Fly Fishing for Cool Fish at Darien Lodge in Colombia

by | May 19, 2024 | fly fishing Colombia | 2 comments

Darien-LodgeConditions were looking a bit bleak when I filled my Yeti with coffee at 5:15 this morning here at Darien Lodge in Colombia.  It was drizzling and looking out to sea was nothing but flickering lightening.  Fortunately it eased enough not to lose fishing time and we headed out promptly at 7 AM.

 

 

flyfishing-ColombiaI went with Ben and Scott and our usual boat crew again.  It was low tide and Edward felt it was best that we head for the rocks right where we left off last night.  I guess he enjoyed the species hunting as much as we did yesterday.  None of us minded the idea because the view close to shore is no less than stunning.

 

 

Ben-FurimskyThe rocks were a good call.  The fish were biting right away.  We managed several Panama graysby, flag cabrilla (which I forgot to mention we caught yesterday) and Ben caught this odd snapper type fish.  I was hoping to cash in on one too for my list but no such luck.  If anyone knows what it is, please Contact me.

Thanks to Reizo Knapp this fish has been identified as the Pacific Creolefish (Cephalopholis colonus).  Reizo has helped before and its much appreciated!

 

 

fly-caught-species-Jeff-CurrierSoon after, Ben picked up another odd fish I’ve not caught.  This is the Orangeside Triggerfish (Sufflamen verres).  I’m not gonna lie, when Ben knocked off this guy I went to work.  I dropped to a small chartreuse and white Clouser and had Edward hold the boat in the area.  I have a passion for triggers and already have ten different species of triggerfish on the fly.  Well, my diligence paid off and I got one as well as Scott.  Another new species for my list!

 

All of us went full on through the morning.  We took off our smaller Clouser-type flies and replaced them with huge Puglisi style flies.  We had high hopes for a beastly cubera snapper or something major.  I could feel my left shoulder disintegrating from stripping and casting so hard.  That’s when Scott went tight with something serious.

 

Bears-Den-FlyfishingI’m snapper crazy as it is, but Scott hooked into my favorite snappers of all time, the Barred Pargo (Hoplopagrus guentherii).  I’ve only caught two of these magnificent fish, one in Baja in 2010 and another in 2012.  I was possibly more excited than Scott and the boat combined!

 

 

flyfishing-ColombiaSuch a great fish forced me to take four Advil and nearly fish myself to the death of my left shoulder.  I drilled cast after cast with my 12-weight Air Max 2 with my Big Water Taper Max Sink like a machine.  Lucky for me, at noon one of the strongest downpours I’ve seen in years annihilated us.  We reeled it in and all of us had lunch.

 

 

Darien-LodgeI should mention the lunch.  I’ve been raving about the food here and today may have been the finest boat lunch I can remember in a foreign country.  Ed pulled out tuna burgers wrapped in tinfoil.  They were warm and seasoned with mayonnaise and hot sauce.  Maybe we were starving but I can tell you not a crumb went to waste!

 

The rains subsided by mid afternoon and the blue water fishing for tuna and sails came to life.  In a matter of an hour nervous water from bait balls quivered the surface.  Next the tuna started to bust and the insanity started.

 

yellowfin-on-flyWe hammered on the tuna for an hour.  I landed two and they ripped my shoulder so hard I took a serious break.  Ed said on occasion huge snapper show up with the tuna and you can see the red glow.  I saved the body and energy in case such a dream happened.  Scott sort of eased off too.  He kept casting but I could tell when his fly was amongst the tuna, he wasn’t stripping fast enough to get one.  Ben on the other hand, he kept going.  He snagged this dude in the side and it took him an hour to land it.  No thanks!

 

I was gazing at the blitz of tuna noticing the occasional dorsal of a sailfish appear.  Ben got some great casts to them but he does not have the sailfish luck.  Every time his fly gets to the sailfish he ends up with another tuna.  I kept watching and then I noticed a strange shark-like dorsal.  When I saw the tail pop out ten or fifteen feet behind that, I knew, we had a whale shark feeding on the sardines also.

 

whale-sharkTill today I’d only seen two whale sharks.  One I rode along the beach in Baja back in 2016 and one that came out of nowhere nearly causing me a heart attack in Musandam Oman years ago.  I thought a huge fish was coming from the deep to eat me.  But tonight I can tell you I added at least three more to my sightings.  Not only were they doing tail-stands and sucking in entire sardine bait balls, but they also did their curiosity swims past our boat.  They are hard to photograph from afar but you can see the dorsal and the splash of the tail.  There’s also a bunch of tuna hanging out with him competing for the sardines.

 

sea-snakeAs fast as they began, the bait balls, tuna, sails and whale sharks sank away. For the last hour Ed suggested a quick stop at a river mouth.  Here formed a strong line of murky water against the ocean blue.  While we found no fish, this seamline was full of yellow-bellied sea snakes.  I’ve seen a handful in my day but this afternoon we stopped counting at twenty.  They seemed docile but are supposedly deadly poisonous.  This is close as I dared get.  Look hard and you can see the very interesting paddle tail.

 

Darien-LodgeIt was another great day in paradise.  The Darien Lodge of Colombia and her Pacific waters continue to impress.  We called it around 5 and tonight we returned to the pool where a new kind of tuna hors d’oeuvres awaited.

 

 

 

mullet-snapperThere was news from the other guys as well.  They found consistent bait ball action all day on some outer rocks to the south.  And they found huge snapper.  Anthony managed to land a fish few are familiar with, a true prize of a mullet snapper.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

2 Comments

  1. Brian I.

    Great series of blogs – going to have to check out Colombia. And I’m glad you posted those barred pargo blogs; I never read about your first one caught – crazy story!!!

  2. Jeff Currier

    Brian, yea that first pargo story is one everyone should read. I wanted that baby! Your travel list is getting long. Let’s keep working on it!

Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!

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