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We’ve had quite a bit to say recently about the increasing fishing pressure at Los Roques, the famed bonefishing archipelago off the coast of Venezuela (see "Is Los Roques Being Overfished?" in the January, 1998 issue, pages 5-6). Well, it seems our rundown of the many operators out that way was incomplete. In addition to those we mentioned there is also a mothership operation at Los Roques. A company called Transporte Turistico Maritimo has a 57-foot yacht that operates five-night four-day trips out of Gran Roque. The cost of the trips, from Gran Roque, is $1,080 – double occupancy not required.

We have all this from Larry H. Pierce with Interstate Sports (*). The only additional cost is the round-trip airfare from Caracas, which is $100. Pierce, incidentally, does not think Los Roques is being overfished, but he does concede that fish on some of the flats near Gran Roque are responding negatively to the pressure at times. He writes:

"Prior to 1994 when these large blocks of Los Roques were put off limits to everything, including bonefishing, there was plenty of territory close to Gran Roque to fish. Since ’94, when Key Large (Large Key Island, the largest and closest to Gran Roque of the off limit areas) was placed off limits, the flats closest to Gran Roque took a beating at times.

"The bones are still there but they don’t hang on the flats, they move on and off and move at a much faster clip the more they get pressured. The big ones in particular usually don’t move up until late in the day. As the season progresses, particularly during times of more pressure, the large bones group into holding areas of the weedlines of the flats and keys. These fish for the most part are not feeding, just holding, and are much larger than the mudding fish found on the deeper flat bays. They will, however, readily hit a #1 White Glass Minnow fished on a full sink line and flourocarbon leader. When there is no pressure on the flat for a week the bones move back up and hold. During peak booking times with more traffic on the close in flats, the fishing actually improves, as it groups the fish and also concentrates their feeding period on the flat to late in the day.

"For the flats and keys, a moderate to long boat ride from Gran Roque most of the time the fish are not pressured enough to change their behavior. Even close to Gran Roque, on several of the largest and longest flats, fishing pressure does not seem to have a noticeable effect. I presume this is because multiple schools of fish utilize multiple areas of the flats and do their own ‘rotation.’

"In a nutshell, pressure on close in flats (to Gran Roque) appears to alter the holding and feeding patterns of some flats, but not all, and this may even work to your advantage. From a personal point of view, I am always impressed with how FEW fisherman are at Los Roques everytime I am there. Time of year, wind direction, periods of rainy or cloudy weather will much more likely determine whether you will have a successful trip; not whether there are other folks besides you on the flats."

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