sbcbmx112

Traveling with Rods and Fishing in USVI from Shore (St. John)

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I would like to request some tips as far as traveling with fishing gear goes.  I have read many of the other travel threads which has led me to wonder whether I would need to buy a travel rod or whether I could bring a 9 ft 50/50 split 2-piece and be okay.  I have read about other travel tips such as packing the spool in the checked bag and rest of reel in carry on, and obviously would not carry any hooks on the plane.  My main question is whether I can travel with the 9 foot, and if so, how?  Any specific rod carry case recommendations?  I would be worried about it breaking in the cargo area of the plane.  I could borrow a 7 foot freshwater rod from a friend if that is more appropriate, but the lure weight is below 1 oz and I'm afraid the reel could not handle some of the species.

 

Secondly is the reason for my question- I will be traveling to St. John in March.  I will be staying near Great Cruz Bay not far from the Westin St. John Villas.  I have read some about fishing from shore there, but it still seems largely mysterious.  I understand dawn and dusk are my best bets and that I cannot fish in the swimming areas but is there anyone on this site that has first hand experience shore fishing there and would be willing to give me a good idea of what I can expect and where?  I read that some small jigs, metals, and plastic swimmers along with a few small topwater plugs are good ideas.  I have little to no experience with tropical saltwater fishing and mainly have gear aimed toward striped bass and bluefish.  I would much prefer catching fishing on my own to paying for a charter even though I understand that would be the easier route.

 

I have recently been thinking about purchasing a 4000 series reel to pair to a 7' or 7'6 rod for back bay fishing in DE and NJ.  Should I just go ahead with this plan and make the rod a two piece with the plan of this being the best setup to bring with me?

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We spent a week last February on a friend's yawl sailing in the USVIs. We anchored in a few anchorages from Maho to Caneel Bay for a few nights. Every night we had Tarpon behind the boat as we barbecued. We dropped lights over the side and watched those orange eyed herring to six feet in length rolling through the baitfish attracted to the light. I don't know the name of the bait, but the bait ranged from 1 to about 4 inches reminded me of spearing in profile, color, and schooling behavior. I would imagine you could catch them (tarpon) from shore. I'd bring some kind of footwear as the points are sharp volcanic rock. Also be careful that some of the fish aren't edible, if you were planning on that.

 

As far as chartering, the really good fishing takes place north of Tortola in the BVIs waters. They are very strict about licenses, so if you end up going up there for the day or fishing inquire when you go through customs. License is about 40 dollars. I found customs on the west end to be less crowded then Road Town. And there is a ferry from Cruz Bay. There were charter boats for hire there and the south side of Tortola.

 

Bring your own snorkeling gear as there are reefs and points everywhere along the shore. If you have a National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass bring that as well as most of St. John is a Federal park.

Have fun, next time I'm bringing a rod.

Edited by Shag

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I have gone to Punta Cana a couple of times this year i brought a Travel Rod . I bought a tsunami 3 piece rod that comes in a sock style holder in length its 8 foot and broken down it s about the length of a walking cane . I put a penn 600 ssm on it it got ok distance .

I carried mine right on the plane as a personal item such as a cane . Check with your airline i flew jet blue .

Reel - goes in the carry on

Spool - in your checked luggage

Plug bag and plugs line etc. - in your checked luggage 

I wouldn't bring anything that snags bottom due to coral is usually around . I would bring a fish finder set up so you can put bait on it when you get sick of casting . Also a sebicki rig I'm sure i spelled that wrong but you can possible catch bait fish and live line them . 

Poppers, swimmers , tins and Rubber fish . I had a small school of bait fish swimming around with my rubber fish it was pretty cool 

Steel leaders because the only good size fish i seen break was a big Cuda 

Hope that helps and test the rod out because i had a eye insert break / fall out . 

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Thank you for your replies.  I am a little frustrated with how difficult it is to find clear information regarding shore fishing in St. John.   I would love to be able to bring my own tackle and reel and simply rent a rod but I can't find reliable information anywhere... I have found many links in older posts and other sites but so far none have panned out.  I am thinking about buying a tsunami 3 piece travel rod but I'm afraid it will mostly collect dust with the exception of this trip...

Edited by sbcbmx112

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I stayed the Westin St. John a few years back. Didn’t have my gear with me but I wish I did. Every evening and early morning the shoreline would absolutely light up with bait getting blasted by big jacks and cuda. I’m sure there were many other fish in there as well. Mid-day there would appear to be nothing going on, calm and quiet as a lake. But there was a magic half hour to hour every night and morning that left me in awe. At night there would be a half dozen big nurse sharks just hanging out waiting for scraps from the couple charters there. Use caution wading at night down that way. That’s when toothy critters come ashore.

We took a charter with Mixed Bag and trolled up some huge wahoo and chunked some reef fish, snappers, cuda, jacks, etc. Everything you catch pulls hard there.

You won’t find any places to rent rods or any fishing gear there. The development is quite limited to the Cruz Bay area, which is a good thing.

I’d imagine most of the sandy bays around the north side island are very good at sunrise and sunset. You can see them all on google maps. The water is quite shallow along the shoreline so you might need to wade out some. These bays are good for inshore/bay type rods and tackle..travel rod type gear. I did some snorkeling in a few of the Bays and saw big permit, cuda, jacks, rays, a couple bones and even a couple reef sharks at Waterlemon, near the little island off the beach. The fish are there. I would pick a spot and try it. You will be completely alone at sunrise. The silence is amazing. It’s so quite it’s almost like you are having trouble hearing.

