Introducing the DIY Fish Market presented by Airflo Fishing. Planning a fly fishing trip can be intimidating, from expensive lodge and guide fees to airfare, but that doesn’t have to be the end of it. You can catch the fish of a lifetime on your own, with cash in your pocket, a few tools and the right attitude. That’s why we’re here to help you break down the costs of chasing fish on the fly. Our favorite metric for this series: price per pound. How much does each fish cost to catch and how big does it get?
In this edition of the DIY Fish Market, we’re in Puerto Rico. With no passports required for US citizens and many government luxuries like Airbnb and Uber, your typical gringo can absolutely follow this month’s pisces.
DIY travel and expenses in Puerto Rico:
Air travel: Aguadilla (BQN)
If you’re an airline snob, you probably shouldn’t be reading this anyway. Go book a fully curated lodge package, you’ll have a blast, breakfast at 7!
Spirit and Fronteir fly to Aguadilla (BQN), which means cheap flights and the best value for your money. Just be sure to read the fine print on airline policies. The maximum amount of rod tubes you can hide to avoid the delivery fee is 3. 4 is too many – resulting in a penalty of $59 (sometimes more than the flight itself). Stack some tubes up and down a backpack and you’re golden. Avoid this fee and you can go round-trip to Aguadilla (BQN) for less than $200.
Accommodation options in Puerto Rico:
Find a place around Rincon, Puerto Rico. There are 5 options here all under $100 a night. Split that 3 ways and we’re talking big change. You will be on the beach all day, so the requirements here are minimal. You won’t need or use anything more than a coffee maker, bed, AC and shower.
Food is a joke. Walk down the street and grab an empanadilla, there’s no more authentic breakfast and you can’t beat the price. This $2 meat stick can put enough lead in your pencil for the long hike ahead of you. For lunch and dinner, any local roadside chicken shop can slip you a plate of mofongo for $7-8. Here’s what I recommend:
We jumped around Caddy’s Calypso AND The Beach House. claims Google Caddy’s it’s closed, but we wandered down and it’s alive and well. Go there and you will be the only tourist. Caddy’s it has everything, even your typical chicken fingers and fries for the kids. The setting is great and the bar overlooks a cliff. Some rum and coke and a plate of mofongo help make for an easy afternoon beach session.
The Beach House it’s another great place. Perched on top of a hill, it overlooks the legendary domed beach. This famous wave break attracts surfers from all over the world and the food isn’t too shabby either. With a surf vibe and 50 Adirondack chairs specially positioned to catch the sunset, this is a must-see. A friend we met along the way, MANAGES, once told us in passing “I boogie.” We weren’t sure what that meant, but after seeing the walls of water crushing the small bay on the domes, we could see the lure of going back with a body board hoping to catch some waves among the beach bound tarpon.
Target species in Puerto Rico, Tarpon:
We’re chasing the tarpon: an ancient predator that doesn’t want to fall victim to a Maryland harmonica. While they may be special and elusive, there is one way to guarantee a hit – one foot in front of the other. We walked miles every day, up, down, back, repeat. Put in the steps and you’ll get your reward.
Tips for Targeting Tarpon in Puerto Rico:
The fish here hang very close to shore, skimming the crashing waves in search of an overturned or off-balance baitfish. The first fish you see will surprise you. They are close enough to cast (even though you don’t want to).
A 10 weight is ideal, for larger flies and an onshore wind; often times you have to make a nasty cast that puts the fly where it needs to be, an 8 weight just can’t do that.
We cast large flies with some sinking characteristics. Unlike a goldfish or drum that you usually have time to feed, you’re either stripping a fly on these fish in the tide or running up the beach after them when they spook. Stand back while casting, the added stealth is worth it, and cast a fly that will sink fast enough to catch his eye. Want to fly a foot deep in 1 second. A lure or EP fly won’t sink fast enough and they’ll never see it. For us, the eyes of some old favorites did the trick. We threw in some sort of modified dumbbell cap – it looked silly; it worked great.
In 3 days we caught one around 30 and another at 60. The 60 pound fish is the fish used in the price per pound index below.
Recommend gear for Fly Fishing Puerto Rico:
Floating lines are the main. You will need the ability to pick up and shoot quickly. A sinking line would fish better, but you would never get a strike. You will need to shoot quickly and be ready to run another 40 feet and shoot again. Airflo Superflo Ridge 2.0 Flats Power Taper is the preferred fly line of choice. It loads quickly, fires quickly and accurately places the flight in the target area.
If you’ve ever fished on the beach, you know the painful obligation that is line management. As you run up the beach, your line falls behind you, coiling in the sand, catching rocks, sticks, marine debris, until eventually it forms a knot that limits your already limited casting range. That is why we recommend Air flow. Airflo’s patented polymer repels water, dirt and surface debris better than any material in the history of flight lines. What this means is that when it’s time to shoot your shot, your line will go through the guides – no knots, no tangles. If you’re lucky enough to get a chance to set the hook, airflo’s low stretch core can make a bad hook set good. Finger drag translates right to the fish, a critical component when targeting tough-mouthed titans like the silver king.
Check out Airflo Fly Lines here.
Fly Fishing Math:
|The flight||ORD to BQN (round trip)||200 dollars|
|Accommodation on Airbnb||$31 per person x 3||91 dollars|
|BREAKFAST||Meat Sticks x 3||6 dollars|
|lunches||Mofongo Chicken x 3||21 dollars|
|Dinner||Rum & Coca Cola + Seafood x 3||60 dollars|
|Total cost||378 dollars|
|Price per Pound||378/60 dollars||$6.30|
Price per pound:
Our favorite metric for this series: price per pound. How much does each fish cost to catch and how big does it get? After reviewing my costs for this trip, airfare, lodging, and food, I calculated that it was $378 to fly to the beautiful beaches of Puerto Rico. Catching Tarpon, weight can vary. Fortunately, our largest fish at 60 pounds made our calculation $6.30 per pound. Where can you travel on a budget, have fun and count your trip by the species you catch per pound?
Stay tuned for more from Declan’s segment, “Fish Market” presented by Airflo. Check out Declan Rogers Instagram @deepsea_dec.
Check out the stories below:
Ole Red: A Little Red Fisherman’s Story
Fly Fishing on a College Budget