Saturday, 28 June 2014

Aruba mash up

No fishing for me this weekend but we blanked Bass fishing on Thursday night so not much to blog about this week. I put together another video from my trip to Aruba. There is some action from Ladyfish,Yellow Tail Mojarra, Mutton Snapper, Stingray, Barracuda as well as a little Tarpon action.

Aruba Palm Beach fishing mash up from Martin A on Vimeo.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Homeward bound

We’re leaving for home this afternoon and despite being a bit rough this morning I walked the beach for the last time.

I had 6 hits and managed to convert these into 4 Ladyfish, great fun. Although slightly smaller they leap and run well for their size and would be a great fish to catch on a fly rod.
I kept one for the security guard on the Tarpon pier, that’s’ his dinner sorted and a thank you from me for the opportunity to tangle with the big boys.


I said goodbye to Robert. He’s here for another week and is determined to get a Ladyfish, nice guy; I’ve enjoyed fishing with him.
The guy sitting on the floating jetty was catching some mini species and had kept a couple in a zip bag of all things, blenny ridiculous if ask me. 
I had a look at what he had and picked this out. This one’s for you Hutch, when you’ve done your homework let me know what it is…….


Sunday, 15 June 2014

Never a dull moment

I gave the fishing a miss yesterday but put my plan together for today. First stop bread roll thrown in to a lit area where I then cast 4 sabikis. A few chucks later and I had 3 small Polometa which were released into the bucket from my bedroom which was my mobile livewell….

En route to the Tarpon I put a crab pattern on a jig head and made some casts in the gully. I didn’t expect to hook a Stingray but that’s what happened. After a short run it bedded down for a rest and after 5 minutes it bit through my fluro, never a dull moment. There are people in swimming in some of these areas at 5am, not for me, your day could take a nasty turn for the worse.

Met my mate the security guard, gave him 4 beers and he seemed happy enough. He waved his hands about roughly 5 feet apart, he was right, big Tarpon, no babies this morning. I was shaking as I hooked the Polometa in the lip and dropped it in. I got a take straight away. I hit it hard and the fish tore off, leapt and spat the bait and the hook about 20 ft. away.  I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong but my inexperience on these fish is showing coupled with bad luck I think. They were very skittish after that so I moved off the pier, maybe tomorrow, but time is running out. I’m also now without a watch. I heard knock then a splash when I struck the Tarpon and later worked out that it was my watch. I couldn’t have fastened it correctly this morning, happy days…..

I put on my Megabass Edonis and connected with a Cuda straightaway and the light was coming fast.

I then bumped into Sean and Robert. I had given Robert a Wave crab and jig head a couple of days ago, he had an 8 pound Bonefish on it yesterday AM. As he pulled the fish up the beach the jig head straightened but he managed to the get the fish which was a result. There are some very big Bones here to about 12 pounds, awesome fish.

I started to make some long casts and got multiple hits from Ladyfish and managed to land three. I then played a fish for about 5 minutes before the hook pulled out, not sure what it was but it went some and thought I had it beat, maybe  Jack Cravelle. I was off the beach for 7.30. It’s way   too busy today, guys with paddle boards and wading with metal detectors isn’t conducive to catching fish.

Monstrous eyes on these fish as well.......


Thursday, 12 June 2014

Interesting morning- more Tarpon torment.

I couldn’t sleep last night so I was on the beach for 3.30am.  Throwing a chunk of Ballyhoo into the gulley for a Snook seemed a great idea to kill an hour or so before I met up with Robert. About 5 minutes later I realised it wasn’t so clever. I settled in for what was a sweaty 45 minutes wrestling with what I guessed was a Stingray. I had made up a wire trace in case I connected with a Shark of some description but I had forgotten about these. It was brutal on my travel rod which was in danger of breaking. After 4 attempts I got it over the lip of the gulley an on to the beach dodging the flailing tail in the process before gripping it with my Leatherman. This was about the best solution I could come up with. Getting the hook out and getting it back without doing myself some harm was interesting. Won’t be doing that again in hurry….

Probably knocking on for 30 pounds a Southern Stingray, it was about 8 inches deep in the middle. If I put a bait out again it will be under a wine bottle cork, that might avoid a repeat.

