did what Permit do best....It doesn't get any better than this. The incredible diversity of our fishery and the coolest people in the world who have blessed my life to fish with me. Thank you gentlemen!!
....Bernie Gastrich has been fishing with me for years. Bernie Just turned 80 last week and to celebrate came out with me this morning and put the wire in Five Tarpon using an 8wt clear intermediate line combo'd with one of Dan Blanton's best ever ideas. Perfect conditions light Northerly with clear water and hungry Tarpon. Happy 80 Bernie and many more!...both years and Fish !....Culebra is an Island 16 miles East of the main Island of Puerto Rico accessed by both plane and ferry...so the answer to the question is..No I can not pick you up at the El San Juan. Fly fishers practice your cast before you arrive here. If you haven't picked a rod up in a year you are basically paying me alot of good money to tune you up for the first two hours of our trip when you could actually be fishing rather than practicing...but then again it's your money and I'll still like you..... Always love and remember you Susie...Back in a few days after the funeral
...Off Island for a few days for business and to avoid the holiday crowds. Did get to the North side this week with my Fishin Pal Max. Caught some Yellow fin and Black fin and a Dorado but all and all pretty slow. Big swell with a lot of Blue water generally poor conditions for our type of fishing. Tarpon are still around but not bunched up like they were around the moon and Bonefish are missing from a lot of the flats..I hope a temporary fall occurance we have seen in the past. Dave Richards on the right with another shot of his first Bone Fish
...On your marraige to Your lovely new wife Natalia and on catching your first Bone Fish. Joe Kowalski and his new bride were married in San Juan Saturday and chose Culebra for their honey moon. Joe and I fished together a lot this week with Natalia walking the flats with us the last day. Joe by the way is an accomplished fly fisherman but with no Bone fish or Tarpon to his credit. 20 minutes into our first day Joe hooks a big bonefish that goes a 100 feet into the backing but unfortunately after a back and forth battle lasting 10 minutes the fish drops the fly. The next day Joe hooks two Tarpon with the first one staying on the hook for at least 10 minutes and a dozen jumps before becoming unglued. Second much smaller Tarpon stayed on for 4 leaps. Not to be denied a picture Joe and I end up back at a Bonefish flat and Joe lands his first Bone. Lots of action and great company ! Wishing you both a life time of happiness and Bone fish!
.....Dave Richards from Alaska was staying on the big Island and flew over to fish with me for two days. Dave caught two Tarpon the first morning plus a Snook, Lady Fish and a Jack Crevalle. The Second Tarpon went about 60 to 70 lbs the first about 30 lbs. The next morning Dave and I started fishing at just a little bit past "can't see" and the man evolved into a virtual fish machine with the sun rising and the scales flying with Cero Mackeral, giant Hound fish, Mangrove Snappers double headers all being released (except one Mackarella para mi cena)..what a show!
After the carnage and with the tide just right I shoot over to a Bone Flat and Dave reveals his fly casting skills, modestly denied but good enough to catch his first two Bone fish the second with a fork length of 25 1/2 inches which according to the fork length gurus makes that fish just about 7 1/2 to 8 lbs. Picture on the right!..This was not an average trip ,but Culebra when it's on!! Watch out.. More to come ,fishing all week and again thanks Dave!
...Christie Marsh from New England way was back with me for a few days,and great company as always. Once we got her cast settled down and out of the "brook" as they say, girl wouldn't and couldn't hold back..Caught her first tarpon on the fly and jumped 3 more to start the first day off . Christie went on to hook 4 Bones the second day plus release a 'cuda and some jacks.
First two weeks of December are always slow for bookings and there is light traffic on the flats. Chances are you book a half day with me during that period we will end up fishing all day. Sean Gannon on the right with a keeper Mutton snapper from last fall
...Bill Gehman from Orrington Maine who fished with me on April 12th 2011 became the first angler in the history of Puerto Rico to catch and release in one day a Permit, Bone fish and Tarpon. Hard to believe it hasn't happened before, but after extensive checking it just plain hasn't. Several of my clients in previous years have come close with several combos but with always one missing usually the Permit. Bill accomplished this with light spinning tackle. The Bone fish and Permit were caught with an ultra light 8 lb outfit. Bill's battle with the Permit lasted over an hour. The Tarpon was caught with a standard Tarpon rig with 20 lb test and took 15 minutes from hook up to release,fish was about 50 lbs. There is a lot of luck in doing some thing like this but to be honest without Bill's exceptional angling skills it just wouldn't have happened. Congratultions again Bill that was a lot of pullage in just 6 hours. Nice way for me to wind down this season and take a short break. See you in October!!!
...Bone fished with Don Erlich this past week. Don is an expert fly fisher and great fun to be with. Don is however innocent in his knowledge of bananas and their effect on all things that have to do with salt water and fish. Don's first day with me he makes a terrific cast and presentation to a big Bone fish only 10 minutes into the morning. As the fish takes off and Don starts to clear I look in the water and see a mass of running line in the likeness of a bowl of pasta and the diameter of a grape fruit. I yell to Don to turn his rod upside down a trick that will sometimes work on smaller tangles..but the pasta dish slams into the third guide out and there goes the class tippet and the fish...Once again Orvis Wonderline,( which in my opinion should be banned from this planet), does its thing!..Half hour later, second fish, solid eater..whoops..third fish little of a lot of things but mostly horrible luck. Break time....and out comes the Banana from Don's bag!..and suddenly all the mornings bad luck made sense. I asked Don to toss the ugly piece of yellow matter just so we could get home without a meteor falling on our heads. Next day was tough fishing but Don caught fish and things went smoothly. No F ups and used my line instead of the banana yellow Orvis line. One of Don's fish on the right. Proof of what you can do when you leave the guineos at home....
...Chris Windram, owner of www.saltwaterflies.com spent a few days with Capt Pochi Rosario on the west coast of Puerto Rico sight fishing on the flats of Boqueron for big Tarpon. According to Chris it was "world class". I'm not surprised. Pochi is a great guide and sight fishing on the flats surrounding Cabo Rojo is as good as it gets. You can see the report on light Tackle Adventures Boqueron Bay Tarpon Fishing. Chris's next stop was Culebra and still hot he released two culebra Bone fish on a half day trip. Should have had four..stupid guide error!..Any way point is...! Next winter you can just bypass Fla. and for a lot less money, not freeze your ass off in February, and catch Bone fish and Tarpon. Chris on the right..
..When I'm not fishing the flats my friend Max and I run trips on his Shamrock 26 to the North Side of the Islands trolling and jigging. Most trips are done by 10 in the morning because we have been running out of bait or ice or didn't have any more room to put the Tuna, King Mackerel,Wahoo and others we have been catching. Normally a catch and release operation we have changed our out look on conservation temporarily to aid the restaurants of Culebra that are always in dire need of fresh fish...oh and the credit card bill...Brian and Julie from Colorodo fished with us yesterday. Brian is pictured on the right with a 65# Wahoo he caught. The couple also landed Blackfin Tuna,Bonito, and King Mackerel up to 25#. Max and I still have dates open April 8th thru the 17th...
...Strong winds all week didn't prevent any of my anglers from catching Bone Fish..just one angler skunked out, Bruce Read started the week off with a Nice fish pictured on the right. Bruce is a class act ! Excellent caster and great company. Welcome to the Culebra seven pounder club Bruce! Fred Torphy followed suit despite some horrible conditions as well did Chris Mullens and Henry Whittemore.
I was attacked by Kite boarders on Monday. Now why in the world would these obviously well monied supposedly intelligent kids think that kite boarding next to people fly fishing from a flats boat wouldn't scare away the fish!! It looks like a fun sport and would love to try it but you have never seen anything in your life scare Bone fish off a flat faster than the the sound and sight of one these kids racing across two feet of water. Yard stare and few south jersey gestures got my point across. Hell hath no fury like a fish guide...when some...is spooking my customers fish!!
March is fire month! Grass fires happen every year about this time. Bomberos are busy ! Thank you Nata and Adan et all for your brave fight on the front!
....A Grand Slam in flats fishing is catching a Permit, Bone fish and Tarpon all in the same day. In culebra we have come up with a few of our own. The Slime Slam is a Tarpon, Lady fish and Bone fish all released in the same day. I'm proud to say we have had several of those this season...and now we have the first Flim Flam Slam. Ken Reback, who has been great a client of mine for several years, has caught on the Fly in Culebra a Permit, a Bone Fish and a Tarpon..With a slight variation of the theme....Ken caught these fish in three consecutive trips to Culebra over Three years...making this maybe a Time Warp Slam. No matter, great fishing as usual Ken and congrats on your seven lb Bone Fish pictured on the right. One of two he caught one morning with me this week.
Spring break brings lots of anglers to the flats here. Hope everyone did well and had a good time. If I can help with local advice please call me I'm more than happy to help. Don't be stubborn. The best anglers are the ones asking questions. It's always a learning experience from your first cast to your last breath.
....Have dropped water temps down to where they normally are in January. Fishing has been very slow this past week with most of the Bonefish staying off the flats and in the deeper water and black bottom. Lots of anglers trying and some good ones, especially those Walker Boys. Some fish being caught but not in the normal March numbers.
Discovered some schools of small Bonefish (one to three pounds) in a large Bay that is normally too murky to even see bottom. With the North winds and lack of rain water clarity was such that we could see fish that we never even knew were there. Small fish are good. We need the recruitment. Ponchollo Carbonel with a fat release on the right.....
....in the world live on our premier Bonefish flat here in Culebra a flat by the name of Dakity. I love to watch first timers when they see their first big Bonefish and their eyes get as big as saucers and the arms start flying and the line starts crashing and the fish start exploding and then they are gone...and then most of the time four hours later the discouraged angler has still not connected a fly to a Bonefish and he or she doesn't have a clue why. Help is on the way! Do your research and practice your casting and presentation skills and not the next trip but maybe four or five later you will catch a Dakity ghost. There are anglers I know who come to Culebra and catch a Bone fish or two or three every time they fish Dakity. I mention this just to prove to the skeptics it can be done and regularly. Need their names? Call me I'll put you in touch. In the mean time research and practice! Check out www.bonefishonthebrain.com and especialy Deneki Outdoors where Bone fish guides, including myself, from Andros and around the world contribute Bone fishing tips. Author Terry Francis on the right with one of the two first Bonefish he ever caught. Terry fished with me this week and obviously was able to crack the "code".......
