DESTINATION PUERTO RICO!

What an amazing sport fishing destination Puerto Rico is! I have just returned from my first, and certainly not last, visit to this historic and immensely beautiful Caribbean island, which I am certain ranks as being both the closest and the best value tarpon and snook fishery anywhere for British anglers.

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Andrew Leaves and Terry Thomas working their fly rods along a productive mangrove edge in one of the lagoons.

I first heard about the Tarpon Nest Lodge and their sister company Caribbean Fishing Adventures through my good friend Doug Olander, editor of US based Sport Fishing Magazine http://www.sportfishingmag.com. Doug has fished here on several occasions, and based on his solid and always reliable recommendation I eagerly organised the first group of visiting British anglers; and what a week we had!

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The closest mark, just two minutes from the lodge, is located at the end of the airport runway!

Let me start off by listing just a few positives about choosing Puerto Rico as a destination. Firstly British anglers now have a direct flight into San Juan from London Gatwick. This flight is not only around an hour shorter than flights to Miami, but also it is considerably cheaper. Progress through customs and baggage reclaim on arrival at San Juan was seamless, and the lodge is located less than 15 minute drive from the terminal building.

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Capt. Angel Muntaner hold one of many small to medium size tarpon we caught during our week.

All guests at The Tarpons Nest get a single room. The boats are located right at the lodge, and are operated by first class, highly experienced English speaking guides. The closest areas we fished were less than a two minute run from the lodge dock, pretty much at the end of the airport runway! Finally, within a five minute walk you have a great selection of local bars and eating establishments where on some nights we ate truly tremendous, freshly cooked food for less than $5 per person, yes you did read correctly, less than $5 per person!

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One of many fly caught snook I landed during the week.

The fishing is almost exclusively for tarpon and snook, fly, lure or bait. Occasionally jacks and snapper make an appearance, and if you venture out into the open ocean you can add a few other species. You fish within an extensive and very sheltered system of inter-connected tidal lagoons and mangrove channels that both fringe and extend to well within the urban environment of the city itself, creating a truly unique and varied fishery. One minute you are watching an iguana basking in the sunshine from its precarious perch on a mangrove tree, the next you are ducking your head as you pass under a low road bridge next to Burger King, with police sirens wailing above you. If you need fresh baits, there are plenty of locals throwing casting nets who are more than happy to supply live perch.

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Strip, strip, strip…SET!

Our group concentrated mostly on fly fishing, and both tarpon and snook were caught on fly every day we fished. During the week everyone caught several tarpon on fly. Nowhere have I seen more snook, during the trip catching upwards of a dozen fish in the 1-3lb range per session on fly was a formality and much bigger fish are present, a few were hooked and lost.

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Small tarpon are a lot of fun on a fly rod!

Tarpon are the main attraction here for most visiting anglers and there were tarpon everywhere, frequently rolling seductively on the surface. Most fish we encountered were in the 3-10lb range, perfect 8wt fly rod size fish, but we all hooked much bigger fish in the 20-60lb range, some of which were landed successfully with others lost, so be sure to pack a 10wt. My best fly caught tarpon was a modest 40lb fish that engulfed my home tied EP Minnow fly in an explosive take, before cartwheeling around around the lagoon in an impressive series of head sharking jumps. During the week the biggest caught on fly was a solid 50-60lb fish landed by my good friend Andrew Leaves. The biggest fish caught on bait was an estimated 120lb specimen landed by Harmohan Khanna, and each day we saw numerous much bigger fish.

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Duck or Grouse!

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Andrew Leaves with an estimated 50-60lb fly caught tarpon, I think he is pleased with his fish!

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Capt. Angel Muntaner and Harmohan Khanna with a solid 20lb fly caught tarpon.

The fishing day is split into two 4-hour sessions, organised to coincide with prime bite times at dawn and dusk. The morning session is 0600- 1000, followed by a swim, an early lunch and siesta in your private air conditioned room, before heading back out at 1430 to fish until 1830. Thats an 8-hour day, during which I estimate you actually get to fish a minimum of 7-hours, possibly more.

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One of my home tied EP Minnow that were very successful during the trip.

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I don’t think he is quite ready yet Capt. Angel!

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Puerto Rican bait shop.