I met up with Robert but he decided to wait for a Russian fly fisherman he had spoken to yesterday. I headed off to meet up with the security guard on the jetty. His palm had been greased so it was now Tarpon time. As I peered over the side into the shadows I could see about 8 fish, two of them were out of my league but I thought a few might be manageable. The GOPRO was on, the circle hook was baited and the stage was set but my knees were like jelly. They were wary but definitely interested. They could smell it and see it but I could tell they had been there before. It started to get interesting when 4 of the fish were close together and it looked like the competition was working in my favour. One of the fish sort of flexed itself turned and took the bait. I wound down and I felt the hook briefly catch but the bait popped out, gutted again. Having watched the video I didn’t strike and did exactly what I’ve down before with circles, it just didn’t get  a grip, possibly as I was more or less directly above the fish. I have one decent J hook, might be worth a try in similar circumstances.

Here is the moment in a still from grainy video imagery, I’m about 10ft up and that’s a big fish.

I then changed to a popper and one fish stalked it before fading away. If I can sort out a livebait either a crab or a fish I think it will be a more confident take.

Not much happened for a while so I changed lures and moved around looking for some action. I spotted 4 Bonefish and gave a wave to another angler who was fly fishing nearby; we had a few casts at them without a reaction. The other angler was Sean from Michigan. He returned the favour, he spotted a Snook and I cast my crab pattern in front of it twice and got two follows. The three of us walked the beach with not much to show for it. I had a couple of nips from what felt like small fish and then I had a proper take, thought it was another Bonefish as it fought really well. The drag was pretty light as I was now on an 8 pound leader, the first two runs were super quick and I got half the fight on video.

No idea at the moment, couldn’t hazard a guess. ( now ID'd as a Mojarra) I’ve not came across anything like it. A big eye tells me it’s a predator; the mouth is extendable presumably for sucking up crabs and shrimps. It’s an interesting fish this one. I’m wondering what else I can pick up casting along the gutter with a crab pattern…..

These are from Wave , tapped across the sand they look good, might try them in the dark cast about 2/3ft out and along the beach. After seeing that big Snook yesterday I suspect these and a lot of the predatory  fish just run the lip on the parts of the beach with the right gradient looking for entering or exiting crabs. The towels were on the sun lounger for 8.30am, not the worst morning I've had.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


Slow morning, no Ladyfish, Tarpon or Bone’s. The spot where the action has been was stone dead with the exception of a big Snook cruising 10 feet away from me in the gutter, must have been at least 10 pounds. I had two casts at it before it was spooked, nice to see which means they are present at least.
Rough night for this little chap I found on the beach, that's all inclusive for you.

Robert shooting a cast net and the results, look like Ballyhoo I’ve used for bait before but I’m not  100% sure.


They have curios arrangement for feeding. We have a plan for these. I’ve found about a dozen Tarpon up to about 4ft long that sit under one of the jetties just before dawn. For once I hope it's a smaller one that takes the bait. I’ve bunged the security guard ten dollars and Robert and I for a shot at them 5am tomorrow. Not sure if we can get live bait before it gets light but we’ll try. If not I’ll either chunk these or try a fillet and free line it. The other options are to go catch some crabs with them and fish these live.
I walked past my hotel on the way back, about 7.45am. I spotted some Pelicans and Terns working   off the end of the stone jetty. Unusually when arrived they were still there. I put a line out 60 yards and it landed right amongst the birds. I had about two turns on the reel and thought I had a hooked a bird, it was a fish which proceeded to go on a spool burning run for the horizon, no idea what it was. I was now left with about 10 yards of braid and 20 yards of nylon backing. I dabbed the spool with my finger to apply just a little touch more pressure and my leader snapped with  was  140 yards of braid out, mental.  I was really beaten by the range I hooked the fish at; maybe if it was a bit closer the outcome may have been different. You could be mistaken that this was a fishing trip I guess, but if it was I wouldn’t be as under gunned as I am, this was Stella and 30kg braid material.
Back in the hotel with my tail between my speedos for 8.30am. I think there are more options here for decent fishing off the beach than my web searches indicated or I might have come slightly more prepared.


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

A bone and a beer

Having tinkered with my gear a bit and got my eye in as to where the fish are or might be I had a break this morning.

I made my way along the beach stopping briefly to put a few casts into the shadows next to the lit areas looking for the elusive Snook. I had a little Snapper at one of these spots but didn’t really hang around too long. I then got to the spot where the Tarpon and Ladyfish have been in the last week. I thought I was a little early but after a dozen cranks of the reel handle I felt a slight tap and then the tip slammed over, game on.
Not a great picture with the blood etc, only so much you can of someone putting their towel on the beach this early.