...I get emails all the time from people wanting to know if they need a license to fish in Puerto Rico. So here is the latest from my sources at the top of Natural Resouces in San Juan. It's coming ! At the present time there is no license required unless you fish commercially. The Gov't is still receiving bids on contractors to over see the licesing program at the recreational level. By this time next year the program is scheduled to be in operation at which time locals and tourists both will be required to purchase a fishing license. It will be issued in various forms. Weekly up to yearly. If you fish on a Charter boat (ie. myself) you will be covered by the Captains license and not be required to purchase your own. Stay tuned I'll keep you up to date. Remember things move slowely here compared to the States.
Lots of wind but still fishing everyday. Bonefishing has been tough but anglers who can deal with the wind are catching fish. Bob Warren and his buddy Bill pictured on the right caught a big Jack Crevalle ,a Snook and a Tarpon with me yesterday. Great Anglers and second time clients. My office (Dinghy Dock) has been over crowded with rubber dinghy owners and weird looking tourists! Judy is not Happy !
...Fishing everyday this month If I,m lucky and so far I am. I'll try to run down the past week which has been a blur of people and fish. My long time client and good friend Victor Kopnitsky started off the week. Victor is an expert fly fisher from Pennsylvania who released three bonefish on his trip plus multiple Ladyfish and jumped one Tarpon. Next was Andy Lilienthal and his son Levi. Young Levi got his second consecutive tarpon in two visits plus some double header lane Snapper. Kathy and Don from South Carolina had fish flying across the deck nonstop, we just lost count. Killed a couple of Ceros, Muttons and Yellow tails for dinner and released the rest. Jamie Romm from Brooklyn, Nuevo York ,caught Mackarellas, Chillo, Jacks and let his first Tarpon swim away for a release.
The Ponce Posse was in town and I had the pleasure of fishing with both Fernando and Panchollo on Monday. These guys are good! Terrible conditions with a few shots and Panchollo let a large Bone swim away for another day.
Andy Lilienthal fly fished with me today and on his first ever try at Bone fishing caught and released three nice Bone fish in one short morning. Great casting, good line managment,and yes presentation is everything. Good job Andy! and now I got to get these old bones some sleep......
....Not recognized in all angling circles, but definetly here in Culebra is the coveted "Slime Slam" or the release of a Tarpon, Bone Fish, and Lady Fish all in the same day. All three are some of the slimiest fish you will ever handle. Newest recipient is Carl Haensel from Duluth. Carl and his wife Cindy fly fished with me this week. Cindy is pictured on the right with a nice Bonefish she caught. Both are top notch Fly fishers some of the best I've fished with in years. Carl is a guide and a professional Photographer and its well worth visiting his sight www.namebini.com and checking out some of his work. So far this week they have caught several bonefish, Lady fish and one Tarpon on the fly. Congratulations and thank you both for an enjoyable outing......
...Its always a challange fishing this time of year. We are faced every day we leave the dock with the tough decision of where we can go and safely fish and still produce. On top of this half the places I would like to fish I can't even get too. My beginning fly fishers especially are plagued by back casts that fall apart in the 25 kt wind and fish that refuse to show or are just plain impossible to see in these sort of conditions. Off shore..forget it ! No one has been out in a week. Good news is the wind is forcast to let up soon and we are still catching some fish despite conditions.
Steve W caught his first fish on a fly rod the other day...Nice Cero in the picture on right result of some live chumming with sardines and then tossing the fly. Works like a charm...sometimes!...Celeste from Block Island caught some bottom fish and jumped two tarpon with me, while another Block Islander, Jamie with his son Big Fish Fisher, caught a monster 34 inch Cubera and some Flag Yellow Tails on the North side. Bone fishing all this week so good reports coming up!
...The fantastic North Side Fishing continues. Bill, Bill jr, Louie and Andy, Jersey boys who know the drill, smoked them last trip. 9 King Mackeral, 4 Tuna, and jumped another sail fish all this and back at the dock by 10 am. One of the boys with a "smoker" king on the right. Max and I have dates open the end of this month and the first two weeks of March. If the wind lets up we'll start jigging and throwing flies at these fish.
Got an email from a potential client last week wanting to know if he could stop by my Office in Culebra and discuss fishing. Before I rattled of one of my typical wise ass remarks I stopped and thought...You know I do have an Office. ..and come to think of it I have secretary too..So if you would like to discuss fishing or say..Premarital and for that matter post marital sex or any other worldly issue..Please make an appointment with my secretary, that's right, Judge Judy the bartender at my Office, Daily hours 5pm to 6pm, 3rd stool in, just in back of those frito suckin Tarpon, Dinghy Dock, USA.......!
..Back out on the North Side yesterday with Chris Walker and son Brennan. Great mixed bag of King mackeral (sierra), Wahoo (Peto), Black Fin Tuna and Bonito. Picture on the right is Brennan with his first ever Tuna. We were hoping to throw fly's at the Tuna but conditions didn't cooperate. After we got back in, cleaned up, I took Brennan back out in the flats boat and he nailed his first Tarpon on a fly. Brennan did a text book job on the 6o lb fish which he brought to the boat in 20 minutes with an 8 wt rod. Dad filmed the the entire fight from the cockpit.
Bone fishing continues to be frustrating even though I'm starting to see more fish. We have caught nothing but small fish lately and I apologize to both Dan Mayer and Steve Craig for not posting pictures. The Bone fish they both caught this week look like imports from Belize not the typical Culebra fish we normally try and target.
I'll be scheduling more "off shore" trips in March as long as this fantastic fishing holds up. February is pretty well booked up with just a day here and there left open.
...Obviously I spend most of my time fly fishing on the flats in and around the shallow bays of Culebra. Ninty percent of my clients are flyfishers..I do it out of love and I follow the buck. "No check, no eat" my wife likes to say..now get back out! She doesn't really get the Love part...(She's actually a sweat heart and the only reason I have any money at all)..Original point being there are a lot of other fish besides Bonefish, Tarpon etc in Culebra.
The "blue water" fishery (actually only about a 3 mile run, has been off the charts this year. Most of the local boats troll ballyhoo or live line sardines for Black fin and Yellow fin Tuna, King Mackerel, Wahoo and Bonito. Max Guiterrez and myself snuck out the other morning on his Shamrock for two and a half hours. We ran out of bait and ice with 8 tuna and 8 King Macks to 20 lbs. Aldo Pena fishing along side us by himself caught 16 tuna. Plenty of Sail fish around as well.
Angler on the right is friend and artist "Pucho" ,Victor Oliver ,with a Beautiful PeaCock Bass he caught on a fresh water lake in Puerto Rico...of course with a fly rod....!
Great News for all Recreational Fishermen in Puerto Rico. PR has offically granted legal protection to Bone Fish, Tarpon, Permit and Palometa. Violation of this law which entails possession of the above, would result in a minimum $100 per fish penalty plus the possibilty of seizure of boat and gear. There are no loop holes. There was a tremendous amount of effort put out to get this protection status. I myself have been involved from the beginning but the real work was done by three people. Fernando Monnlor, one of PR's great fly fishers, Capt Fransico "Pochy" Rosario, and our "Guiding Light" Craig Lillistrom. Thank you all! My generation will probably not live long enough to see the benefits of this legislation but our sons and daughters and grand children will now have a chance to grow up in Puerto Rico to experience the wonders of these beautiful marine creatures. Picture on the right is a Palometa.
...Holding my breath. Water jumped up a couple and a few more Bone Fish appeared in our local arena. Dan Gould watched his fishing buddy Max catch his first Bone fish on a 6wt in about 4 inches of water. Great anglers and good company!
Jacky Crawford, five year client and veteran of Culebra"s Bone Fish society, went on the next two days to catch six more. Hope things hold up
Want some of the best Bone fishing advice available? go to www.bonefishonthebrain.com .Check out Denekeis current advice column on Bone fishing . Straight up and down to earth good sense from some of the best guides in the business. 3 day lull in bookings. Time to haul, paint and a few quick repairs as we enter the heart and soul of our season. Come have a beer, 5pm, right next to six big Frito suckin' Tarpon and Judys great sense of.....
...Dave Cook fished the week with me, his second season fishing here in Culebra. Things started out pretty fast and furious with Dave catching his first fly rod Tarpon (plural) including the one pictured on the right and then went on to jump several others. Things then kind of ground down to a slower pace as we concentrated on the Bones. Dave did end up with several Bone Fish for the week but not without some serious time investment mostly on his own.It's the reality of the fishery here in Culebra. You will rarely do numbers but if you're willing to put the time in you will in all probability end up with some top quality fish. Dave's biggest Bone Fish went around 8 lbs.
Chris Pasternak also released his first fly caught Tarpon with me yesterday. All the Tarpon we have been releasing lately are in the 30 to 50 lb catagory. Fishing everyday so lots of glowing reports coming up..No 'Cuda head in my mail box yet and $100 bills don't last long in my pocket especially when Judge Judy the bartender bats those big blue ones at me...
.....12 year old Reed Wolf caught a 34 inch Robalo or Snook right after he fought a 40 lb Tarpon for 10 minutes and five jumps. Reed displayed an amazing show of angling prowess by pulling the big Snook out of the Mangroves for the save. Despite a heroic resusitation effort by Dr Goldfish the Robalo came to terms with both his creator and a hot frying pan. Such is Life!
My Tarpon leader numbers are now off a little. Broke a leader on the first jump with veteran fly angler Dave Cook. This brought Dave down to 2 for 4 in two days on fly caught Tarpon. Daves still fishing with me so more to come as I finally get caught up on reports for the end of the month..........
...NE 25 kts,seas 17 feet, ferrys are shut down and we have no gas on the Island...On the positive side it's 80 degrees here and we are fishing every day. I have plenty of 40# bite tippet and we are still catching Tarpon. Tarpon leaders..Keep them simple for fly..40# butt,30# down to 20# class, to no more than 40# bite. No biminis no hoffnagles. You can even get away with 30# bite on the smaller fish especially useful in clear water . Conventional, taper up..Line class to 20# to 30# to 40# bite overall leader length should equal the length of the fish plus a CH. I'm sure i'm going to get a lot of argument over these recipes but this is what works for us and we are about 95% on hook up to release this season. Another Jack for Willy on the right. Senor Crevalle is still alive and swimming somewhere. Lots of fish so lots of reports coming up......
