Los Roques is an off-shore national park located about 85 miles from the Venezuelan mainland. It was first “discovered” by the fly fishing community in the mid-1980’s, and immediately was reported to be one of the great bonefisheries on Earth.
The Fly Shop® was one of the original pioneers of Los Roques, hosting the first group of anglers ever licensed to legally fish this magnificent archipelago in March, 1987. What we found then still exists today, and these flats have since re-defined the standards for Caribbean and Central American bonefishing. The place is a fly fishing dream come true and qualifies to be on every serious flats fisherman’s bucket list.
There are over 350 cays dotting this fly fishing paradise, ranging from tiny, to hundreds of acres in size. All commercial fishing in the huge saltwater national park is prohibited, and about a third of the archipelago is even off-limits to sport fishing. The remainder of the cays and flats are targeted daily by a strictly limited number of licensed fly fishermen and their guides. Many of the cays are surrounded, or connected by light-colored, firm-bottomed flats. Nearly every inch of this is wadeable, and often covered with bonefish averaging nearly four pounds. The numbers of bonefish in the park can only be compared to Christmas Island or the Seychelles. Almost as important to the angler is that bonefishing is done here the way most prefer it, on foot. For anglers who love to wade fish for bones, Los Roques is truly one of the finest flats fishing destinations in the world today.
Los Roques is easy to reach, particularly from the East Coast. Anglers usually spend the evening prior to their first day of fishing on the mainland, departing for the island very early the next morning, in time for a full day on the flats. Fishermen can easily and comfortably arrive and rendezvous in the coastal resort community of La Guaira (adjacent to the Venezuelan International Airport) from anywhere in the continental United States in a single day. The well-designed angling package includes nearly every reasonable item from the time that guests arrive in the modern Venezuela International Airport.
Los Roques is blessed with a near-Equatorial location, similar to Christmas Island, and consistent weather and water temperatures. Air temperatures are usually in the upper 80’s to low 90’s and water temperatures never vary more than a few degrees above 75°. The archipelago actually has a very dry climate, and while there are nearly constant, mild trade-winds, it seldom rains. There are none of the winter “cold fronts” frequently experienced in the Bahamas, Mexico and Belize; hurricanes bypass Los Roques to the north; and with little rain or naturally occurring fresh water there are few mosquitoes and no sand fleas.
Years of experience at Los Roques has given us a complete understanding of the tides and weather patterns, and two decades of outfitting clients destined for the area has taught us that the most reliable angling is from early March through the end of October.
This is an authentic Venezuelan experience, highlighted by a talented angling outfitter, Chris Yrazabal, and his Sight Cast team. It is an experienced, well-coordinated, and pro-American company, and includes a remarkable, well-trained collection of savvy, native fly fishing guides. They’re all English-speaking locals well-versed in the habits of Los Roques bonefish, the complicated tides, and totally familiar with the intricacies of fly fishing.
Sight Cast has wisely selected Acuarela Lodge, as the Gran Roque headquarters for The Fly Shop’s bonefishing guests. Acuarela’s owner and chef extraordinaire, Angelo Belvedere, serves wonderful four course dinners that showcase the region’s fresh seafood. After the predictably fine evening meals, anglers usually share their fishing stories and enjoy the breeze, cocktails and conversation while watching the sun set from the rooftop veranda.
Guests retire each night to tastefully-decorated double and single occupancy accommodations, each equipped with ceiling fans, air conditioners and private baths. These accommodations, combined with magnificent snorkeling, diving, wind surfing and other water-sport non-fishing options, create one of the most appropriate destinations in the saltwater world for families and non-angling companions.
Los Roques is a treasured Venezuelan National Park and stands as an environmental model for other multi-use saltwater recreation areas. It is a beautiful and pristine fishing location, without paved roads or cars, in a friendly, pro-American setting. In 1996 Venezuelan Government regulations made an already fine Los Roques experience even better with the implementation of license requirements and limitations. Today anglers must be accompanied by concessioned guides, and only a strictly monitored number of daily licenses are issued. The Los Roques National Park impact/entry fees, sport fishing license fees, and concession fees all support the park infrastructure and finance the strict enforcement of catch-and-release regulations and other progressive angling and environmental restrictions.
