Costa Rica has long been one of my all time favourite angling destinations. This idyllic Central American country is amazingly beautiful and safe to visit, it’s a country that really does have something to offer for everyone. On this latest trip I travelled along with five other anglers to Samara, a small and mostly underdeveloped town just south of Nicoya, Guanacaste Province, in the north of the country.


Start of another day on the beach at Samara.

We were scheduled for six days fishing, but there is no hiding from the fact that the trip started badly. On day one we woke to find heavy cloud cover and steady rain, conditions that not only persisted but throughout the day got progressively worse. The rain, which we were told had been all but continual throughout the previous week, had heavily coloured the inshore waters around the reefs we fished to the north of Samara, where we caught precisely nothing. Luckily a move offshore soon located cleaner water, and a switch to trolling lures produced some very nice sized dorado.


Andy Smith holds one of many dorado we caught during our trip.


Pink lures such as this Rapala XXX Cast 14 were especially productive.


The extra large Patchinko is a great lure for numerous species in these waters.

On day two our boat decided to fish well offshore hoping for a shot at a marlin or sailfish, but this proved to be a waste of time with just a few dorado and small tuna saving us from a blank. Once again the weather was poor and as we punched our way back to the beach through increasingly heavy seas and torrential rain, I was starting to think that we were in for a very tough trip. However when we got back to the hotel where we were based we were greeted with the encouraging news that the other boat in our group had found clear water inshore by running south, and as a result had caught some very nice fish, including a 40lb plus roosterfish for Andrew Leaves.


Hooked up to my first rooster of the trip!


A nice fish of 20lb+

Day three we enjoyed our breakfast under clear blue skies, and the mercury was already well on the rise by the time we boarded our respective boats a little after 7 in the morning. As we headed out of the bay in which Samara is located we soon spotted large shoals of surface feeding tuna and bonito, which provided as much sport as we wanted on small casting jigs fished on light tackle. And the day just got better and better. By the time we returned to Samara that afternoon we had caught around half a dozen very nice roosters, a bunch of jacks, and several more bragging size dorado.


Terry Thomas holds his first rooster.


Andy Smith with one of the 8 he caught during the trip.


Pink was undoubtedly the most effective colour lure.

On day four the fishing was incredible. For me it was one of those days when whatever I tried worked, and worked well. I personally boated three roosters, all caught on surface poppers, best fish around 30lb, plus numerous jacks and small tuna. I also caught a stunning 30-40lb dorado that inhaled the casting jig I had been using right at the rod tip. That fishes first run, one of several, ripped more than 200 yards of line from the reel.


Is there a more beautiful species of gamefish than the dorado?


Certainly they are one of my favourites…


Great sushi, too!

The fishing throughout the remainder of the trip was equally productive, indeed it got even better for dorado. On the fifth morning we located a weed line that included several large trees, and the sea in the area was thick with feeding dorado. By 10 in the morning the three of us fishing on our boat had already caught in excess of 20 dorado in the 10-25lb class. Throughout that day we located several dense bait balls of brown minnows that were being demolished by feeding frenzy of roosters, jacks, small tuna, Sierra mackerel and dorado. Any lure that was cast in the vicinity of these bait balls was immediately smashed by whichever species managed to grab it first. It was a truly awesome sight.


X marks the spot, hook up imminent!

That afternoon as we headed back towards Samara we came across a whale shark. It was totally unperturbed by our presence and after several minutes watching this incredible animal swim around the boat I could contain myself no longer, and I stripped off and dived in and swam down to it. It wasn’t the slightest bit bothered by my presence, even allowing me to gently stroke one of its fins; what an experience.


The whales shark I swam with; what an experience!

Our sixth and final day was another cracker. Plenty of dorado, roosters, tuna and as many jacks as we wanted to catch. Around lunchtime we located a few large bait balls that were being harassed by a shoal of well in excess of 1000 jacks. We could have caught as many of these as we wanted, but settled for a couple of dozen before moving on to try something different.


Sierra mackerel.


Jack crevalle.


And yet another rooster!

Samara is one of the most exciting Central American destinations I have had the privilege to fish, and I can’t wait to return. Unlike many other areas of Costa Rica this remote area remains largely undeveloped, with as yet minimal sport fishing pressure. During numerous previous trips to Costa Rica never have I seen so many roosterfish, with at times up to half a dozen fish chasing the lure right back to the boat. The standard of fishing for these most prized of inshore game fish was so good we barely tried fishing for other species such a cuberra and grouper, and I know that given the right conditions the offshore fishing for billfish and tuna is incredible.