...Flat calm set the scene for some slammin' Horse eye (pictured right)and Jack Crevalle that stretched the limits of Willie Schlein's 8wt the other day. Jacks in the 10 to 15 lb range especially Horse eye Jacks are one of the most exciting fish you can catch in salt water on a fly rod. Willie went on to jump 2 Tarpon and then go out on his own the next day and catch a Bone. It doesn't get much better anywhere. There is a 5 foot 40lb 'cuda hangin' out in Dakity, one of our major Bone Fish flats. Deliver his head I'll give you $100. Barracuda not only eat a lot of Bone Fish but probably more harmful for us in the long run they freak out the local population to the point that fish leave.
....That's my job. We can't catch Bonefish we'll chase Blue runners and Cero Mackeral. That's exactly what Caleb Sheffer, Greg Ivins and myself did the other day and threw in a few Mutton Snapper to boot. Rods were bent for two hours releasing somewhere around 30 big blue runners and keeping a few Snapper and Mackeral for eating. The interesting thing about walking the flats and poling over some of my regular haunts this season is not only seeing a greatly reduced number of Bones so far but also seeing some of the biggest Bone fish I've seen in a while on a consistant basis. Now there are a lot of things I do badly and a few things I do really good and one of them is judging the weight of fish and women with out actually picking them up. I won't take this any farther other than to say I've seen alot of 12 lb Bonefish in the last two weeks and damn the women on this Island are eating a lot of French fries.
....Long time client Bernie Gastrich fished with me for three days. Bernie is a good fresh water fly angler but has a case of, raise the tip 'itus worse than any one i've ever met..Sweet Jesus!! Had old Bern pointing that thumb straight up off the cork so that it looked like a wedding cake penus, my usual cure all, but he still insisted on raising up that hand on the take to the point I felt myself becoming a Keys guide and yelling like a mad man at the poor guy..Lo siento Mi Amigo...Finally ended up 1 for 3 last day with a good showing of some bones on the Eastern End of the Island. Off shore guys continue to bang away at some decent Yellow fin tuna up to 60 lbs. Still got a few days open next week. Ocean water is 79, the sun block is 45, and the beer is 37 when judge, bartender Judy, presides over the daily Captains meeting at the Dinghy Dock..join us!
...Exactly what the BVI's and Culebra are famous for in the fall happened today for The Gannons, Bill,Sean and Mitch. Three rods bent to the cork for a solid 45 minutes on one of our North side beaches. Home boys from Cape May hooked 9 and released 3 up to 75 lbs in an insane bite and incredible demonstration of light tackle angling skill. The only reason we quit was because the boys had to make the ferry and we ran out of bite tippet. What an F'n Blast!..The day started off on the flats where Sean,picture on the right, bagged a slob of a Mutton Snapper. Spring tides didn't produce the Permit I was hoping to see and Bones were out of the question with the big water and no viz. Beach didn't turn out to be such a bad last option after all.....
....95% of the fly fishers I fish with are poor to ok at best in their casting and presentation ability and maybe 3% are WoW! Jim Opperman was a Mid West Trout guide for years and has Fished Culebra extensively. Jim might fall into that missing 2% right up there with the Taborys,Pantorno's, and Jeff Beckers of the world all who have fished with me in Culebra. Your 2% above wow, Jim....Beautiful casting !
Light winds finally!... but the Tarpon got wifty and spread out on me. Jim O caught a small Bone only one of maybe two we saw all Morning. That's Jim on the right. The good news is the offshore guys are finding small Yellowfin and good numbers of Wahoo close in. Kingfish (sierra) should be turning on any day with the colder temps.
Incredible NE winds most of this month but despite conditions all my fly fishermen who have set out to catch a Tarpon have all done so. The fish remain bunched up on bait both in the mangroves and on several North Coast Beaches. Latest releases were posted by Gustavo Gonzalez, a proficient caster from North East Striper country. Gustavo jumped his first fish , after five or so jumps, and got the second to the boat for the picture on the right. After receiving several requests I will soon post a picture and description of the Culebra Tarpon fly we use here almost exclusively. This fly was originally developed by my good friend Jorlie Cruz. I of course promptly stole it,modified it and called it my own. Thanks Jorlie......
...There are a lot of Tarpon bunched up in several spots around the Island right now. Fished with fresh water fly fisher Steve Studley yesterday in some rather windy ,low viz conditions. There were a ton of fish constantly busting around us all morning. Steve at first had a problem that most fresh to salt converts have in that he wanted to raise his rod tip on the take. This doesn't work, period, ever!. I've developed a way to teach fresh water people how to overcome this. I have the angler when stripping the fly raise his thumb above the cork so he is now only gripping the rod with his fingers. The angler is then forced on the take to strip set. Raising the rod at this point feels too ackward with the thumb off. After the set the thumb of course can return to the grip as well as both hands and even both feet if needed. Proof of success is shown in the rather poor photo on the right with Steve's first Tarpon and first salt water fish on the fly released after 20 minutes of great pullage! Congratulations Steve!
...Richard is one of my longest running clients and is very good to have put up with me for so many years. Richard has caught Bonefish with me as well as Giant Barracuda and almost every fish available to an angler here in Culebra ,but never a Tarpon. Today at first Grey light we rounded into a small bay to net Sardines for our mornings fishing and behold a dozen magnificent Sabalo crashing, busting and just going nuts. Richard I say to Richard..Here's your chance. The Tarpon Skunk is about to be defrocked. Point the rod at the fish and don't reel when he's taking line and all the usual stuff that in the heat of the moment they all forget. Nothing! 2hrs of nothing. Only answer I could come up with was too much bait. At least that's what my Tarpon Gurus tell me, Sardines and anchovy were jumping in the boat the whole time we were fishing. First for me thats why we get up and go again. See you in a few days my friend and we'll try again. Maybe with spear guns!
.....The smart angler will normally match his rod size to the size fish he plans on catching but then I rarely do what I'm supposed too... mostly just to see what I can get away with..or not, for example I'm using a 5wt Sage RPL, a gorgeous casting trout rod, to catch Bar Jacks up on the East End. Rod and fish are just perfectly matched so that you had to just barely put the fish on the reel each hook up. I was having a ball doing this for about 30 minutes when a curious 30 plus Tarpon shows up to check out the commotion...and of course I did. Fortunately one quick jump ended what ultimately and most certainly would have been a total Charlie Foxtrot resulting in a mailing tube to Sage. Getting ready to leave I catch the glint of a tail on the flat next to where I'm anchored. Why the hell not ! They looked like fairly small maybe medium Bones at best and as it turned very hungry. First cast, one strip and the 5 wt turned into a wet linguini and the tiny Ross reel tranformed itself into the rear wheel of a drag racer. Fly line and all the backing That Ross could hold, 100 yds, gone to the arbor knot in about 15 seconds. Fish was a good 7 lbs as it turned out and still is with the added weight of a #4 Gami and 3 inches of 2x. God made 8wts and common sense for a reason....but I'd still do it again!
...Too much time away put me off my game for a day or so. My apologies to Bruce and Sharon Olden burg . A combination of strong winds, super spring tides, poor viz and asshole guide with who still had Striper scales in his beard made Bonefishing Really tough. Bruce and Sharon did have several good shots at Permit. Saw more this week than I'vr seen in Culebra in a while. Bonefish stocks look to be slim compared to last fall. Bruce did end up 1 for 3 on Bones but not with out a struggle. That's Bruce on the right. Middle of the week the three of us fished some cuts on the East End and had non stop Jack Blitzes. Nothing big but numbers and good pullage. This was Bruce and Sharon's first Fly experience in Salt. Hope I've made some converts. Great people,great fun, which is really what its all about. Lots of free time next week. I'll be exploring and trying different things before Season gets rolling. Check it out here ....
Dale Winchell, Vice President of "Joe's Ice" here in Culebra, boated 7 King Mackeral (Sierra) with me and then finished Monday Morning out by releasing an 80# Tarpon. I swear Dale had that Tarpon boat side in under 15 minutes using 12 lb spin tackle.Either Dale is an animal or the fish was a pussy....maybe both. Last trip of the season featured the gentleman on the right, who wished to remain anonymous, releasing a Bonefish. All the fish on our Fish Picture page of this site by the way were caught this season. Need fly fishing advice over the next few months be happy to help just call my cell 609 827 4536. There are no other fly fishing guides in Culebra so beware of the web sites that advertise that they fish here. Like I said "Back before You Know It".....
...Strong North East trades have set in for the first time this season. Normally these are conditions we experience in January and February. Strange year weather wise here at latitude 18. Winds made it tough to pole and see fish even wading as we resumed fishing after the bachanal. Schedule is light so hopefully I'll get a few chances to fish on my own this week and next. Picture on the right is Dave Toth with a big Bone Fish he released with me Good Thursday before the craziness. His Wife Jill also caught a Big Bone that afternoon and pulled the hook on another after the first run . Slamin' fishing with fantastic anglers....
....It has been a tradition of the boaters from the "Big Island" to invade Culebra every Samana Santa for as long as any one here can remember. They come over by the hundreds and raft up together behind one of our famous Bonefish flats called Dakity. They eat drink and party until the water starts to stink from all the sewage from the boats. This year promoters wanted to bring in a big cargo vessel to be party HQ with Gasoline,lights,bands,and a live radio show to pump the Party up. When local Culebrense got word of this they quickly organized a blockade to keep the "Party Barge" out of Dakity. I was the only Gringo to participate in this blockade and very honored to have been asked to join. It worked!! Thank you Tomasito and every one who participated. The "Cojones Award" definitely going to Sylvia..You go Girl! Back on the fishing front, picture of Dave Cook on the right with one of two Bone fish he caught and released with me prior to civil disobedience.
....There is no other way to describe it. Here in Culebra 8 hour gas lines, no water.... I apologize for the title,I'm Quaker not Catholic. On the water pretty fair week. Bonefish for Jeff Crabtree. Ponce's Kurt Akei goes 1 for three with some fine stick work . Nice going Kurt and again Happy Birthday. Also from Ponce, one of PR's best fly fishermen, Fernando Monllor, displayed his usual magnificent fly casting skills on the flats Sunday and released two big Bone Fish. Pleasure to observe the master! Dave from Montana with two Bonefish with me yesterday...Fine,Fine casting! My good client and 'cuda bounty hunter Richard Rogers on the right making the world safer for Bonefish.