Practically everyone on the travel staff here at the Fly Shop® has visited Los Roques; some of us many times. We have the experience and an intimate familiarity that translates into better planned and organized trips for our clientele. Give our talented travel team a call at 800-669-3474, or contact us via e-mail and let us help you select the best times or provide you with up-to-the-minute information and guidance to this wonderful flats destination.
Reservations & Rates
The cost of the 7 night/6 day package at Los Roques is $4,250.00 USD per person (double occupancy).
• Additional packages are available. Please contact our travel experts to discuss further options.
Your angling package at Los Roques includes first and last night at the selected hotel: In Carcas: Gran Melia Carcas and in La Guaira: Eurobuilding Express; round trip flight Caracas - Los Roques – Caracas; accommodation at Acuarela Lodge; all meals at the Lodge and at the boat; all ground transfer services between hotel and air port; guided fishing; sportfishing licenses and permits; beer on the boat.
Not included in your Los Roques package are international airfare to Venezuela; meals and beverages in the mainland; Los Roques National Park Entry Fee (approx. $15); alcoholic beverages (except beers on the boat); items of a personal nature such as phone calls and laundry; domestic departure tax (approx. $10); overweight baggage ($.50 per pound in excess of 25 pounds); International departure tax and airport tax (approx. $48); gratuities to the lodge staff and fishing guides.
The Fly Shop® is not in the insurance business, but we recommend Travel Guard coverage as a service with a desire to see your best interests protected. It is impossible to know when an unfortunate situation (loss of luggage, fly rods, illness in the family, or an accident) may occur. However, such things can and do happen, and this insurance can provide a means of recourse against non-refundable financial losses.
• Travel Guard Insurance
Seasons at Los Roques
The Fishing Calendar of Los Roques:
Los Roques is only 12 degrees north of the equator, (85 miles off the northern coast of Venezuela). Like most bonefisheries this close to the equator, the sun arcs overhead in perfect 12 hours intervals, and ensures stable water currents, favorable water temperatures, and wind, consistently drawing bonefish onto the flats from February to October.
The peak fishing season for bonefish here is significantly longer than in the Bahamas, Mexican Yucatan, Belize, Cuba, or Honduras, where the sun is low in the sky for months of the year, and their respective latitude creates a shorter calendar window for visibility and optimum weather conditions.
Los Roques is refreshed by nearly constant trade-winds, which are constantly turning over warmed surface waters. Since warmer water holds less oxygen than cold water, this turn over and oxygenation creates a perfect environment for crustaceans, baitfish and feeding bonefish. The cooling trade-winds combine with a dry climate to create very pleasant mid-summer conditions for anglers when other Caribbean and Central American destinations are plagued with oppressive heat and humidity.
The level of the water on the flats of Los Roques during January is usually too high. While it's not uncommon to find lots of cruising bonefish along beaches in the first month of the year, the high water reduces the chances of seeing many tailing bones on the flats.
The weather is pleasant all year 'round in the archipelago, however, and the angler searching for a January angling escape will have the advantage of little competition and fish that haven't seen much pressure since the previous October.
Water levels at Los Roques in February are near perfect for the better part of each day and not as susceptible to the adverse ocean currents and winds that are common during November, December, and January. The Sight Cast guides focus on the rising tides and usually cast to tailing bonefish for about four hours of each day in February.
March, April, and May:
The month of March signals the beginning of the best of the fishing at Los Roques. Rising water levels each day come up slowly, driven by western tides, but held back by eastern trade-winds. Beginning in March, it is not uncommon to see hundreds and hundreds of bonefish tailing close to each other. There are long periods of the day with virtually no water on the flats when the guides and anglers turn to deep water flats and beaches, waiting for the tide to turn and flood the flats with cool, fresh water from the deep blue sea surrounding the cays.
