Thursday, January 31, 2019

DIY trip , Dominican Republic

All my DIY trips are based on one criteria: getting my dose of winter sunshine and a stress free couple of weeks. If i can add a few fish to this recipe, then it's a bonus. I rarely travel without a rod in my bag, just in case. If i want to travel and my main priority is to catch fish then i rather save my money and go with a reliable lodge/ guided tour.

This particular trip  i was joined by my parents and sister, and it was bliss to see all of us trouble free for two weeks. Destination was picked by my sister, the Dominican Republic. Upon a few quick research on the web, i quickly realized that apart from big charter boat trolling for marlin, very little was on offer. This type of fishing is simply not my thing, too expensive for little rewards. Rewards = work put in / type of catch. A good jack from the rocks after casting for two days is more rewarding to me than catching  a marlin after stepping on a boat sitting down waiting and drinking beers (and 800$ out of pocket) But this is a question of personal choices...After a long time behind the computer screen i managed to find and got in touch with a couple of guys that know the area pretty well. One of them fishes there on the fly regularly with some successful outings. One aspect that attracted me straight away was that this guy was getting some baby tarpons from the float tube.

So, a few preparations was in order, tie a bunch of flies ( bring with that some of my lucky patterns from previous trips) Deflate the float tube and make everything fit in the suitcase.
The flights were fine, the hotel was very nice, but empty. Probably a change in ownership , everything was closed on the resort, restaurants, bar....luckily we rented a self catering.
The fishing grounds looked brilliant! Rocks, lagoons, beaches....But one thing was odd compare to all my previous trips...No local fishermen to be seen on the horizon, the sea was empty, apart a big cruise ship and some container ships in the distance. An other thing that surprised me was the total lack of sea birds, i remember my trips in Costa Rica, driving along the road to spot pelicans diving on huge balls of baitfish...But not in here...Calm seas, clear waters, a few stingrays on the sandy beaches and some small needle fish was all i could spot.

One morning was different, the water got super clear, less wind, and finaly i get some action, first a few small jacks, one was followed by a massive barracuda, i was not geared up for a fish that size!
I did hook a good cudda, i had him for a while , he was around a metre in lenght, but fishing from the rocks you have to bully these fish or they will cut you off on the rocks...The hook pulled out of this fish...I kept fishing, i knew the conditions had to be accounted for this sudden show of larger predators.

Persistance paid of when i tried a popper along a rock point, a big jack came up and smashed it, took me well into the backing on his first run. I fought this guy for a good 10 minutes on my Epic 8 weight. Total confidance in the rod and reel i played that fish hard...He was playing me hard too...Unfortunatly the hook pulled out as well on this fish. I fished for an other two hours and i could feel that the conditions were changing again, sun was getting high a hot, a stiff breeze was blowing...No more fish came that day.
I did fish one day with a guy that knew the place well, and even himself was baffle by the lack of activity...So is fishing...