When it's cold outside in Colorado, or how the winter of 2010-2011 is shaping up for Colorado's mountains - epic snowfall - fly fishing in the state's wonderful rivers and streams can be difficult at best. Anglers used to landing trout up high in the Rockies often turn their attention to a new experience: tropical fly fishing.
Tropical fly fishing can be quite different than mountain fishing, but the lure is irresistible. The weather is warm, of course, and from Key West down through the Caribbean rim countries, there is outstanding salt water fishing and inland freshwater venues, and the challenges, not to mention the memories, are outstanding. Look for such monsters as barracuda, bonefish, cobia, grouper, kingfish, marlin, permit, sailfish, shark, snapper, tarpon, tuna, sea bass, dorado, snook and wahoo in the saltwater flats. Or go inland on the rivers and streams for such exotic catches as guapote, machaca, mojarra, bobo, tepe and machin.
Excellent fishing exists all over the Caribbean, from the Keys on the north, to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, in the Bahamas, Caymans, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, Turks & Caicos, Puerto Rica, and in the coastal waters and inland streams of such countries as Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras. Cuba is also renowned as a tropical fishing venue, however travel restrictions can make a trip there challenging.
Experienced fly fishermen recommend that Colorado anglers unfamiliar with the tropical fly fishing, especially where the catch can be many, many times the size of the typical mountain trout, contract with experienced local fishing guides. They usually can be found through most fly fishing shops around the country which offer destination travel options, and of course searching the web is helpful as well. These in-country guides know the waters, are familiar with the various species in their area and when they run, and they also are equipped with the proper fly fishing gear appropriate for the task(s) at hand.
For instance, a guide in Costa Rica recently posted an article on the web that indicated finding tarpon in freshwater lagoons in that country which were plentiful up to 200 pounds. Landing such giants required no less than a 10# rod. He brought along both floating line, for when the fish are striking at the surface, and sinking line for those days when the fish tend to hug the bottom of these relatively shallow (up to 20-feet deep) lagoons.
Another web search turned up an 8-day fly fishing excursion in Honduras. For $1700 for the week, all inclusive, this outfitter was offering 5 days in that country's Bay Islands looking for permit fish, bonefish, snook, snappers, jacks and more, with travel and sightseeing days wrapping around. There are, of course, tropical fly fishing opportunities worldwide, with such popular destinations as Hawaii, Fiji and Tahiti high on the list of the most desirable. The Caribbean basin, however, offers the widest set of options for both salt water and freshwater adventures, and being so close to the continental U.S. makes these areas easily accessible by air from anywhere in the country.
Tropical fishing and deep-sea fishing are memorable experiences in any context, but adding in the romance and challenge of fly fishing for some of the most fierce fighting fish in the world is an experience of a lifetime, say those who have been there. They warn, however, that almost every tropical fly fishing novice used to Rocky Mountain streams ends up making a trip to the tropics an annual winter adventure. Be prepared to be hooked.
For all your tropical saltwater fly-fishing needs, visit Trout's Fly Fishing, the west's premier fly shop and outfitter. We can be reached at (303) 733-1434, or visit us on the web at http://www.troutsflyfishing.com.