Fishing aside Puerto Rico has much to offer the general tourist, with beautiful beaches, rain forests, numerous historic and natural sites and attractions, including the spectacular ‘Old San Juan’ town. You’ll find great shopping in several enormous American style indoor malls, making it the perfect location for non-fishing partners. On this trip I spent 10-days on vacation with my wife, then she flew home on the flight the group I hosted arrived.

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You can never be sure whom you might bump into in Old San Juan!

Trips to Puerto Rico to fish with Caribbean Fishing Adventures based at The Tarpons Nest are now arranged in the UK by Anglers World Holidays. For more details Tel: 01246 221717 or visit: http://anglersworld.tv During this trip we shot a video, for which I will include a link as soon as it has been edited.

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My favourite Abel Super 9 reel and Thomas & Thomas 10wt rod, rigged with a purple cockroach; a classic tarpon fly.

Since its launch in August sales of my latest book, Destination Angler, have been incredible, with around 250 of the first edition of just 350 signed, numbered hardback copies already gone. If you would like a copy get in touch by email, david.lewis21@hotmail.com it would make a great Christmas present for anyone with aspirations to fish in far flung places!DAVE LEWIS DUSTJACKET 1DAVE LEWIS DUSTJACKET 2

WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE!

I love fishing in Central America, especially in Nicaragua, and especially at the magnificent Rio Indio Lodge, where I was based last week with a group of 8 friends. Statistically we had booked the very best week of the fall tarpon run and should have had numerous shots at big fish each day, but unfortunately hurricane Matthew put the spoiler on that. At one stage this intense low pressure system was based just 300 miles to the east of us, off the coast of Venezuela, and while we experienced mostly bright and sunny weather with very little wind, the ground swell was enormous. This and and the very air low pressure clearly affected the fishing in the ocean.

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Jungle fishing!

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Paul Bowen and Phil Byrne fishing for bass

Several tarpon were caught and several others were lost, I managed a beautiful fish estimated at 130lb on the last day, which made my trip.

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Hook up!

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A very nice last day fish.

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Rosendo, my guide for the week, holds my fish prior to release

The beauty with a trip based at Rio Indio Lodge is that when the ocean is inaccessible you can alway fish within the jungle, which is an amazing experience. The very best months for this are February through April, the end of the dry season when the water levels within the jungle are at their lowest. October is the end of the wet season and far from ideal for targeting most jungle species, but the guides do know several areas that can and do produce fish in high water conditions, and that’s where we fished.

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Access to some of the more remote lagoons can be an issue, requiring attention with a machete!

On one or two days we enjoyed excellent fishing amidst pristine jungle, in areas rarely if ever visited. We caught some great rainbow bass, aka guapote. One day myself and boat partner Andrew Leaves boated 17, including many over 4lb, the biggest probably close to 6lb.

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Andrew with a fine rainbow bass.

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And another one…

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One of 17 rainbow bass all caught during one day lure fishing.

In addition to rainbow bass most days produced a few high jumping machaca and colourful mojara, along with one or two snook and a few other species, all of which fight hard when hooked on lures using light tackle.

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A nice lure caught machaca, think chub with teeth!

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One of several lure caught mojara.

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Spinner baits such as this are perfect for most jungle species, and are very effective in thick cover as they are virtually snag free when fished amidst dense cover.

The lodge itself was, as always, truly outstanding with first class accommodation and amazing food, not to mention a free rum bar stocked with my favourite Flor de Cana 7-year rum. This was my 6th trip to Nicaragua, my 4th to Rio Indio Lodge, and I know just how good the tarpon fishing can be in what is now officially Central America’s safest country. I am already looking forward to my next trip there.

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A trio of white faced monkeys, common in the area we fished along with howler and spider monkeys.

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Thats lunch sorted!

Nicaragua is featured in my new book, Destination Angler, get in touch if you would like to order a copy. For more information on fishing here visit http://therioindiolodge.com Trips can be booked through Anglers World Holidays Tel: 01246 221717 or visit: http://anglersworld.tv All of my scheduled group trips for 2017 are now fully booked, and we are starting to plan group trips for 2018. These will certainly include several destinations throughout Central America, get in touch if you would like to join us.DAVE LEWIS DUSTJACKET 1DAVE LEWIS DUSTJACKET 2

DESTINATION OUTER MONGOLIA!

