Los Roques has fairly gained the reputation as being one of the best fly fishing destinations in the Caribbean. Its great fishing and easy access (but a remote area from civilization) have made it a popular destination among anglers worldwide.
Traditionally, Los Roques has been considered as one of the best bonefishing in the world and it also offers a great variety of other salt water game fish.
The numbers of bonefish are incredible and you will find them all around the park with hundreds of daily shots, offering and incredible numbers of bonefish with a very solid average size of 4-5 pounds.
A new game is Los Roques, is variety, which has been a focus in these last years. There is tarpon from 10 to 80 pounds frequently landed. Baby and juvenile tarpon in lagoons, mangroves and others areas as well as big tarpon rolling in the channels and deeper flats and in others areas is always a great possibility.
Permit, are present in some areas of the park. They are not standard permit. They can grow to a big 20-40 pounds. If you hunt for them, you will surely have multiple opportunities.
Becoming very popular lately, there is an area where you will see good size triggerfish in coral reef in very decent numbers. Even though it has the same eating habits as the permit, it is less spooky but very tricky as well. There are likewise parrotfish in these areas.
We all have learned over the years that although Los Roques is a bonefish paradise, variety offers a great alternative for anglers.
Snook are also present in some lagoons.
Other common available species at Los Roques include a variety of snappers and hard fighting jacks, blue runners, barracuda, Spanish mackerel. Outside the reef, you can search also for blue water species such as wahoo, tuna, bonito, marlin and swordfish.
MOST COMMON SPECIES
It is considered a big deal at Los Roques and traditionally the primary focus of anglers. Everywhere in the park bones are feeding hard on the small silver minnows, crabs, etc. They are present all year round but from late January to early October you can see them tailing on the flats. You can blast away at huge schools of fish or target wily individual or pairs of Bonefish as they cruise the flats. An average fish is great 4-5 lbs but much larger fishes are common and in some places they can reach 8+lbs.
El Gran Roque provides the focus point for the larger tarpon, 30-80 lbs are caught. They can be seen often rolling in the channels and occasionally on the deeper flats. They feed hardest on the right conditions. Further out in the park there are decent numbers of 5-30 lbs. tarpon in some of the lagoons and mangroves. Although they are resident all year round, the best time to catch tarpon is from September to February.
There are a decent number in some areas with a great size (20-40 lbs) Althouhg not as abundant as in Central America, their size and challenge make it up. They require an utmost stealth. Anglers most likely are usually presented with some opportunities before it is spooked. The prime time for Permit is from September to February but they are around all year-round.
If you thought Permit are the sole contenders at the top of the tricky saltwater species…think again! These magnificent fish which can be seen cruising around the coral flats with their fins flipflopping from side to side, is every bit as exciting to chase but equally particular in their taking habits.
Another big attraction is the Horse-Eyed Jacks (5 – 30 lbs). The smaller ones work in groups and attack the large schools of minnows in periods of frenetic activity. Larger ones are alone or in pairs usually in larger zones where the current is always very fast. You will see schools of smaller Jacks, Blue Runners, Iron Mouth Jack, and Black Jacks (all from 3 to 12 pounds).
Barracuda is probably the main sea depredator at Los Roques and its fishing is outstanding as well. They can be found everywhere and there are places where we can find cruising pairs of big ones (15-60 lbs).
They are located in some areas and with luck you will have a good number of shoots and hooks. Average size is 3-10 pounds.
BLUE WATER SPECIES
On the calm days, especially during summer, we can search around outside the Park (about 2 miles out of the coral reef) in the deep water. It is common to find Tuna, Dolphin, Wahoo and Billfish amongst others. Also, there are good chances of catching a Marlins (blue and white) or swordfish, with the right equipment.
Snappers, grouper, cero mackerel, bonito, tuna, etc.
PROGRAM AND FISHING
One of the things that also makes unique Los Roques besides its incredible conditions for fishing is the way we have structure our fishing program.
Firstly, the fishing program consists in 1 guide and 1 captain per boat (both for single or double anglers) which for several reasons is a great advantage and improvement.
It is important to point out that Los Roques offers the best fishing hours due to distances of area and because having a captain and a guide. It maximizes the time of fishing in a big percentage. The huge plus over other destinations is that the captain drops-off anglers with their guide on various flats, beaches and areas and meets them at the other end, eliminating not only any backtracking across the flat but also putting anglers in the right spot to take advantage of wind, current, tides and sunlight.
Fishing distances are not an significant issue, there are a good number of productive fishing areas as close to your lodge as 10-20 minutes boat ride. The further areas are between 30-45 minutes and with a captain and a guide you spend more on hours on the water.
One other thing that separates Los Roques fishing from most other locations is that during a day of fishing, anglers will find many different variety of flats and fishing areas allowing them to be on productive water during any given time of day.
Our team completely understands the importance of right positioning on a flat and all areas, so anglers have advantage when not only when casting but also for more opportunities.