If you would like to join me on a hosted trip to Samara or arrange a private trip, contact Anglers World Holidays on Tel; 01246 221717 or visit:


Never have I seen so many roosterfish as in the inshore waters around Samara.


And the dorado fishing was truly incredible!

I have now been proudly associated with AFTCO performance sport fishing clothing for two years. During this time I have used their incredibly well made state of the art products to fish under a variety of testing conditions, and both I and the numerous crews whom I have given samples to trial have had nothing other than great things to say about the brand. Not only do AFTCO products look great, but they really are supremely comfortable and provide excellent protection from the elements when fishing. For more information visit:


We’ll be back…




In April 2004 myself and Steve Humpherson became the first British anglers to fish at Skjervoy Fish Camp, which is located in the Troms district of Arctic Norway. I remember the weather during that trip was beautiful, with clear skies, hardly a breath of wind and brilliantly intense sunshine illuminating the amazing mountainous scenery that was covered in a thick blanket of snow. Fishing with local skipper Knut Arne Mikalsen aboard his commercial boat Skarungen, plus on our own aboard the camps fleet of small open aluminium boats, we caught plenty of cod to well over 30lb, along with the usual variety of other species.


Martin Founds holds one of the many cod we caught during our recent trip.

The first article I wrote about that trip appeared a few months later in Sea Angler Magazine, and immediately the phone lines at Anglers World Holidays started to ring; and barely have they stopped since as Skjervoy has evolved into the most talked about and popular camp in Norway. Anglers World Holidays alone having sent many thousands of anglers to fish there.


One of the 8 main cabins at Skjervoy, following a recent coast of paint..

Over the years the fleet of self drive boats gradually evolved from the original small ‘tinnies’ into larger alloy boats, and then the ever popular Arvors with their cabins and inboard diesel engines. Each year from April until the end of September these boats have been used and often abused, day in day out, by countless anglers, many of whom have no or little boat handling experience. Not surprisingly both the boats and the cabins eventually started to look a tad neglected, with some of the camp managers have been more efficient than others at addressing various issues as and when they occurred. Realising that standards were not as high as they would like the camp owners have recently appointed both a new manager and a permanent on site maintenance man, both of whom live locally. Each of the 8 main cabins and the apartments has or will have undergone a thorough make over by the start of the 2018 season, and that is not all.


Our Jeanneau Marlin demonstrator leaving Skjervoy.


Not a bad day to venture offshore!

Skjervoy Fish Camp has ordered 10 amazing Jeanneau Merry Fisher Marlin 795 boats, each of which is powered by an incredible 115hp Yamaha 4-Stroke outboard. I have long been a fan of the Jeanneau range, so much so that were I ever to consider buying another boat for my own use I would be surprised if I purchased anything other than a Jeanneau. All of the Jeanneau range I have trialled have handled beautifully in a wide range of varying sea conditions, and the Marlin range in particular are absolutely perfect for fishing from.


The new Marlin 795’s will be powered by a 115hp Yamaha 4-stroke.


Martin takes the helm in the comfortable, well appointed wheelhouse. The new camp boats will have wheelhouse access on both sides and aft.

In October this year I made what I believe was my tenth visit to Skjervoy to see for myself how the cabins have been upgraded, and spend three days fishing aboard a Jeanneau Marlin demonstrator. As luck would have it the weather was perfect, allowing me to make the run out to a few favourite banks and reefs located off the mouth of the Kvaengan Fjord and off the northern shoreline of the neighbouring island of Arnoy.


Storm Giant Swimming Shad, my go to lure whenever fishing these waters for big cod & halibut.


Smaller shads fished in conjunction with a spinning rod provide great sport with big coalfish and cod.

The fishing I experienced was very good, especially considering this was past the end of the traditional season. We caught plenty of cod including several specimens weighing up to mid-twenties, plus a few other species including a mackerel: what was that doing over 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle in October? Other highlights included fine displays of the northern lights on two nights.


Knut Arne Mikalsen holds a nice cod; guess who forgot his sun glasses!


Holding a 20lb+ cod with my old friend Knut Arne Mikalsen

On our last but one day we bumped into Knut Arne Mikalsen at the local super market. Knut is now a Coastal Pilot assisting ships to safely navigate the tricky waters off the northern Norwegian coast. Luckily he was currently on leave and was very easily persuaded to join us for our last days fishing. It was the perfect end to a most enjoyable yet all-too-short trip to one of my favourite parts of the world.