Towards the end of last year I was offered the opportunity to host a small group consisting of just myself and four other anglers on an exploratory trip to fish a remote river in central Mongolia. The iconic taiman that country is most famous for were not present in this particular river, I was told, we would be fishing for lenok trout and the huge numbers of Mongolian grayling that were. I love fly fishing for trout and grayling and being in a part of the world I had never visited I jumped at the opportunity.

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One of many lenok trout caught during the trip.

The trip was grueling, to say the least. A four hour flight from London Heathrow to Istanbul for a six hour lay over, followed by another four hour flight to Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, with time for a couple of much needed cold beers-don’t ask me what they were called! Next came a third near six hour flight to Ulan Bator, capital of Mongolia, for an overnight stop over at a city centre hotel.

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The impressive parliament building in central Ulan Bator.

The following morning we set off on an 11 hour drive in 4 x 4 vehicles, the first 6 hours on open roads through some of the most desolate and sparsely inhabited terrain I have ever experienced. The last five hours of our adventure involved an arduous off road drive though wild and mountainous countryside, and when I say off road I mean OFF road! We had to ford numerous rivers, the water often lapping above the door cills, and covered vast tracks of ground through which we had to inch our way at painfully slow, back jarring speeds in the lowest gears. When we got to the camp that evening we were all eternally thankful we had thought to bring a bottle or two of our favourite tipple; they were much needed!

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We started with a long 6 hour drive through remote and sparsely populate wilderness…

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Followed by 5 hours of extreme off road driving.

If we had thought the previous days off road experience had been extreme, the following morning we were in for a something of a shock. The trip to the river and back involved a one hour trek in a battered old ex-soviet 4×4 minibus, which transported us through vast boulder fields, over steep and hilly ground and though fast flowing rivers; that a mini bus could make such a journey simply defied belief.

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The ex-Soviet 4×4 mini bus that took us to the river each day.

Finally two days after setting off from home I pulled on a set of chest waders, rigged up my 5wt fly road, tied on a bushy floating hopper fly and stepped into a freezing, crystal clear river in the heart of central Asia; and started catching fish.

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One of countless grayling I caught during the trip.

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And another one, note the deer hair hopper fly.

The fishing was outstanding. Most days we could catch as many grayling as we wanted, I averaged between 30-50 fish a day, along with good numbers of lenok. As the days unfolded we got to learn the most productive spots throughout the river to target lenok, as well as the fact that by using a seriously huge foam bodied hopper fly that the grayling could not eat, we could more effectively target this most unique species of trout.

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A large foam bodied hopper fly, very effective for lenok.

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Jeff Smith holds a very nice lenok.

We got to visit several family groups of nomadic yak herders, who invariably invited us into their Yurts for a cup of warm yak milk, a taste of warm yak butter, a nibble at a hard piece of yak cheese that was invariably washed down by a blood warming glass of yak vodka; yes, yak vodka. Back at our camp we stayed in identical yurts that were basic in the extreme yet entirely functional. Most evenings we dined on some part of either a yak or a sheep.

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Family of nomadic yak herders in their yurt.

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Terry Thomas enjoys a cup of warm Yak milk.

This was one of the most amazing travel/fishing experiences I have ever had, certainly one which for me was a one off. Anglers World Holidays can arrange trips to this most amazing destination, Tel 01246 221717 or visit: http://anglersworld.tv. Yes it’s a tough trip, a very tough trip that certainly will not suit everyone, but I assure you if you follow in our foot steps you will experience amazing fly fishing in one of the most remote and memorable destinations on the planet.

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Home for the week, my personal yurt!

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A yak herder leads his horses across the river.

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Saul Roberts casting a line in Mongolia.

Almost half of the first signed, numbered limited edition of my latest book, Destination Angler, have already been sold. The reviews and feed back I have received from those who have bought the book have been amazing. Destination Angler is available directly from myself, or exclusively through Farlows of Pall Mall and Sportfish at Reading or Hereford. If you would like a copy get in touch: david.lewis21@hotmail.com

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Bank side lunch, yes they are yak steaks!

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Dave Nevatt fishing a beautiful pool for lenok and grayling.

DESTINATION ANGLER-NOW OUT!

