Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Los Roques 2009 - Photo Essay

Pictures say a 1000 words and after a truly memorable trip to Los Roques I can think of no better way to demonstrate just how good this venue is than through images from our trip. During our stay I kept the blog up to date and I know plenty of you were watching it, judging by the amount of emails & calls I have received with the word "envious" in them! I can understand why .... Los Roques is just one of those places that gets under your skin ... you should try it sometime! I will certainly be hosting a trip in 2010 so watch this space and if the below is inspiration enough and you want to get on this trip now then contact nick@hartflyfishing.demon.co.uk and of course check out the very best in international fishing destination providers ... Aardvark Mcleod.

This is the team. Back row, far left, Brian Seaby a scrap metal dealer from Birmingham, first from left ... the legendary Mr Fish now retired and hunting down fish on a global scale. Middle, Stu Forsyth, what he may lack in height he makes up for in fishing prowess and you will struggle to meet a better fly tyer, a veteran of Los Roques who fished with me in 2007. First from right, the joker of the pack and Bonefish new boy, Sam MacDonald. A week was just not enough, the practical jokes had just started to get going. Based on Sams reaction to the trip, I reckon we maybe up for round 2 sometime in the future. Far right, Alasdare Lambert from Twickenham. Al fished Los Roques with me in 2007 and that proved to be a life changing trip for me in many ways. As always it was an honour and a privilege to share fishing time with this guy who only picked up a rod for the first time a few years ago. And front row ... the host ready for action!

This is day one, out with Sam MacDonald on a pancake flat.
Sam is an awesome artist who specialises in fish which he painstakingly constructs from metal. See some of his work here So he tells us this was a "research trip!" OK Sam, we believe you, but the grin is this picture doesn't scream "research" to me! Instead this is the grin of a man who has just landed his first ever Bonefish. Just like your first Trout, Salmon etc ... you never forget! Well done to Jesus, Sams guide for the day.

At this point I had not landed a fish, only managed to lose them, so instead I revelled in Sams success! In all honesty seeing these guys hook up fish was just as much as a buzz as it was hooking them myself.

Fishing with a real, live ... Mr Fish on day 2, was one of the highlights of my trip. Graham is a charming man who has lead an adventurous life, heli skiing, climbing, racing cars and has spent 99% of his fly fishing career (which he came to late in life), fishing for Bones in Cuba, the Seychelles and now Los Roques. He was top rod on this day taking 12 fish with guide Raphael. I only hope that when I am 71 I am as fit and outgoing as Mr Fish.

Day 3 arrived all too soon but it was a session I had been really looking forward to as I was to fish with Al Lambert. Our guide for the day was Raphael who found us some of the biggest fish of the trip. Here Alasdare displays a superb double figure fish taken on Crasqui (just a short trip from Gran Roque) that took well over 10 minutes to land and had him a long way into the backing on 5 occasions. No doubt our lobster lunch available for an extra $45 helped Alasdare maintain the strength required to land such a fine specimen!

Apologies regrading the quality of this shot, it was only at the end of the day that I realised the lens was dirty! We needed Henry Gilbey for this one!

Releasing the fish I grabbed this shot and looking at it on the monitor it really shows how big it was. It almost looks Tarpon like! The image also shows just how well these fish camouflage themselves. But, check out the shadow below, on sandy flats this is what I look for and then suddenly the fish materialises. Flick out your Gotcha or similar, giving the fish a bit of lead. As it arrives add a bit of life with a couple of short, smooth strips. Often the fish will pounce in the blink of an eye. Set the hook with another strip and then hold on as the reel springs into action .. zzz, zzzzzzz, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! And pray your backing knot holds!

On the way back to the lodge that evening I had the fever, I needed to keep fishing! Raphael had talked up the airport flat and so Alasdare and I stopped off to grab a couple more hours on our own. Within minutes I had spotted and hooked this fish just feet from the shoreline on a Gotcha. Nice .... and just a 15 minute walk from our lodge & cerveza!

The walk home was taken slowly, with much fishing banter. With a sunset like this and having just enjoyed a fantastic days Bonefishing we just didn't want it to end.

More from the next 3 days of our trip in tomorrows post and don't forget to check out Aardvark Mcleod if you would like to join the party in 2010. Many say that these trips are expensive but in fact if you take into account that flights, guides, boats that travel miles everyday, food, lodging etc., is all included for around three grand this has to be one of the best, most diverse and inexpensive tropical saltwater destinations on the planet. And anyway I have a moto that I live by ... we only live once!

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