I’ve caught Ladyfish before in Florida but they were smaller than this, cracking scrap being hooked at distance it made several leaps before it was on the beach.
I lost another one before I made a dash down the beach after spotting a pair of Tarpon cruising. I threw the lure ahead of them twice before they disappeared. I spotted them again 20 mins later and had another shot but they weren’t interested.
I was thinking about heading back along the beach, it was 7am and things seem to go quite about this time. I fanned a few casts around and then got a solid hit which turned into a screaming run. I kept the rod low expecting a leap but this fish felt different and I started to think it was a decent Jack Crevalle.  The runs the fish made were mental, I started to think Bonefish. The best scrap I’ve had from the shore was a 20 pound plus Jack in Mexico,  pound for pound this was well on par with that. I think I’ve caught it all on my GOPRO which was set up on a Gorillapod on the beach so I can check how long it took; it felt like a long time….
What a bonus, my first Bone and pretty big one at that. I didn’t waste any time in getting it back in the water but it took a while to recover before it swam off. I’ve been told they fight well and I’ve seen them caught on TV but I can now confirm, they’re something else. Time for breakfast.
I don’t normally drink beer for breakfast but this was a special morning for me.



Monday, 9 June 2014

Life’s a beach

We had a nice day again today.

Lynne’s utilised the crutches for a Mojito holder. These insulated beach cups are handy. We’re doing a few trips next week so we’re just relaxing for the moment……

I met a couple of old school guys from Brooklyn the other day, colourful characters as it happens. Robert and Vinnie are in their 60 & 70’s. Fishing is a great leveller no matter where you come from, had a laugh with them early AM. Still, fishing despite having two knee replacements, three eyes and a bypass between them. I’ve borrowed some two trebles from the Stripper lures they have with them, no idea of the quality but they are a heaver gauge than the Owners I have. I was done twice this morning, bent trebles again, same place, same time.  I’ve dipped the rod, loosened off the drag but I’m not sure if the amount of line I’ve got out and the drag of this when they leap is the issue but at least I’m finding the fish.

Anyway, two new species and one I’d forgotten I’d caught.

Caribbean Polemeta, related to the Permit which took a little pink HTO jig. Caught these in Mexico.

An immature Black Drum

And another Snapper, saw this when I was checking ID’s the other day and noted the red fringe on the fins. There are so many variations in colour for these it’s hard to work if it’s one I’ve already caught, being this size and immature doesn’t help. I had couple of small Cudas as well so it was a nice couple of hours before breakfast.

I caught this when it was still dark. The lights on the beach attract small fish but when they're behind you it's difficult to avoid casting shadows. I'm sure there are a few Snook somewhere between the pier legs  so I'll keep plugging away.




Sunday, 8 June 2014

Amateur hour on the beach

I’ve been lucky enough over the years to just about take this morning events on the chin.  Schoolboy errors happen and I’m putting this one down to tipping the barmaid last night and what ended up in fairly loaded Margaritas.

I found a nice spot yesterday and spotted two Tarpon in a dock area.  I made my way there at 5am in the pitch black and fished as the sun rose. I tried a small Savage Gear Fourplay on a 7g jighead which was about the same size as the bait fish present.
I worked it around the pier legs and between the boats and thought to myself that if I did connect it might be a brutal and brief affair.
I had a couple of knocks from small fish but was a bit disappointed that there was nothing else around. As I worked my way back along the beach I had two small cudas and another fish which I think is  an immature  Lane Snapper.

Even early AM its  blowing 30mph offshore wind so having changed  to a metal and  lobbing it up in the air   I was getting about 60-70 yards I guess. On one of these casts the lure was smacked by a substantial fish which tore off and leapt clear of the water……Tarpon on. Playing the fish was pretty hairy but I couldn’t believe my luck, a decent fish as well in the teens or twenties. It leapt another twice and threw the hook, gutted. I recast and hooked another one instantly, same thing happened again. I checked the hook points, these were fine. In the next 10 mins I hooked another 4 fish in what felt like some sort of feeding frenzy. I sat on the sand and checked the lure and the leader again.

What a dick. This is an Owner ST36BC which I put on the Hansen . OK, so not the strongest of the Owner range of trebles but still a strong reliable pattern. I hope this was a bad one as I’ve no chance of getting any upgrades here.


