shore fishing at st.james club antigua
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shore fishing at st.james club antigua

Discussion in 'Rest of the World' started by [email protected], Dec 29, 2011.

  1. tom@castlehousenh.co.uk

    [email protected] Member

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    Hi
    Im going to Antigua next year,and I am planning to spin and/or fly fish from the shore,in and around St.James Club.
    Does anyone have any advice on what flies/spinners/jigs I should take with me?
    Also as I am relatively new to spinning in the sea what main line/traces/terminal tackle will I need?
    Any advice would be great.


    Many thanks Tom
     
  2. sj fiske

    sj fiske Member

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    hi i am going in may to grand pineapple!,not been before so will be hiring a jeep for a few days exploring,heard about one place which is supposed to be a nature area behind a hotel which is full of tarpon.
    dont think there are any flats.
    going to try and find a small boat for jigging and bait fishing as big game boat are over a grand a day.
    there is also loads of tarpon at the harbour but they are treated as pets by the boat owners so will avoid there as will just torment me.
     
  3. marktheshark

    marktheshark Member

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    Hi Tom
    I've fished Antigua, but not St James's Club area, but I've always thought it looked interesting because of the two aspects, inside the lagoon and facing the reef. Generally speaking, in similar conditions at Dian Bay there were smallish fish - barracuda, snapper, jacks and barjacks, ladyfish, needlefish, rays and a few tarpon - inshore. Small silvery spoons such as 18-20g Abu Tobies, and small poppers seemed to work OK but livebait was far better. There were a lot of small mullet and sardines around jetties etc. One method that worked very well there was the "magic balls" method: a small epoxy fry fly spun fast behind a 1-inch clear bubble float half filled with water to make it pop and bloop. Barjacks go mad for this method and I had a 7lb cuda on light spinning gear, and very good fun too.
    There are, as SJ Fiske suggests, saltwater ponds on the island that contain tarpon. The reserve he alludes to is inside the fence at Galley Bay and you're unlikely to be let in unless a guest there, but it did contain fish of up to 50lb that busted off every single time I managed to hook them on the fly. It was only on heavy spinning gear that I managed to hold them.
    The McKinnon salt ponds, behind Dickinson Bay, are more extensive but hold smaller fish (bear in mind I was last there in 2007 - this may have changed). I found it hard to fly fish there because there was so much gunk in the water, but the magic balls were absolute catnip, and I had 15 or 20 fish per afternoon. Not big - up to 6lb - but great fun on a 7ft skinny spinning rod.
    I've caught bonefish on bait at Dickinson Bay and Dian Bay but don't know of any fly-fishable flats on the island. A lot of the shallow beaches have such fine sand that it clouds up when there's any sort of sea running. Jolly Harbour has some good-sized tarpon, snook and barracuda, that feed on the scraps when the charter boats come in, but I was told that fishing wasn't allowed here when I tried, and also that the tarpon just dived for the pilings when hooked and were unstoppable. Some big fish were around, though.
    Good luck
     
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  4. Jerseyman

    Jerseyman Member

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    Hello Tom, have fished there a couple of times, its a bit of a mixture to be honest, the locals catch some good snapper ,and judging by the scales around a few tarpon[ 10-20lb] on bait, all on the open [beach club] side.
    lure fishing, true poppers, didn't seem as effective as plugs that ran 1-2ft deep, and while bar spoons had follows, the needle fish went daft for mepps of all things.
    there is a mangrove lagoon, not far away back down the road you come in on, but only got told about it few days before we came back.
    Gear wise? having watched a canadian get done several times on 20lb braid, its your choice, for me ,2 lots, 30lb and 50lb, and lots of it, the jacks don't stop ,as for the tarpon, they fell off after a few jumps.
    Good fun, and the best thing was ,you can get the 2 best hrs in [5am-7am] before the family is up, thus not incurring the wrath of Khan.
    If you run out of gear, there is a shop in the duty free place in St Johns, but fresh bait is only availble at a place in Falmouth Harbour, though the Head Chef will always sort you out with some squid and prawns if you ask .
    There's a local ,who will take you out in a dory, for $100 for 3-4 hrs as well.
    have fun
    Graham
     
  5. RayStan

    RayStan Member

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    Hi Tom,

    I have just returned from St james (yesterday!) I fished most nights after the kids had gone to bed ... most of my fishing was done from the pier by the docksider restaurant. I fished a mixture of lures and bait - the bait was frozen squid - just ask one of the taxi drivers to get you a box and they will usually have it the next day (I give 'em 10 dollars US for a box - which includes a tip for them getting it).