....I remember a quote from Chico Fernandez (Author and Quite possibly one of the best Bone Fishermen alive) that the maximum backing you will ever need on the flats is 100 yards. Always one to cause trouble of course but I am merely making an observation...Twice, Twice I say here in Culebra this year alone, I have had Bone Fish run within yards of the 100 yd Mark. (My reels are marked and all carry a minimum of 150 yds of Backing). This came close to happening again just the other day again with client Eric Asmis. Eric and I both watched in amazement as a big Bonefish ran off almost all of his backing , the fish never leaving the flat, before pulling the hook in some coral. Eric caught that fine looking Tarpon on the right (Thanks Joe Panterno, Great Pattern!) and then went on to catch two big Bones. Fine angling Eric!! My suggestion ? Fly line to 50 ft of Mono (25 lb test) to 150 yds of Backing. Sure can't hurt!
.....Craig Woolard , a most talented fly angler from Alaska, caught two Bones with me and pulled the hook on a third. That's Craig in the current picture on the right. (Click on to enlarge). Yes casting ability does make a difference combined with a new pattern we have just started using this week has a few fish confused! ...Nice change! most of the time it's me. Joe Panterno (current IGFA world record holder for largest Bone Fish ever caught on Fly) sent me a new pattern to try on Tarpon. Eric Asnis fished with me yesterday and second cast with Joe's pattern he's hooked up to a forty pond Tarpon which he released 20 minutes later...story and photos to come
....I tend to agree with Lefty Kreh's philosophy 'Put a decent fly in front of a Bonefish as long as the presentation is perfect and he will eat it"..except in Culebra. When I am on the flats I change patterns constantly. It's like a nervous habit and it drives some people nuts. I'm motivated by what I observe at the time. Tide ,light, what the fish are doing at that moment and most importantly what natural forage is available at that particlar tide. Banded shrimp, Mantis shrimp,Gobi's,green crabs and glass minnows and worms make up most of what Bone fish eat here. If you're fishing in 8" inches of water you better be light and weedless. 6 feet you better get down. All the patterns I fish here are my own or variations of others. The Green crab on the right is a great flats pattern for Culebra. Not my original idea just my version. Call me for ideas if you are coming here and tie. I'm happy to help
...Didn't stop Mike Becker from whoopin' this big Jack Crevalle on little 8 lb rig I usually use for Grunts...nice piece of angling Mike. Next stop found us hiding in the lee near a Mangrove flat with 8 inches of water and the strange combo of Bone fish and Snook tailing right next to each other, A first for me. Mike's wife Joy hooks up a Snook but couldn't keep it out of the roots. Case closed! Snook were a common sight here when I first came to Culebra but are few and very far between these days. There is no protection for these fish and most Culebrense growing up in culebra today will never have the chance to even see a Robalo in their current life time.
....Tons of bait and lots of Tarpon. Almost all of my anglers fishing from the beach have connected this week on fish up to about 80 lbs. Some of the battles have lasted an hour or more. Jumpin' Johnny Pompano still trying to get one to the sand because he's still insisting on using rubber hooks.
Bone fishing slowed up a bit ,fish seem a bit jumpy. It could be pre spawn or the more than usual numbers of big 'cudas hanging around. Alan Maglia, Tom Chimento, and my long time client and good friend Vic Kopnitsky still managed Bonefish releases this week.
.....Brit McMaster walked right into a fly fishing scenario most of us just dream about. Twenty minutes after leaving the dock last Thursday Brit is hooked up to a forty plus Tarpon that was released successfully after another twenty minutes. Thirty minutes later Brit releases his first Bone fish of the day. Right on cue who shows up next? Of course Johnny Pompano's arch nemisis, Senor Permit. He was twenty plus pounds and eleven oclock inbound,50 feet. It was like a dream come true and then reality struck. The Permit did what Permit do best and for six casts proceeded to ignore two of my best Permit Patterns. Brit finished out the day with one more Bone on the fly. Close old dog but no cigar today!!!
John and Tim Farenetta, clients for many years,fished with me Friday and crushed 'em. Final count...Dozen and a half Jacks, at least that many Snapper and Porgys and Four Bone fish!! That's the most Bone fish in one morning in 2010. Congrats and see you next year!
....Where you can fly cast to Tarpon and see your fish coming for a hundred yards and yes you are in Puerto Rico and no You are definately not in San Juan. You will not see just one fish. On Tuesday I cast to a at least 30 fish some over a 100 lbs in 3 feet of clear water. If you didn't know where you were you would have thought you had found "Location x". Call "Pochi", Capt Francisco Rosario 787 547 7380 for absolutely the Best Tarpon fly and light tackle fishing to be found in this part of the world, period. I thank you Pochi for teaching this old dog some new tricks. Any day you can go out on the water and learn something new is a great day!!
Back in Culebra. picture on the right of another Culebra slob caught and released last week by who else? ..CW Next day open ,March 10th. Keep it tight and release it right!!
........Chris Walker and his two sons, Brennan and Collin, all holding a fly caught Tarpon the family ganged up on. Fish was caught in one of Nancy Waltons private fishing reserves of course with the owners permission. Notice the bloody face on Collin. In his exuberance he jumped on the fish to help out his dad just as the fish took a leap and clocked him in the nose. Both Collin and the Tarpon were released to fight another day.
Bob Warren caught a Bone fish earlier in the week with me. Pancho Carbonel bagged two fly caught Bones within 20 minutes of each other. These were Pancho's first Bone fish. Light wind, good sunlight and big schools of fish were the ideal conditions Pancho and I fished in on Thursday. I watched from the poling platform with great pride as my student put it all together like a pro. Congratulations Pancho!!
......that a lot of people here can ever remember. Light south east trades and water temps still around 80. Regular visiting winter fly fishers have been catching. Johnny Pompano with an 8 lb Bone fish release yesterday, and Nancy Walton, aka La Reina de Flamenco, with a Tarpon release off the beach. Chris Walker hooked up a permit on a Kwan fly but came unglued after the first run.Congratulations to all! I know it's DIY not DYS....
......Contrary to what most people think,I'm a big fan of Do it Yourself fishing vacations here in Culebra. What I don't understand is how somebody could possibly think that they could arrive here blind go out by themselves for the first time and catch Bone fish. It's been done but not very often. Enter the guide!! Why not invest in a half day trip learn about our tides, our different flats,what these fish are eating and then spend the rest of your vacation applying what you've learned.
If there ever was a poster boy for DYS in Culebra it would be Mike Broyles. Picture on the right. Mike fished with me one day and then went solo for the next three catching all sorts of fish including his first Bone. He listened , he learned and then he went out on his own and kicked ass!.. Congratulations Mike!!
....It just doesn't get any better!! Lady anglers all week just knockin' the piss out of big fish. Mike Broyles and his girl friend Carrie Thomas fished with me yesterday. Carrie released an 8 lb Bonefish caught on spinning gear. The day before I had the pleasure of fishing with Steve and Sandy Pion. Sandy was hooked up to an eighty pound Tarpon for an hour. She never once thought of giving up the fight and handing the rod to husband Steve and fought that fish from hook up to release all by her self. By the Jesus those women from Rhode Island are tough!! I love my Job!!
....A whole week with out a trip. A new record. Things start to pick up this week with only 3 days not booked..Johnny Pompano and I have been chasing North Coast Tarpon with dull hooks. I've gone 0 for 6 which is fine by me. Two jumps and I'm happy. www.bonefishonthebrain.com has been running a blog commentary on Puerto Rico and its policy or lack of on Gill netting Bone Fish. Interesting stuff. Bjorn, who runs the blog would love any comments, especially from the fly fishers of PR who have been unusually quiet lately and who this ultimately benefits more than anyone else.
.....I've got more frogs in my back yard than any shack in Everglades City,Fla..3 days of rain in January, un F'in heard of...Fished with 7 years of potential angling experience in the 'guise of Levi Lilienthal, good kid who bagged his first tarpon Saturday just about his size and still very healthy after the release. Pic. on the right.
Culebra better wake up and deal with this run off problem. Honda is solid brown as in mud, turbity, what ever you want to call it...End result , you can figure it out!
...when used in a sentence written in Culebra and read by somebody freezing their calhouns off in the windy 20 degrees of Chicago or New York....But, but for real, it got cooler here! and that couple of degree drop in air and water temp triggers fish to react. Ok! not always favorably but without a winter you can't have a spring and spring Bonefishing is what Culebra's about.
I spent an enjoyable day fishing with Terry Tuepah from the Northern Provinces of Canada during the early part of the week and finally after a lot of hard work Terry released a Bone fish. Long time client and seasoned fly fisher Jacky Crawford finished out the week and after a few enjoyable "Jack Attacks" to take the stretch out of the line he released a respectable 6 to 7 lb Bonefish. Stay Warm!!
....The fish on the right is the reason people come to Culebra to fly fish. My good friend Annie from "Paradise Gift Shop" here in Culebra caught her first Bone fish with me yesterday that also turned out to be the first double digit fish of 2010 and more than likely the first one caught this year in the entire Caribbean. Also on front page this week the intrepid "Johnny Pompano" the 6ft 10 inch fly fishing machine caught an 8 lb Bone fish out of one of his secret East End Honey Holes on Jan 2nd. Congratulations Big John!! We may be down in numbers this year but we got em on...yes size does matter!!!
....Eleven hours into 2010 and Will McKee released the first Bone fish of the New Year. Will also got off 5 good casts to several Permit in a steady 20 kts of wind. A Jack Attack at first light started off the day when most of the Island was still soundly hungover. Culebra's a wonderful place when everyones a sleep, which is rare. Here's hoping for the coming new year that we all get to go to work in the morning, have some sort of affordable health Insurance Soon!! and when we get the opportunity to fish we treat it like a religion not an excuse...Flash back on the right is Capt. Jeff Becker , good friend and one of the most talented fly guides I have ever met ,holding one of six big Bones he released here in one morning back in 1997.
