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Bonefish Camp

Here's the spot if you are looking for that salty piece of land. Fly lists, trip reports and tidbits of good travel information can be found here in Bonefish Camp.

Los Roques Bonefish Fly List

Joel La Follette - Friday, August 22, 2014

The best flies for Los Roques are smaller and usually light in color. Patterns in size 6 and 8 work very well, with size 6 being probably the most common and productive. Make sure a few of your flies are tied with weed guards. Start with your Bonefish Basics and add a few of the following patterns...

Bonefish Bitters                        size 6                Olive and Brown

Pink Puff                                  size 6-8            Bead-chain eyes and also 'blind'

Tan Raghead Crab                   size 6

Gummy Minnow                       size 6                Silver, Blue and Green  (bring plenty)

Clouser Minnow                       size 6                Grey/white, Tan/white w/bead chain eyes

Gotcha bead chain eyes            size 6-8

Exuma Mini Puff 'Cree'            size 6-8

Tan Puff                                   size 6-8

Mihieves Flats Fly                     size 6-8

Snapping shrimp                       size 8

Crazy Charlie                           size 6-8            Amber or Crystal Brown

Spawning Shrimp                      size 6-8 

La Follette’s Louie Louie Crab size 4-8

SMALL crab patterns can be deadly, the Raghead works well, but there are many others out there that do just fine. My Louie Louie was designed for Los Roques and it works very well. The important part is that they're on size 6 or 8 hooks and don't have large lead eyes. The smaller, the better. Some weedless patterns are a good idea.

For Cuda, Needlefish or a chartreuse and white Tarpon streamer with plenty of flashabou will work well.

Tarpon anglers should be prepared with a few smaller Cockroaches, Lefty's Deceivers and Flash-tail Whistler in sizes 1, 1/0 and 2/0. Most of the time Tarpon are in shallow water, often rolling or gulping air. Intermediate sinking lines can be handy, although a floater will get it the job done (requires shock tippet leaders 60-80 lb.). The Gummy Minnow is also very productive for Tarpon....as goofy as it is. You’ll want size 2 or larger.

It's important that anglers show up with a good supply of flies as they are not available on Los Roques. If there is a rule for Los Roques Bonefish flies, it’s keep is light! Make sure your Bonefish Basics are stocked with plenty of bead chain or blind flies in size 6 and 8.

Bonefish Travel Tips

Joel La Follette - Friday, July 04, 2014

1. When traveling, always wear clothes you can fish in. You never know when the rest of you gear will show up.

2. Always carry your rods, reels with lines, leaders and tippets, wading boots, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, medicine, camera, rain jacket and an extra change of clothes on the airplane. You should try to carry on anything that you can’t live without that is allowed by the airlines.

3. Since some flies and tools cannot be carried on the plane they must be checked. If checking two pieces of luggage put a box of flies in each or have a companion check one in theirs.

4. Carry along some favorite snack foods like beef jerky, trail mix, dried fruit or granola bars. Stash more in your checked bags. When leaving the country make sure the packages are unopened. Customs is funny about that sort of thing.

5. Drinking plenty of water is the best way to stay healthy when traveling. If bottled water is not available, bring along a backpacking type filter and use it! Water bottles with built in filters work too.

6. A small portable cooler is a great place to keep your snacks, drinks, camera, extra flies and sunscreen while out on the water. Make sure your camera is in a zip lock bag in case the cooler gets wet. Take plenty of zip locks!

7. Your cash, passport and wallet should be locked up at the lodge or, if that is not an option, on your person. I keep mine in a zip lock bag in my hip pack. Carry plenty of $5.00 and $10.00 for tipping your guides. Also plan on leaving shirts, tackle and other goodies for your guides after trip is over. A new pair of sunglasses make a great gift at the beginning of the week and might help your guide spot that big fish!

8 . Handi-wipes. The best things to carry for cleaning the sunscreen, sweat, and salt off your face. Great for cleaning up before lunch on the flats or on an airplane. Can also be used for…. well, you’ll figure it out. Get the soft packs and carry them in all of your bags. I use three or four packages on a weeklong trip.

9. Make up a small “fix anything kit” to make repairs to glasses, rods, reels, lines, etc. (see my list posted elsewhere on the web site)

10. Chill. Remember you’re on island time and things don’t always go as planned. A good attitude will make even the largest set-back seem like part of the adventure. Don’t be an “Ugly American”, respect the people, their country and culture. Ask questions, share stories, have fun. Leave a little bit of yourself and take home a little of the adventure in your heart. 

