MANGO CREEK LODGE IS PROUD TO BE ROATAN'S PREMIER SALTWATER FLATS FISHING DESTINATION.
In Roatan you can fish for: Bonefish, Permit, Tarpon , and Snook.
Roatan fishing offers a unique combination of plentiful, healthy flats beneath a backdrop of lush, mountainous terrain, and Mango Creek Lodge is ideally situated to take advantage of both. Located in secluded Port Royal on Roatan's East End, Mango Creek Lodge is close to Roatan's most productive flats for fishing for Bonefishing and Permit. In fact, our Breakfast Flats are visible from our front door. Just a short 60 second boat ride away or a 10 minute kayak, if staying at our resort.
We offer daily guided fly fishing and spin fishing on the turtle grass flats of Roatan's East End as well as the nearby islands of Morat and Barbaretta. Mango Creek Lodge's primary targets are the saltwater “grand slam” species: bonefish, permit, and tarpon. However, while here, you can also try your luck fishing Roatan for barracuda, jacks, and snook. Spin fishermen will also enjoy the opportunity while fishing Roatan, to cast at numerous species in the East End's harbors and mangrove canals.
Mango Creek Lodge tailors its fishing days around your schedule. You are free to fish at your leisure between sunrise and sunset. Our experienced, local, English-speaking guides are at your service throughout your stay and are happy to coach you if you are new to fishing Roatan.
Mango Creek Lodge is proud of our commitment to the local economy, we use only local guides. Our guides are very personable, respectful and knowledgeable about the local waters. Our guides are committed to making your experience a memorable one whether you are a seasoned vetern of fishing or a beginner.
Mango Creek Lodge is dedicated to preserving the health of Roatan's flats. We are working with local communities to develop environmental education campaigns and have made progress in our efforts to eliminate illegal netting, all to make fishing Roatan better. In addition, to minimize pressure and ensure the continued success of our operations, we limit ourselves to four skiffs (or eight anglers) fishing Roatan on the flats each day. We can put any number of other fishing Roatan guests out in more boats when not on the flats.
Learn more about saltwater flats fishing at Roatan's Mango Creek Lodge by exploring the links below. For even information about Roatan's fishing conditions and what kind of gear to bring, see Mango Creek Fishing Guide.
Image (top right) furnished by “Brett Schreckengost” photography
Fishing Roatan's flats and reefs from Mango Creek Lodge is restricted to small groups, this is to ensure the experience for each person. When fishing Roatan, almost always, Bonefish are nervous, they are on the bottom of the food chain, sharks, barracuda, even osprey feed on Bonefish. To ensure a great fishing experience for our guest, we limit fishing the flats to four boats. Our guides also try not to hit the same flats on the same day, again to lessen the impact of fishing.
Mango Creek uses Panga style boats for fishing. The panga design is long and narrow, keeping you dry in even the large swells. They also allow for a more solid stance when casting on the deck.
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Saltwater fly fishing is the emphasis of Mango Creek Lodge's fishing operations. Roatan's numerous East End flats present the challenges and opportunities of hooking up the coveted saltwater “grand slam.”
Mango Creek Lodge's fly-fishing guests do most of their fishing by wading Roatan's turtle grass and coral flats. However, you may also spend time fishing by boat in the island's mangrove canals and shorelines. Your guide will help you spot and stalk the grand slam of bonefish, permit, and tarpon as well secondary target species such as jacks, barracuda, snappers, grouper, and queen triggerfish.
While staying at Mango Creek Lodge you are always welcome to fish on your own as well. The breakfast flats are just a short kayak paddle away!
Mango Creek Lodge’s spin-fishing guests wade Roatan’s saltwater flats and explore the mangrove canals and harbors in our 18-ft skiffs. Your guide will help you spot and stalk the saltwater grand slam of bonefish, permit, and tarpon as well secondary target species such as jacks, barracuda, snappers, grouper, and queen triggerfish. In addition, you can try your luck at passing schools of tuna, wahoo, sailfish, and marlin.
This is great fun for everyone. And what do we use for bait, you ask? Minnows and hermit crabs.
Make sure you gear up with the appropriate rods, reels, line, leaders, and tackle.
We do have gear you can use, if you do not bring your own. And one of our fishing guides will be more than happy to catch live bait for you.