....Big Island is apparently suffering from lack of tourists but not so in Culebra. Wish we had Bonefish but they are gone from Culebra's major flats for the time being. Kite boarding is the newest thing out at Dakity and our "guests" from California have chased all the fish out of the area even after my pleading to stop boarding right up on top of the flats. Something they have been doing for hours almost every day for a few weeks now. With fly fishing limited to pocket flats and waiting for a mid winter influx of Fish we have spent the time Live baiting and doing fairly well on the right tides. Tito Norris and his son fished this morning with me and caught Mackerelas (Cero Mackeral) pictured on the right, and several large Jacks up to 6 Lbs. Winds are light and temps are in the 80's. So screw the Californians, life's OK.......!
...........and not just because it's Christmas. Take a kid fishing! Better yet your kid. My friend Hector Santana did just that this past Tuesday and it was a most enjoyable morning for Father and son and myself. We laughed , we caught a few fish and young Hector had us rolling on the deck with his nonstop comedy routine. So Hector Santanas both, many thanks to you for giving me the opportunity to see what is really important in this world... Felicidades to All!!
...Instead of pounding the same old areas I started working spots some of which I hadn,t caught fish in Ten years or more. Willim Schlein was with me yesterday in absolute perfect weather conditions and ended up catching his first two Bonefish of his fly fishing career. He started the day with a fresh water hook set, with obvious results, on a double digit monster on an old Johnny Pompano pocket flat which even Johnny had given up on. Willie calmed down after that and put the wire in two consecutive Culebra Bones to end the morning with a count of 2 for 3. Nice Job Willie!
...It's been slow fishing. I'll just call it as it is (obviously I don't guide in San Juan! ). Our Bonefish stocks took another hit this summer, and sadly I only see a few remaining fish on the East End at the moment . That should change in February with the migration hopefully. The Ensenada flats have been beaten pretty hard as a result. There are Fish and all but just a few of my clients have caught Bonefish this fall. A couple even touching the double digit mark. All and all it's been a struggle. James Linehan and his buddy Willie from Chicago are a good example. Both are world class Fly Fishers,casting and tying especially, and both with many years of guiding experience. The best we could do the other day in 7 hours is release one small Bone and have another fish drop the ball in the end zone after the initial run. The good news is the flats of Culebra are Gorgeous, This is a sight fishery to behold ,you will see fish with me and probably catch. Things are only going to get better. They always do here!
....Breaks over and it feels great to be back on the water. Clemson "Tigers" football was well represented today by special teams Jeff Ogren and fishin' buddy Josh Anderson from Alabama. Jeff caught his first Bonefish and Josh help me eradicate another Bone Crusher, or Picua Grande. I've watched these really big Barracudas pick Bonefish off the outer end of a big school like they were gummy bears at a saturday matinee. So no tears no regrets! This one also swims with the fishes..upside down!
....Lots of wind ,and no business. 8 days with no charters. Typical of mid December with a touch of Recession thrown in. Morning Ferry arrived yesterday and nobody got off! First time I've ever seen that. Fished on my own today and found a good first light bite of bar jacks . Two feet of gin clear water over white sand,fish on every cast for a good twenty minutes. Perfect 5wt situation with fish only about 2 lbs. More wind forcast for next 4 days then and a break of sorts. Wahoo on the North side when boats can get out and divers report seeing a lot of Sierra (Kingfish) showing up around the Cayos.
..Click on the current picture on the right and you will see about 20 incoming bones in the 4 to 6 lb range, what you don't see is that the school extends on each side of this picture another 50 feet or so or about 120 fish. All of those pictured are coming at us on Dec 5th with one Curt Akey from Ponce PR on point. My man was shaking like a leaf but got the job done. Curt went 1 for three on the morning and catching his first Bone ever on the fly! Look out Ipe, Curt is hot and on a role!! Ponchollo, your turn tomorrow. Long live the Ponce Posse!
..Some of my most memorable times fishing over the past decade and a half in PR have taken place during the month of December. Light fishing pressure coupled with ideal weather conditions often produce some of our best days on the flats. Offshore, wahoo are starting to show on the close drops and Sierra (King Mackerel) are starting to bunch up to do their winter thing.
Kortney Kirkeby caught his first Bonefish on a fly with me last week although Bonefishing in general has been slow since the giant rains of mid November.There will be no new reports until the weekend of December 4th 2009. Don't forget the fishing on Vieques!. Contact Capt Franco Gonzolez 787 450 3744
25 inches in 3 days made the Honda look like a gastro intestinal night mare. The muddy water made it to the flats and all but stifled our fishing for the week. The price of progress! You want developement the environment will suffer. There is no compromise. Tearing up the hillsides for these projects is creating run off scenarios that are killing our marine environment...On a more positive note I am getting great reports about the sight fishing for big Tarpon on the SouthWest Coast of Puerto Rico. Contact Capt. "Puchi" Rosario at 787 849 1430 for more info. He's the man to fish with. This is sight fishing. Not blind casting in stained waters by an airport runway!
....and Nancy Walton,aka The Queen of Flamenco, who has caught more Bonefish in Puerto Rico than any other woman will be the first to tell you. She is a joy to guide with clean tight short and deadly accurracy and incredible stealth. Unless she starts to laugh. She does this a lot and makes you realize smiles is what its about. My mouth still hurts from smiling. Thanks Nanc!..
A new student in Pancho Carbonell fished with me today along with my good friend Fernando Monnllor. Unfortunately for the Ponce Posse the water temp had jumped up 5 degrees and the tides were less than ideal. Fernando and I made a Bonefish convert in Pancho and I took great satisfaction in watching his casting progress through the day. Puerto Rico should take great pride in the quality and high levels of expertise of their fly fishing community. Next trip Pancho we'll be clearing line!!
..Fished the early part of the week with Joe and Marie Hughes,good friends from Sea Isle City ,New Jersey. Joe is a school teacher and one of the best known Fly fishing guides on the South Jersey Shore. Marie caught her first Bonefish and Joe caught a Tarpon. Nancy Walton , the Queen of Flamenco, is back and I will be fishing with her and Jim Opperman today. One of Puerto Rico's finest my good friend and spearheader of PR's Fly Fishing Assoc, Fernando Monnllor will be fishing with me Saturday and Sunday. Long time client Jack Ehler will be starting off the week next week with me so plenty of reports and pictures coming up! hopefully informative and open minded once we get by Friday the 13th!!!
Bill Lapatkin caught a big Bonefish with me Monday .Fish was easily approaching 9 lbs.(Saw one the day before that was 4 to 5 lbs bigger).Bill's fish was caught on a Tom McQuade pattern using my 7wt Gatti (built by George Costa) and the new Cortland Crystal PE clear floating line. I'm dropping names out of friendship only. I went and bought the Cortland line because I liked the idea and was curious if it would work. I will never use another line Bonefishing ever. It works beyond your dreams!! Anglers using the Crystal with my rod last week out fished the other Bonefish lines two to one. You can order them locally in Puerto Rico through Danny Sosa the Cortland Rep . Email him email@example.com Now who's going to send me a thirty foot center console to try?
....with fishing like the weather the old saying if you don't like it wait a moment especially in Culebra has once again proved true. Places I fished with out success five days ago now have good numbers of hungry Bonefish. Warren and Terry Wilkey fished with me yesterday and both caught their first Bonefish on the fly (Pic to the right). Both anglers are experienced sweat water fly fishers from Arkansas and picked up the flats dance in an impressive hurry...More reports after today as we are fishing every day this week with clients........
Slow ,slow ,Slow..Fished with an excellent second time client,John Eilers who caught a small Bone the first day and got casts off to at least 3 Permit..Second day brought one Bone Broke off at the 4 second mark and that was that. Off to new grounds tomorrow with John ,Then Joe Hughes and Warren and Terri Wilkey coming in for the rest of the week.Hot reports hopefully coming up
An "Administrative Order" is to be instated by DNRA to protect the Bonefish, Permit and Tarpon of Puerto Rico from commercial exploitation. This is a temporary stop gap until the law can be formally written. Congratulations to Fernando Monnlor and Paul Calvesburg as well Craig Lillistrom for their efforts on behalf of the sports fishing community of Puerto Rico. Now if the new laws are actually enforced by the DNRA Rangers our sons and daughters and grand children and the future sports fishing community of Puerto Rico as well as our guests from other lands can enjoy the fishery we were so fortunate to be a part of. Thanks to all for your support!!
.. Puerto Rico's fly fishing community was well represented by Fernando Monllor in our first meeting with DNRA to try and bring about legislation to protect the Bonefish and Permit of Puerto Rico. Tarpon are already protected by law. All present were very happy with what was discussed and hope at to have another meeting soon to finalize a proposal for enactment. Keep your fingers crossed!!
Fernando Monllor and Francisco Rosario along with Paul Calvesbert will have their first meeting with reps of the DNRA in Rio Piedres this coming Tuesday the 24th. This core group along with myself are in the process of forming a PUERTO RICO FLY FISHING ASSOCIATION for the purpose of protecting the stocks of Bonefish,Permit and Tarpon in Puerto Rico. The idea is to follow in the foot steps of Belize which recently granted catch and release only status to the big three. Watch this column for updates on the Association this summer and please Email if you would wish to join our cause..firstname.lastname@example.org
...Time Has Come Today (Chambers Bros 1967) formation has started ,with the purpose of uniting the Anglers of Puerto Rico to Protect the Bonefish,Permit and Tarpon Resources. A group of guides from all over the Island as well as interested Fly and Conventional anglers are uniting in an effort to push through legislation that would protect the Big Three and give them Game fish Only Status. Culebra Bonefish and Vieques Bonefish are in great danger of being gillnetted to extinction. Interested in joining the Association or adding your name and Email to the Under Secretary of DNRA list of concerned Fly Fishers contact me email@example.com Thanks
..a few will know what that means...Great week end with good friend and long time fly pal Fernando Monllor who brought with him "Ipe" Juan Bennazar a new member of the illustrious Ponce Posse who smashed down on two Culebra Bonefish first time ever..Great job Ipe !!