                                           

Bonefish Basics Fly List

Joel La Follette - Wednesday, August 05, 2009

There are as many bonefish fly patterns used today as there are anglers using them. With that many options it’s hard to choose what you need for your trip unless you’ve been there before or know someone that has. If this is your first time bonefishing or twentieth, here’s a list of the flies that should be in your box no matter where you’re heading. Start with this selection and add specialty patterns as needed. Remember you need to have a good selection of sizes and sink rates. This is what I call…

BONEFISH BASICS

Mini-Puff                                                       size 4, 6       Old standby, still works

Tan Puff                                                       sizes 6, 8      My personal favorite

Marabou Shrimp                                            sizes 2, 6      Tan

Crazy Charlie                                                 sizes 6, 8      Pearl, pink, tan, root-beer

George Bush                                                 size 6, 8       Stupid name, CIS without Dazl Eyes 

Clouser Minnow                                             size 2-6        Tan/White, Gray/White

Clouser Minnow w/bead chain eyes                  size 4-6        Same colors, add a weed guard  

Gotcha                                                         sizes 2, 4, 6  Lead and bead chain eyes

Gold Gotcha                                                  sizes 2, 4, 6  My killer Abaco fly

Christmas Island Special                                 sizes 4, 6, 8  Orange, Pearlescent, Pink

These are the basics. You could travel anywhere and catch fish with these patterns. You’ll want a good selection of sizes and sink rates. Make sure you have plenty for your fishing partner too! Now take a look at suggestions for specific destinations.

A Return to Los Roques

Joel La Follette - Sunday, May 24, 2009

I have been blessed enough to have been able to sample some of the best bonefishing destinations in the world and have come to this conclusion. Los Roques is my favorite. Like I’ve said here before Los Roques offers a sampling of every bonefish location I’ve been to. You see Mexico without the swine flu, the Bahamas without flying through Miami and Christmas Island without the peanut butter sandwiches. Now I do like peanut butter sandwiches, just not everyday.

Los Roques has something that makes you want to return the minute to step on the plane headed home. Perhaps it is a sense of having spent the week at the home of a good friend. You feel a part of the island and very much at home. The island’s quaint shops and Posadas line the sandy streets, painted to reflect the owner’s personality. Each is a canvas that comes to life under the Caribbean sun. A walk through town is like a stroll in an art gallery.

The flavors of Los Roques are has varied as the nations represented by its inhabitants. Europeans make up most of the guests on the island and many of the Posadas are owned by foreigners. Our home for the week was the Posada Acuarela which is owned by an Italian who fancies himself an artist. His bright and cheery work hangs throughout the inn decorating the rooms and common areas. It adds to the feeling of staying in a friend’s home.

Another of the benefits of European ownership is the food. We dined on Italian dishes with a Caribbean flavor the entire week. Four course meals of traditional dishes served with tuna, Cuda and other local pescado tempted our taste buds each evening. Topped off with a “to die for” desert of flan, lemon pie or moose. The only thing that kept me from adding ten pounds to my frame was the fishing.

Fishing is all done by wading and Los Roques has miles of wadable flats. Whether small pancake flats are your favorite or flats that stretch for miles, you’ll find them here. The bottom for the most part is hard sand and coral but there are those softer flats that remind you of the Yucatan and will suck your boots right off your feet. Great way to burn off an extra helping of pasta but should be avoided in the heat of the day.

I found the fishing this trip to be technically challenging and most enjoyable. Two flats come to mind as some of the most fun I’ve had chasing bonefish. They went on for miles and the bonefish came in singles and doubles all morning. Big fish in the 5-8 pound range that were cautious but hungry. It required stealth and accurate casting to fool this silver ghosts and I had my “A game” going for once. Fishing alone on the last day I covered over a mile of flat landing 18 nice big Los Roques bonefish and burning off at least one helping of flan. I plan to return soon for seconds.

Los Roques

Joel La Follette - Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The second stop on the Brotherhood of the Bonefish World Tour in 2007 was the archipelago of Los Roques. Located about 90 miles off the coast of Venezuela, Los Roques is a sleepy little tourist hangout with sandy streets and colorful Posadas (hotels). Far removed from all that is Caracas, Los Roques is safe, clean and very friendly to Americans. The pace is slow and very comfortable. And the Bonefishing is superb.