DAVE LEWIS DUSTJACKET:DAVE LEWIS DUSTJACKETMy latest book, Destination Angler now available. If you would like a signed copy contact me via email at: david.lewis21@hotmail.com Cost is £30 plus £2.99 UK P&P, payment via Pay Pal or cheques. Oversea postage will be charged at cost.

The book consists of 26 chapters, including a forward by Chris Tarrant, and introduction by Mel Russ, retired editor of Sea Angler Magazine. All colour & high quality printing in the UK, minimum of 6 x images per chapter.

Techniques covered, in essay format, pretty much everything, including lots of tropical popping & jigging, fly fishing, trolling, live baiting etc, etc. Mostly saltwater, 5 chapters are based in fresh water. Hope you like it!

Chapters include: Florida-tarpon; Kenya-swordfish, blue marlin & mako shark; Norway-giant cod; Cape Cod & NYC-striped bass; Tanzania-tigerfish; Costa Rica-rooster & sailfish; Namibia-sharks from beach; River Zambezi in Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe & Botswana-tigerfish; Turks & Caicos Islands-bonefish; Mozambique-giant trevally & sharks from beach; Argentina-freshwater dorado; Madagascar-sailfish, giant & yellowspot trevally; The Maldives-giant trevally, dogtooth tuna & Napoleon wrasse; Lake Victoria-Nile perch; Belize-bonefish, permit & tarpon; Uganda-Nile perch; Canada-salmon at sea; Cape Verde Islands-1000lb+ blue marlin & wahoo; Andaman Islands-GT’s & dogtooth; South Africa-black marlin & dorado; Panama-roosterfish, amberjack, cubera snapper; Morocco-European bass; Sierra Leone-barracuda with Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden; Sri Lanka-GT’s & kingfish; Mexico, bonefish, tarpon & permit:

DESTINATION ANGLER!

My latest book, Destination Angler, will be on sale in August, & already I am getting a lot of requests for pre-orders. If you would like to reserve a copy please contact me ASAP & I will add you to the list. Cost will be £30 plus £2.99 UK P&P. The book consists of 26 chapters, including a forward by Chris Tarrant, and introduction by Mel Russ, retired editor of Sea Angler Magazine. All colour & high quality printing in the UK, minimum of 6 x images per chapter. Techniques covered, in essay format, pretty much everything, including lots of tropical popping & jigging, fly fishing, trolling, live baiting etc, etc. Mostly saltwater, 5 chapters are based in fresh water. Hope you like it!

DAVE LEWIS DUSTJACKET:DAVE LEWIS DUSTJACKET

Chapters include: Florida-tarpon; Kenya-swordfish, blue marlin & mako shark; Norway-giant cod; Cape Cod & NYC-striped bass; Tanzania-tigerfish; Costa Rica-rooster & sailfish; Namibia-sharks from beach; River Zambezi in Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe & Botswana-tigerfish; Turks & Caicos Islands-bonefish; Mozambique-giant trevally & sharks from beach; Argentina-freshwater dorado; Madagascar-sailfish, giant & yellowspot trevally; The Maldives-giant trevally, dogtooth tuna & Napoleon wrasse; Lake Victoria-Nile perch; Belize-bonefish, permit & tarpon; Uganda-Nile perch; Canada-salmon at sea; Cape Verde Islands-1000lb+ blue marlin & wahoo; Andaman Islands-GT’s & dogtooth; South Africa-black marlin & dorado; Panama-roosterfish, amberjack, cubera snapper; Morocco-European bass; Sierra Leone-barracuda with Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden; Sri Lanka-GT’s & kingfish; Mexico, bonefish, tarpon & permit:

DAVE LEWIS DUSTJACKET 2DAVE LEWIS DUSTJACKET 1

BELIZE MAY 2016

This years Anglers World Holidays group trip to Belize was based at Roberts Grove, Placencia. The perfect location to run offshore to fish the plethora of flats and small cayes in Southern Belize, Roberts Grove proved to be an excellent choice providing wonderful accommodation, great food and outstanding service. Certainly Roberts Grove will be our choice for accommodation for all future trips to Belize, which I am sure will be many!

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One of there swimming pools at Roberts Grove.

