Puerto Rico Kayak Fishing

A Taste of the Excitement Offered by Puerto Rico’s Urban Wilderness Lagoons Through the Lens of a GoPro
A series of mangrove-rimmed lagoons nestle amidst the sprawl of San Juan and right around its very busy international airport. For years, I heard of great tarpon and snook fishing there. Recently, I organized a kayak-fishing adventure with Capt. Omar Orraca and Hobie Kayaks. You can see the full feature with all the details in an issue of Sport Fishing__ _next year, and you’ll see more of the fantastic photos taken by our photographer, Jason Arnold. But for now a small taste of the bigger pie with a few shots I took — yeah, pretty casually — with my GoPro. — _Doug A nice robalo heads skyward. Yo-Zuri’s George Large proved the snook king on this trip. This fish ate a jointed Crystal 3D Minnow.
Heading out from Orraca’s Tarpon Nest Lodge; two “mother skiffs” ferried our six kayaks about to prime fishing spots in the various lagoons.
Large hangs on as a good snook powers away from his Hobie Outback. Most of our snook were taken, like this one, in mid-lagoon, over or around hard-bottom shallow spots — which means no structure to tangle on…. light-tackle heaven!
In deeper water around the shallows, Large quickly puts his rod tip way down when a snook dives, to avoid tangling around the Outback’s ingenious Mirage Drive pedal system.
Once the snook is clear, the fight resumes. Daiwa, which provided tackle for this outing, wisely had anglers using rods 7 feet long or more — long enough to whip around the bow while following a fish.
That small minnow-imitating lures should prove effective on tarpon as well as snook isn’t terribly surprising, since anchovies were the most abundant baitfish during the time we fished there.
Another day, another snook. This time Large is fishing from Hobie’s Pro Angler 12, designed for stable stand-up angling.
With my GoPro mounted on this Outback, I managed to get a pre-release shot of a small but feisty tarpon caught on a small Daiwa Ballistic spinner after it struck a live anchovy.
One of our skippers, Capt. Griff Helwig, stops in the long canal connecting lagoons to put some live anchovies in the well. (The other skiff is visible far down the canal doing the same thing.)
Taking full advantage of the Pro Angler, Morgan Promnitz — Hobie’s fishing product manager — muscles a big tarpon in Laguna San Jose.
Promnitz about to release his prize, caught on Daiwa’s LEXA300 levelwind. Note livewell at far left.
On a calm morning in Laguna San Jose, Bill Liston — Daiwa’s vice-president of promotions — gets a shower from an angry tarpon.
After a dogged fight, Liston’s tarpon tires. He caught this one and others on that red-and-white jointed Crystal Minnow.
It only looks like Liston is teasing tarpon with his lure; he actually just shook this one off the rear hook, though the kayak seems to have temporarily gotten in the way of its freedom.
This tarpon, on the other hand, was obviously not ready to be released. As George Large attempts to grip the lure, the fish rockets straight up, nearly landing in the kayak with him.
Why, the snook were so thick … even yours truly was catching them. This handsome specimen struck a live ‘chovy that I was drifting for tarpon, though I didn’t complain. One of my fellow yak anglers is visible to my right, drifting the same flat.