Knut Arne Mikalsen with another nice cod


Playing a good cod on light tackle.


Look at those sea conditions, and this was October!

Bookings for Skjervoy Fish Camp in the UK are made through Anglers World Holidays Tel: 01246 221717 or visit: Here you will find plenty of information, including a couple of instructional videos we have made over the years.


Not a large cod by any measure, but thats one pretty sunset!



After numerousl long haul trips already this year I am starting to appreciate short haul flights. In my last blog post I wrote about a bluefin tuna fishing tournament I had fished at Beaulieu Sur Mer in the south of France, a short drive from Nice which is less than a two hour flight from Bristol. A few weeks later I was again seated in the departure lounge at Bristol Airport, this time waiting for a similarly short hop with Easy Jet down to Barcelona, Spain. The flight went like clockwork, and a couple of hours after landing we arrived at our base for the trip, Riumar, a small holiday town located at the mouth of the River Ebro.


One of the boats operated by Roned Sportfishing out of Riumar, Spain. Perfect for two or three anglers.

The news on arrival from our host Ron Niewwboer was both good and bad. That day Ron’s clients from his native Holland had boated three very nice bluefin tuna in the 80-140lb class, and he had confirmed that there were a lot of fish around: this was the good news. The bad news was that the weather forecast for our all-too-short three fishing trip was bad, very bad, so much so that Ron had to rush off to relocate one of his boats at a marina on the opposite side of the bay, which he hoped would provide some shelter from the unseasonably strong offshore winds that were forecast for the next day. As it turned out that was a very smart move, a great decision that absolutely saved what could easily have been a total bust of a trip.

Sure enough the following day we woke to find the wind rattling the trees in front of our villa, and the bay in front of Riumar was flecked with white caps for as far as the eye could see. We met Ron after breakfast and he told us that the wind was forecast to ease by lunchtime, and that he was confident we could get out, albeit inshore. A few hours later we did manage to go fishing but in all honesty it was little more than a token effort, which resulted in nothing more exciting than a couple of small stingray.

Day two also dawned with strong winds, but every forecast we checked was confident things would settle down appreciably by midday. So once again we slipped out of the sheltered marina, and headed out into the Mediterranean hoping to reach an area that had been especially productive in recent weeks.


Fresh fish, some type of sardine, perfect for chum.


Especially when cut into chunks.

For the first few miles we slogged our way through horrible seas, but gradually as we progressed into deeper water conditions had started to improve, just as forecast. By early afternoon the wind had eased considerably, and eventually we had reached the area about 12 miles offshore Ron had hoped to fish. Most anglers who fish here use spinning or jigging tackle to target tuna, but the conditions were totally against this. Consequently we fished on the drift, and started chumming with a steady stream of chunks of sardines. A pair of larger scad were rigged as hooked baits and were suspended beneath balloon floats to fish within the chum trail .


Scad make a great hook bait.

There were plenty of birds in the area and we were confident there were fish around, and sure enough after about an hour of drifting one of the balloons suddenly disappeared beneath the surface, the rod bent, and line started screaming off the reel: fish on! I grabbed the rod and did my best to attach myself to a badly fitting harness rig, and eventually brought the first tuna of the trip alongside the boat. A nice fish  that Ron estimated at weighing around 45kg,100lb, about average for the area we were fishing. After a quick photo session the fish was released, as all tuna are.


My first fish of the trip is welcomed aboard.


And held for a brief photograph or two before being released.

It was immediately apparent that the second fished I hooked was considerably bigger than the first. Several long blistering runs preceded the usual circling deep within the water column beneath the boat, which is so characteristic of all of the tuna species. Luckily I was using tackle that was up to the job, and the better part of 50lb of drag applied courtesy of a Shimano Tiagra 80 meant that a little under 15 minutes after hook up Ron grabbed the leader. Between us we somehow managed to pull the big tuna over the side of the boat whereupon it slammed down onto the deck with a loud thud, as if someone had dropped a sack of cement. Clearly this was a new personal best bluefin tuna for me. She measured 2.01m, which computes to a fish of around 140kg, 308lb; I was delighted!


Fish number 2 was much bigger!


And was a struggle to pull aboard the boat.