Tomorrow my annual turn solo on the flats for an hour or two..next report
....Elijah Grenier did an excellent job of landing one of the largest Hound Fish I've seen in many seasons. Quick twist from Dr Slick and the fish pictured on t ob is the relationships that are formed between client and guide.. Jack Erhler has fished with me for twelve years..I've watched his cast develope from a sloppy fat loop into a precision presentation..and just as his cast and fishing skills have matured our long time friendship has made our time on the water together a real pleasure...Friend or not Jacks 3 trips with me this visit resulted in the loss of 3 fish..It didn't matter..Murphy couldn't spoil the good time we had together
not on fire. SSSlow but steady fishing..no Tarpon run and picking away at Bones..Everybody is hooking up but....! an inordinate amount of Long distance releases..mmmmm!
Things picked up a little with "Pablo" Paul King of the Mitch Evans party picking up his second Bone of the trip with a nice 8 lb fish. (Pics hopefully next week). We cut the trip short as the approaching sounds of thunder sent us scurring for cover. Lightning rods properly stowed. Albies are making a good showing..Jack E. with a couple of long releases...more today
Joe Hughes caught a slob with me Saturday,nice 8 lb bone, only action we had all morning..things were slow...Fished the Mitch Evans party sunday,one take and a few misses on the flats and then a small 3 lb bone for "Pablo" poling from the boat..The Bonito (false Albies) showed up in force channel side on the eway home and did there usual zig while we zagged..Jack Erhler will get them tomorrow........
Been fishing for a few days now and just a general overview of whats happening on the water here...there is no Tarpon run on the beaches like has taken place the last couple of fall seasons for the simple reason that the large areas of bait that congregate the fish have yet to materialize..everything seems late! There does however appear to be a fair number of Bones around and a cooler than average (for this time of year) water temp of 82 f. .....Fished with Joe Hughes, a Sea Isle City,N.J. Fly fishing guide, the middle of this week and my first trip of the fall season..Joe got a 25/30 lb Tarpon release the first day..Next day fished with Bill Gallup and his friend Dick both Fresh water fly guys from Vermont going one for two on Bone fish with Bill's being his first ever..Congrats Bill ,nice job and hopefully another salt convert!...fishing everyday this week,more to come ,stay tuned.......
...See ya in the fall. Now booking late October and November..Scroll down and review this seasons reports. Things we did and didn't do, fish we caught and will catch again..All pictures on the fish picture page are just from this past season alone..Many thanks to all my clients new and old, stay in touch and see ya on the rebound!
November is booking up! The period 17th thru 28th is all booked or unavailable which leaves the 29th and 30th. The first part of the month is still open 6th thru 16th with most of December still available
First time Bonefish for Ron Farari on Friday..Jorlie Cruz caught a Tarpon on his own between trips with me. Don't need no stinking guide! Jorlie and I have had great fishing through the years and not so great fishing as in this week. Three days of southwest winds and a few gear problems..There is always next year if I can borrow him from Vieques Greg for a few days
Fished with Tim Adams and his friend Danielle on wednesday. Tim is an accomplished Freshwater fly fisherman from Colorodo and with some great casting bagged his first Bonefish with out making any of the traditional mistakes that Fresh water fly guys make when they fish the salt the first time. Nice job Tim!..My good friend and long time client Jorlie Cruz has been with me this week also .Jorlie has been busy trying out new line and rod combos and has yet to score on this visit. Something he normally does with great regularity. With the wind back in its normal direction the rod will bend today Jorlie
Bonefish for long time client Doug Lavinger ,then off to Vieques. Fished a day with guide Greg McKee of WildFly Charters..Wind was blowing hard Southeast so we couldn't get to the productive flats on the East end of the island..sometimes you get a better idea of a guides abilities when he has to handle a tough slow fish bad weather situation.. and such it was...Greg is an excellent guide I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him! ..and those of you who know me are aware of my "sketchy" relationships with other guides (eh,eh!) Greg is a pro, and I hands down recommend people fish with him...Thats my first endorsement of another guide in this area,out side of my good friend Garfield up in Anegada...gettin' a little soft I guess
...Five days on land,hauled the boat for Samana Santa (any of you who have been here for hell week would understand why).Lessons and eco tours the first part of the week..(we do both by the way..no bioluminesence,'cause I'm scared of the dark and it cuts into happy hour !)..fly fishing yesterday with Father Krebs. The good reverend had 'em coming from both sides and looked like a giant gumbo limbo ,casting every whichaway ,trying to decide which fish he wanted..needless to say between the two of us we scared them all off,but what a show..one of the finest "push" I've seen in weeks..Good to see the fish survived this anual Coors Lite religeous event...Long time client Doug Lavinger tomorrow
A lot of fly fishers come to Culebra and catch a Bonefish on their own and taking into account the difficulty of our fishery to just catch one fish sometimes is a major accomplishment.. On the other hand to come here and fish two tides in two days and release 4 bonefish rates you about as high as you can go on the old angling barameter..Jim Walker is the Man! ...Jim started fishing with me a number of years ago and its been a blast to watch his Bonefishing skills improve every year..Don't get me wrong just fishing with me didn't get him to where he is today as much as I would like to take credit..(I've had clients who have been with me for years who still couldn't catch the clap`in a Puerto Plata Cat house)...Jim studied the fishery and made it happen! Oh yeah and he's fishing this morning before he flys out ... My bet is he'll make it five!!!
Giant swell from the North squashes any chance of us flyfishing for Kings...Bonefish for Dick Rogers from Maine and then another Mainiac Rob Bryan with his first Bone on Friday along with some big Cudas,Bonito and Cero...Samana Santa cometh..and I'm gettin ready to hideth
Cashing in on the great King Mackerel fishing we have been having drifting with live bait using 12lb test spin. Been a blast.... Takes within 10 feet of the boat,Blackfin Tuna mixed in. Larry Kearns and daughter Colleen scored some nice Sierra yesterday with Colleen's biggest going 28lbs. (Fish Pictures).... Try to entice one on a fly rod with my regular Jack Ehler tomorrow
John pulls one out of mystery flat underscoring the fact that probably 3/4 of the Bonefish caught in Culebra each year are found in areas other than Dakity. Dakity fish are show fish.... Big ,easy to see and hit so hard that as soon as they see a pair of orvis flats boots and one of those dorky floppy hats with the ears they just start to laugh..Here comes another one..Way to go John.Nobody has more hours in than you and every fish you've caught you've earned the hard way by walking to all your spots in a straw hat and flats wear by Kmart..See ya April 3rd and 4th
Super job! from the cast to the 30 minute battle through the coral and every obstacle possible, the running line was hung twice under heads,Ken you deserved that fish! Permit by both our estimates was 15 to 18 lbs. Pictures soon on the Picture page on this site. When Ken was hooked up to a big Bonefish later that afternoon I promised him that upon releasing the fish we were going to the Dinghy Dock to complete the slam. Fortunately for me ,the bone broke off after a 10 minute battle and I avoided the wrath of PeePee. What the hell was I thinking....?
Been the best winter showing of King Mackeral (Sierra) in years. The three or four boats from Culebra who regularly fish for the local restaurants part time have been coming in with coolers full in just a few hours of fishing. Max Guiterrez had King Mackeral,Yellowfin Tuna,Blackfin Tuna and Wahoo on Sunday. Some of the Kings were 20 to 30lbs. If you want to fish with Max and I in April I have open dates all through Samana Santa since I won't be flats fishing that week because of the crowds. Whats better than spending holy week catching and eating fish and drinking lots of beer in Culebra. Its what the pope wants ,Tourism wants, all God's publico driver's and the people who made Flamenco a Blue Beach... whatever the hell that is
Small Bone and baby Tarpon for Ron and Elisa from Portsmouth ,New Hampshire...Dave Tomczyk winessed the largest school of Bonefish that I have seen in years here, easily a hundred fish that we could conservatively estimate,probably more than that. Fish were cookie cutter images ,about 4 to 5lbs. Wind and clouds are back,more like January!
Apparently (I never use spell check by the way) some people are not receiving answers to their Emails..I apologize! We're working on it..If you need to get in touch call and leave a message 787 742 0412..Forgot to mention a great trip I had last week with John and Darren Villani who caught some slammer Mutton snapper..Great company and good fishermen..sorry about the picture Darren,came out all glare..Fly fishing all week everyday..lots of wind,poor tides..I love a challenge!
It was like the old days in Culebra..Nothing but Tails as far as you could see and all 7 and 8 lb fish with a couple of double digit Hogs thrown in. Perfect light and tide just right and big Bones acting like big Bones in skinny water. It was Nancy Walton's last trip of the season and there was nobody better suited for the challange at hand. The Queen hooks up and to one of the biggest Bones I've seen in ages. After 10 minutes of nothing but backing the Pride of Flamenco has fly line on the reel. It looks like we're close to getting pictures when the fish makes one desperate run and wraps the fly line around one of two coral heads on the whole flat. He'll be waiting for you next year Nancy! Great Show! Better than Charlie saying goodby to the Ferry that time !
So much for that old March cliche ..it's blowing a steady 25 and puffy out of the East...Started out this morning in a relative calm with Adam Ferrel and Andy. Andy took the skunk off the boat with a small Bonefish first thing so we moved up into Tarpon time. Adam hooked up and got six jumps out of a twenty lbs backwater fish before he threw the hook...and then it started to blow so we spent the rest of the morning trying to hook up on Cero Mackeral on the lee side..more wind tomorrow!
I had the pleasure of fishing with Dave DiBenedetto who is the Editor of "SaltWater Sportsman" and Chris Ryan who is ex Orvis staff and possibly the finest fly caster I have ever fished with. Dave fished with me last year for the first time and Chris has been fishing with me for many years....Spent Tuesday targeting Tarpon... Dave released one with me last year and bagged another this year in the 45 lbs range after a technically perfect fight of about 15 minutes...Chris then proceeded to tease some smaller fish but failed to connect as fish after fish batted his fly around like they were playing vollyball...great entertainment though for me and Dave......Wednesday started off first thing with Dave casting to a single Permit from the Boat..Perfect cast! fly lands just under the fish's head,he dives on it,picks it up and spits it before either of us can say oh shit! Chris is up next...seven Permit,thats one more than six,heads down,horned up! fifteen feet on the bow in a tight circle feeding hard! Chris's perfect cast comes tight, fish comes unglued,school spooks,hearts athumpin',cool sight!...My anglers soon make up for our fishless start with each of them catching a Bonefish. Thank you guys that was a fun two days to be up on the platform!
