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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone been/fished there before?

Looks like i might have a deal for 2 weeks there in Jan/Feb.

Whats the shore/charter fishing like. Plenty of things for the Mrs to do ?

Thanks in advance
 

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Hi Marc
Can't help with specifics, never fished that part of the Caribbean.

But you might want to view some of the posts on the http://www.reel-time.com Caribbean and South American forum - there seem to be quite a few entries. This is just one example - http://reel-time.com/forum/showthread.php?t=53640&highlight=Aruba. Whilst the site is essentially a 'dyed in the wool' fly fishing site what will take a fly will also take bait or a small bucktail jig. There do appear to be numbers of Permit, Snook and Bonefish present on the shallow flats - a great sight fishing challenge.

Offshore, other than perhaps for Dorado and Kingfish, that does appear to be prime time and rates, by Caribbean standards, aren't excessive. I've seen several 35 footers quoting 620$US for 8 hour charters. But, given the number of boats in a destination that appeals to 'American Snow Birds', you might well find some prepared to take out individuals on split charters.

In terms of your wife...um. Seriously I suspect it's going to be the 'classic' Caribbean island - reasonable hotels, good food and drinks, water sports and lots of lazing around! Somewhere like http://www.tripadvisor.com is often a good site to view in terms of an area's tourist potential.
Dave
 

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I visited Aruba but didnt fish there, there is an abudance of charter boats (saw them down at the marina) but they didnt strike me as being "top boats". Aruba is always very windy (usually feels like holding a hair drier in your face) - hence a chopped up white crested sea and as far as I know the surrounding waters are relativley shallow (apparently fish are present but not in real numbers or size according to a bloke I spoke to there)

Cudas, Dorado, Wahoo, Tuna And possibly marlin etc can be caught.

This is definatley not a typical "carribean island" as it is extremely dry & desertlike (average 1 - 2 days of rain I think) has a quaint Dutch flair.

Lots of casinos there - but there are some decent locals bars if you head off the main strip.

Cheers & have fun

PS its a short flight to some excellent marlin fishing in Venezuela from there :)
 

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I've fished in Curacao just next door. Aruba has the advantage of having some flats to find bonefish. I dont know exactly where, though a local chap is taking me next March/April. Have a surf around on the web, there is definitely some info available out there.

I'll drop an email to my friend and see where he suggests.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the info fellas,all in all doesnt seem a bad place to fish. We´ll be stopping in Venezuela for just under a week so may have a dabble there too.
 

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Hi Marc
Really to start by echoing Spitfire’s comment - Venezuela does offer excellent opportunities for Billfish. And, in season, it’s somewhere that offers realistic opportunities at ‘Grand Slams’ – normally there, Sailfish and Blue & White Marlin. Although every once in a while ‘Super Grand’ and, once in the proverbial ‘Blue Moon’, ‘Fantasy Slams are recorded. The other Billfish species encountered are Broadbill and Spearfish.

So seasons? One of our Club members was there back in mid February fishing on a visiting American boat – Jay Meyer's 65 foot Buddy Davis - Can't Believe It. In the view of the skipper – Martin Ferrera - the best Blue Marlin fishing is March through May and again in September through December. And that does really correspond with the times when the mix of billfish are present.

Back to our member though, fishing five days, he had a 250lb Blue, Dorados and four Yellowfin Tuna up to just over 200lbs. But he also had strikes (and losses) from Blues and Whites, Sailfish, YFT and Wahoo.

Irrespective of when though, there should always be something around. And, just like Hawaii, Blues are caught in every month of the year.

Now I’ve assumed that you’ll be staying on the mainland, not Margarita Island or Los Roques. Any rate these observations relate to the mainland.

Following the devastating floods and mud slides of December 1999 many of the resorts and marinas were literally wiped away. And I understand that Macuto, where I’ve fished from in the past, with its two luxury hotels has literally been abandoned. The area around Caraballeda/Portofino though was similarly hit but now it’s back in operation and that seems to be where the bulk of the sportfishing fleet now operate from.

The fleet tends to be a mix of local boats – normally older Hatteras’, Bertrams and things like ChrisCraft – supplemented by big visiting US ‘battlewagons’. The latter can be very expensive to charter. Our member paid 1500$US a day. The local boats are much cheaper – not surprising when you see just how little fuel costs in that part of the world. Something like a 31/32 footer would charter at 500$US a day through to a 45 footer at 700.

In the past, one local I’ve found particularly helpful is Nani (Ernnani) Handelman, now based at the Caraballeda Yacht Club. (His web site is http://www.venezuelamarlinsafari.com.ve/, e-mail address is [email protected].) But you could also find a number of other links on these two threads - http://forums.sportfishingmag.com/archive/index.php/t-558167.html
and http://forums.sportfishingmag.com/showthread.php?p=372798.)

Just an aside it was Nani that help our Club members ‘out of a hole’ when we ended up being defrauded by an American agent and/or his Venezuelan partner for 14K$US. We paid the money up front to the agent who I subsequently found out got a track record, according to the locals, of not paying his bills. So, whether the money arrive or not I don’t know.

(And the UK Consulate and American Embassy, despite their ‘weasel’ words, were of no help at all. Although the FBI did subsequently put the ‘frighteners’ on him. And although they didn’t catch him for that one he was subsequently imprisoned for defrauding two US lawyers who’d book a Salmon fishing trip to Iceland through him.)

So, a salutary lesson. It’s just something – parting with money - you need to be very careful about.

As to the banks you fish – La Guaira and, I think it’s, El Merro – conditions on them tend to be somewhat ‘lumpy’. Not like though flat Canarian lees! And the norm is to fish baits – either small tuna or, more commonly, Ballyhoo deadbaits on 30lb test gear. They’re rigged to swim just beneath the surface often with a Ilander or Moldcraft head.

As well as the offshore fishing there’re certainly Snook in the harbours. The evening’s the best time to target them, but just be careful – mugging, especially of solitary tourists, away from the ‘bright lights’.

Whilst we were there Nani organised a trip to Los Roques – an archipelago some 70 or so miles offshore. Apart from being classic tropical islands the Bonefishing fishing there is good. And rather than those expensive fly fishing packages you see advertised, Nani sorted out a local with an open boat for us to island hop.

I know you’re only there for a week but Los Roques is somewhere your wife might enjoy relaxing and swimming whilst you fish.

There’s also (used to be) a series of canals/lagoons further West of the tourist resorts where you could target smallish Tarpon. Not something though we fitted in.

Finally in terms of touristy things there is the Angel Falls. If you’re considering going they do organise day trips, but it’s literally the aircraft banking around the Falls whilst the tourists ‘snap’. Friends that have gone in by canoe and hiking certainly found it much more impressive. So just two points if you want to fly out there make sure you book way in advance. And secondly take advice – you’re going to be in the Dry season (just) and it’s obviously much more impressive in the ‘Rainy’ season.
Dave
 

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I knew there was something I'd forget!

Marc if you opt to go out on a local boat make sure that you check the lightish traces the crews have rigged the ballyhoo on. They're often recycled and if they've previously caught Dorado on them you can find that there're flat spots, pinches, where they've slammed the lid of the fish box down on them.

It's just something I found to my cost when I lost a Blue on the strike when the trace broke. And there was the crew suggesting I hadn't set my drag correctly! Anyway we had all new traces the next day.
 
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