She measured just over 2m,and we calculated she weighed 308lb, my biggest bluefin tuna to date.

On our third and sadly final day at Riumar the wind increased to the point where our only option was to troll inside the lower reaches of the River Ebro, hoping for one of the many bluefish or big leerfish that are caught here earlier in the year, especially in April and May. It was an enjoyable though fruitless couple of hours, but thankfully Ruimar has plenty of excellent restaurants where regardless of wind strength a great lunch or dinner can be guaranteed. And so ended my first but certainly not my last trip to Riumar, a full report of which will appear in Sea Angler Magazine very soon…


You’ll find over a dozen excellent restaurants in Riumar, many specialising in local Spanish cuisine.

Trips to Ruimar to fish with Ron Niewwboer at Roned Sportfishing can be organised through Anglers World Holidays. In addition to those species mentioned, dorado are abundant during September and October, and huge wells catfish weighing over 100lb are caught in the River Ebro not far upriver from Riumar. For more details contact Anglers World Holidays on Tel: 01246 221717 or visit:



I first fished at the idyllic coastal town of Beaulieu Sur Mer 10 years ago, when I enjoyed a great days offshore fishing for bluefin tuna with my good friend Patrice Garziglia. Patrice runs his excellent charter boat Papeete II, and is widely recognised as being one of the very best, and certainly most experienced charter skippers in the south of France. You can see more about the wonderful fishing he offers on his website here:

That day we caught several very nice tuna, and I was keen to get back for more, especially for a shot at the bigger fish that run at certain times of the year, not to mention  an occasional spearfish or white marlin. Despite several invitations for a return trip it wasn’t until this year that finally I was able to fly to Nice on the Cote D’ Azur and make the short journey east to Beaulieu, which is situated right on the border with neighbouring Monaco.



Patrice had invited me to judge this years submissions at the Second Beaulieu Sur Mer Festival of International Sport Fishing Films, which was held on the Friday night, then compete in the bluefin tuna tournament that was held over the weekend.



With traditional French style and panache the event kicked off with an open air reception at the harbour, where guests indulged in a seemingly never ending flow of Ricard, wine and other aperitifs. I savoured the atmosphere talking fish and fishing with friends old and new, often to the accompaniment of the guttural roar of a passing Ferrari or Maserati. Then, after the sun had set, we relocated to an open air theatre set atop a low cliff over looking the harbour, to view this years submissions.



There were many excellent films featuring sport fishing for a wide variety of different species at locations all around the world, but when the time to vote arrived it was the most amazing film ‘Tuna Fly Fishing in France,’ by Gregory Dollet, that got my vote along with my fellow judges and most of the audience, and ultimately won first prize.



Next morning competitors in the fishing tournament reconvened back at the harbour at 6’O’clock for a traditional French breakfast consisting of copious quantities of hot coffee, served with either freshly baked croissants or pan chocolate, or both. Then we boarded one of the 16 boats competing in the tournament, for the run offshore to the fishing grounds.



I was fishing with another old friend, Antoine Drochon, whom I first met many years ago in The Maldives. Antoine, who started his career crewing for Patrice, is now the full time skipper on a ‘Pulp Fiction’ a truly phenomenal Boat Whaler Outrage 350 powered by three 300hp Mercury outboards, which propel her at speeds in excess of 50mph.



The tournament was points based, with tuna measuring more than 60cm scoring two points, and those measuring more than 115cm worth five points. When we started trolling it did not take long for the first strike, at which point one of the team grabbed the rod and fought the hooked fish, while the remainder attempted additional hook ups from other fish in the school by either casting surface lures of jigging. A full report of the actual fishing will appear in Sea Angler Magazine very soon, suffice to say that our catch of 10 fish, all released, scored a winning 20 points. Quite incredible really, my first blue water tournament and I was part of the winning team; needless to say I have now retired from fishing competitively!



Aside from excellent weather and first class fishing, highlights of the day included seeing several huge sperm and fin whales on the surface at very close quarters, along with many dolphin, manta rays and even free swimming blue sharks.



During the event I got to meet Philippe Guigo and his legendary father, who set up the excellent Antibes sport fishing shop Guigo Marine, take a look at Also I met Stephane Miller, owner of the equally impressive emporium of all things sport fishing, Peche Xtreme, take a look at: Both of these shops stock a truly incredible selection of big game, popping and jigging equipment. If you want it, they’ll stock it, why not check them out…

Unfortunately the wind forecast for the Sunday forced the organising committee to cancel the second days fishing, so the presentation of prizes and tournament dinner were brought forward to the Saturday night, which coincided with a memorable concert by blues slide guitarist ‘Catfish Keith’.



