Guadaloupe is an archipelago forming an overseas region of France in the Caribbean. It consists of six inhabited islands, Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, La Désirade, and the Îles des Saintes, as well as many uninhabited islands and outcroppings. For me as a European, it is quite funny. Thousands and thousands of kilometers away but still part of France and the European Union. That means we don’t need any visas, permits and also our phones are working on the roaming. The official currency is the Euro. There is just a bit of a problem with English. Most people are speaking French so it’s sometimes a bit difficult to communicate there with just English.
It’s quite a popular destination for the tourist but not really known in fly fishers circles. Around Christmas, it is quite busy, but otherwise not so many tourists. A good place to take your better half for a vacation. Nice beaches, good food, markets and some of the best rum in the Caribbean.
You can find different environments and species. Mangroves with tarpons, snooks and snappers. Flats covered by turtle grass and bonefish and permits swimming in the surf line. Tarpons are also present in the open ocean. There are jacks, cudas, needlefish and many smaller coral fish.
Gear up from 7wt for calm days on flats to 10wt for bigger tarpons and bad weather. Most of the time we were using 8wt for bones and 9wt for baby tarpons and other predators. Don’t forget to put weed guards on your bonefish flies. Walk and wade fishing is possible but I would recommend to také a guide with a boat for some days.
I’ve been planing a saltwater fly trip with my best fishing buddy Jan for a couple of years. Finally, in the fall of 2019 everything came together and we booked flights and accommodation for our first trip. Weeks of studying and preparation, tying flies and collecting gear. On the 7th of December we…. I don’t want to bore you with details of the traveling but I have to say one thing. If you’re going thru France and you will do in most cases, make sure you have about 5 hours for transfer from Charles de Gaule airport to Orly airport. It’s a terrible transport.
Finally in the Caribbean. It is nice to escape freezing Europe. But, while the first and last days were sunny the rest was not your typical Caribbean weather. Dark skies, wind, waves and lot of rain. Pretty bad conditions for sight fishing. So we did a lot of mangrove fishing, fishing in channels and also some blind casting. We hooked many new species and had fun with baby tarpons. In calm mornings we managed to find and catch some nice bones. We saw a bunch of big permits in surfs but didn’t manage to catch them.
Also on our last day with guide, we saw many big bonefish. Each of us got about 10 shots. For some reason, the fish just followed our flies and never took it. Some of them were monsters over 70cm and we saw 2 fish excess 80 cm. Need to say, our guide Cyril did his best to put us on some fish. I would like to say big thanks to him!! See ya next year.
I can see a big potential in this place. It is not an easy place to fish with big numbers of fish but the bones and permits are huge. A big challenge to trick, so we will definitely come again and again…….