Your trip starts with an overnight stay on the mainland near the airport. Most flights from the US arrive in the evening so flying directly to Los Roques is not an option as there are no lights on the runway. If you’re on the east coast you may be able to get an afternoon flight to the island and avoid the stay in Caracas, although that is an interesting part of the trip. Your safety is always taken care of by SightCast and you are met at the airport by Tony, a very friendly and helpful tour operator. Tony will exchange money and make sure you get to the hotel safely. He will also point out places to dine if you are so inclined.

Sunday morning Tony gets everyone to the airport and through security before leaving you on your own to fly to Los Roques. Upon your arrival you are met by Chris or one of his staff and escorted through the sandy streets to your bonefishing headquarters, the Posada Vistalmar. A quick breakfast and grab your gear, you’re off to the flats.

All bonefishing is done by wading. Local panga style boats are used only to excess the fishing locations. The boats are comfortable and very seaworthy. Most have bimini tops for sun protection while moving from flat to flat or when stopping for lunch. Each pair of anglers fishes with a guide and a boatman. You are let off on the upwind side of a flat and fish downwind. The boatman meets you at the far end of the flat and it’s off to the next one. A very efficient way to fish!

The flats of Los Roques vary from white sand flats that go for miles, to small pancake flats popping up from deep blue waters. You’ll see a little of everything in a week of fishing here. It’s like fishing all the world’s bonefishing destinations in one week. You’ll see places that remind you of Mexico, Christmas Island, the Bahamas, Belize and some that are uniquely Los Roques. Another thing you’ll see are big bonefish.

The week I chose to host a trip this year gave us good tides to fish the pancakes. We spent most of the week hopping from one flat to another casting to schools of very large fish. Bonefish average 4-5 pounds and many larger fish were landed during the week. Anglers are also treated to tarpon, jacks, Cuda and the occasional permit. This trip I cast to several groups of permit that lived up to their reputation and refused all my offerings. In two days I counted over 27 permit in the 15-30 pound class, and never got one to eat a fly…guess that’s why I keep trying.

We had a great week of weather and fishing with several in our group landing their very first bonefish. Everyone enjoyed the fishing, but some of the other interesting sites of Los Roques also got their attention. There was plenty of things to see both on the water and on the beach. I’ll leave my guests to describe their favorites.

With near perfect weather for most of the year due to it’s location near the equator, Los Roques offers an extended bonefishing season. One can do well and be very comfortable right into July and August without worrying about hurricanes. Winter months can also be productive and a great break from the cold wet winters. Peak months are like most of the Caribbean and run from April through June. The rainy season starts in June, but rain showers are brief on the islands and normally lead to hungry fish.

Of all the places I’ve chased after bonefish, Los Roques, Venezuela is my favorite. Friendly people, comfortable lodging, 100 percent wade fishing, different types of flats and big bonefish add up to a great angling experience. OK, their president is a little wacko, but he doesn’t fish! I’ll be going back, hopefully very soon.

Bonefish Tackle List

Joel La Follette - Sunday, February 18, 2007

There are two rules to remember when packing for any adventure. Keep it simple and only take what you REALLY NEED. Of course knowing what you’ll need on any trip is in some cases a “best guess” but with experience you’ll find you can get by with much less stuff. Here’s a few things you shouldn’t forget when heading to the Bonefish flats...

Rods and Reels  (carry them on with you)

Flies    (check out my fly selections for suggestions elsewhere)

Leaders and tippet   (I use 0x and 1 x fluorocarbon) 

Nippers, pliers, knot tyer and a knife

Waterproof gear bag and Flats pack w/water bottle

Sunglasses w/cleaning kit

Camera

Flash light

Fix-Anything Kit   (see Fix-Anything Kit post)

First-Aid Kit

Sunscreen and lip balm

Handy wipes

Hat and sun gloves

Flats boots and wet wading socks

Zip-off wading pants  (two pairs)

Long Sleeve fishing shirts  (two or three)

Fast drying underwear   (two or three pairs)

Travel clothes

Passport   (carry a few photo copies in your bags)

Cash    (most places won’t take cards or checks)

A good book or two

Flip-flops and a good attitude


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