DSCN5000 (1)


As you will have gathered I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The weather was beautiful, the food outstanding, the drinks free flowing, great music, and the entire event went by with the panache and style the French are rightly so famous for. I am already looking forward to next year, when I might just be tempted to come out of tournament fishing retirement, rejoin team Pulp Fiction, and do my bit to defend our title!





For the past three years I have received an invitation to fish Panama’s remote and unbelievably beautiful ‘Wild Coast’, from my good friend Doug Olander. Doug, editor of the excellent American based Sport Fishing Magazine, is a keen kayaker and Panama Kayak Adventures, with whom we would be fishing, specialise on inshore fishing aboard state of the art Hobie kayaks. For the first two years prior commitments have meant I have been unable to accept the offer, but this year the trip coincided with a free week, which in early June saw me arriving at Panama City.


The Doug Olander school of knot tying excellence is officially convened!

Early the next morning, 0330 early, we set off on a six hour mini bus drive to meet Pascal Artieda, our host and the owner of Panama Kayak Adventures. When finally we arrived at out our departure point, a remote beach 20-30 miles west of Pedasi, the weather was far from perfect. We were greeted with a heavily overcast sky spitting rain and a sloppy swell washing the beach, conditions that would set the theme for the week.


Throughout our week we did experience an occasional ‘shower!’

Undeterred we loaded our mountain of equipment onto a couple of pangas and headed a further one hour west to Tembladera Lodge, a rustic camp set amidst a back drop of dense jungle at the entrance to Cerro Hoya Nation Park. Accommodation here is basic yet entirely adequate, while the food and standard of service is better than that I have experienced during previous trips to other more ‘substantial’ operations around the world.


Tropical paradise!

When we arrived at the beach immediately in front of the lodge, the size of the swell crashing onto the black volcanic sands posed a big problem. Basically landing there was simply too hazardous, so our panga captain ran us to a small rocky cover several hundred yards to the west, where still the swell and waves were crashing wildly against the coast. At first I could not see what his game plan was, but what followed was probably the finest example of small boat handling in rough seas I have ever been privileged to witness. Spinning the boat around he reversed the panga into a narrow rocky gully that was barely wider than our beam, all the time displaying a confidence and level of skill that really had to be witnessed to be fully appreciated: it was an awesome experience.


Fancy running into that gully in reverse? In this image it actually looks a lot calmer than it was.

The weather the next day was not much better but we set off regardless and eventually launched the kayaks into a messy sea, a few hundreds yards from a rocky headland that was being smashed by a huge Pacific swell. Three kayaks were launched and Doug, along with Brad Genter and Rob Sherman, the remainder of our crew, set off.


I think we need a bigger boat!


Safety is always paramount when fishing afloat, but never more so than aboard a kayak. Icom waterproof hand held VHF radios are widely regarded as being the industry standard.

And me? Well my previous kayak experience is slightly above zero and this and a seriously painful lower back resulted in me staying aboard the panga for the day and, indeed, the rest of the trip. After all I had the choice, spend the day seated aboard a small piece of plastic, or fishing from my own personal panga; what would you have done!


And todays plan is…?


Kayak or panga, what would you do?

Starting off casting a large stick bait I was soon tight to my first fish of the trip, which quickly came off. A few casts later produced another violent strike, which resulted in a solid hook up and ultimately a very nice Pacific jack crevalle. Pound for pound these hard fighting and for some obscure oft decried game fish are the equal of any GT, or indeed other trevally/jack species, if only they grew to a similar size!


First fish of the trip, a nice Pacific jack crevalle.

Throughout the week we enjoyed a mix of weather that ranged from thoroughly nasty to absolutely perfect, and invariably included everything else in between aside from snow! The fishing was mostly good, occasionally very good, but the ever changing weather frequently restricted where and when we could fish. June is the early part of the main rainy season in Panama but we were experienced the kind of weather more typically associated with much later in the year.


Good morning Panama! Thankfully we did enjoy some good weather.

A huge variety of fish were caught, including plenty of jacks, crevalle and horse eye, numerous stunning bluefin trevally, rainbow runners, Sierra mackerel, various species of snapper and grouper, amberjack, pompano, yellowfin tuna, bonito and black skipjack tuna and sharks along with several others. We even had a sailfish attack a popper just a few hundred yards off the rocks.