    You will never fish this dock alone .... there is a 4ft+ barracuda (I nicknamed him Barry ...) which lives under the pier which has to be the sneakiest fish around ... I set up with a small hook (maybe a size 1) baited with squid, to catch small snapper (easy ... just drop it over the side) when I caught one, I would change my end tackle (had a snap swivel at the end of my line to accomodate this) to a steel trace with a size 2 hook fitted and fish a live bait ... Barry would not look at the fish when you first pull it in, but if you then take it off the hook, and throw it back, he would emerge like an exocet missile and take the fish before it knew what was happening ! I have mounted the live bait by hooking it in the roof of the mouth, in it's back and in its tail ... same result, drop fish in water, big swirl - no fish left ... have now discovered you need to leave the bail arm open and hold the spool with your hand until it has been taken ... (something to remember for next time ...)

    I hooked into a couple of snook this year, using a larger piece of squid, dropped over the side, but again these need a steel trace or heavier mono than I was using (20lb) as they just bit through my line (was not expecting them ).

    You can also catch Tarpon from the pier (you'll know when they are around, as they roll in the water ...) just listen for the explosions as they attack the local mullet, I use Yo Zuri lures and shads for these ... great fun with an unbelievable fight to try to land them ... (they say for tarpon its 10 to 1 ... you hook 10 , you land 1 !!! )

    The pier is a nice place to fish, has several small lights along it, but they often switch them off about 10pm, so worth taking a head light with you. The security guards will often walk on to the pier and have a quick chat ... it's no bother and they'll give you no hassle at all.

    If you need any further details, please drop me a line ...

    Tight Lines

    Ray Stanley.
     
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  6. sj fiske

    sj fiske Member

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    a quick word of warning!if you fish the big lagoon behind darkwood bay and plan to wade out to the sand bars wear chest waders or high reef boots as they are full of jelly fish called locally as upside downies,as the name suggests jelly fish facing upwards which i was told have a nasty sting! live baiting works well here!,light set up and catch tilapia.
     
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  7. landed

    landed Member

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    I am also keen to do more of this fishing in Antigua. I'm familiar with coarse fishing in the uk but I'm at a loss with fly fishing so might be good to do the spin thing etc
    But my question is on getting a good rod or two to handle maybe bone fish up to tarpon - is telescopic the way to go,
    Ok recommended above was 20lb braid 30lb and 50lb spools but is this braid or line I kind of stopped fishing when braid came around so don't really know how or when to use it.
    It sounds like it might get expensive loosing lures as the fish chew the line - is trace the only way or will they not bite as it's going to be very visible against the surface ...
    Last time I was there I did a great charter who broke the price down and it was 150 usd ! Proper trolling too so let me know if anyone wants tips on that as I too kept getting told 1000 dollars for a big day whole boat but that's no good often.
    I can't wait.
     
  8. andy1967

    andy1967 Member

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    Hi Landed, Tarpon are a million miles away from Roach and Dace on the Nene, you will need different tackle for bones and tarpon, best thing I can recommend is lots of research on fishing for these species,
     
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  9. marktheshark

    marktheshark Member

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    Hi Landed, welcome to the madhouse ... I mean, forum!
    Um, I wouldn't go telescopic; they break too easily; and I don't think you can lump tarpon and bonefish together, as a big bonefish weighs 10lb, and a big tarpon weighs 200lb. So: work out what sort of fishing you want to do, and also let us know who you're flying with (Virgin allow you to take a sporting item, such as a rod case, free. BA don't; so if you have, say, pike gear, you might be able to bring that with Virgin). Also, let us know where you're staying; St James' is in the south of the island, with a seaward beach and a protected bay, but you don't specify if you're staying there. Other parts of the island are different. And let us know when you're going.
    If you're thinking of taking a big-game charter, they usually provide the gear you need.
     
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  10. landed

    landed Member

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    Thanks guys for the welcome and advice. I will be moving around the island probably not St James as it's a bit pricey for me. I will rent my car anyway but yes good to know what resort as some offer better fishing I guess - that galley bay one has its own lagoon sounds special but again its on the higher end.
    I wasn't meaning that one rod would handle all occasions - I would imagine a 3 piece rod maybe 9ft might work for a weeks exploration ? take a baitrunner reel and just spin try traces and without but where does the braid fit in ?
    Thanks
    I don't seem to be getting email notifications...will check spam as I am set to get them. I am looking for a good rod tube and rod unless my 11ft carp rods are ok. 2lb test curve ? I dont think length will help so much there but again its been so long since I was doing it..
     
