Los Roques has been on my list for a long time, and last Spring it finally happened. It was all thanks to an invitation from my friend Joel LaFollette who had an extra space open up in his group of anglers. Like other great angling destinations, the travel here involves a few steps……a flight from Miami or Houston to Caracas, and then a short commuter flight out to the archipeligo of islands that make up Los Roques.
The main island is named Grand Roque, and the 1200 or so inhabitants are there for the tourists or the anglers….in many cases both. The islands are located in the Equatorial Dry Zone, and experience very stable, warm weather year around. In that sense, it is very much like going to Christmas Island, except that here you have a cute little village, with fantastic lodgings and great restaurants.
I have fished for Bonefish in many places around the world, and only a few have had the diversity of Los Roques. We fished the famous Pancake flats…..multi colored crunchy flats rising up out of the aqua waters where a guide’s eyes were mandatory. We fished back bays, ocean side flats, and long sandy beaches where Bonefish did what they do in very few other places around the world….chase bait. Gummy Minnows were the fly of choice here, and most of these fish were on the chunky side of 6 pounds.
And the bait! I have never seen so much, with many bays dark due to millions of small minnows. The Pelicans and Terns were all over them, as were Jacks, Tarpon, and as mentioned before, the Bonefish. This is the only place in the world I have ever seen Bonefish accumulate around the beaks of Pelicans in order to steal baitfish spilling out of the bird’s pouch! True story.
While I was having drinks after dinner one evening, another guest asked me how Los Roques compared to other Bonefish destinations around the world. I told them about Christmas Island, and about the Bahamas. But I also said that I had never been to any Bonefish destination like Los Roques. I loved the diversity of the fishing. The size of the Bonefish was above average, with many fish caught in the 5-7 pound range. And, guests return after fishing to a beautiful Posada and village rather than a lodge where they mix only with the group they traveled with.
The underwater world of a pancake flat
A guide’s eyes are essential for seeing fish on these bottoms
Joel LaFolette has some success
The Pancake Flats of Los Roques are famous for holding an abundance of fish
Accommodations are open air, quaint, and comfortable
Los Roques is in the Equatorial Dry Zone----note the cactus
The flight from Caracas to Grand Roque
Blue Runner caught on Bonefish fly
Underwater view of a hooked Blue Runner
We saw birds and Jacks crashing bait every day
Bones here are a good average of 4-5 pounds
Walking long beaches and looking for “Gummy Eaters”
All meals at Acuerala Posada were tremendous
Unless you were an Octopus
We found Tarpon in most every backwater bay
Sunk boats absorbing water to fill in cracks from dry weather
“Back off Jack…lobster season is closed”
The flats are very healthy, with rays, conch and starfish in abundance