When the tide starts to flood, guides position flyrodders to intercept and ambush bonefish that move quickly to the flats; these fish are searching for the crustaceans that are exposed, and are feeding madly and often with reckless abandon.
Like most of the rest of the Caribbean, April and May bring optimum light conditions that combine with the favorable daily flooding of the flats of Los Roques. This time of the year offers classic, picture-perfect wading and a combination of both large numbers of bones and routine shots at larger bonefish. It's the famous Los Roques bonefishing, when tails seem to stretch to the horizon, providing moments that most anglers remember for a lifetime. For the angler who wants to wade for big tailing bonefish - this is the time and place.
June through October:
The summer months are what separate Los Roques from most other bonefishing destinations in the Caribbean. Los Roques can be effectively fished during the summer months, and right through October. A constant influx of cool, oxygenated ocean water on the flats, generated by trade winds and strong ocean currents, keep conditions fresh and habitable. This twice a day turnover of ocean-fresh water keeps the flats from becoming super-heated and stagnant. The crustaceans remain active and the flats of Los Roques are alive with fish all summer and into the early fall.
The near equatorial location does not experience extreme temperature fluctuations, nor is it historically affected by hurricanes crossing the Atlantic on their way to the Caribbean and/or North America. And unlike the tropics on the near southern side of the equator, there is little rain and not much relative humidity in the Los Roques archipelago.
The key to angling success in the summer months is mobility, and the Sight Cast guides move quickly from flat to flat, taking advantage of more quickly raising or falling water levels. Bonefish also move more quickly in the summer months. Tailing fish don't hang around in one spot very long, and more refined stalking and casting skills are necessary to be successful in the mid-summer months.
November & December:
The level of the water on the flats during these months is high all day. You don't see many tailing fish on Los Roques during this time period, only cruising fish. The fish are here, just hard to see...
One important feature of Los Roques is that there are many flats to fish and, depending on the conditions, Sight Cast knows where to go for the best fishing.
Wind, Tides & Moon Phases:
There's no simple explanation or a consistent system to predict tidal fluctuations at Los Roques. In fact, it is easier to think in terms of water levels that cover, or expose the flats of Los Roques several times a day during many months of the year.
Los Roques tides (water levels) are affected by ocean currents and off-shore winds in the deep blue channels that surround the archipelago. Those winds begin hundreds of miles away and drive, alternately, massive mountains and deep troughs of water over the cays of the national park. In essence, the tide is of little consequence, except when there are several consecutive windless days. If, for example, on-shore winds are strong, and the tide is flooding, greater pushes of water will enter the archipelago at a faster rate. If there is an off-shore wind, the tide will be accelerated or retarded, depending on whether the tide is flooding or ebbing. Ocean currents are constant, play an important role in Los Roques water levels, and further complicate the daily formula for successful bonefishing.
Getting to Los Roques
The Caracas airport is actually about 30 miles away from the capital city, near the 200 year-old historic, seaport resort community of La Guaira. The modern, Simon Bolivar Airport is a hub to Central and South America and has numerous, direct daily flights from Miami, Houston, London, New York, Buenos Aires, Santiago, and Los Angeles. It is incredibly easy and usually inexpensive to get to, from anywhere in the continental United States.
Most guests arrive in the Simon Bolivar International Airport late in the evening in order to be on time for the very early morning departure to Los Roques. After clearing customs, fishermen are met and transferred to the Eurobuilding Express Hotel only seven minutes from the airport. Included in the package is the cost of the hotel for the night of arrival and the night after the last day of fishing, as well as transfers to and from the airport.
Very early the next (first) morning anglers will be picked up at the hotel and transferred to the Aerotuy terminal, at the south end of the International Airport (less than 10 minutes from your hotel). The scenic flight is included in the package and covers the 85 air miles to the island of Gran Roque in less than 25 minutes. After a brief stop in the open air terminal to pay the Park and Airport use fee, anglers are escorted to the lodge, stow their luggage, and head for their waiting, assigned boats as soon as their tackle is assembled. Lunches are already packed and on board and there's no delay in beginning what will be a full first day of bonefishing.