  11. marktheshark

    marktheshark Member

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    Right ... I would take a medium spinning rod, maybe casting 10-40g, coupled with a 4000-sized f/s reel and if possible, 2 spools, one loaded with 30lb braid, one with 20lb mono. You've still not told me which airline, so multipart rod if it's BA, 2pc if Virgin. This'll be for spinning inshore for fish to 10lb - snapper, snook, bones, small tarpon, jacks. The mono is for when you're fishing over structure - jacks love ripping braid to bits in coral. Your 2lb t/c might do this but the length will make it difficult to dominate bigger fish.
    Then I'd take a heavy spinning rod, casting 40-100g, for heavy deadbaiting, popping etc, and light boat work. Couple this with a good Baitrunner-style reel - Big BR, or Spinfisher - and again, if poss, spooled with 30-40lb mono and a spare spool with 50lb braid. This will be for bigger beasties such as tarpon, big snapper at night, stingrays.
    Finally, a light boat outfit - maybe 20lb class. The ideal situation would be to find a local fisherman with a small boat who'll take you out to the edge of the reef where you can troll for kingfish, wahoo, small tunas, barracuda - the sea between Antigua and Montserrat is rich in these species. Add a multiplier with a good drag loaded with at least 300m of 50lb braid.

    As for bits: take lots of plastics such as Sidewinder Sprats, Fiiish Black Minnows and the like. Tropical predators love them - but they get torn to bits. Take some metal spoons such as Abu Tobies or Dexter Wedges, around 20g, in silver, silver/blue or silver/green. Shop around for 12 and 14cm Rapala Xraps for spinning and trolling, and see if you can find some Halco Roosta poppers, 135mm - red/white or blue/silver are good colours. Don't take expensive bass lures - barracuda will shred them. Do bring some cheap plastic muppets in about 4-6in ... with a 1oz lead in the nose these make a cheap lure that coupled with a strip of bait will take most fish trolling. You can also pop into the fishing shop at Jolly Harbour and pick up some Zukers (feathered lures) that work well here.
    You'll need a selection of trace lines from 6lb, 12, 15-20, 30, 50 and 100lb, plus 50lb multistrand wire for shore traces and 100lb for boat; swivels, clips, long forceps (not easy unhooking a barracuda bareback), bait knife, and headtorch. Hooks from size 8 (for catching bait) to 8/0. Spare trebles, extra strong. Mossie repellant - lots of it.
    Braid is a non-stretch woven line that is much thinner than mono. It has revolutionised some forms of fishing, such as UK wrecking, because it's so thin and sensitive, but it can be difficult to cast and bed properly on a reel, and it's hopeless in structure - it frays and loses its integrity on contact with anything hard or sharp.
    When you load it on a reel, first put 5 yards of mono onto the spool, then attach the braid to the mono, otherwise it will not grip on the spool under pressure. Wind the braid onto the spool firmly so it beds down evenly.

    The areas I know: around The Verandah is good, both shore and offshore around the reefs and islands. There's a report from Pineapple Beach on these forums, where a member had some nice snook and jacks; Galley Bay is a lovely hotel, but as you say, pricey; the lagoon has good tarpon in it and there's some spinning in a cove to the east of the hotel (5min walk). If you fish the lagoon, I had good sport with the tarpon using Cox and Rawle Bass Bullets, with a 5/0 single hook instead of the treble. Carlisle Bay and Curtain Bluff are both expensive too but have good shore fishing - the latter is on a rocky point which looks worth a try.
    The beach fishing around Dickinson Bay isn't so great, but this backs on to the salt ponds, which contain tarpon. Jolly Beach is likewise - not great - but there are rocks around a channel into the harbour, and the harbour contains nice snook, cuda and tarpon (if you're allowed to fish; I've been turned away in the past). Hawksbill has extensive beaches, some over rock and coral, which look like they should be good, but I've not fished them.
    The main charter boats run out of Nelson's Dockyard (worth a visit here just to see the big tarpon around Overdraft's moorings waiting for fish to be cleaned) or Jolly Harbour, but where there are big hotels, a few individuals run cheaper speedboat trips around the inshore areas.
    Also, have a look at this guy; I've not used him but his style of fishing looks interesting and he knows the island, obvs.
    http://www.antigua-flyfishing.com/Home.php
    Good luck!
     