Nice to get offshore to break up the routine and get away from the crowded flats..Took Nancy and Rick Demeo out for a morning trip on the Shamrock for a half day morning charter. Nancy caught and released her first Sailfish and the couple also put 6 nice Sierra(King Mackerel) in the box. Great morning..Good company,great weather,hot fishing!
For the first time in 16 years I had to cut a trip short because every flat in Culebra was covered up with fly fishermen . Taco bell Louis had his Rent Me zodiacs all out with a bunch of Yahoos trying to pole a rubber boat learning to fly cast at the same time,the part time newcomer freshwater guides from Maine and Georgia all had people out and the East end looked like opening day of trout season..So I apologise to my client Richard Green,who was wonderful company, for not getting the opportunity to show him what Culebra Fishing could be really like.. I hope this was just a case of overcrowding on a holiday weekend and not a sign of things to come. Culebra doesn't have the resource (Something I've tried to relate to the new guides who don't seem to care or want to listen)to support an extensive fishery here..Fortunately for the newcomers ,they obviously don't have to rely on guiding for their livlihood , they are basically just playing..which is fine ..fish and have fun by yourself...you don't need the money so don't put extra people on a already crowded flats area
Carlin Lynch,9 years old and about 57 inches high fought a Sierra (King Mackeral)for 25 minutes on 12lb test that weighed exactly 30lbs and was 52inches long. (See pics in fishing pictures). Pretty impressive angling! Dad, Jim lynch ,should be very proud of both sons,you too Tommy, both for their angling skills and mostly for just the way these kids conducted themselves.....
I don.t think there is anyone watching the store in Nantucket right now ,cause they're all here!.... Fished with Brian Sullivan and his lovely companion Tess Sunday. After catching some Jacks and Snapper we graduated to the big boys..Tess hooked up and fought a big Tarpon (much bigger by the way than Brian's brother Mike's fish...Right he's from Nantucket) but due to some unfortunate circumstances, none the result of Tess's angling skills, the Tarpon parted company after about 15 minutes...Good reports on North coast Permit showing up!
Jacky Crawford here on his second visit to Culebra who caught a Bone with me and Butt wrapped a big Poon which I'm sure he'd rather I not mention..Jacky ,you ain't the first and I hope not the last...and Paul and 9 year old Reed McDermott,Reed showed how it's done and put three nice Salma(Mutton snapper) in the cooler for his family to enjoy for dinner . Film at ten as they say at CNN..Whoops did I say that!!!
Accompanied by the lovely Pam Keefer, Culebra's own Nancy Walton,Known world wide from Bay Head to Zoni as the Queen of Flamenco, showed Pam and I how it's done. Bonefishing with me Tuesday Nancy placed a 70' cast right on the nose of a five pounder that jumped on the fly she designed and tied. After a flawless fight with the fish going well into her backing we released the Bone. I have been fishing with Nancy for over a decade and her casting never ceases to amaze me. In a 20 kt wind she can place a fly where ever she wants in a 70' radius within 2 feet of a target at will bangadi boom! Thanks Nancy for making it look easy. We'll do it again soon
Every once in a while you have a day on the water where all the luck factors line up like the stars and Wazooey!!...Smiles and High fives..It was a pleasure to share one of those days with Steve Woodard and his wife Celeste..Monday started off with the Flight arriving late from Isla Grande due to a surprise FAA inspection the day before that grounded half the planes that commute to Culebra.( Nothing serious, mostly just seat belt signs not lighting up or not enough Puke bags in the seat pockets...) Arriving on the grounds about 2hrs later than I'd originally planed, Steve,who had extensive Tarpon experience growing up in Florida, feeds a fifty pounder and I'm on the leader 20 minutes later...After a brief break we return to the action,Steve feeds a slobola,hooks up and the Tarpon proceeds to tow us around the Caribbean for the next hour and 15 Minutes. This fish is a good hundred pounds and the biggest that ever crossed the deck of my new flats boat. After pictures(check next week)the Fish is released in good shape. Oh yeah,I almost forgot,Steve was using 12 lb test..........!
If you have any interest in Tarpon fishing with us next fall, I suggest you start thinking about your plans pretty soon. Bookings are already coming in and some of them are five day blocks. See ya at happy hour!
Culebra boasts many talented fishermen,one of which is Aldo Gonzolez Pena. Aldo stopped by to tell me the North side bite was hot for Sierra(king Mackeral) so I grabbed my charter, Dave McGinty from Philidelphia and with Max Gutierrez and a load of live Sardinas headed out to the North side Sunday. After we got the kinks out and figured out the dance steps we managed to put 12 King Mackeral in the box in about two hours.... I really got to get back to flyfishing.... Look forward to Steve Woodard and his wife tomorrow
Nice change of pace when you're flyfishing almost everyday (I'm not complaining)..Had the pleasure of taking John Faranetta and his son Tim out live baiting, the boys put a hurt down starting with almost every member of the snapper family that is available to catch here and ending with a King Mackeral Blitz with John finally putting one in the boat that weighed exactly 18lbs. John's fish was caught on 10lb test. Great Job! We released all but three of the snappers and two Mackeral. Fished the next day with Mike Spenser who caught some big Jacks,including a monster Crevalle. Mike also got to Jump his first Tarpon. Back with the long rod with Dave McGinty today and tomorrow,hope to have some good fly reports......
Big John tells me he finally hooked up with his arch rival ,the permasaurus, who on feeling both the sting and the wrath of the mighty Krebs took off over the reef with everything except John!!.......Slow this week. 2nd day with Dan Driscoll after 0 for 1 the first day..Pressures on! Dan's a great flyfisherman and deserves his first Culebra Bone..We'll try...Hard!
Fished with Bob Kelso and his wife Linda who was celebrating her birthday. Linda caught and released a thirty lb Tarpon to honor the day. Bob, who started off his vacation like gang busters with that big Bone,only had one hook up Thursday on Bones with me and the fish broke him off on a piece of coral. Thats ok Bob,it was Linda's birthday. Bob did show me the mark on his rod where he measured his big fish. It was 27 on the plus side inches snout to fork which according to the Dick Brown scale, which I use confidently, Makes that fish at least 11 plus pounds,closer to 12, conservatively. Nice fish Bob ! One of the biggest that I know about in at least two years here.
The Newest addition to the Fishing picture page shows Big John Krebs holding a Bonefish he caught last year. I believe he was fishing with his buddy Jim Peva. All pictures on this page are current from this season (06 fall,07) except the picture with John (Big guy with the beard and glasses). Nice fish John !...Reports of Snook on the Northside,My man Krebs is on the case! Bob Kelso,from Wisconsin and fishing on his own his first day, landed and released (unfortunately without pictures) a monster Bone he says for sure was double digit...Congratulations Bob, I'll try to match that Thursday with you
People ask me all the time,how can I fish Culebra on my own without the services of a guide. I think you will find, at least it's been my experience, when ever a professional guide travels outside his own turf to fish the first thing he does is enlist the services of another guide who is familiar with the area he wants to fish. It only makes sense. You need local knowledge to fish an area effectively. If money is a problem,most guides will happily give you some basic info so you can fish on your own in some what the right direction.(Depending on your personality and what day it is of course)...Fishing on your own in Culebra.... Basics...Forget the rental boats ,they're a waste of your time and money, Kayaks are ok as long as you realize your going to do a lot of upwind paddling and there ain't no cardiologists within 20 miles...keep your barbs pinched down (you'll land more fish and the hook has a better chance of falling out when you break him off... Don't try to stop the run of a bonefish ,with either your hand or heavy drag. Beginners do this all the time. Let the fish take line, all of it,including most of your backing if necessary. He will stop!....Have fun and call me when you inherit enough money to hire my services
Had the pleasure of fishing with Jimmy Buffet again..This time he brought Joe Paterno with him.Joe has held the world record for largest Bonefish ever caught on a fly rod for the past 10 years. So two super anglers,beautiful weather for a change,great company,and they caught fish.(See Fishing Picture Page on this sight). The biggest thrill of the trip was watching Joe hook into a Bonefish that made his eyes bug out and mutter "BBBBig FFFish" The leader parted at the knot where the intermediate joins the class tippet when the fish (an easy double digit) took off across the flat Murphy was with us again!..My friend Big John Krebs (Buffet calls him the"Swiss Tsnunami")gets the credit for arranging all the details and legwork for this trip,and again many thanks John, You're the best
My anger managment counselor here on Culebra has asked me to keep this short and happy..what an asshole..Our major bonefish flat ,at least in size,as most of you know is called Dakity.Louis from Uraguay, who moved here about 7 years ago, thought that would be a great place to start a floating restaurant to augment his water taxi business.Now he has added boat rentals! He has several bright red zodiacs with outboards that say RENT ME in big letters tied up to the restaurant 30 feet from what used to be a good bone and Permit flat...by the way thats pretty much history in the fish department as you might have guessed. These zodiacs are going all over the flats in all directions,running aground,and generally terrifying fish, turtles,people and what ever, there is no need to say anymore...big breath and smile!
Fishing with Allen and Greg and Ruth from Cnnecticut for four days, day two Greg hooks a tarpon on a Dan Blanton whistler pattern that I have modified a little on a 2/0 Tarpon hook...Fish Jumps and throws the hook..next cast Greg hooks up again,fish never jumps so I'm convinced he's hooked up with a Horseeye..fish comes to the boat,its a bonefish! ate a 2/0 Tarpon fly with a #60 bite tippet..he looked like a cat trying to swallow a chicken!..Stay tuned for my tirade on the new Dakity boat rental.
I can't mention Nancy without mentioning Big John Krebs ..he's not the queen of Flamenco, but he's the King of the road..big as a sasparillo tree holding a flyrod,John spends more time walking the beaches and flats of Culebra than most of us spend driving or sleeping..When you mention the words Bonefish and Permit to Big John his eyes get as big as saucers he starts to drool a little and he can't stop talking about the tails he seen lately or that 40lb Permit that lives on that coral head on the East End that will end up driving the poor man absolutely insane..Welcome back John..He will eat that fly one day and we will hear you screaming all the way back at the Dinjy Dock....Wind and More Wind! cancelled after a few hours with with PJ and his wife have to try again tomorrow...!
