Venezuela 2008

Venezuela: La Guaira nov 2008

In november 2008 a team of biggame fishing went to La Guaira Venezuela. The team consisted at Thijs Riseeuw and Leon Pennings. Trough our good friend Andre Huys from Belgium we had some good information about boats, captains and places to fish. So we booked the boat The Guarimba II with captain Wilmer Alvaredo. This captain is 25 years at sea and has a lot of experience in finding and of course catching billfish. We brought our own fishing rods: 2x 50 lbs and 2x 30lbs stand up rods. Also lures of all kinds were taken from the Netherlands.
After a nice flight we arrived at our hotel situated in the harbor of La Guaira. Hotel wasn’t that good and restaurant and bar were closed. But that was only one minor point. We were there for the fishing. That evening we spoke to some captains of American boats and they told us, the fishing was rather quiet. And there was one other minor point. When we arrived there were elections. So this means in Venezuela no alcohol for 3 days, so no cold beers. But the manager of the hotel was so kind to put some nice beers in the refrigerator.
We had booked four days of fishing towards full moon. First 2 days off, 2 days off fishing, 1 day off and then 2 more days of fishing. So the first 2 days we saw the boats coming back from their trips and they didn’t catch a lot. But as always, we were very hopeful.

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Picture 1. Wilmer and his crew.

Day 1:
Finally our days of fishing were there. Wilmer would pick us up in front of our hotel at about 7.30, so this was perfect. No transfer to the fishing boat. We shook hands and also met the two deckies. They were happy to see we brought our own fishing rods and lures, but they told us Wilmer was a specialist in live bait fishing. As always captain knows best. It took about 30 minutes to the fishing grounds and there 2 lines went out for skipjack and bonitos. Wilmer told us in the morning baitfish was at the surface and this was the best time for live bait fishing. It didn’t took long before some nice bonito’s were put in and were rigged for live bait fishing. Wilmer slowly trolled our baits around schools of baitfish and after one hour strike at the far right. The deckie let the fish take some line and went for the hook up. A nice sail was jumping and Thijs could start his fight. He managed to get this fish aside and was released after some nice pictures. Lines went in for live bait and after 20 minutes we were trolling four fresh baits  behind the boat. Wilmer was indeed specialized in fishing live bait! 30 minutes later strike at the far right again and we managed to get a hook up and I could fight with a nice sail as well. This fish was also released.
Nothing more happened and Wilmer showed us at the fish finder, the bait fish were going deep and this was the moment to chance tactics.  Now we were trolling dad ballyhoos on the 4 rods. 2 just behinds 2 teasers and 2 on the far right and the far left. After one hour a white marlin was chasing the far left and after some exciting moments he took the bait. Thijs fought this fish well and he was released after of course some nice pictures. Rest of the day nothing more happened and satisfied we arrived in the harbor after the deckies had raised the flags for each billfish been caught.

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Picture 2. Leon with blue marlin

Day 2: 
Pick up at 7.30 and same fishing grounds. In the morning same tactics as day 1. Now a nice sail was the first how made the mistake of taken our live bait. Good fight and nice release. Fresh baits were rigged and after one hour or so the far right was gripped and a good run produced a good hook up. This time a nice blue had taken the bait and Thijs could settle in for a stand up fight on 30 lbs tackle. The fish was really jumping and Wilmer had to back up with the boat to keep in charge of the fish. This made Thijs all soaked wet but after 30 min fight he managed to get the fish aside. A nice 125 lbs blue marlin was the price. Later on a nice sail was caught and this made another good day of fishing! Wilmer and his crew really are good guys to fish with, very friendly and working hard to catch the fish.

Day 3:
Off day. We went by cab for some sightseeing and this was really worth the effort. Only mudslides can be dangerous and you must be aware of criminal activities. So be sure you hire a cab at a reliable adres!

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Picture 3: surroundings Venezuela

Day 4:
This time Wilmer told us he would like to go to some other fishing grounds. This area was further away but we didn’t find this any problem. After 60 min drive we arrived and live bait were caught and rigged for our 4 fishing rods. We started with a nice sail and raised another one but this one didn’t grab the bait. Then nothing more happened and we trolled the ballyhoo again on our 4 rods, but this time also a 80lbs on the shot flat left with a crazy pink lure. Now a good size white grabbed the far left and the hook was set. Nice fight on 30 lbs by thijs and after 20 minutes he came aside. Wilmer was screaming from the bridge he never had seen such a big white marlin, and he even came down from the bridge to take some pictures with his own camera. This white was estimated at 125.lbs and released in good condition.

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Picture 4: Thijs with his 125lbs white marlin

Now we had a change at a grand slam. So no waste of time and four ballyhoos were back in together with the short flat lure. Only the lure was changed for a smaller one, colors blue and white. After  some 30 minutes a blue grabbed the far right and we had our grand slam! Wilmer told us he would like to catch a sword fish and made us a supper slam. So a dad fish went very deep, something was eaten it ( Wilmer thought it was a big squid), but no sword.
Lines were put out and we went trolling again, same as before. Then a huge blue was chasing the short right but finally went for the short flat. He grabbed the lure if there wasn’t no tomorrow and took off. After 20 minutes and multiple jump later I managed to get the fish aside. What a nice 350lbs blue marlin.!
Nothing more happened, lines in en our grand slam flags were put out. Great sight, great day of fishing!

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Picture 5: grand slam time!

Day 5:
Final day of fishing. We went to the same fishing grounds as day 1 and 2. Same tactics. Result: raised 2 sails and a white. Caught 2 sails, 1blue 125lbs and 1 blue 300lbs on 30 lbs line after 2 hours fight! What a way to end this fishing trip!

Thanks to Wilmer and his crew! For more info: Rick Alvarez  www.rick@intlbillfishtourns.com

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Picture 6: Happy fishermen.