Dreaming of fly-fishing in the Caribbean? Here’s what you need to know

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Communication and cooperation with your guide is essential for success

#3 THE PREPARATION

The basic tools of tropical fly fishing are an 8-weight, fast- or medium-fast rod, a saltwater-quality reel spooled with floating line, and a second spool with an intermediate sinking line. Lodges and guides can usually supply guests with premium gear, but having your own outfit lets you practise casting at home, which enormously increases your odds of success.

Most flats fish are caught within 40 feet, but they’re always moving, so focus on delivering the fly quickly and accurately. For mangrove fishing, practise casting with pinpoint accuracy at 20 feet, and casting between obstacles.

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Finally, pack your tropical duds, your sunscreen and your camera, but leave your fly-fishing ego at home. No matter how much experience you have on your local river, this is a new world. Adopt a beginner’s mindset, listen carefully to your guides, laugh off the inevitable foul-ups and—usually after a rough first day or two—you’ll find your groove and catch fish. And once you hook that first bonefish, tarpon, snook or barracuda, the chances are you’ll find yourself drawn back to the Caribbean, again and again.

Also see our roundup of new gear for fishing in the tropics at www.outdoorcanada.ca/tropicalgear.