The Fish Market - Puerto Rico
Price per pound - $6
Fish - 15-100 pounds
Attributes - Acrobatic, Illusive, landable
Difficulty - 6/10
With regards to adventure travel, there is always an elephant in the room. A giant disparity that might keep some angler out of the hunt, or so it might seem. What does it cost to catch the fish of your dreams and do you need a lodge or guide to do it?
In this month’s edition of the fish market, we’re in Puerto Rico. With no passports required for US citizens and many state-side luxuries like Airbnb and Uber, your typical gringo can absolutely chase this month's fish.
Price Per Pound
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 great time, breakfast at 7!
If you’re still reading, we're talking Spirit and Frontier. The maximum amount of rod tubes that you can conceal to bypass the carry-on fee is 3. 4 is too many - resulting in a penalty of $59 (sometimes more than the flight itself). Tuck some tubes up and under a backpack and you’re golden. Evade this fee and you can round trip to Aguadilla (BQN) for less than $200.
Find a spot around Rincon, there are plenty of options less than $100 a night. Split that 3 ways and we’re talking chump change. You’ll 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 is 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 walk ahead of you. For lunch and dinner, any local chicken shop on the side of the road can slide you a mofongo plate for $7-8.
Fly Fishing Math
$50 a day X 3 Days = $150
Flight = $200
Total = $350
We’re chasing tarpon: an ancient predator that does not want to fall victim to a harmonica player from Maryland. While they can be particular and elusive, there is one way to guarantee a shot - one foot in front of the other. We walked miles each day, up, down, back, repeat. Put in the steps and you’ll collect your reward.
The fish here hang very close to the shore, gliding the lapping waves in search of an inverted or off-balance baitfish. The first fish you see will surprise you. They are close enough to roll cast (although you don’t want to).
We threw big flies with some sinking characteristics. Unlike a redfish or drum that you usually have time to feed, you’re either stripping a fly across these fish in the waves or running down the beach after them when they spook. Stand back while you cast, the added stealth is worth it, and throw a fly that will sink quick enough to catch their eye. You want your fly a foot deep in 1 second. A deceiver or EP won't sink fast enough and they’ll never see it. For us, eyes on some old favorites did the trick. We threw a sort of modified dumbbell eye clouser - looked stupid; worked great.
Floating lines are key. You’ll need the ability to pick up and shoot quickly. A sinking line would fish better, but you’d never get a shot. You’ll need to shoot fast, and be ready to run another 40 ft and shoot again. A 10 weight is ideal, for bigger flies and an onshore wind; often times you have to make a disgusting cast that puts the fly where it needs to be, an 8 weight can’t do this.
In 3 days we caught one right around 30 and another at 60. The 60-pounder is the fish used in the price per pound index below.
Fly Fishing Math
$350/60 = $5.8 per pound.
If you think you can swing this, here is some gear you’ll want to consider packing.