Bonefish are easily catchable on spinning tackle—especially if you tip your jig with a piece of dead shrimp. For bonefish, bring:
The best bait for permit is a live crab, although some permit are caught on the flats with jigs. For permit, bring:
The best bets for tarpon are live bait. Very rarely does a tarpon pass up a struggling sardine. For tarpon, bring:
A variety of rods can be used in Roatan's waters. Consider bringing:
Possible line varieties are 6, 8, 12, 12-20, and 15-25 lbs.
Pack mono 60-80 lb & 100 lb for barracuda, 6-18-in wire, and 30-50-lb test.
COME FISH FOR THE DAY
If you're coming to Roatan but not staying on the East End, you can still explore the saltwater flats with Mango Creek Lodge by booking a day of fishing. Our day-fishing package includes guided fishing, a warm breakfast, sack lunch, drinks (water, soda and beer), and transfers to and from the town of Oak Ridge.
Your guide will pick you up at BJ's Backyard in Oak Ridge at 7:00am, before whisking you off to a nearby flat. After a bit of fishing, you'll stop by the lodge for a nice breakfast in our restaurant. We will have a cooler packed with your lunch and cold beverages. Then you will head back out on the water for the remainder of the day. Your guide will drop you back off at BJ's, in Oak Ridge, at 5:00pm.
Your hotel can help you arrange taxi service for drop-off and pick-up in Oak Ridge. If you need help, we can recommend or arrange a taxi for you.
1 person with private boat & guide: $350 + tax
2 people with shared boat & guide: $525 + tax
Non-fishing companion: $50
For more information and availability, please send an email to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Perry is one of the best guides anywhere and has a lot of people saying that. He has been fishing Roatan’s East End for many years, both fly fishing and spin fishing. He and all our guides fish exclusively for Mango Creek Lodge. Perry goes beyond guiding, I have seen him make people catch fish. Ask anyone who has fished with Perry and they might mention that hand, that quietly reaches over to stop you lifting that rod tip, instead of strip setting the fish.
Kessel, Perry's brother has been fishing almost as long. He has one of those dry English types of humor, and you can easily be the brunt of it without even noticing while fishing Roatan. Later when it comes around again you will catch it and the game is on. It is not uncommon to hear laughter coming in a steady stream from Kessel's boat.
Joevy, our youngest guide shows that we will have a great future. What Joevy lacks in experience he makes up for in enthusiasm. When the fishing is off Joevy gets going, he is never down, he is spectacular at both fly & spin fishing. Fishing Roatan is a changing game, what worked yesterday might not work today and vice- versa. That is when Joevy shines his brightest.
Davy is one half of the fishing twins. Born and raised in Oak Ridge, he grew up Flat hoping and is a great guide on either spin or fly fishing. With his knowledge and great attitude he will have guest on top of fish before they know it.
Devin, the other fishing twin, is as knowledgeable as his brother. Great on the waters, both personable and corteous, he will make a fishing day a real adventure. He is known to not let on until you land that big one!
The three target flats species; tarpon, bonefish, and permit are all found at Mango Creek and share very similar traits and feeding habits. They are fantastic fighters and each poses their own challenges for hooking and landing. Although these are our primary targets, there are countless other species that are worth searching for on the fly or with conventional tackle. There are seemingly endless supplies of snappers and grunts, groupers- ranging from a couple of ounces to the famed 800 pound Colossal Grouper, 6 different species of jacks, cobia, barracuda, snook, triggerfish, and more.
Bonefish are perhaps the most ideal light tackle inshore salt-water gamefish. Smaller schooling fish give novice anglers honest chances at hooking fish and larger cruising singles can provide the ultimate challenge even for the most experienced anglers. Additionally, they readily take retrieved flies and once hooked their blistering runs are nothing but amazing for a fish their size. Shrimp and small crustaceans are their primary forage they seek on the flats.
Perhaps the largest gamefish in the world that will readily take a retrieved fly, tarpon are the tops when it comes to inshore fly fishing. Sometimes they prove too incredibly finicky and other times they will eat anything presented to them. Long freight train like runs combined with fantastic acrobatics and sometimes frighteningly aggressive takes make tarpon an awesome quarry. Tarpon feed primarily on baitfish but are known to eat different varieties of oceanic worms, crabs, and mollusks.
