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Rod Hamilton

September 14, 2017

Bonefishing in Roatan, Honduras

For those of you thinking about visiting Honduras here is a wonderful trip report from subscribers Bill and Darthea Collins. They are well seasoned travellers and experienced anglers so their opinions are well worth hearing. The information on where to stay, rent and who to fish with is worth logging for future reference.

“My wife and I recently returned from a fishing vacation on the island of Roatan which is 20 odd miles off the coast of Honduras. Roatan is primarily know as a diving destination as there is an extensive reef system surround the entire island.

After a little research and talking to our prospective guide we found that the bonefish and permit are plentiful and aggressive. We rarely encountered another fisherman. In fact, on the flight in we were the only people packing fishing equipment.

Roatan is a little more out of the way as opposed to many of the more commonly known destinations in the Caribbean or Bahamas. There are daily flights to Roatan out of Houston, Dallas and Miami. The island is approximately 39 miles long and there is only one main road running the long length of the island.

We rented a house in Oak Ridge on the south side of the island (Blue Reef Properties). The name of the House was Bliss on The Beach. It as well equipped and quite comfortable. It is about 45 minutes from the airport and was directly on the canal that runs around the island.

It is a mountainous island so driving can be an adventure at night. From the airport west there are a number of major resorts that you would find anywhere else in the Caribbean. In front of our house was a canal which is the major thorough fare going east or west along the coast.

The canal was about 30 feet wide and was bordered by a flat about a half mile long and 100 feet cross. We had been told that some of the best bonefishing in the area was on that flat. The canal was easily wadeable to get to the flat in one spot. It was to the right of the house as you face it and the end of the stone seawall. Every day sitting on the porch we would watch bonefish tail on the flat.

Although you can reach some flats by car, most are more easily reached by boat. We decided to book a guide, Michael Boden, since is was our first trip here. Michael is probably one of the best guides in Roatan. The flats on Roatan are easy to wade as they are a combination of coral and turtle grass. All of the flats are inside the reef that surround the island. On the ocean side of the reef the depth drops off to 800-1000 feet so schools of new fish are constantly accessing the flats as the tide rises.

We were consistently seeing and catching fish from 2 to 8 lbs. On most of the flood tides Permit are in abundance. The most successful flies were Bonefish Bitters in green and orange, Mantis Shrimp, Crazy Charlie in pink and tan. We used 15 lb. test Tipit leaders because of the coral. Besides loads of permit and bonefish, you can go right outside the reef and get yellow fin tuna, jacks, grouper, barracuda and multiple other species. We brought spinning equipment for just that and took and broke off some huge fish.

Most days we fished from early morning until dark. Michael really gives you your money’s worth. We fished on the flat in front of our house numerous times. We have never fished anywhere where you had such a variety of species to pursue so easily.

We found a great little bar and restaurant where the owner sends a boat for you every night called Hole in The Wall. Great food and drinks, reasonably priced and after dinner they ran us back to our house. The kids all go to school by boat and passed in front of our house each day. There are water taxis that run in front of our house all day. All you need do it shout or wave and they stop and take you where you want to go. Almost every day at least one boat would stop in front of the house to sell us lobsters, fish or huge crabs that they had just caught. The trash pick up is even by boat. You simply put it out on the seawall and they grab it for you. The islanders are all very friendly and most speak English. We also found a very nice supermarket called Eldens if you want to do your own cooking. It was quite large and carried everything we have here in the US. Bring all the equipment you might need as there is very little available on the sailed.

Roatan also takes US dollars as well as Lemps. We wished we had brought more cash as it was not that easy to get cash there – the ATM’s were only at the grocery stores and you could only take out $400 a day and it was given to you in Lemps, not US Dollars. The upside is they like US dollars and are happy to accept our currency instead of their own. Some places (grocery store and pharmacy) take MasterCard or Visa but most of the restaurants up where we were did not accept credit cards, only cash. It was one of our better fishing vacations and we are already looking to go back again next year.”

Thanks Bill and Darthea for a terrific report and keep us up to speed on wherever you next fling a fly.

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