Guests fishing with Sight Cast are accommodated at the well-appointed Acuarela Lodge on Los Roques. All of the rooms have air conditioning, private baths and are very attractive, clean, and pleasant. Meals are prepared by the Lodge's chef, and include a well-balanced blend of native dishes with an emphasis on fresh harvest from the sea. Plenty of complimentary cold sodas, bottled water, and beers will be packed in your cooler together with a fresh lunch each morning.
At the conclusion of the last day of scheduled fishing, anglers catch the evening Aerotuy flight back to the mainland, either in time to connect with their departing flight or to transfer to the hotel (included in the package) and an early flight the next morning. (Dinners and drinks at the mainland hotels on the night of arrival and departure are not included in the package.)
As part of your reservation package, you'll receive a very complete Los Roques Pre-Trip Planner and Checklist. You can down-load that information after clicking on the Los Roques Equipment & Tackle.
Lodging at Los Roques
Sight Cast has wisely selected Acuarela Lodge, as the Gran Roque headquarters for The Fly Shop's bonefishing guests.
Acuarela's owner and chef extraordinaire, Angelo Belvedere, serves wonderful four course dinners that showcase the region's fresh seafood. After the predictably fine evening meals, anglers usually share their fishing stories and enjoy the breeze, cocktails and conversation while watching the sun set from the rooftop veranda.
Guests retire each night to tastefully-decorated double and single occupancy accommodations, each equipped with ceiling fans, air conditioners and private baths. These accommodations, combined with magnificent snorkeling and other non-fishing options create one of the most appropriate destinations in the saltwater world for families and non-angling companions.
Complimentary wines are often served with evening meals, along with iced tea, lemonade, and unlimited bottled water. Guests may purchase or bring their own beer, soft drinks, liquor, and mixes. Ice is always available in the bar and kitchen.
An optional, special lobster lunch can be arranged during your angling holiday by Sight Cast at a native fisherman's beach home on Isla Agustin. Lobster is in season and available only from November to May. The price for this lunch is approximately $40 per angler, but it's a lot of fun and a break from the daily routine. It's best to arrange this prior to your trip.
Fishing at Los Roques
First Day at Los Roques:
Anglers and their companions will be picked up at their hotel very early (there are actually 2 flights, one at 5am and the other at 7am) in the morning and transferred to the Aerotuy terminal at the south end of the international airport (less than 10 minutes from their hotel). The scenic flight in the ultra-reliable 4-engine Dash 7 is included in the package and covers the 85 air miles to the island of Gran Roque in less than 25 minutes. After a brief stop in the open air terminal to pay the Park and
Airport use fee, anglers are escorted to the lodge, stow their luggage, and depart on their waiting boats with assigned guides as soon as their tackle is assembled. Lunches and a selection of sodas, beer, and bottled water will already be iced down, on board, and there's no delay in beginning what will be a full first day of bonefishing.
Anglers typically return to Acuarela Lodge at about 4:00 in the afternoon. As a matter of safety, and in cooperation with the Venezuelan Marineros, anglers are requested to return to the main island in the late afternoon. Hors d'oeuvres are served at about 5:30 and, in the Latin fashion, dinners tend to be served later, at 8:00. Acuarela's owner and chef extraordinaire, Angelo Belvedere, serves wonderful four-course dinners that showcase the region's fresh seafood. After the predictably fine evening meals, anglers usually share their fishing stories and enjoy the breeze, cocktails, and conversation while watching the sun set from the rooftop veranda.
Normal Fishing Itinerary:
Flyrodders typically eat breakfast at 7:00am, load into the boats, and depart for the flats half an hour later. The packed lunch on the arrival day is generic. After that, you'll be asked each evening for your next day lunch preference and choice of beverages. Sight Cast operates a "well-oiled machine" and the boats are gassed up, serviced, cleaned, and loaded early every morning. Fishermen are off on their daily flats quest each day without delay, though the departure time for fishing might slightly change from season to season, depending on the visibility and tides.
