Fly Fishing Information for Tarpon season in the island of Puerto Rico is located just a short 3 to 4 hour flight from any major city on the East coast of the United States. Unknown to many, Puerto Rico offers some of the most sensational  fly fishing and light tackle opportunities in the Caribbean. The West coast waters offer to any angler a fishing paradise in the winter.

The season start in October to May and the area is home to a significant population of resident tarpon year-round . Plenty of larger  fish also ply the regions bays, lagoon and estuaries throughout the year. The big Tarpon are present, presumably to take advantage of the warmer waters and plentiful forage.

 I had the good fortune to call the flats and bays my  office for work . Cabo Rojo  is a magnificent area to cast a streamer in front of hungry tarpon. I was presented with the options of casting to schools of feeding fish over vast shallow flats, working amongst entangled mangroves to pocket pools & tiny creeks with single fish, and working the magic of the river. There’s enough variety in this game to keep anyone engaged.
A massive mangrove shoreline dominates the coastal habitat.  Crystalline waters are the norm for the lower reaches as they empty into sweeping flats. On the other hand, rust-stained hues characterize the smaller quarters of the upper river and tiny creek habitats. The estuary habitat is superb; shallow sandy-bottomed grass beds, banks dominated by mangrove roots and green canopy. The entire region sports an average depth of two to  Twenty feet overall. The dynamics provide you with a perfect window to sight-fish.

The estuary’s open water affords fly fishers with 360 degrees of casting opportunity. Keep your eyes peeled – scan for dorsals & tails, breezing baitfish, or erupting water and instant mayhem. The flats are a casters dream situation. The longer you can cast a line, the better your chances of reaping the harvest. Everyone standing on the bow of the flat boat have the  opportunity to cast your fly in front of the silver king.
 It’s an awesome place to explore. It’s darn productive for feeding fish. This place isn’t for the faint of heart however as you’ll be challenged in all aspects of your angling skills. You earn every fish that comes to hand. I love this game.
 Once the fly hit its mark a tarpon wouldn’t waste any time with their reaction.