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Location on the beach 5 miles north of the village of Placencia, Roberts Grove is the perfect location to fish in Southern Belize

Always the fishing in Belize is excellent, but this year was our best trip ever. May is one of the very best months for tarpon in Belize, and fly fishing for these amazing fish was high on our agenda. We had six full days fly fishing and myself and boat partner Andrew Leaves caught tarpon on every single day. The average size of the tarpon we caught was between 25-50lb, with Andrew catching the largest of the trip, a superb 80lb fish. The most productive fly was the Gummy Minnow, and luckily we had brought plenty of this perfect baitfish imitations, supplied by Fulling Mill and all tied on high quality, strong hooks.

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One of the tarpon I caught on fly, an especially acrobatic 30lb fish.

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A baby tarpon of around 5lb caught on fly in Monkey River, great fun on a 9wt fly rod!

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Fishing poppers for baby tarpon in the jungle rivers of Belize is superb sport.

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SET! Andrew Leaves gets hit in Monkey River.

Anyone who has caught a tarpon will know that these fish are amazingly strong, and the fight is never over until the fish is brought to the boat. Even when the fish are successfully brought alongside getting good photographs is difficult. We don’t lift them aboard as this can easily cause considerable damage both to the fish and tackle, so we attempt to work them onto the edges of a flat, where we could get out of the boat and safely hold the fish in the water. The trouble is the fish very quickly revive themselves and in almost all cases a final explosive display of defiance as we attempted to get photographs resulted in a refreshing shower and a broken leader.

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We wanted a photograph, the fish had other ideas!

As always I fished with my very good friend and outstanding guide George Garbutt, who without a doubt is one of the finest fly fishing guides I have had the pleasure of fishing with anywhere in the world. George’s knowledge of the flats is second to none, and of course this is an essential requirement for the success of any trip.

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George Garbutt, an outstanding guide.

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One of many bonefish caught on fly.

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Jack Crevalle caught on a chartreuse Clouser Monnow, these fish certainly test both your knots and the drag on your reel

While tarpon were our primary interest we also targeted other species. Bonefish are prolific throughout Belize and we caught plenty, even though we spent very little time fishing for them. On a few occasions we looked for permit and while we found one or two, on this occasion the main population of fish seemed to have moved offshore to spawn. Variety was provided by catching some great jacks and snapper of various species, but with the tarpon fishing so good, naturally these were the major focus of our attention on every day. Derek ‘Del’ Elliott caught a specimen 16lb snook of fly and a stunning 21lb African Pompano on bait, and along with boat partner Ray Jennings also got plenty of tarpon and other species.

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Looking for permit on one of countless stunning flats in Belize

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Hard at work in last weeks ‘office’, somewhere in Belize!

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Almost there, George wades out to land one of my fish.

We will be returning to Belize in May 2017 and there may be a place or two left on this trip. If you think you might be interest contacts Anglers World Holidays on Tel: 01246 221717 or visit: http://anglersworld.tv  George Garbutt can be contacted via email at: fishingwgg@gmail.com

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Don’t forget to pack plenty of Gummy Minnows, but make sure they are tied on good quality hooks.

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Andrew Leaves slugs it out with a big tarpon.

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Trying to keep a big tarpon away from the mangroves.

GRAND SLAM ON FLY!

Just home from what has become an annual two week trip to Tulum on the Yukutan Peninsula in Mexico. I fish throughout the extensive, productive saltwater flats within the beautiful Sian Ka’an biosphere. The flats around Boca Paila are one of the few places I know where you can experience good self guided sight fishing for bonefish with a fly rod, though in the years I have been visiting I have noted that the number of anglers fishing here has increased, despite the presence of saltwater crocodiles, and not surprisingly the fish have become very spooky.

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Anglers fishing the flats at Boca Paila. It’s starting to get crowded on the best flats you can reach on foot, but there are plenty of fish.

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Self guided bonefish on fly caught at Boca Paila.

This trip I managed to average a fish a visit, never fishing more than just a couple of hours in the afternoon. Last year I met Capt. Eduardo Gomez, take a look at my earlier blog, one of the best saltwater fly fishing guides I have fished with anywhere. Eduardo has 45 years experience fishing throughout Sian Ka’an, most of it as a full guide at the famous Boca Paila Fishing Lodge, which is no longer in operation.

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Eduardo Gomez poling a flat with the Sian Ka’an Biospere.

