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January 03, 2014

Red-Hot Bite off La Guaira

A grand slam then some for the Somebody Lady crew off the Venezuelan Coast.

In early October, Cristobal Brewer joined his good friend Roman Garcia for a day aboard the infamous 36-foot Bertram Someday Lady. Prior to this outing, Brewer didn’t spend much time on the water because his boat, Chippin, was out of commission. On top of being temporarily boatless, Brewer was also traveling a lot for work. Because he was in dire need for a day on the water, he called Garcia and convinced him to take Somebody Lady out to test the stabilizer pump and other recent repairs made on the boat, so they could confidently fish the first of three legs of the Venezuela Top Fish Tournament.

Brewer and Garcia arrived at Venezuela’s Playa Grande Yacht Club early, and in no time, the two fishermen were on board and prepping their tackle as they made their way out to El Placer Bank with Captain Carlos Caballo Gonzalez and mate, Carlos Gonzales Jr. Conditions were ideal — 2- to 4-foot seas and light winds.

The water was green all the way out to the bank, so the crew pushed further north in an attempt to find blue water before putting out their spread. Because Garcia and the rest of the crew were practicing for the 30-pound Top Fish Tournament, they fished 20s and 30s. The first few hours of fishing were slow, but around 10 a.m., the first marlin of the day came into the spread. Even though it didn’t commit, just seeing the fish raised the hopes of the crew. Shortly after the sighting, another fish appeared and showed moderate interest in a ballyhoo, but just like the one before, it didn’t want to play ball. Things changed around
11 a.m., when a massive blue came into the spread and struck the short portside bait. Garcia started the fight standing up, but after 40 minutes, his hands needed a rest, so he requested the harness. The fight continued, and after an hour and half, the crew released the marlin.

The bite picked up from there, with the crew spotting a marlin every 30 minutes on average. Over the next hour, Capt. Gonzalez raised three more marlin, all of which showed interest but didn’t bite. They did, however, find a willing sailfish that Garcia fought and quickly released. After getting the release on the sail, two more marlin came into the spread, but once again, neither one ate. 

Finally, a white entered the spread and ate a bait. Brewer jumped on the rod and  skillfully worked the fish to the boat, and the crew prepared it for the release. The release of Brewer’s white marlin locked up a grand slam for the day. By the time the lines were in, the anglers fishing aboard Someday Lady had raised 13 marlin and a sailfish. They even managed to catch a nice dolphin and hook a wahoo that came unglued mid fight.

This outstanding day of fishing goes to show that even though Venezuelan authorities have a lot of work to do on controlling informal commercial longliners, La Guaira still provides anglers with epic fishing opportunities. It’s a special place worth protecting and is one of the few places on the planet where fishermen have a realistic chance of catching a grand slam year-round.

Despite the hard political times and the gossip of how difficult it is to bring your boat to Venezuela, with a little bit of planning and help from the locals, bringing your boat to this billfish mecca is possible. Top-notch captains and crews are available for charter as well.

— Cristobal Brewer