Friday, February 17, 2012

Los Roques 2012: Photo Essay and Excerpt

Here is an excerpt from the trip report on our recently completed adventure to Los Roques, Venezuela. 
For the complete report, go to:
Los Roques Trip Report

...My favorite flats are the pancake flats and they are why I come to Los Roques. These flats rise like a string of pearls from aquamarine, cobalt and turquoise channels. Pancake flats are impossibly beautiful places and there are hundreds of them in the archipelago. A typical pancake is usually from one or three acres and takes a little under an hour to fish. It’s not hard to see how they got their name. Most pancake flats are not perfectly round. They look more like homemade flapjacks formed from too thin a batter. The colors too are reminiscent of pancakes. Like freshly flipped ‘cakes they are predominantly golden brown with shades of amber and vanilla. To exhaust the analogy, blueberries would be the turtle grass patches and almonds would be the crunchy patches of brittle coral. 


    Anglers often seek a pancake’s sandy spots as bonefish are more easily seen here, but the darker turtle grass can be prolific. Bonefish often tail where mud can be excavated, but the water can be so shallow on a pancake flat that a bonefish tail simply is seen... they are not officially “tailing”. Small brown and green crabs and root beer or amber colored crustaceans form the template for the patterns of choice. Small flies in #6-8 with rubber legs (especially the new banded micro legs) and little flash hold meaning. Bring your Bahamas assortment and you’ll wish you checked a bit more deeply for appropriate patterns.

  The bonefishing in Los Roques can be fantastic, but it often is not easy. The fish are big and smart and anglers from all over the world love Los Roques. (Some of the anglers we met at the Acuarela were convinced that Los Roques had the best bonefishing in the world. Although I could make a case for other destinations being the “best”, their passion for Los Roques is typical and anglers have a tendency to come back again and again.) There are times when the fish seem to eat every properly presented fly and other times when “bitchy” seems to be the appropriate word. Visiting anglers should expect to listen to their guides, but yet tell them what they want. This can sometimes best be done by communicating with the highly competent owner/outfitter Chris Yrazabal during dinner the night before when guide assignments are made. And speaking of guides, each guide works with a boatman. When you finish up with a flat, the boatman is signaled to fire up his motor. Soon, he is there to pick you up so no time is wasted walking back to the boat. The guides use comfortable 28 foot pangas that swiftly carry you from one flat to another. These chop cutting, very dry craft also have a bimini roof that allows one to escape from the midday sun. 

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