A pompano for Brad.


And a nice rooster.


Pascal Artieda with one a many bluefin trevally we caught.


Sierra mackerel, aka ceviche!

Of course the two definitive species targeted along this coastline are the iconic and totally stunning rooster fish, and the mighty cuberra snapper, and several of both species were caught each day. I happily boated a couple of roosters, a fish I never tire of catching, the largest a barely average 12-15lb, with the biggest ‘pez gallo’ being a hefty 50lb+ slab caught by Brad. Fish of the week for me was a monster cuberra of over 60lb that inhaled a live blue runner, then proceeded to try its best to bust me off in the reef. A new personal best for this species, it is always a pleasure to release such fantastic game fish in the hope of encountering them once again some time in the future.


I love rooster fish!


A new personal best cuberra snapper, 60lb plus of angry muscle and teeth!


Releasing a nice cuberra snapper.


The last thing many small fish get to see!


And yet another nice one for Brad.

Panama Kayak Adventures can be contacted at They certainly offer exceptional value for money, and I hope to fish with them again one day soon.


Hooked up in Panama! Why not give it a go?

Anglers World Holidays offer fishing at several other camps in Panama, to which I occasionally host trips. For more information Tel: 01246 221717 or visit:


Whether or not you agree that global warming is starting to have an impact on our climate there can be little doubt that increasingly normal, seasonable global weather patterns are becoming more unpredictable. From my own observations travelling and fishing around the world I would say that unseasonably strong winds are becoming a problem, along with an almost complete reversal of wet and dry seasons at some tropical locations.


Andrew Leaves casting a fly for tarpon & snook at Money River, Belize, under the watchful eye of George Garbutt.


A stunning snook.

I have just returned from my annual trip to Belize, a much anticipated trip to one of the worlds truly great flats fishing destinations where we target tarpon, bonefish, permit and snook. Typically May is an especially hot month with generally light winds and little if any rain, but this was far from the case this year. On several days strong wind meant we were unable to reach our favourite offshore cayes and flats, and when we did get out heavy cloud cover often made effective sight fishing at best problematic. We also experienced several exceptionally heavy rain showers. All in all the weather was more what you would expect in November, rather than May.


The eyes of a great guide; priceless!


Bonefish selfie!

That said we fished hard every day, and during our six days fishing we steadily amassed a decent enough tally of fish. May marks the end of the main flats fishing season in Belize, by which time most of the well known areas will have been given an almost daily pounding with fly rods. Consequently the bonefish at this time of the year are at best ‘spooky,’ and some fish can be bordering on the uncatchable.DSCN4719


I never tire of catching bonefish on fly.

A few years back I tied a rather nondescript tan fly, a subtle variation of the Crazy Charlie, which I found worked especially well for hard fished bonefish in The Cayman Islands. Thankfully one of our group, Del Elliot, had packed a few of these flies, which I named ‘Pretty Alison’s’, and when he tried them experienced instant success.


The Pretty Alison!

They were tied on a size 6 or 4 hook with a body and tail consisting of peacock hearl, a clear rib as with the classic Charlie pattern, and a sparse wing of tan calf tail. I tie Pretty Alison’s both with and without bead eyes, and on this trip those flies without eyes, the skinny water version, seemed to work best. My assumption is that the fish had become wary of flies displaying too much flash?


My great friend and outstanding guide George Garbutt, loving his new Costa’s!

The snook fishing we experienced in the rivers was very good, and we had great sport with these and baby tarpon using flies such as the ever successful Clouser Minnows and large surface poppers. We caught several rarely seen swordspine snook on fly, a first for me. Permit were present in decent numbers on most flats, offshore and inshore, and we had plenty of solid shots at tailing fish, but no eats on fly; nothing unusual there!


One of several rarely seen swordspine snook we caught on fly.


Snook selfie!


Large popper, small snook!


My Clouser got chewed!

Tarpon fishing this time last year was exceptional, this year it was extremely tough. Plenty of fish were around, perhaps not as many as usual, but those tarpon we cast to were extremely reluctant to eat a fly. The guides were convinced that the unsettled weather we were experiencing caused by the passing of a near continual succession of low pressure systems had put the fish off the feed, and from previous experience I feel this is highly likely.


Andrew Leaves working a likely spot for snook.


Thats a better fish!


