Los Roques Fly Fishing, Tackle

The Tackle
What to bring to Los Roques? With my guideline you will be prepared for any kind of fishery in the summer months of Los Roques.

Bonefish For bonefish the tackle is very straight forward and easy to copy. I was fishing with a custom built 8 weight Sage ONE (Sage ONE 890-4) that worked absolutely perfect. It is for me the ultimate bonefish rod beside maybe the Sage SALT. In reality any 7 to 9 weight rod will do the job as well. But be prepared for strong winds so better go a class up than down. There will be calmer days where a 7 weight will be fine, on rougher days you better choose an 8 or 9 weight. I always recommend to have a spare rod with you in the same or similar class in case something happened.

In terms of reel, I was equipped with Nautilus reels and in case for bonefish it was the Nautilus NV-G8 with the Giga spool that helps picking up a lot line with each spool turn. Take care that you do have enough backing on the reel but you don’t need hundreds of meters. I would suggest around 150 meters as a minimum but you won’t need it. The bones are strong but there are also plenty of corals around. Letting a fish run for 150 meters is very risky and there is a high chance to loose it. Take care that your line is saltwater resistant and even in case it, is rinse it every day with sweet water. That might be a fight for you every day on an island where water is rare but it preserves your gear for the hard use.

Los Roques 2015

For the fly line there is only recommendation. A salt water full floating line fitting to your bonefish rod. My choice in the game was a RIO Bonefish WF8. I was using the 8 weight line although the ONE could easily handle also, and even would be more balanced with the 9 weight was because of the shallow flats and the fact that a heavier line would make more noise when the line hits the water. I can recommend this combination. Also for the fly line don’t forget a spare line you might need it.

For leader and tippets bring 16lb, 20 and 30lbs of Fluorocarbon, like the RIO Fluoroflex Saltwater tippet. I tied me my own leaders roughly 12 feet long with 4 feet of 16, 20 and 30lbs of leader tied together with a blood knot. Take at least 2 spools each with you. Because of the many corals you kill a lot of leaders and with the always eminent chance of permit you won’t risk a fish with a damaged leader.

Summary Bonefish:

Rod: Sage ONE 890
Reel: Nautilus NV-G8 + 150 yards of backing
Line: RIO Bonefish WF8
Leader: RIO Fluoroflex Saltwater tippet 16lb / 20lb and 30lb (take at least two spools each)

Los Roques 2015

The Tarpons weren’t my most favorite in Los Roques because they weren’t there. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the tarpons but a fish that isn’t there isn’t funny. I saw some baby tarpons and caught also some but they aren’t the big challenge. The big ones were rare and hard to find like the needle in the haystack. But If you would like to fish for tarpon which is much more productive in autumn I would recommend you a 11 or 12 weight rod. I was using my best friend from last years GT fishery, my custom built Sage Xi3. That rod performed pretty well although it is a little bit heavy but when you hook a +100 pounder you will definitely need the extra lifting power.

Your choice for the fly reel should be a good and big salt water reel like the usual suspects available for tarpon, preferable with a strong drag. The all important thing is strength and durability. My choice was a Nautilus Monster with the G-10 spool and I rate it as the best tarpon reel available. It is huge and picks up a lot more line per spin than any other fly reel available combined with a powerful drag. As backing I was using 80lbs of Gelspun backing. 300 yards fit on the G-10 spool and that is more than enough. o’m not a fan of letting a fish flee far. There is a too high risk to loose the fish on corals or any other obstacles

Los Roques 2015

For the lines there are two lines that are interesting for you. A full floating line and a floating line with a intermediate sink tip. Both lines serve more or less the same, to present the fly somehow directly under the surface. This also correlates with the recommendation from the guides. I brought along a line of each type to be on one side flexible and also to have a backup in case of any damage to the line.

As leader you will need 40lbs for the baby tarpon and 80lbs or even stronger for the big Tarpons. Unless you want to fish according to IGFA rules you don’t need much more than a straight 7-9 feet leader. Who needs this IGFA stuff?

Los Roques 2015

Summary Tarpon

Rod: Sage Xi3 1190 or 1290 (Baby Tarpon WF8 or 9)
Reel: Nautilus NV-G10 + 300 yards of backing
Line: RIO Tarpon WF12 and WF/I12
Leader: RIO Fluoroflex Saltwater tippet 40lb / 60lb / 80lb and for the really big ones 100lb

Los Roques 2015

Permit & Trigger Fish
This is the champions league and if you hook one of those bastards every failure of the material is a serious disaster. You don’t want to loose such a fish, believe me. The most important consideration for this tackle is that you feel 100% confident with it. You don’t get many chances so you have to be all the time ready under all circumstances casting at them. This is only possible if especially the rod you are using is just an extension of your hand. I had my confidence with the already above mentioned bone fish tackle although I brought much more convenient tackle along like both a 9 and 10 weight rod plus matching lines.

For the leader it is very similar to the bone fish setup mentioned above with just a small modification of 2 to 3 feet longer leader and a tip section of maybe 18lbs. The longer leader is an advantage for much more deeper water you will fish for them.

Summary Permit & Trigger Fish

Rod: Your most favorite 8 9 or 10 weight rod
Reel: Nautilus NV-G8 + 150 yards of backing
Line: RIO Bonefish or RIO Permit but primary the line you feel more conformable on your most favorite rod : )
Leader: RIO Fluoroflex Saltwater tippet 18lb / 20lb and 30lb

Los Roques 2015

Lemon sharks
The tackle recipe for them is very easy. Basically you can use everything of above mentioned tackle to fish for them. But that’s not my recommendation. I wouldn’t use any of the tackle for bonefish or permit because of a very simple reason. The sharks are dirty fighters and a much more stress for your tackle. One of those sharks killed my 10 weight rod when he tried to swim through my legs. If this would have been my permit rod I would have been really really sad. But if you don’t have an extra rod you can of course us it. It will fit.

As fly line a floating line with an aggressive taper fits perfect to transport the more bulky flies with a minimum of false casts. A short belly line like the RIO Quickshooter series is clearly an advantage. Attached to it a 3 foot 40lbs leader plus 1 foot of piano wire. The guides do not believe in it but there is nothing better than piano wire for toothy critters.

Los Roques 2015

Summary Lemon Sharks

Rod: Sage SALT 1090
Reel: Nautilus NV-G8 + 150 yards of backing
Line: RIO Outbound short WF10
Leader: RIO Fluoroflex Saltwater tippet 40lbs and Piano Wire 40lbs

What else?
There is one thing that follows me on each trip because I’m a very afraid fisherman. My biggest worry is that I don’t have the flies with me I really need. Or even more worse that I have a working pattern but I run out of flies. *nightmare* Therefore I always carry my fly tying stuff with me. This is sometimes a pain in the ass because its heavy and bulky but for this time I found a perfect alternative to big tying vices I used in the past. The C&F Marco Polo Set. Compact and super high quality all in one small box. And everything else than heavy. You just need an assorted set of material and if you are like me, you don’t need to fear anything.

Los Roques 2015
Los Roques 2015

Next Chapter: The Tarpon failure