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We have said before that the Central American country of Nicaragua is almost certain to emerge eventually as an important sportfishing destination, and we are keeping our eyes wide open for new developments. The following letter from subscriber John Pinto is a few months old, but we think it still deserves airing in these pages. Our thanks to Pinto for sharing what he knows about this interesting country:

"This past September I made my second trip to the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. My first trip, some 18 months ago, was to Cayo Perles (the Keys of Laguna Perles) north of Bluefields. I spent two days on that trip fly fishing for permit. They were tailing all around us much of the time.

"The latest trip was mainly to the capital city of Managua, but I did manage to spend two days on Big Corn Island about 50 miles east of Bluefields off Nicaragua’s eastern coast. Big Corn Island is a lobster and shrimping community. My primary interest here was to find bonefish and tarpon. Turns out I did find some of the latter in the 20 to 30-pound class while snorkeling between coral heads that rose to the surface in 40-foot-deep water off the east coast of Little Corn Island, approximately nine miles to the north of Big Corn Island. I was told that when the wind blows from the west, the tarpon can be seen in shallow water from the beaches, well within fly casting range. There are currently no flats boats working either of these islands.

"After snorkeling, I returned to Big Corn Island and positioned a panga among the lobster boats that were coming into the harbor. They return each afternoon around 5 p.m. and clean the lobsters, tossing the lobster heads into the sea in about five feet of water. Again, with snorkeling gear I watched as schools of bonefish in the three to five-pound class moved in to feed on the discarded lobster heads. The water was too deep to provide good fly fishing, and I was told that bonefish are seldom seen tailing anywhere in this area. I think these bonefish have become semi-domesticated and move into this area for the daily ‘five o’clock feeding.’

"In spite of now positively identifying the ‘big three’ – tarpon, permit and bonefish – in Nicaragua’s Caribbean waters – the area still needs a lot of research and infrastructure before it can be turned into a fly fishing destination. Ultimately, I am confident that between the Corn Islands and the scattered keys, tarpon, bonefish and permit will be found on flats which will be fly fishing-friendly."

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