A very nice fly caught snook for Andrew.


And one on a lure for Dave Brady.

Several of our group were happy to fish bait and lures, and when doing so they did catch large numbers of fish including bonefish, permit, big jacks, barracuda, snapper along with a multitude of other species.


Dave Brady & Terry Thomas fishing Monkey River.

I have now fished in Belize on 6 occasions, three times in May, and three times at the very start of the season in November. In November we typically experience a day or two disruption due to weather, but on those days when we do manage to get offshore to fish the flats and reefs the bone fishing in particular has been nothing short of incredible, and we have always seen a lot of permit. At this time of the year inshore there are plenty of snook and small tarpon throughout the jungle rivers and mangrove systems along the mainland, so we expect to fish, and catch fish, every day.


Tools of the trade!


Do you think Andrew Likes A.F.T.C.O. product? 10 out of 10 for colour coordination!

After discussing next years trip with our guides we have made the decision to schedule next years trip in November. Certainly we will be extremely unlucky if the weather impacts upon this trip more than it did this year, but we know that on those days when the sun does shine down from a clear blue sky and the flats are ruffled with a gentle 5-15mph north-easterly breeze, we can expect plenty of shots at tailing fish resulting in bent rods and screaming reels!


“Yeah Mon!” I always look forward to fishing with George Garbutt, you’ll find him on Face Book.


Well protected from the sun, and bugs!

Already I have several names confirmed for this trip, along with our return to Puerto Rica for tarpon, most likely in May. If you are interested in either of these trips contact Anglers World Holidays on Tel: 01246 221717 or visit:


Tough work, but someones got to do it!



This year was the forth in a row I have fished the stunning expanse of flats and mangrove islands found throughout the Sian Ka’an Biosphere on the Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Once again the fishing was excellent though at times conditions were challenging, with a constant strong to very strong north easterly wind making accurate casting tough, and occasional clouds blocking good light to spot fish.


One of my favourite species of fish, bonefish!

However such is the dynamic of the area with it’s hard white sand flats along with plenty of opportunities for  finding a lee shore behind which to cast when the wind was gusting at its strongest, you are always going to get shots at fish.


Eduardo Gomez looking for fish at Sian Ka’an.

When it comes to sight fishing for bonefish in skinny water The Yucatan must rank as one of the worlds great fly fisheries with plenty of bonefish, along with permit, tarpon, snook and jacks. The bonefish are typically small to medium size fish averaging around 2-3lb, but you will get daily shots at larger fish. Usually you’ll be casting at individual fish or small groups consisting of just two or three, occasionally more, so a reasonably accurate cast is necessary, which is precisely why so many anglers love sight fishing tropical flats.


Eduardo with a great bone!


And another one…


Eduardo with one of several jack caught on fly, these guys pull!

I fished a total of four full days with my good friend Eduardo Gomez. Eduardo is based at Boca Paila at the once famous though sadly now deserted Boca Paila Lodge. He has fished the area for 45 years so yes, he knows it like the back of his hand. Regardless of the state or size of tide, current angle of light or strength of wind, Eduardo will always find you a fish to cast your fly at.


One of my home tied Gotcha variants. I include rubber Sili Legs to add some movement, and small Hareline Dubbin Inc. Pseudo Eyes to sink the fly quickly in front of fast cruising fish.

We saw permit on each day and I got several good shots at fish, with predictable results. On the last day we found a small permit feeding alongside a few bonefish in a sheltered bay, but despite looking at my Gotcha variant fly once or twice it refused to eat. I quickly changed to a small brown crab that produced a similar result. With the fish still hanging around and displaying a confidence that is totally unusual for the species, I changed the fly again, this time to a small white, swimming crab. First cast and the permit was confidently swimming over to investigate the fly when a group of small perch, a type of mojara, mobbed the fly and spoiled the presentation.


You’ve never got enough bonefish flies! My go to box plus my favourite Thomas & Thomas Horizon 8wt, Tibor Everglades bonefish outfit.


One of the bonefish I caught during the trip.

I cast again, and once again the permit responded and this time it beat the greedy perch to the fly, and inhaled it. I stripped the line tight and set the hook into what should have been my second permit on fly, but the 12lb tippet snapped like cotton. When I reeled in to inspect the tippet I discovered the last inch of line had been trashed by the small sharp teeth of those perch just the cast before. My next trip is to Belize in a few weeks time, a destination where I know I’ll get more shots at permit; in between targeting tarpon!