Each two anglers and their guide are transported to the solid-bottomed flats in swift, safe, deep V-hulled vessels. All of the Sight Cast boats have radios, safety, and first-aid equipment aboard and are equipped with canopies to protect anglers from the afternoon sun.
All of the seaworthy, 28-foot Sight Cast boats have been modified for the fly fishing experience. They carry 1 or 2 anglers with both a guide and a licensed captain who stays with the panga, often dropping the anglers at one end of the long flats and picking them up at the other. This time-proven method eliminates back tracking and makes the day much more productive.
The most distant flats are less than 45 minutes away from the lodge, and the native guides know exactly which spots hold fish on each tide. Gran Roque is separated from the rest of the archipelago by a deep, several mile wide channel and the first portion of the daily commute can be a wet experience in windy weather, so a light rain jacket may come in handy. Strictly enforced government environmental policy dictates that there are only two islands in the huge archipelago where non-native habitation is allowed (Gran Roque and neighboring Frances Cay). With strictly enforced limits on the number of licensed anglers, and only one other competing outfitter in the park, once anglers leave the main island they'll seldom see other fishermen.
Fishing at Los Roques:
Flats at Los Roques are shallow, solid-bottomed, and seldom more than knee-deep. They are custom-tailored for the wading fly fishermen. Virtually all of the angling is done on foot, making this fishing trip particularly well-suited to physically fit anglers. While most of the flats of Los Roques are covered with light-colored sand and diatoms (crushed coral), there are dozens and dozens of "pancake flats" that average about 5 acres in size, each taking only a few minutes to cover. These are typically covered with turtle grass and are perfect targets during the ebb and very high tides. Another unique aspect of the Los Roques fishing experience is the pursuit of cruising bonefish from cay shorelines that drop off quickly from the beach. Diving pelicans telegraph the location of schools of small baitfish and the bonefish that are their constant companions. This kind of sight fishing is fast, exciting, and very productive.
Many of the traditional, picture-perfect flats stretch for miles and are often covered with fish. The guide will usually position himself nearest the least experienced angler until he (or she) gets the hang of it, then move between the fishermen alternately, helping them spot cruising or tailing bonefish and advising them on the best approach and position when advancing on the fish. (Extra guides can be arranged for a modest daily fee depending on availability. It is certainly beneficial to novice saltwater anglers and will dramatically accelerate the learning curve. A second guide actually translates into private guides for both anglers – normally they share a single guide. While not necessary, reserving a second guide for the first few days will help insure the success for first-time flats anglers and fishermen that have difficulty spotting bonefish.) Guides will usually position anglers with the wind and sun at their back, affording the easiest approach and presentation to the fish. Many of the fish on the flats of Los Roques will be tailing, meaning the best technique for wading is to cover the area slowly, looking for tails, or nervous water. Anglers must fight the urge to rush the fish and the cast, and approach fish very slowly in order to not disturb the water.
Larger schools of bones generally have smaller fish, on average. If trophies are the quarry, many fishermen concentrate on the edges of the flats, or beaches where big fish are more likely to be found, and allow the companion angler the more productive shallows.
When located fish are reluctant to take a fly, even after several pattern changes, anglers should move on. The bones may have been spooked by a previous angler, nervous because of some nearby predator, or aware of your presence. Consistently successful fishermen at Los Roques are anglers that cover more ground, and are willing to walk and hunt for the most productive situations.
Non-Angling at Los Roques:
For those that do not fish (or simply want to take a day off), the lodge offers daily trips to isolated and beautiful beaches, accessed via a boat from the lodge. There is no extra charge for this service. SCUBA, snorkeling, motor vessel and under-sail tours of the archipelago can also be arranged for reasonable fees. And with both early morning and late evening daily flights to and from the mainland, day excursions, sightseeing, and shopping tours to the coastal resort community of La Guaira, or to nearby Margarita Island can be arranged for non-fishing companions.