A main attraction is that it is a place for those who love to wade. While the archipelago is famous for its pancake flats, the area also offers great opportunities on its coral banks, sandy beaches, massive flats and mangrove lagoons. The fly fishing is the way should it should be: wading.
Together and with its high range of fishable water, it represents a wade fisherman’s paradise and dream come true.
Also, Los Roques is a truthfully year-round destination. What makes the difference is that, due to its location, which is only 12 degrees north of the equator, its tides, air and water temperatures vary little, which provides excellent conditions for fishing all year round.
There are no winter “cold fronts”, such as those frequently experienced in the Bahamas, Cuba, Mexico and Belize and hurricanes bypass Los Roques far to the north.
All the above makes Los Roques one of the most consistent and reliable fishing locations anywhere.
Spinning and blue water fishing are also practice at Los Roques.
Why Los Roques is a year round destination?
Most anglers usually fish Los Roques from mid January to May for several reason including sunny weather conditions (and thus take a break from winter months) and blue skies. During summer months, it is common that anglers fish their backyard rivers and/or travel to destinations such as Alaska, Findland, Russia, etc. or family travel.
However, Los Roques, during summer months, is at its best with very consistent tides and wonderful weather. Thus, from May to October Los Roques is great for tailing fish.
From October to January, there are plenty of bonefish but it is also the best season for tarpon and permit.
For general purposes, a year-round calendar of Los Roques may be summary as follow:
There is a solid explanation why Los Roques has good water temperature and levels of water on the flats that delivers bonefish and other species with usually great level of water from Mid-January to October.
It is all related to location. Los Roques is just 12 degrees north of the equator. Those environments close to the equator like Los Roques, where the sun arcs overhead in perfect 12 hours intervals ensures a stable environments of sea currents and winds, than other locations in which the sun and temperatures do not performance equally all year around (as for example the Bahamas); these destinations have to be targeted in a short and accurate season and otherwise, the fishing can be pretty unpredictable.
Los Roques is filled by nearly constant trade winds and currents; these currents or turnover of waters replace warmed surface water while oxygenating it at the same time. Since warmer water holds less oxygen than cold water, this turn over and oxygenation effect keeps the surface water quality high in areas directly exposed to the wind.
The level of the water in January is generally higher; on this month anglers see fewer tailing fish than in the peak season (and if good conditions just a few hours of the day). Although, you will find lots of cruising fish on the flats, in depth water flats and beaches. The advantage of fishing this month is that the fish is totally out of pressure. You will see fewer tailing fish but not less fish. It is a matter of quality fishing; for some anglers, the quality of the fishing is better from February and on, because the presence of tailing bones. In January they are everywhere but not tailing. Perfect month for beginner. Tailing fish requires more skill than cruising fish. During January, due to higher tides, you have more bait which is excellent for tarpon and permit.
The level of the water starts to lower with good level at flats for longer hours than January; as you fish Los Roques based on tides, wind and current understanding, this month has been very productive, in which anglers take advantage of the rising tide to find and cast to tailing fish for a few hours a day. The bottom line is a great month with little pressure on the flats and good level of water.
A lot alike February. Good level of water on the flats with longer raising tides than February; it is a month in which you can actually see lots of bonefish tailing close to each other. You have longer periods of the day with virtually no water on the flats in which you fish deep water flats and beaches until you wait for the right tide to be in the right place and the right flat to wait for the rising tide in which the bonefish feed madly, almost recklessly on your unweighted flies. This is what really makes Los Roques a unique destination. For the angler who want to wade for the big tailing bonefish, this is a perfect time.
APRIL AND MAY
Are pretty much the same as March but actually you may have more stable tides some weeks. You will see tailing fish all around. Also, during these months, the wind stars to slow down and blue skies.
JUNE, JULY AND ON UNTIL OCTOBER.
This is the part of the equation the really separates Los Roques from most of the locations especially those located on the Caribbean. It can be effectively fished in the summer months and on until October. Why? It has to do with the relative area of the surface flats that allows the highest level of turnovers from trade wins and, therefore, the optimum conditions for bonefish regardless of the time all the day. To put it in short, ‘Tailing bones all day in the rising or falling tide’. They of course are more aggressive in the rising tide up to the point that fly selection is not even critical to success of the flats, but anglers certainly would enjoy the challenge of earning fish on the falling tide in which bonefish get coy and begin to play games with you on outgoing water. They can be tailing just as they did when the tide was rushing, but they are definitely more difficult to fool. Requires skill and fly selections become critical on this falling tide.
Even though we understand the reason why most people fish winter/spring, you can encounter incredible weeks April – October.
NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER
The level of the water on the flats is higher most if not all day. Actually, during these months, you don’t see much tailing fish on Los Roques, you see mostly cruising fish.
Now, with higher levels of water, it is common that bait is all around and thus best conditions for tarpon and permit.