Without a doubt the most difficult fish to catch on the flats. Typically a deeper water fish, permit frequent flats in search of crabs, shrimp, and other crustaceans. Their penchant for deep water creates an inherent nervousness while in shallow water making permit often very difficult to approach. Combined with an excellent sense of smell and great eyesight, permit are the ultimate challenge. Our success with Permit here at Mango Creek is unheard of in this industry but please remember some great fishermen have never caught a permit, but you’ll see plenty here.
Snook are primarily a river and brackish water fish although they have been known to visit our flats and mangrove lagoons. Designed as an ambush predator they are most often seen with only their noses poking out from the mangroves but also occasionally cruising the edges of channels, shorelines, and edges of flats. Snook are best known for their aggressive strikes, acrobatics, and never give up attitude. Baitfish are the primary prey for snook.
The vice-president of the flats so to speak. Ambush predators as well, barracuda will typically remain perfectly still waiting for unsuspecting bait to pass by and then explode upon their prey. Being opportunistic feeders, barracuda will usually chase anything that is trying to get away from them. The resulting strike and run can only be described as fantastic; brutally fast and long runs with greyhounding jumps.
Crevalle, horse-eyed, bar, and blue-runner all have one thing in common- pound for pound they are perhaps the strongest fish on inshore flats. Finding a school of aggressively feeding large crevalle jacks is a sight to behold. When these fish are on the feed, nothing is safe in the water.
There are countless varieties of snapper in the Caribbean ranging from tiny schoolmasters to big bad Cubera snappers that can weigh up to 100 pounds. Mutton, grey, and lane snapper are often caught on the flats and yellowtails and others on the reef. Occasionally a cubera will be hooked while fishing with bait in the channels, but rarely are one of these fish landed. All snappers are opportunistic feeders.
Grouper are a bottom dwelling ambush predator. Typically they reside in caves and wait for unsuspecting prey to swim by. Grouper are known to leave their caves and chase a trolled plug, jig, or bait. Landing a big grouper is a whole different issue than hooking one.
Small sharks are a regular sighting on our flats. Nurse, lemon, blacktip, and reef sharks enter the shallow waters in search of an easy meal. Blacktips are the best gamefish of the lot; providing long runs and twisting jumps.
There are four main behaviors of bonefish, permit, and tarpon
Equipment and Gearing Up
There are some basic concepts one wants to adhere to when selecting flies for any fish. The fly must resemble the fish's preferred prey in profile and size. The fly must look “alive” in the water, and color should match the natural bait we are trying to mimic. However, in saltwater no rules are definite. Being lifelike and presenting a feasible size and profile is imperative, but color is a variable that we can alter to our benefit.
Generally speaking, most flats fishing will be done with a weight forward floating line. There are some situations where an intermediate, or intermediate sinking tip line will be superior when fishing for large tarpon in the channels. However, 99% of our fishing is done with floating lines. Saltwater specific “tropic” lines are highly recommended. These lines generally have a braided monofilament core, which keeps them dramatically stiffer in hot conditions lessening knotting and tangling while in the boat and greatly reducing frustration and chances of blown opportunities. Scientific Anglers, Rio, Airflo, Monic, Royal Wulff, Cortland, and Orvis are all producing salt specific lines. Some anglers will also benefit from “overloading” their rods with one line weight higher than recommended by the rod manufacturer. This will load the rod better at short distances and in windy conditions often increasing the novice angler’s performance on the flats. Although most new lines do not require daily cleaning, thoroughly rinsing off with fresh water and an occasional cleaning will definitely aid in performance and longevity of lifespan. Clear middle sinking lines are also a must for deeper bonefish and Tarpon and we recommend bringing along at least one. Your guide will ask to clean your gear every night; please remember to let him do his job with your gear, especially your shoes.
Leaders effectively transmit and disperse the power created by the fly line, which enables the line to completely straighten out without the fly snapping off. Bonefish leaders generally range in an 8’ to 12’ range depending on the circumstance. Spooky fish in skinny water often demand long leaders and delicate presentation; although in wind it is impossible for most to get a long leader to straighten completely. Therefore shorter leaders benefit the caster. Butt diameter of a leader also affects the turnover rate. Too stiff of a butt and a great deal of power is required to turn over the fly. Too soft and too much power is dispersed and the fly cannot turn over. Keys to remember: spooky fish require a long leader. High wind and heavy fly means you should shorten the leader. If the line is still not turning over, add a stiffer butt section. Permit leaders follow the same concept. We typically fish long leaders for permit (12’) ending in 2-15 pound test. Bonefish, typically a 9’ 10 pound test leader will do.