Lunch was great!

You can contact Eduardo Gomez via his son Nestor on email at: Boca Paila is a short drive south of Tulum, which is under an hours drive south from Playa Del Carmen and under two hours from resorts nearer Cancun, so this is a great opportunity for indulging in a days fish during a family holiday to these popular destinations. There are many excellent small boutique hotels and guest houses at Tulum, along with many great restaurants. We stay at The Hip Hotel, two minutes from the entrance to Sian Ka’an.


Cenote diving, the perfect way to clear your head after a heavy night sampling local tequila! Yes, that’s me!!!


I have just returned from my second trip fishing for freshwater dorado in northern Argentina. Several years had passed since my previous trip, which at the time I thought would have been a one off. Well finally the lure of outstanding Argentinian steaks washed down by copious quantities of robust Malbec wine, a near perfect climate with mostly hot and sunny days followed by cool evenings and, of course, the most amazing fishing had proved too much.



Our group of eight had flown direct with British Airways to Buenos Airways from London Heathrow, where we had spent two full days enjoying and relaxing in this wonderful city, before taking an overnight coach to San Isoro. It’s a ten hour trip, but the coaches are superb featuring airline business class style seating, food and drink served on board and, of course, toilet facilities. Arriving around six at a dusty roadside halt, we were met and transported the short distance to our base for the week Dorado Cuá Lodge; just in time for breakfast, followed by a full mornings fishing.



Located in Corrientes Province, gaucho country, right in the heart of the Iberian Wetlands, the area around the lodge consists of a vast complex of shallow lagoons, all of which are interconnected by a couple of small rivers along with countless miles of narrow, reed fringed channels. During my previous visit the water throughout the entire system had been crystal clear, but stepping aboard my boat that first morning I quickly noted it was heavily coloured, which I was told was the result of heavy rain the previous weeks. Thankfully this had not seriously affected the fishing.



This trip I had decided I would concentrate exclusively on fly fishing, and when I hooked and landed a modest dorado on my very first cast of the trip, any doubts that I might have had about not packing a spinning outfit were soon forgotten. Once again the fishing we experienced was excellent. On the second day I hooked a monster dorado, a fish of at least 12-14lb,possibly bigger,  but the boats landing was more appropriate for securing a 2lb grayling on the Derbyshire Dove rather than a toothy South American predator weighing well into double figures. Three times Alfredo, my guide, had the leader secure in his hand, the big fish thrashing alongside the boat, until the inevitable happened and the fish spat the hook depriving me of the photo of a fish of a lifetime. The solid estimated 9lb+ fish I caught just an hour or two later was some consolation for that lost opportunity.







During the week everyone caught dorado, with most of the group catching very good fish in the region of 8-10lb, along with several other much bigger fish lost for various reasons that included straightened hooks and snapped lines. Aside from dorado, this trip we caught a lot of different species including both golden and black piranha, red tailed barracuda, a fish called a ‘boga’ that looks like a cross between a carp and and mullet, catfish, and several others I have yet to identify, but all of which had teeth.



The ideal outfit is a 9-10wt fly rod, which is necessary to cast the big flies you need, most of which feature heavy lead eyes. Not surprisingly in the coloured water dark flies worked best, especially those with lots of black and purple. For obvious reasons, a short wire leader is essential. Take plenty of flies, you’ll need them, most last no more than two or three strikes before they are stripped back to just the bare hook!











My trip was arranged by Anglers World Holidays, whom you can contact on Tel: 01246 221717 or visit: I am planning a return trip most likely in about two years time, by which time I should just about have finished digesting the huge amount of steak I consumed last week! Get in touch with me or Anglers World Holidays if you think you might be interested in joining us…




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.


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 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!


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


Duck or Grouse!


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


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.


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


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


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.


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: During this trip we shot a video, for which I will include a link as soon as it has been edited. Click here to watch the video!:


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, it would make a great Christmas present for anyone with aspirations to fish in far flung places!DAVE LEWIS DUSTJACKET 1DAVE LEWIS DUSTJACKET 2


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.


Jungle fishing!


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.


Hook up!


A very nice last day fish.


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.


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.


Andrew with a fine rainbow bass.


And another one…


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.


A nice lure caught machaca, think chub with teeth!


One of several lure caught mojara.


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.


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


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 Trips can be booked through Anglers World Holidays Tel: 01246 221717 or visit: 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