Despite the amount of fish I saw, I'd expect fishing to be challenging with plugs. The water is crystal clear and the fish can be tough to fool. Fast and shiny stuff is your best bet.

I wanted to explore the rocky coast on the south side of the island but didn’t get chance. You won’t find many people over there and the access is tricky in some spots. I talked to the mate on the boat who was also a freediver about fishing the south side of the island. The water on that side drops off quite deep towards open ocean, its rougher with more current. This is where you will find the grouper and large snapper, bigger predators patrolling those rocks. You would need to be well equipped to deal with that swims in that area. A travel rod probably wouldn’t cut it. Good luck.

Edited by bido

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I stayed the Westin St. John a few years back. Didn’t have my gear with me but I wish I did. Every evening and early morning the shoreline would absolutely light up with bait getting blasted by big jacks and cuda. I’m sure there were many other fish in there as well. Mid-day there would appear to be nothing going on, calm and quiet as a lake. But there was a magic half hour to hour every night and morning that left me in awe. At night there would be a half dozen big nurse sharks just hanging out waiting for scraps from the couple charters there. Use caution wading at night down that way. That’s when toothy critters come ashore.

We took a charter with Mixed Bag and trolled up some huge wahoo and chunked some reef fish, snappers, cuda, jacks, etc. Everything you catch pulls hard there.

You won’t find any places to rent rods or any fishing gear there. The development is quite limited to the Cruz Bay area, which is a good thing.

I’d imagine most of the sandy bays around the north side island are very good at sunrise and sunset. You can see them all on google maps. The water is quite shallow along the shoreline so you might need to wade out some. These bays are good for inshore/bay type rods and tackle..travel rod type gear. I did some snorkeling in a few of the Bays and saw big permit, cuda, jacks, rays, a couple bones and even a couple reef sharks at Waterlemon, near the little island off the beach. The fish are there. I would pick a spot and try it. You will be completely alone at sunrise. The silence is amazing. It’s so quite it’s almost like you are having trouble hearing.

Despite the amount of fish I saw, I'd expect fishing to be challenging with plugs. The water is crystal clear and the fish can be tough to fool. Fast and shiny stuff is your best bet.

I wanted to explore the rocky coast on the south side of the island but didn’t get chance. You won’t find many people over there and the access is tricky in some spots. I talked to the mate on the boat who was also a freediver about fishing the south side of the island. The water on that side drops off quite deep towards open ocean, its rougher with more current. This is where you will find the grouper and large snapper, bigger predators patrolling those rocks. You would need to be well equipped to deal with that swims in that area. A travel rod probably wouldn’t cut it. Good luck.

 

bido thank you so much for your reply, this is pretty much what I was looking for and agrees with what I have been able to gather so far.

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Been to St. John a couple of times now.  National Park guidelines tell you where you can't fish, but I find that most of the time, as long as you're pretty far from swimming areas you should be OK.  East of Coral Bay (where we tend to stay) and southside bays have way less beachgoing traffic, so if you are renting a jeep, that might be worth the trip.  Have had good success with Tsunami split-tail minnows on needlefish (great to watch them jump), and small spoons work on pretty much all of the smaller species and the occasional cuda.  Used 6" Hogy's on small tarpon at dusk.  A friend takes tiny hooks to get bait which he livelines for bigger fish (he's had some nice tarpon and big snappers) , but I haven't tried that yet.  Lots of really shallow water and coral/rocks, so think about what works in that situation and is less likely to get hung up.

 

Watch out for sea urchins when you're wading around- could make the trip unpleasant if you aren't careful.  Far right side of Leinster Bay was covered with them last time I was there.

 

I bring a 7'6" travel rod and 3000 size reel.  Came close to getting spooled by a big cuda before clamping down on the spool and breaking it off ;-)

Edited by mrl

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A 9ft 50/50 split will be just fine. Just put the rod in a simple rod sleeve or use twist ties to keep the two pieces together. Don't evey count on rented rods, they are usually absolute junk. FYI.

 

Just got back from Florida after traveling with an 8ft rod that separated at the handle, it was 65in after separating the two pieces and had no trouble from flight attendants or difficultly stowing the rod in the overhead bin. Even if it doesn't fit in the overhead, all you have to do is slide the rod between the fuselage and the window seat.

 

But, in your case, your rod will have no trouble fitting any overhead bin.

 

Have a good trip! :)

Edited by Pylodictis

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I have been also doing alot of research on fishing at st johns. I will be taking a week vacation there next February. Cant wait. Can you keep us updated on how the fishing is? I havnt been able to find much info on beach fishing in st john either. I want to make sure im prepared when i go and have all the gear with me that i will need. I plan on spending alot of my time fishing when im there. Good luck out there.

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I have been also doing alot of research on fishing at st johns. I will be taking a week vacation there next February. Cant wait. Can you keep us updated on how the fishing is? I havnt been able to find much info on beach fishing in st john either. I want to make sure im prepared when i go and have all the gear with me that i will need. I plan on spending alot of my time fishing when im there. Good luck out there.

Unfortunately I am not going until March, so you'll have to let me know how you do!

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I can't see the security allowing a spool of braid on board. I check the entire reel in the middle of the checked baggage.

I plan on putting the spool in the checked bag and rest of the reel carry on, as I have heard that whole reels have a tendency to disappear when checked.

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