The points were fine but having just run my fingers over them I didn’t check them visually. I got so caught up in the moment; too busy looking at the fish moving on the surface. My leader was also badly worn as well, muppet.  I walked off the beach in disgust before 7am, first day at school material this.....



Friday, 6 June 2014

Snookered again

I had a morning session with Laurenz from   today. The objective for me was to get a Snook. I’ve been looking for one of these for years, having connected with a couple they never seem to stay hooked, probably just bad angling actually.

The plan was to try a few different spots which were a mixture of reefs and mangroves where we might also pick up Barracuda, Jacks and small Tarpon. Laurenz set me up with a weedless and weightless fork tail shad in white and silver which I liked the look of. After a few casts I got the hang of skipping these into the shade of the mangroves, no mean feat as Aruba is officially the windiest place I've ever been. About 5 mins in I had a nice boil in the vicinity of the lure. From his position Laurenz could see the Tarpon take the lure and promptly spitting it back out, I never even felt a touch.
We tried a few spots which were fishless and we mixed it up using some poppers over a reef drop off.  I suggested trying my Megabass Edonis and I was basically straight into a fish which came off after a brief scrap, not sure what it was as neither of us could get a look at it. I then went on a roll hooking six Barracuda and landing four.
Not exactly monsters but they provided some fun.

Having got the blank off it was time for the Snook again. We headed back to the mangroves where I practiced casting into trees , last night appeared to be catching up with me and occasionally  a cast went in the right spot but the Snook were either in really deep cover or not there. I also lost two lures, while Laurenz tied me another rig I made a few speculative casts around the boat which resulted in another new species for me.
A Mangrove Jack

Laurenz then took me to area with lots of structure, wooden piers, mangroves and moored boats. I worked my way along casting in and under anything that might hold a fish. I really enjoyed this and expectations were high on pretty much every cast that hit the right spot. Eventually it happened as the lure was battered twice under a pier and a nice Snook shot out attached to my lure, yet again it came off. In the next hour this happened another twice, once under a pier restaurant where people were eating breakfast. I made my apologies regarding my language and we went on our way

I had a great time with Laurenz and would have liked the opportunity to fish with him again but unfortunately he’s fully booked for the month. So, no Snook for me, so far anyway. That was my best chance , it’s going to be a tough job getting one from an open beach. I can see a night session on the horizon……

Laurenz tying up his boat bone collector, nice name.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Make it snappy

We arrived in Aruba on Tuesday so I did the right thing and left the fishing alone for a day. I hit the beach at 6am this morning nursing a mild hangover thanks to Havana Club & OJ. I was looking for a Snook or Jack as I worked my way along the beach but the first thing that showed any interest was a Needlefish which predictably threw the hook. I had a few follows, not sure what from to be honest but finally connected with this.

 A Mutton Snapper. It went really well so much so I thought it was a small Jack. It took a Megabass Edonis in black and silver, this lure did well for me in Mexico and after trying some small poppers and hard diving lures today it’s delivered again.
I had taken my lure off as I walked back to the hotel which was a mistake.  I watched as two big Bonefish ran the outside edge of the gulley and up on to a shallow patch. I’ve some crab pattern SP’s which might have slowed them down, won’t make that mistake again……

A nice two hours before eating a double breakfast. I've avoided the pancakes so far but it is inevitable  I'm afraid.

 Lynne should have some braid and a couple of lures on  these.......

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Fishing and foraging Wales

I spoke with my mate Matt Powell on Friday , his season is well underway with some nice fish under his belt for both him and his clients. I’m hoping to get down for a few days later in the year. I had great time fishing with Matt last year. I have some nice memories from my visit, wading the gullies of Pembrokeshire catching Bass, listening to Queens of  the Stone Age, steak cooked on the barbecue with new potatoes and a glass of red at the end of the day, good times.

If you want to learn about foraging for wild food or catching some Welsh Bass have a look HERE

On the local front, just when I thought I was on a roll Jamie and I drew a blank on the Bass yesterday. I had a couple of knocks and lost a fish on a Wave Worm bamboo stick. I did however enjoy fishing these Wave Worms weightless and weedless pitched into the breaking waves as they covered the gullies. It’s a really natural presentation which leaves the lure to wash around and find its own way to the fish. I’m sure, like last year this will account for a few good fish.

I also hope to have a couple of new species shortly, with some luck I’ll have something to post in a couple of weeks…..