A first-timer’s guide to a fly-fishing getaway in the Caribbean
#2 THE DESTINATIONS
If you have a burning desire to catch bonefish on the flats, the Out Islands of the Bahamas are the place to go. The flats are spectacular, boasting vast numbers of bones, including the biggest ones in the Caribbean. It’s often technically difficult fishing, however, thanks to the near-constant winds, which rarely drop below 20 kilometres per hour. There are few sheltered places to fish, and limited opportunities for mangrove species. Here, it’s all bones, all the time. Most Bahamas anglers stay at lodges, which offer incredible accommodations and guiding services, but lean toward the higher end of the price scale.
Prime fly fishing on the Caribbean mainland runs from Mexico’s Ascension Bay (a few hours’ drive south of Cancun) to the southern border of Belize. The bonefish on this side of the Caribbean are half the size, but the fishing is friendlier for newbies, because the flats tend to be smaller and more sheltered. The fishery is also more diverse, with extensive mangrove systems sheltering many fun and relatively easy -to-catch species, including mangrove snappers and cudas.
If you’re a first-timer with modest skills and you’re not fussy about what you catch, the mainland might be your best option. It’s less expensive, with more opportunities for a DIY trip. Many little towns along the coast have beachside hotels and guest houses catering to anglers, as well as to divers who come for the world-class barrier reefs. The proprietors will even hook you up with excellent local guides.