Christopher Robinson reports on a hosted trip to Los Roques
By Christopher Robinson
Our annual hosted trip to Los Roques was, again, a huge success. The party of nine consisted of some experienced bone fishers, four who had not fished for bone fish before and included four avid lady fishers. A great mix and a really happy team...
We were blessed with wonderful weather, generally light winds and sun, only on one afternoon did we have a rain storm come through. The fishing at Los Roques is better than ever, there is little pressure at the moment on the flats with many Americans trying out Cuba now that it is finally open to them. The fishing at Los Roques is almost all wading on hard sand or turtle grass flats or on the miles of white sand beaches. There is no waiting in a skiff for ‘your turn’ and the time on the water is spent fishing rather than watching.
The guides are delightful, helpful and all wonderful fishers themselves – I have said this for the last five years, they really are the best I have come across. In particular they have a natural ability to tailor the fishing to you and they quickly understand your abilities, like and dislikes.
We covered a lot of water – on the six days I acted as additional guide our skiff covered 333 km and we spent an average of 8.5 hours out each day. Fuel in Venezuela is mere $ Cents a litre so the usual fuel cost issues and lack of enthusiasm to make long runs to the best places that one experiences elsewhere is simply not a factor.
There are a multitude of flats to try and the guides generally start the less experienced off in the slightly deeper water areas where the bone fish tend to be less spooky, before graduating to the cream of the sport – stalking large tailing bone fish on the shallow flats. As usual the average size of bone fish surprised the team, we caught a handful of about 2lbs, all the rest were in the range 3lbs to 6lbs with a healthy smattering of fish around the 8lb mark. The best days result to one rod was 24 landed (without, I would add, targeting a school of small uneducated fish!) . We had a number of shots at permit although we did not really concentrate on them. Jack M was unfortunate to hook and loose a huge one. Every year I come back wishing we had spent a bit more time on the right tide looking for them.
The Posada Acuarela was as welcoming as ever. The staff led by Victoria and Andrea could not have been more helpful. The food is simply delicious, Italian influenced, wonderful fresh fish and also very good deserts! Massages were available on the roof terrace after fishing and most evenings we gathered at the Boro La Mar bar on the beach to watch the sun go down with the odd Mojito.
In my view a real advantage of Los Roques as a fishing destination is that the programme can be made so flexible, and there is lots to do besides fishing. Sue and Joan stayed a couple of days extra to scuba dive and rated the diving as truly excellent. Pat and Sue spent a day with the Head Park Ranger looking at the wonderful fauna and flora in the National Park. Others of us took the odd day off to pic-nic on Crasqui – an island with a 4 km beach with great bone fish, hardly anyone there and a welcomed day to relax, swim, snorkel, read and fish. The additional cost for the 10 mile boat ride out and back being $6 a head!
There is no denying that the press coverage of Venezuela is not exactly positive – and certainly Caracas itself is best avoided. Understandably this is a factor in many people’s minds when considering the destination. The reality is, as so often, very different. Caracas airport is 45 minutes’ drive from the capital. It is a clean, well-functioning with less overt security than you find at Heathrow. The transfers with our Meet and Greet Team are seamless and the overnight stay at the airport hotel (5 minutes drive) is just like staying at any other airport hotel – good bar and swimming pool, large rooms excellent wireless etc. To be honest I get more taxi hasslers and hawkers being a pain in Saint Petersburg airport than I do in Caracas airport.
The village on Grand Roc is a delight, 1,500 people only, no tarmac - other than the runway! - no cars, really friendly people and no one I know of feels in any way worried about walking around on their own – it’s a sort of quaint Dorset village feel – only with sand and sun.
Flights from Europe are with Iberia or Air France, the latter has a good value Premium Economy option. Itineraries are flexible and not solely based on a six day fishing option.
There is much to recommend about Los Roques. Do please call us for further information. We will plan another hosted trip next year, please let us know if you would like details when they are available.