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Curacao TarponCuracao Slide Show

This November my girlfriend and I decided to head for the Caribbean for a short stay, the island of Curacao it was to be. Looking on the internet and hearing stories from friends who visited the island not much hope lay in fly-fishing. Apparently the island has a quick drop off with no flats what so ever. It does have a large amount of bays and lagoons but difficult to reach. What Curacao did have was a large lagoon in the centre of Willemstad, Schottegat, which would hold large quantities of Tarpon in the baby range.So the weeks prior to the trip gear was acquired, flies tied, leaders prepared and the internet searched for tarpon lessons 101. I took an 8# and 10#, a good sturdy Loop 6Nine reel and a good hope to find new places that weren’t on the map. Persistence is as much a tool to success as first hand information.Because it was a 9 day trip, with my girlfriend I was only able to fish the early morning hours, the rest of the day we went around the island and relaxed on the beach. The first few days I spend fishing near the lodge in the south east corner before heading out to Willemstad, some snook were caught and to my surprise tarpons could be seen rolling in the surface of a small arm of Caracasbay. A boat would have opened up so many possibilities but unfortunately I couldn’t find a local to hire his boat to me. Halfway through my stay I decided to head to Willemstad in the early morning and try for the tarpon, I got some locations from friends back home.I didn’t expect much, first time tropical water and first time tarpon fishing ever.Coming up on the first location I saw a nice tarpon cruising around. I took line from the reel and started casting towards it. I soon learned that they can be really spooky and that if they are rolling it doesn’t necessarily mean that they take your fly easily. After a while and changing fly after fly I saw another one heading my way. The cast was perfect the fish was aroused and headed straight for the fly, just before the take I noticed something……the frigging thing wasn’t a baby! A huge bow wave, a thumb on the line and me setting the hook for I don’t know how many times the fight was on. Then the jump. “This will be it, it had to be over the hook will go”, I thought . After all I heard stories of jumping 20 and landing 1. But the hook stayed, and the second . The fly line banged through the guides followed by the backing and it kept going. All in all it took me nearly 20 minutes from hooking to landing it, which can be a real bugger being by yourself. First tarpon ever and it was an immediate success, the hook was neatly set in the upper lip. The tarpon measured just over 50 inches and weighted a fair amount in my opinion. After some photo’s and a quick bow to the silver king I released it and went home. Being hazy in the head I didn’t need another shot of the silver drug.Being addicted now, the next morning the story unraveled much the same, only on a different spot. A tarpon took the cockroach with an awesome surge and pulled again a big amount of backing from the reel. Again landing it on my own required some ingenuity. Placing the rod on the ground with the drag set to a minimum and trying to grab the leader whilst stepping into the water and heaving the fish from he water, whilst hoping that the tarpon wouldn’t take a finally run with my rod.The plane left in the afternoon so it left me just 3 hours of fishing on the very last day of my holiday. I visited a new spot recommended by my old college friend who lived there. She claimed that driving there at night was driving next to a disco in the water with all the flashes just beneath the surface. With this in mind and being happy seeing that just a portion of the tale was true I headed out to that place. Boy was she right, the party probably started at night and the afterparty was still going on strong. Tarpon after tarpon rolled through the surface, smaller ones darting and flashing their sides, bigger ones head and tailing slowly and sometimes a big one crashing through a school of baitfish which jumped to the sides looking like a big gush of wind rippling the surface. Unfortunately after 20 minutes of Tarpon Walhalla a “federalli ” summoned me to go since power lines were supposed to lie in the area. Shocking….not being able to fish. In those 20 minutes I managed to hook 4 tarpons and land one, and since it was the last day of the trip I was satisfied.
All in all it was a great first time tropical experience. I was able to fish every morning and still be back at the lodge at 10 am. to spend the whole day with my girlfriend. Besides tarpon and snook, bar jacks can be found along the shore in good numbers. Every beach that we went to I had great fun chasing bar jacks with my 8 weight.
A great place and definitely an underestimated holiday location for fly fishing. So if you go to Curacao definitely take your fly rods with you. Bon dia.