My good friend and one of my oldest flyfishing buddys,the Queen of Flamenco,the tightest loop on the island,Nancy Walton is in the house or on the beach more accurately...To celebrate her return we did some exploring in some ugly conditions.Wind was NE about 25,water was dirty so we hit the deeper water with an intermediate and a Teeny 250 grain ..Nancy threw for about a half hour where I'd seen fish a couple of days earlier on about the same stage of the tide but this time no luck. We went a little deeper and on about my third cast with the 250 grain I was hooked up in about 20' of water. Released about a 6 lb Bone 10 minutes later. supposed to be Nancy's fish. Oh well! good to have you back Nanc!
Live bait fishing with Brad Dubik and his buddy Joe both from Maryland...Brad went 1 for 2 on Tarpon bringing a fifty pounder up into the boat for pics and then release..There were some bigger fish around (up to about #80) but the point I'm trying to make for my Fly fishing clients is that the water was gin clear,the fish were aggressive and need I say more? Life is too short with too many pitfalls and hairpulling and Bullshit not to catch a Tarpon on the fly
A lot of people ask me about boat rentals and bonefishing on there own. So here it is..Save your money! The boats from Culebra Boat Rentals are worthless for fly fishing and fishing in general unless you just want transportation to the flats or want to drop a handline on the reef. Problem is you have to know when to go and where or you're just throwing your money away. Enough said. Hire a guide, either here or in Vieques, and don't fall for the hype from one of the San Juan guides about how they fish here and can put you on fish and if you hire a guide in Culebra stick to the older uglier males they're always the BEST!
Slow week..lots of wind,had to fish in the lees just try and make a go of it..Terrible day friday with Bill Wilke and partner ended up catching reef fish on the patches just to make the rod bend.Went back Yellowtailin with Lisa and Irene from Pittsburg Pa. Caught a few along with a big Horse Eye and lost a nice King Mackerel. Bite was over by 7:30 am. Wind dropped out afternoon of the 8th .....Took Fred Diciccio out for a few hours.Fred is a guide in Alaska. Saw lots of Bones,mostly in the deeper water (3 to 9 ft) but they were really skittish and wouldn't eat. Typical January....
Took a day off and went pluggin with a buddy at the top secret Yellow tail snapper hole at first light..Culebra has a lot of big Yellowtails! steady fishin until the sun broke water,then just a pick, but still fun..some fish to 4 pounds plus!
Fished with Paco Bruno yesterday whose only previous flyfishing experience again was in freshwater..spent a little time with his cast and his presentation which he mastered beautifully but forgot the part about what you do when you actually hook a Bonefish..So Paco did what is inctinct when you hook a fish and tried to stop the fish from running with his stripping hand instead of clearing line and putting the fish "on the reel"..result, nice fish,busted tippet and very embarressed guide..Sorry Paco,that was definitely my fault.Anyway we had fun,great company and I hope to fish with Paco again if he gives this sorry ass guide the chance
Fished with a great couple Niall and Kailey Boggs from Oregon for two days. He is an accomplished steelhead fisherman with previous bonefish experience and a fantastic caster. Nialls manage to hook and fight a big Bone for five minutes and loose it when the fish ran at him and dropped the barbless hook and then a half hour later on a different flat jumped two 40# Tarpon when they did the exact same thing as the bone..Poor guy was shell shocked..Just goes to show you can be the best fisherman on the planet and bad luck will still find you sometimes....Anyway fishing with Paco Bruno tomorrow and this page will very shortly have pictures..won't we be cool
Fishing trips with young kids can go two ways..total disaster with the result you want to kill the parents and feed the kids to the sharks or totally rewarding, like today fishing with Jorge Calderon and his two sons Jorge and Edwardo. They were by far the best behaved kids I have ever fished with. Anchored up on a little patch reef and with light spinning gear started catching an assortment of bottom stuff,snapper and Chena (Red Hind) ,grunts etc.Then finished off the morning casting to busting blue runners up to 10lbs..lots of fun! but more fun because the kids listened,did what they were told, and were just plain good company..Congratulations Jorge...Steve Lewis party today,then a day off for xmas,back in the saddle the 26th..FELIZ NAVIDAD!
Flats guiding we constantly run into the situation of having to convert Fresh water fly people to salt water techniques..two good examples..fished with Steve Manley from British Columbia for the last couple of days, Steve is an accomplished fresh water fly angler and a fantastic tyer ..Steve kept lifting the tip of his rod to set the hook on fish for two frustrating days on a lot of fish and caught didly squat..the third day he he mastered the strip strike ,kept the rod tip pointed at the fish right through the entire take and caught three bonefish on three takes..Today fished with Chris Cross and his wife Marylin..Chris had never even seen salt water. First day in the salt,first fish seen, a Permit!,first cast ever in salt water and he's hooked up to a Permit...Take that to Atlantic City and smack it down on red..never happen in another hundred lifetimes..of course the fish came unglued but thats Permit fishing..and yes they showed up...Big Time!
The semi permanent oceanic high (SPOH) has moved south as is the winter pattern,the result=Christmas Winds...water is dirty,stirred up, should kick the Permit in the butt and get them to show especially with these big spring tides coming up..Offshore for the restaurants tomorrow
Fired up the Shamrock for a test trip ,now ready for season,Blowin out of the East about 25..Made one down wind slide and hit 4 or 5 spots with mixed results..Picked up half a dozen "snake" king mackeral in the 8 to 10lb range a few Ceros (Mackarellas) two or three Madrigals (White Jacks) and a couple of Bonito..No Wahoo(Peto) or Tuna and everything very deep
George Clemens from Mass. caught his first Tarpon on conventional spin gear..North side still rough as hell but down a little from last couple of days. Got to get away from this moon
Bernie Gastrich from Canada who has fished with me here and in N.J. had quite a show on a major Culebra flat..Squalls went through late afternoon and when the wind dropped..UP PERISCOPE! all you could see were tails all in 6 to 8 inches of water..Bernie made a beautiful presentation to a giant single who charged the fly inhaling and then ran straight for us..you don't need me to fill in the rest of this predictable scenario..couple more shots in ideal conditions with that sexy just before sunset light and mirror calm water..it doesn't get any better!
The first cold front of the year with a strong high pressure behind it brought howling Trades Nov29 with another four or five days predicted.SUCKS! but thats the fishing Biz..Peter Wright of Marlin magazine fame along with Rick Westfall who does all the filming for Guy Harvey were here at the invitation of Bonnie Anderson. They did a segment with Bonnie offshore and a bit with me inshore..Tough fishing because of the wind but the bit should have some interesting shots. To be aired on OLN (Outdoor Network) at some future date..great folks to work with!
Jorlie Cruz's last day had Nancy Walton along. Nancy is The Caribbeans answer to Joan Wulff. The major flats were devoid of fish..very strange! checked both tides,flats East and West..saw 2 fish! Finally checked out one of the smaller pocket flats that hasn;t had fish in years and found it loaded! Schools of a dozen fish on both ends and then one big school of 30 or 40 cruising the edges..Staked off up wind and had my anglers present..fish were wild a few follows but no takers even after 2 or 3 pattern changes..Welcome to Culebra!..Had a small Permit come into the spread but by the time we got straight on him..gone..back in a week.......
Jack Erler,on his last day fishing with me,shows how its done..First fish to show,first cast...35 minutes later..pictures and release! 40lb fish in gin clear water,you could watch the entire take like it was in some panaramic surround sound steroid induced private home theatre..Great job Jack!..Jorlie Cruz back out today for his last day got to pick him up in 15 minutes....
Capt Franco Gonzolez writes me that our sister Island also has a great Tarpon bite going on at the moment. Lots of fish in the 15 to 25lb range epoxys and small deceivers the flys of choice. If you have never caught one of these fish on a fly rod now is the time to call Franco or myself. Tarpon make any other fish in ocean seem tame.Check out Capt Franco at his web site linked through this site(go to resources)..caribbean flyfishing co.
Decided to chase tarpon instead of Bones..found them stacked up in a shallow bay with crystal clear water,white sand bottom,4 feet of water,bait stacked up against the shore and giant slobs patroling just outside the bait. Jorlie Cruz once again put his fly magic to work but ran into someone named Murphy..After jumping four mediums he scratches up the release on a 80 lbs deep shouldered slobola,fight time 35 minutes! ..text book until with me leaning over the side,shock tippet in my hand the fish makes a final lunge..things happen fast with large animals
..Pressure comes back on the rod and with the sudden shock the 10wt explodes..off to East Dorset,VT with that one too
North side tarpon showing,not nearly as dramatic as last year..Jack Erling busts of a hog and then a few casts later releases a gorgeous Horse Eye that puts him way into the never seen much end of his backing...Next morning fished with Jorlie Cruz,one of Puerto Rico's greatest fly anglers, who gets the release ... Bonefishing today
Plenty of fish today,all sizes..Jack Erling of Maine,a client of mine for ten years,makes the score and gets to check out his backing. Tarpon still a little scarce but that could change soon. They are where you find them!
I will be running "offshore" trolling and live bait trips for King Mackeral,Blackfin and Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo and Dorado..Stay tuned to this page for further details..Trips will be half day only and definitely less expensive than the " other boat " ..Those of you who have been around a few years remember how successful we were in this fishery in the 90's with "Emma". Trips will be starting in December
Big tides this week ,lots of bait in the right places but not the quantities of Tarpon that we had last year at this time. Once we get by this moon I honestly think things will come together, the ingredients are there. Good bite on another spot on the North side but have to see it first hand..TALK IS CHEAP .I'll be checking it out with some flyfishing clients in a couple of days..Stay tuned
People are always asking me what to bring in the way of flyfishing gear when coming to Culebra. If you plan on Bonefishing bring at least an 8 wt (although a 7 wt is fine in lighter air situations) with floating line and a reel with at least 200yds of backing. Tarpon fishing from a boat 9wt and 10wt are fine,from the beach you need at least a 10wt but preferably a larger and lots of backing. You'll need a large selection of tippet material to handle both the various dental plans and eye sight capabilities of our varied marine life. Fly patterns,bring the basics and we'll tune you up when you get here. I tie almost every night and can supply you with what you don't have. NO GEAR ? NO PROBLEM! we'll supply it...REMEMBER! FOR BONEFISHING,TARPON AND GENERAL INFO ABOUT GOINGS ON AND OFF IN OUR AREA, WATCH THIS PAGE STARTING NOVEMBER 1ST
Reports from Culebra,Vieques and San Juan will appear here on a weekly updated basis starting in November.