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  12. Jerseyman

    Jerseyman Member

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    And ,if there is any space in the case!!
    Not sure about any one else ,but the stand out lure from the shore for me in Antigua is a the diawa shoreline shiner. 12/14 0r 17cm . floating and sinking. best colour is the chartreuse/ or the sandeel . others catch ,but its 5-1 almost, change the hooks as even a 4-5lb jack will bend them out if you try stop them on 30lb braid. if you are getting a car ... literally the island is your playground.
    The salt pond at Dickenson has been netted , it was before ,but very recent report says its beyond hard, and what fish there are really are spooky .
    We love the St james, but........ while i rate it as a great [and easy] place to fish, we found more interesting places by simply googling and driving down tracks.
    Falmouth bay, including The outer edges of Nelson dockyard alone must have 30 spots to access , some ok, some crap, several really good . Normally 10 mins will prove the spot . unless you are there at zero dark 30 .
    We didn't find anyone that we could have hired cheap, though we did use Overdraft's sister boat, a smaller 26ft cat [400usd] for 5hrs. Good skipper who really worked on a couple of bad days to get us some nice fish . He did suggest if we were happy to fish for cuda , in Nelson dockyard, to see if we could find a small dinghy to row about. Great idea we never followed up. as it a very easy row and lots of fish close by. There are Jacks,snook and tarpon in there as well.
    Hawksbill, we nearly went there this Nov, had a nosy round last time and its possible to walk/climb/wade along the beach to the left a long way. Got to be some fish going past those points early am

    Ref the rods, light something like the shakespere
    https://www.tacklebargains.co.uk/ac...pedition_XT_Spinning_Rod_PLUS_Reel_Offer.html

    heavyish? https://www.tacklebargains.co.uk/ac...-TEXBXS30XH5-----Save-20--11399.html#SID=1260

    Boat, this one, while not that pokey, is nice to use, and performs ok as a beach road launching big baits off the beach. https://www.tacklebargains.co.uk/ac...lb---1277889-----Save-25--11447.html#SID=1260
    Dont forget some sabikis for catching bait, though tbh ,prob better using 3-4lb bottoms and taking some 14-16 hooks ,couple of wagglers and mash the brekkie toast up for groundbait. try catch ballyho's ,or small bonefish/mullet for live bait
     
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  13. landed

    landed Member

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    Wow guys you have blown me away with such great info and all the other interested readers.
    @marktheshark - the multiplier is for the boat fishing right ? What advantages is it a trolling thing ? I'm going to get a book from Amazon too but you guys got me started thanks all of you. @Jerseyman those rods look great value thanks. Sorry for the late reply I don't seem to get email notifications yet.
     
  14. marktheshark

    marktheshark Member

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    Yup, multi is for trolling. Not essential if you don't want to fish like this but there's plenty of decent fish off the reefs so it'd be a shame not to. Maybe a second-hand one would work out better - let us know if you're going to recycle any of this stuff on. say, boat-fishing from the UK or bassing trips and I'm sure people will chime in with more recommendations. Give us an idea of how much you're prepared to spend.
     
  15. landed

    landed Member

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    Ok thanks for clarifying just not clear on the length of rod I need and of course I need a travel tube. What makes a carp rod not a good spinning rod ?
     
  16. Norm B

    Norm B Member

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    :) Nothing special. When I did a 5 month Persian Gulf patrol I used my 12ft, 2.5lb TC carp rod for spinning, float fishing, legering, dead baiting and bone fishing, handled everything well with 10lb line on a F/S reel. :)
     
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  17. Jerseyman

    Jerseyman Member

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    Hi Landed, A carp rod will do almost anything, as Norm says. Its only when using surface poppers and lures that require a walk the dog action that you will find them less than useful. You can walk the dog, but you need forearms like popeye, and poppers? unless they are small they don't pop that well.

    ps the rods in the link are all suitcase friendly
     
  18. andy1967

    andy1967 Member

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    A good rod for spinning is the Shakespeare Agility travel Bass, its a 2-4 ounce rod, casts a lure well and fits in a suitcase, ive had barracuda, small blacktips on mine great rod for no money
     
  19. landed

    landed Member

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    After going through the shed rods I have found a few candidates for the lighter spinning casting around 10-40-60 g kind of weights and they are less than the 190 cm when broken down in half so will be looking for a virgin flight and just take them in a tube.
    I may need to get another reel but at least for my first trip I am going to be ok I think.
    Now time to go back through this thread and shop for the other end stuff and I am getting all excited !
    Thanks
     
  20. Jerseyman

    Jerseyman Member

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    if you are really adventurous, take a pruning saw with you. The whole expanse of the back rocks[ facing the open ocean] is fringed with a shrub type bushy thing. a little judicious pruning, allows you to access the entire length from the coco's beach to the point on Mamora Bay, with out been knocked in by branches springing back. if you are that mad ? take proper trainers as the rocks are evil . The point opposite coco's now has sunken pillars [for divers] which do attract fish. Have fun.
     
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