Puerto Rico Fishing report
I just got back from a week in Puerto Rico with my girlfriend. She was kind enough to encourage me to go fishing with a guide one day. I booked a 6 hour trip with Captain “Pochy” Rosario of Light Tackle Adventure. I also tried to get some fishing in whenever there was a decent looking spot at the beach. We went to 1 or 2 different beaches a day without ever going to the same place twice.
I was supposed to meet Pochy at 7:30 am in Boqueron. Boqueron was a quiet, picturesque fishing village on the southwest side of PR. We got there half an hour early. The guide was already there, ready, and happy to get an early start. He had a nice flats skiff with a seat in front of the console for one person. He charged the same rate for 1 or 2 people, but there wasn’t a good place for the 2nd person to sit.
He had 2 TFO TiCrX 12 weight rods rigged with intermediate sinking line. The leaders were hand tied fluorocarbon with a 60# butt section, 40# taper, 20# tip, and a 60# shock tippet. We only used 3 different flies which were tied on 2/0 hooks. One was a chartreuse and white Half & Half with bucktail instead of feathers for the tail. We also used the same fly in black with some silver flash. The third fly was all black with a head of spun deer hair and a rabbit strip tail.
We made a quick run to a nearby marina. There was a pier where a big fishing boat was parked. They were processing fish in a small building. Tarpon were all over the place eating the remains as they were tossed in the water. We spent 45 minutes trying to get these fish to bite. I got one quick bump without being able to set the hook. Pochy was happy with my technique. He said with disgust that the fish were being stupid and we should have hooked up by now. So, we moved on.
We ran south towards the Salinas wildlife refuge. He knew there was a flats area where tarpon prowled. He said local fishermen tended to stop there to clean their nets at this time of day. We came up on a dinghy that had about 20 fish circling it. He had me cast the black rabbit strip fly right next to the dinghy and let it float there. Eventually, I hooked up with a fish that he estimated to be 50-60 pounds. We fought it for an hour. It jumped 5 times. I brought it to the boat 4 times. He grabbed the leader each time, but the fish would not give up. It dragged us out into deeper water with 4 foot waves. He said that it had a bad attitude and was acting like a fish that was twice the size. It kept going down to the bottom whenever I got it near the boat. Pochy decided that it was not going to give up. He broke it off to prevent any harm to the fish.
1/3 of my trip was over. All I had to show for it was a sore arm, stiff wrist, and bruises on my belly from the fighting butt. We hit another pier and some mangroves. I managed to land a 30 pound tarpon after a half hour fight. It spun around 3 times on the first jump. I got several other bites and jumped a few fish. We headed back to the marina where we started the day. I finished the trip by catching a baby tarpon there, which still seemed pretty big to me. We got back late.
Captain Rosario really gave me my money’s worth. He spoke English well with a thick accent. However, he worked hard to put me on the fish. He knew right where they would be, and he knew how to get them to bite. He explained that the south part of the island was virgin territory for inshore fishing. We didn't see any other sport fishermen the whole day.
Of course, my attempts to fish on my own were less successful. I caught a small snook where a river flows into the ocean in the town of Aguadilla. I caught a small perch in some still water on the edge of Combate Beach. Little did I know that there were tarpon lying under the pier on the other side of the beach. Pochy pointed them out to me later. He recommended going to La Parguera and renting a small boat to fish the mangrove islands. I didn’t have time to do that. The best looking place that I found to fish was at Jobo beach on the northwest side of the island. There was an area with good surfing as well as a calmer area protected by a reef. We snorkeled in the calmer area. I could see bigger fish in the pools between there and the surf. Unfortunately, my GF didn’t want me to go fishing there. She thought the fish were too cute…
Oh well, it was great trip. I wouldn't recommend staying in San Juan. We stayed there a few nights in order to explore Old San Juan and El Yunque, the rainsforest. It was noisy. The people were more unpleasant and rude than in other places. They drove like maniacs. There was a sense of class warfare between the very rich and very poor. The slums were right next to the affluent and tourist areas. Boqueron or La Parguera might be a better bet.
About The Author: Captain Francisco Rosario
Company: Light Tackle Adventure Tarpon Fishing
Area Reporting: Boqueron Bay (Cabo Rojo Puerto Rico)
Bio: Capt. Francisco \"Pochy\" Rosario· U.S.C.G Certified Captain License · Certified Guide by Puerto Rico Tourism Company (GT 2001-018) · Endorsed by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company · Endorsed by Comisión de Servicio Público (Public Service Commission) (S-03-06-Feb-518) Capt. Francisco “Pochy” Rosario is a passionate fisherman. He born and raised in the West Coast of Puerto Rico, and been fishing tarpon since he was 12 years old. Capt. Rosario has more than 16 years of experience in sport fishing. He began working as mate for Western Tourist Services, a deep sea fishing charter company. In 1999 after getting his U.S.C.G license, he decides to start his own business as Inshore Fishing Services. He offered Light Tackle and Fly Fishing trips for tarpon, snook, jacks, mangrove snapper and barracudas. He has a 17’ customized skiff for a spectacular fishing in the West Coast of Puerto Rico. The boat has marine radio, livewell with bait pump, 14 rod holder , deep finder, 19 gal. Gas tank, 2006 85 hp Yamaha endure, 6 life jackets USCG approved, 3 bait net, 4 dry storage, nav. Lights, push pole, flear kit and fire extinguisher.