This year I booked three full day trips with Eduardo and experienced some of the very best fly fishing I have ever enjoyed. We started off each morning focussing on bonefish, which generally feed best in very shallow water before the sun gets too hot. On the first day with four bonefish successfully caught and released Eduardo suggested we move and try for permit. I very nearly said I would rather stick with catching bones but luckily I listened to Eduardo’s advice, reeled in my 8wt and rigged up a 10wt Thomas & Thomas with a large crab pattern.

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A nice bonefish caught on my first days fishing with Eduardo Gomez.

It was a windy day but luckily there was very little high cloud so the light for spotting fish was perfect. I soon got my first shot at a permit, but not surprisingly that fish showed zero interest in my fly, which is pretty much normal when attempting to catch these most spooky fish on fly. The second fish I cast at reacted very differently and as soon as the fly hit the water it turned to look at it and did everything but actually eat it. The fish did not spook and when I recast it once again turned and closely examined the fly, but refused to actually eat it. By now the fish was moving away from the boat at my extreme casting range and at an angle that meant the third cast would be directly into the wind. In my mind I had given up on catching it but cast anyway, and quite unbelievably the fly landed perfectly right in front of the fish; and this time it ate it. Ten minutes later Eduardo slid the net under my first ever permit caught on fly.

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Eduardo Gomez hold’s my fly caught permit.

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My first permit on fly.

With bonefish and permit now in the bag I only needed a tarpon to complete a coveted I.G.F.A Inshore Grand Slam on fly, a lifetime achievement for any angler, and one that has been at the very top of my personal bucket list for many years. Eduardo knew a good place and with the crab fly swapped for one of my home tied Black Death tarpon flies I started casting. Within ten minutes I had hooked the first tarpon, which came cartwheeling directly towards the boat before throwing the fly, ditto the second fish. The third fish stayed hooked throughout three spectacular series of acrobatic jumps and as Eduardo reached out to grab the leader all looked done and dusted, until the line went slack. By now the clock was ticking but undeterred Eduardo took us to another spot where I connected with another tarpon, that remained hooked all the way to the net.

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Grand Slam complete, tarpon an the fly!

With my inshore fly caught slam in the bag my day was done and I made it back to the hotel in time for the 2 for 1 Margarita happy hour, the start of a most memorable hangover! Eduardo Gomez can be contacted through the following emails, his son’s at monsrealcr7@gmail.com or bambi_020@hotmail.com

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Eduardo holds one of several jack crevalle I caught on fly during my trip.

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Another day, another great bonefish, I’ll be back very soon…

A WEEKEND IN HOLLAND!

Recently I have had several enquiries about plans for future hosted trips, but sadly everything we have planned during the next 18 months is already fully booked. Very occasionally we do get a last minute cancellation opening up an opportunity for someone to join us, and if you would like to be contacted in the event of short notice availability, please get in touch and I will add you to my contacts lists.

Hosted trips currently scheduled include Belize May 16, fly fishing for tarpon, bonefish, permit and snook; Mongolia, August/September 16 for lenok trout and grayling; Nicaragua October 16 for tarpon, snook and rainbow bass; Argentina March 17 for freshwater dorado; and finally Christmas Island in July 17 for GT’s, bonefish and numerous other species. The next hosted/group trip I anticipate we will be planning will be a return to Nicaragua in October 2017, almost certainly followed by Panama in early 2018. Of course private trips can always be booked at these and many other exciting destinations offered by Anglers World Holidays, for more information visit: http://anglersworld.tv or Tel: 01246 221717.

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I love tying flies, and Vismar had many excellent tiers demonstrating their craft.

A couple of weeks a spent an interesting couple of days at Vismar, the big Dutch fishing show held each year at Ahoy, just outside of Rotterdam. I had been invited by Peter Dohmen, editor of the top Dutch sea angling magazine Zee Hengelsport, http://www.zeehengelsport.nl for whom I have worked for the past 12 years or so. It was a great trip during which I got to meet several old friends, and make a few new ones. Sadly we no longer have any similar shows here in the UK, so why not consider a long weekend at Vismar next year? Given low cost air and ferry crossings this need not be overly expensive; I’ll probably see you there!

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One of the most popular displays was a really interesting demonstration of various ways to fillet and prepare different species of fish.

