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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.

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. 

                                           

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

Casa Blanca

Joel La Follette - Thursday, November 16, 2006

It’s always nice to back up a northern steelheading adventure with a trip to a warmer location. I find that tropical weather helps get my joints working again. Upon returning from BC I had a very short time to tye a few flies, pack my bonefishing gear, switch a few fly lines and fly off to Mexico for a visit to the world famous Casa Blanca Bonefish Lodge. Sometimes it’s tough being me.

Casa Blanca is located on a small island just inside the barrier reef on the southern end on Ascension Bay on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. When you see what the owners have created on this secluded patch of sand you’ll understand why Casa Blanca is one of the premier bonefishing lodges in world. I also heard the food is good.

Traveling with me on this adventure was a mix of first time bonefishers, some fairly new to the game of saltwater angling and a few non-fishing spousal units. Under normal conditions Ascension Bay gives up her secrets easily making it a perfect destination for anglers of varying skill levels. Schools of happy Bonefish, an abundant Permit population, plenty of cruising Tarpon and sneaky Snook make for a regular saltwater smorgasbord of fishing fun. I said under normal conditions. We didn’t have normal conditions. The freaky weather that brought early snow storms to the east coast brought dark clouds and stormy skies to this otherwise tropical paradise. Good thing the food was good.

Although fishing conditions were not the best, they were challenging. Bonefish were nervous and headed for cover even if you thought about making a cast. Tarpon and Snook hung close to cover and used it to their advantage. All in all it was a test of angler against the elements and the fish. It made better anglers of us all. Tough fishing does that. You have to bring your A game.

Fortunately Casa Blanca is one of the most comfortable places to wait out bad weather that there is. I’ve been to a few bonefish lodges that would have been unbearable under the same conditions. We all had comfortable rooms to nap or read before dinner after a hard day on the flats. The staff made sure we also had plenty of food and drink at all times. The service was second to none, and the food was great. Did I mention that?

OK so it wasn’t the most successful fishing trip I’ve ever had. I had a great time and made a few new friends. I caught some nice fish and fought many more. I made some great casts under difficult conditions that many anglers couldn’t have made. I brought my A game. Well, most of the time. I also hit a lot of fish right on the old bean when the wind grabbed my cast. That didn’t work. Pedro my guide never complained when I launched a cast into the mangroves and he had to pole over so I could retrieve my fly while Mr. Tarpon and Snook snickered. Oh well, at least the food was good. Now if the pilot can just figure out how to land on the runway...


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