Tarpon leaders are a whole different sack of worms. A typical tarpon leader consists of 5 feet of heavy butt section material (typically 40-50 pounds) than connected via loop to loop to an 18” section of class tippet (16-26lb) and then a 16” section of shock tippet (60-100lb). The heavy shock tippet will prevent the line from cutting on the tarpons sharp gill plates and the class section provides a weak link in the line, providing a breaking point so neither the fly rod (even twelve weights break around 25lbs of pressure) and fly lines (most break around 30 pounds) are lost.
Snook require shock tippets as well to protect against their razor sharp gill plates. Typically 20-40 pound test shock is sufficient. Barracuda and sharks require wire shock tippets. A big ‘cuda will slice even through 100 pound shock like nothing. The shorter you can get away with the better. Jacks, although they have small teeth, typically do not require wire leader but heavier mono tippet 15-25 lbs will definitely decrease numbers of lost fish.
There are generally two types of leader/ tippet readily manufactured, nylon monofilament and fluorocarbon. Mono has been around for decades and is generally the standard. It can be manufactured in different ways to create a softer, more supple line or a stiffer more abrasion resistant line. Mono is also readily tinted and can be any color ranging from clear to fluorescent pink. Fluorocarbon is a relatively new product on the market and boasts properties that lead one to believe it is a superior product. Attributes include; fluorocarbon has a refractory index almost identical to water making it effectively “more clear” and less visible to fish. Flourocarbon is stronger than most monofilament in regards to diameter to strength. Flourocarbon is also very abrasion resistant, and it is significantly denser than water allowing a faster sink rate than mono. On the down side; fluorocarbon is significantly more expensive, it does not stretch as much, and knot strength is compromised if the knot is not perfectly lubricated and seated. There are applications where fluorocarbon is superior, such as skinny water and spooky fish. However, for the most part premium monofilament will provide consistent results at significantly less cost.
Without good knots one is dead in the water. One does not need to know them all - but a good selection of the basics will cover most situations.
In general, fly rods for saltwater flats fishing are stiff, fast action graphite rods in weights 6-12. Softer and slower action rods in these weights will suffice- however they will lack the power necessary to punch the fly out in a stiff wind or turn a speeding fish. On the flats an eight-weight is standard for bones. In low wind conditions one can get away with a six weight and high winds may require a stout nine-weight overlined with a #10. A nine or ten weight works great for throwing large shrimp or crab patterns to permit. For most of our resident tarpon (20-50 pounds) a ten-weight will reduce casting fatigue and still do the trick, but an 11 or 12 is necessary if you want to tackle the big boys. Rods within the 8 ½ to 9 ½ foot range are well suited with 9 footers being the norm. All major rod manufacturers are currently producing saltwater specific rods in higher end models and entry level. Some are better than others, few are bad. Some of the best are: Sage Xi2, Winston BL5, Thomas and Thomas Helix and Vector, Scott S3s, Powell Tiboron, G. Loomis GLX...
Within the last years rod technology has improved to the point where the addition of more than one ferrule does not affect performance. Travel benefits associate with multi-piece rods are countless. There is nothing worse than having your brand new salt stick not show up at your destination. When assembling rods, start with the guides at right angles and twist and torque down until the guides align. This will “lock down” the ferrules and lessen the chance of slippage. It is very important to check the ferrules on rods, they loosen quite often and create a weak spot where the rod is apt to break. Always rinse rods after saltwater use.
Unlike the trout reels that most anglers are accustomed to fishing with, a smooth and powerful drag is imperative to the landing of larger fish. Large cork drags have proven to be an industry standard and composite drag surfaces have gained popularity in recent years. Large arbor reels have proven their worth on the flats enabling a greatly increased line retrieval rate, which means fewer lost fish. Generally, a bonefish reel should have at least 200 yards of 20lb backing in order to be prepared for the worst and it is wise to have to have up to 300 yards for the big tarpon. It is a good idea to keep the neoprene protective covers on the reels during all travel period- bent and banged up frames are nearly impossible to fix on the water. Thoroughly rinse reels after each saltwater use and clean and lube them to the manufacturer's recommendations at the end of your trip.