Fly Fishing for Puerto Rico  Tarpon of all sizes continues to be a sport in growing demand for the traveling angler, as more and more people realize it is easier to schedule a fishing trip to Puerto Rico than to a foreign country. Being a commonwealth of the United States, there is no passport and tourist visa required by US citizens to enter and leave Puerto Rico, also the local currency is the US Dollar further simplifying your travels. It is like going to Florida for the winter but with a Caribbean flair! I am the only fly fishing guide service in the west coast of Puerto Rico and we are booked months in advance during the winter tourism season, which coincides with the best tarpon fishing, with many opportunities for fly fishermen to experience tarpon on a fly. An experienced angler should hire a guide to see where the fishing action is taking place, what is the technique employed and the choice of flies and equipment, once that is information has been passed on by the guide, the more adventuresome angler can then fish with confidence for the same species the guide fished with the customer. Unfortunately, the truly great fishing is available only from these knowledgeable guides, who monitor the moving schools of tarpon, and in reality these fish are accessible  only by boat. Tarpon are indeed the favorite target for fly fishermen, with fish of every size available at all times of the year, from juveniles in the mangrove lined channels that run from 5 to 15 pounds to 150 pound or more giants that can be found anywhere in this water .
Fly fishermen can expect some chances to hook one of these fish, with success measured in the fish you “jump” rather than catch, mainly due to the hard mouth of the tarpon, which makes hooking and landing one of these fish very frustrating at times. As a guide, I have noticed that the main reason for tarpon to throw the fly is because most anglers will lift the rod on a strike, like in the act of hooking a trout, tarpon have a very hard mouth and must be struck very hard, I like to recommend the fishermen to practice fishing with the rod slightly lower than perpendicular to water’s surface, and practicing strip striking with the stripping hand, then lifting the rod and fighting the fish. The same techniques that were mentioned in the bait fishing section of this article work wonders for the fly angler as well. Releasing a tarpon of any size on a fly rod is an awesome feeling, knowing that you have conquered one of the truly game fish species in the world. Fly fishing in saltwater is really a lot of work, casting heavy rods for hours waiting for the right time, it is worth the wait! The visiting fly fisherman that travels to Boqueron Bay in search of tarpon and snook will have to be equipped with at least 3 rods, an 8 wt, a10 wt and a 11 wt; these will enable the angler to address most of the fishing conditions that arise. Reels need to be preferably of the large arbor type capable of holding the fly line plus 350 yards of backing and equipped with a smooth drag system that will handle the fast, strong runs of a tarpon. Lines can be of the floating, or intermediate sinking type, with a shooting head line a nice addition to the arsenal, just in case the wind decides to get a little nasty. Most charters will provide all fly fishing equipment, as well as Us and locally tied flies. Shore fishing can be done from most the shore targeting several of the reef species found in the area usual catches are snappers of various species, barracudas, ladyfish and a variety of jacks. A spinning reel and matching rod capable of holding 250 yards of 8 pound monofilament is the best choice of tackle as most of the beaches will be wind swept during the day, making fly casting difficult in the open. Jigs, plugs and shiny spoons seem to gather the most attention among the reef predators as they resemble the small baitfish that congregate on the reefs. As in other Caribbean islands you have to be careful as you wade and fish the beaches, always gently shuffle your feet as you walk, that way you disturb the stingrays making them swim away without a tail swipe and possible injury with their poisonous spine. The fly fisherman needs to be able to cast in different scenarios, short 20 foot roll casts in the mangrove channels and 60 to 70 feet long casts for open water fishing. It is important to practice the double haul at a park, football or soccer field. I am going to emphasize, Please practice your double haul ahead of time, I can not tell you how hard it is to learn this on the water, with tarpon rolling everywhere. And in the event of a spectacular tarpon feeding frenzy, you will hear your heart pounding through your chest. The waters in Boqueron Bay is cristal clear, and let me tell you folks, tarpon have the keenest eyes, make no mistake about it, when they want your bait or fly they will eat it! Because of the cristal clear water , distance is more desirable an accuracy; the longer the fly is in the water (Strike Zone!), the better the chance for a strike. Many different types of flies work in Puerto Rico, most of the tarpon and snook are taken on the following: Tarpon Toad Purple/Black, Woolly Mullet, gray Grey/Silver/Black, a  tarpon bunnys Back/Brown/Purple, Clouser Minnow,Olive/White/Black,Black paradise, and the innovative Gummi Minnow.  Always have some Guglers in 2/0 on hand just in case a Tarpon and Snook feeding frenzy forms while you are in the water, an unforgettable sight for those fortunate to see the hundreds of fish working under the screaming seagulls and pelicans. For those that want to wade the reefs and beaches, some deceivers in white, olive, yellow and silver are always a good choice. Leaders need to be 6 to 9 feet long, with a butt section of 50 pound fluorocarbon tapering to 30 pound, then followed by your tippet section in 16 to 20 pound and finished with 2 feet of 40 pound fluorocarbon and a bite tippet of 50 to 100 pound test fluorocarbon, depending on the size of fish targeted. Although expensive, fluorocarbon leaders are invariably the best, for their invisibility in the water and their resistance to abrasion. As with all types of fishing it pays off to keep your knot selection and leader construction easy to tie and foolproof. From years of experience I have found that bimini twists, perfection loops, blood knots and uni-knots are reliable and perform flawlessly in most conditions. Armed with this basic information you are now able to schedule a trip to beautiful, friendly Puerto Rico and give yourself a real fight, the one that only a leaping tarpon will give you.Puerto Rico is the “secret” hotspot just a few hours from any major airport in the US mainland.
This is a fishery that makes for lifetime memories. The guides and  hosts will certainly add their special touch. If you’re interested in more travel details please contact :
Capt. Francisco "Pochy" Rosario