Last blog I revealed I have been working extensively on my latest book, and finally the last of 25 chapters has just been sent to the publisher. I’ve been kicking various ideas around for this particular book for several years, and I hope the format I have chosen has something of interest for all anglers who have an interest in travel. Most of the book relates to fishing in saltwater, but several chapters feature freshwater fishing, notably for tigerfish, Nile perch and South American dorado. There are several chapters that focus on popping and jigging, with others looking at fly fishing, both inshore over shallow water flats and offshore for billfish and trevally. Each chapter features a minimum of 6-7 full colour images, which in addition to fish and fishing include many of my favourites illustrating the spectacular flora and fauna in those countries I have been fortunate to have visited; choosing which images to use has been one of the hardest elements of this project.

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Rig tying was just one of many demonstrations of interest to sea anglers.

The first addition published, which includes a forward by Chris Tarrant, will be hard back with dust wrapper, with each of the first run being individually numbered. Destinations featured include The Florida Keys, Kenya, Norway, New York City & Cape Cod, Tanzania, Costa Rica, Namibia, Nicaragua, River Zambezi, Turks & Caicos Islands, Mozambique, Argentina, Madagascar, The Maldives, Mfangano Islands Lake Victoria, Belize, Uganda, Canada, Cape Verde Islands, The Andaman & Nicobar Islands, South Africa, Panama, Morocco, Sierra Leone & Sri Lanka. I’m not sure of the actual publication date yet, but hopefully it will be sometime around August this year. Numbers of this first addition are limited. If you think you might like a copy please let me know & I will put you on the mailing list for publication updates.

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Peter Dohmen, second from left, presenting Irish Specimen fish awards in the show’s ‘Irish Pub’.

PANAMANIAN PARADISE!

Welcome to my first blog of 2016, long overdue but as you will see I have been extremely busy. The year started off with a two week cruise around the western Caribbean with Alison, a great opportunity to visit a few new places and explore future fishing opportunities. We started off in Barbados, calling in at Aruba, Roatan and Trujillo in Honduras, Port Limon in Costa Rica, Colon in Panama, Cartagena in Colombia, Grenada and finally back to Barbados for the flight home. I had hoped to sneak in a bit of fishing here and there but these days the ships are in port for the absolute minimum of time, so this was not possible.

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A sloth seated high in the tree canopy near Port Limon in Costa Rica

During my time in the Merchant Navy I spent 6 months on the P&O cruise ship Oriana and almost always we would arrive in port at 0700 and sail at 1900, and usually had an overnight stop once per cruise. Seemingly that is not the case today. Often we didn’t get ashore until 0900 or even 1000 and then usually the ship sailed around 1600-1700, which was very disappointing, and something you might like to look at if you plan on taking a cruise. However I have some great leads to follow up for fishing in Honduras, Colombia and Aruba.

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Colourful fruit seller in the streets of Cartagena. Check out the hot sauce; now thats my kind of fruit seller!

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The old town in Cartagena, Colombia, a truly fantastic city

Barely had I got home and unpacked when I was driving back to the airport to again fly across the Atlantic to Panama, this time with a  group of 11 friends all eagerly anticipating a week of popping, jigging and live baiting. Most of these had joined me the previous year when we had fished at Paradise Fishing Lodge on the countries northern Pacific Coast. That year the fishing had been outstanding, this year we had to work for our fish.

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Sunrise near Coiba Island, Panama. One of our crews catching live bait for the day ahead; what will they catch?

The eastern Pacific is in the grip on an especially strong and protracted El Nino, with much warmer than average temperatures that seem to have slowed the fishing down. That said ‘slow’ fishing in Panama is the equivalent of excellent fishing at many destinations I have fished, and during the week everyone in the group boated some memorable fish including several sailfish, cubera snapper to over 50lb, roosterfish to 35lb along with school sized yellowfin tuna and numerous other species. The weather was fantastic, the rum, food and company even better; what else could you want from a fishing trip in the tropics in February?

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A 50lb+ cubera snapper caught off Coiba Island, Panama. Check out the AFTCO shirt; cool eh!

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Business end of my big cubera, not a good place to be if you are a fish!