Once again fast action stiff spinning rods are well suited to fishing the flats. Rods of at least 6 feet are well-suited and 7 footers near perfect for all species on the flats. For bonefish and most permit light-medium action rods rated for lines 6-12 pound are great. Any salt-water safe spinning or casting reel equipped with 200 yards of 6-10lb monofilament line and you are in business. When casting small jigs and bait, the limpest and lightest line is best (i.e. 6lb Maxima Perfexion, Ande Backcountry). For permit and snappers on the reef medium action rods rated for roughly 10-20 pound test and reels rigged with 200 yards of 12 or 15 pound test. Rods for tarpon, snook, large jacks, barracuda should be medium to heavy action and rated for roughly 12-25 pound test. For tarpon and barracuda braided lines (Power Pro, FireLine…) are gaining popularity allowing a great deal of line to be on smaller reels and they cast excellently. 15-20 pound monofilament also works great. Even with spinning rods you will need a heavy shock tippet section for the tarpon and wire for 'cuda. And if using braided lines for bones and permit you will need a roughly 2 foot “tippet” of 8-12 pound test mono or fluorocarbon for presentation purposes.
Notes on spinning rods: Even the most diehard and experienced saltwater fly fisherman often bring a spinning rod in the boat rigged with wire trace for barracuda, sharks, and jacks. These large predatory fish are regularly seen cruising the flats and can spark up a seemingly dull afternoon.
The standard bonefish lures are typically referred to as “Wiggle Jigs.” These are small lightweight, flathead jigs. Their broad head does not let them to sink as fast as bullet head or round head jigs effectively keeping the jig in the bonefish's “strike-zone,” longer.
Manufacturers such as Millies, Gaines, Cabelas, and Bass Pro Shops make good versions. Lighter colors such as white, tan, and pink tend to work better. The lightest jig you can effectively cast with your rod and reel will be best, these are typically the 3/8oz or 1/4 oz versions, although it is a good idea to have multiple weights for fishing different depths. It is typical practice to tip wiggle jigs with a small piece of dead shrimp.
Tarpon lures should be in the 3-5 inch range with heavy trebles made to run at depths less than 3 feet are standard on the flats. MirrorLure, Rat-L-Trap, types shaped like sardines are great. In the channels and along the reef longer lures that run deeper are often the trick. Rapalas, Bombers, Yo-Zuris that will troll/ be retrieved at a depth from 5-10 feet. Colors of lures are typically not as important as the action and depth. Colors that have proven themselves are typical black/ blue and silver, “Fire Tiger” banded orange and chartreuse, red headed and white, and yellow. Top quality heavy hooks and stainless split rings are absolutely imperative. Rubber baits, both typical thumper tail rubber shad with lead heads (3-6”) and newer “Living Eye,” and stick baits such as Fin-S are gaining popularity and keep the cost of hardware down. It is also not a bad idea to have a popper or two in your box. Super Spooks and other large poppers can be deadly not only on tarpon but jacks, barracuda, and sharks. Hands down the best lure for 'cuda is a surgical rubber tube lure from 10-20” long in either florescent green or red. Very rarely does a barracuda refuse one of these.
When the jacks are on the flats and reef they typically are not too selective. The lures you will have for tarpon will be sufficient. However, it is a good idea to have some heavy casting spoons for making long casts to these difficult fish. For ladyfish in the reef cuts and on the flats it is also a good idea to have some silver spoons in the 2-4 inch range and some lead head jigs with rubber curly tails. Snook will also eat typical tarpon lures and can be an absolute blast on poppers. Fishing on the reef is done with light 1/4oz-1/2oz egg shaped slip sinkers and hooks in the 1-2/0 size range.
One final note: traveling with fishing gear can be a nerve wracking experience. Most fisherman don't feel comfortable checking rods and flies before boarding a flight for fear of them being damaged or lost in transit. In our experience, most airlines are accommodating and will allow you to carry-on four (or even three) piece rods as well as boxes of flies. Be sure to check with your airline ahead of time and take whatever steps necessary to avoid checking these delicate and expensive items. There's nothing worse than arriving excited to fish and finding out that your gear hasn't made it or has been damaged.
If you have any questions concerning Mango Creek contact us via e-mail at email@example.com . You can also reach us by phone at (303) 647-9605 (USA) or International Access Code + (504)-891-687-04 (HN).
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