During this trip I was able to try out some of the extensive range of technical fishing clothing manufactured by AFTCO, for whom I am now a pro-staffer. Most offshore anglers are aware that the companies rod hardware and deck equipment are widely regarded as being the industry standard, few realise just how extensive their range of technical fishing apparel is. Their tropical fishing shirts in particular are beautiful to wear, especially the Ultra Performance ‘Fish Ninja’ range which feature a built in buff and hood. The AFTCO Solarmar UVS gloves are comfortable to wear all day long, providing excellent grip when casting or fighting fish, the wearer all the time benefitting from SPF 50 protection. Check out the full AFTCO range at: http://www.aftco.com

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AFTCO Solamar UVS fishing gloves offer great grip, plus SPF50 protection

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A nice little rooster caught off Coiba

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My biggest rooster of the trip, again caught off Coiba Island

Part of the reason I have not blogged for so long is that I have been working full time on my latest book. Back in the autumn I was introduced to a publisher who immediately became interested in the ideas I proposed to him, and within the week a contract had been agreed and I had begun work on the project. Can’t reveal too much at the moment, but basically the book will feature around 25 chapters featuring some of the many wonderful locations around the world I have been fortunate to have fished. Key to my original idea was to maximise the use of some of the many thousands of images I have stored, and each chapter will have a minimum of 6 colour images, which I hope will give a ‘feel’ of the destinations featured. I plan on finishing my part of the work in March, so hopefully the book will be published sometime this summer.

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Terry Thomas with a good mullet snapper caught off Coiba Island

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Andrew Leaves with a stunning bluefin trevally caught on a Shimano Waxwing lure

Something different now. Recently I was contacted by Mail Speed Marine, an online marine chandlery company and they have generously offered anyone referred to their site from here a discount of 5% on products from their vast range. Take a look at what they sell here: https://www.mailspeedmarine.com

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One of our crews fishing & hooked up off Coiba Island

UGANDA, NAMIBIA & MOZAMBIQUE

Continuing the process of adding digital versions of old 35mm slides to earlier articles on my blog, I have now updated the sections on Uganda, beach fishing in Namibia and my first trip to Benguerra Island Lodge, Mozambique. You’ll find these and many more articles under the Memorable Trips section of this site.

Not a great place to slip and fall in!

The Devils Cauldron below Murchison Falls, not a great place to slip and fall in!

It’s hard to think that my first trip to Namibia was 20 years ago next April, it seems like only yesterday. You don’t hear so much about this excellent surf fishing destination these days, but the fishing is still good-provided you have a good guide. Johan Burger is still guiding here & he is widely acknowledged as being the very best. You can contact him at: http://sportfishingnamibia.blogspot.co.uk

An average sized bronze whaler caught surf fishing in Namibia

An average sized bronze whaler caught surf fishing in Namibia

Likewise in recent years Uganda has gone very quiet, but this is hardly surprising considering it’s location & the amount of civil unrest and militia activity throughout the region. Certainly if planning on fishing here you need to take security very seriously. When John & I fished here our camp was guarded by troops from the Ugandan army.

My best perch of the trip, caught at The Sesse Islands

My best perch of the trip, caught at The Sesse Islands

That first trip to Mozambique was also a long time ago, not long after the end of the civil war. The fishing was truly outstanding, and as you can see we caught a lot of great fish. I’ve been back to the same area, though not the same lodge, on three further occasions now, and sadly each time I have noted a marked drop in the standard of fishing. I am sure there is still good fishing to be had in Mozambique, but like most other destinations you need to do your research thoroughly & really pinpoint optimum times of the year.

Big black tip caught from the beach at Benguerra Island Lodge

Big black tip caught from the beach at Benguerra Island Lodge

I am supposed to be trying to ease back a little with traveling, but next year already I have trips confirmed to Panama, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica & Nicaragua and Canada. And thats not including a two-week cruise around central & South America with Alison, during which I daresay I’ll get to fish. Further, it looks like I will be traveling to Mongolia in August to fish for lenok trout, grayling & hopefully taiman. There is a possibility two or three other anglers can join me, contact Anglers World Holidays on Tel: 01246 221717 if you think you might be interested. We are also looking at possibly traveling to Guinea Bissau in March, prime time for big tarpon. I need to clarify a few issues before confirming this trip, but again one or two places should be available.

Well I had to take the photographs, didn't I...

Well I had to take the photographs, didn’t I…