Best Lures For Fishing In Aruba & Caribbean Islands

Posted by Ross Gallagher on

Brian Coombs Carabbean Hogy Lures

By Captain Brian Coombs

Every year as winter in the Northeast sets in, thousands of anglers look to escape the frigid temperatures, many of them seeking out the tropical islands dotting the Caribbean Sea. Many of the islands in the Caribbean share similar characteristics - while most differ in size and shape, almost all have warm, rich, shallow waters that abruptly meet deep water.

These steep ledges make for a vast array of angling opportunities. Every year for the past ten years, I have been fortunate enough to spend most of the month of February on the island of Aruba. This Dutch island is at the southernmost fringe of the Caribbean and sits only 13 miles off the coast of Venezuela. When I first came to the island, I noticed there were tons of big game boats for hire, but no inshore boats available.

So, I did some digging around on the web and found a solitary inshore fly guide named Laurenz Van Mook, who at the time, was operating Fly Fishing Aruba. For the first several years, I brought my own gear to the island to target the fishery of the rich inshore and nearshore waters with Laurenz. Over the years, we explored more and more of the island and learned all about the extraordinary, and yet unrecognized, fishery.

Finally, several years ago, Laurenz changed his company to Fly and Spin Fishing Aruba, adopting many jig and pop techniques to target both inshore and pelagic species. Flashforward to the present and you’ll find that the Aruba fishery is still untouched and wild, with an amount of species too numerous to count. With no local tackle shops on the island, I still travel there with plenty of gear. So, plan on bringing various setups because if you forget something, you will have to go without.

Best Lures For Carabbean Hogy Epoxy Jig Tuna

I recommend bringing two main spinning outfits:

Surface Casting: this outfit is multipurpose, used for casting epoxy and heavy metal jigs at blackfin tuna in open water as well as throwing small plugs and soft plastics over the many shallow water reefs.


Rod: Shimano Southeast Teramar, medium heavy 7'6"


Reel: Shimano Stradic 5000FK


Line: 225 yards of 30lb Power Pro Super Slick


Leader: 20lb - 30lb Fluorocarbon

In open water, we often find blackfin tuna feeding on the surface in both the morning and at dusk. We target them much like we would false albacore back home.

Best Lures For Carabbean Hogy Epoxy Jig Tuna

I like to use both epoxy and heavy metal jigs for this type of fishing. Aruba tends to be rather windy island, so a heavy aerodynamic lure is needed to punch threw the wind. I like to wake the epoxy jigs on the surface to draw strikes, but if that doesn’t draw their attention, I will cast the heavy metal jig over the area where the fish were breaching and let it sink 30-40 feet before starting to retrieve.

Best Lures For Carabbean Hogy Epoxy Jig Tuna

Vertical Jigging: this outfit is also multipurpose, used for vertical jigging the reef line as well as the deep-water drop-offs. This stout gear also doubles as a light tackle trolling setup.

Rod: Shimano Trevala S MH 6’3”

Reel: Shimano Saragosa 5000

Line: 225 yards of 30lb Power Pro Super Slick

Leader: 10 feet of 50lb fluorocarbon

We often troll the drop-offs with large, pink, soft plastics. These lures imitate the native squid found in the area. The 10-inch original Hogy with a 1oz Barbarian swimbait hook is a deadly combo. I like to add an assist hook to the hook shank, as a lot of the fish tend to short strike the back half.

Best Lures For Carabbean Hogy Pro Tail Tuna

About every 5 minutes, check your bait - the island has many toothy critters. At times, I also add a 2-foot shot of wire to this setup due to the large wahoo population. So far this year, vertical jigging has been very productive on the drop-offs.

Best Lures For Carabbean Hogy Lures Tuna

Rather than a conventional speed jig, a 9-inch, 5oz Pro Tail Eel in pink is preferred as it provides a larger profile and better action when fished vertically throughout the water column.

I like to drop it straight to the bottom, burn it back up about halfway, and let it fall back to the bottom again. This technique results in ferocious hits and catches everything from large jacks to grouper and even tunas.

I've found that if you miss a strike, immediately drop the jig into free spool for five seconds, repeat jigging, and be on the ready - often, the fish will take the Pro Tail on the fall. Also, stay in the strike zone; if you find that all your hits are occurring just above the bottom, focus strictly on the bottom 20 feet of the water column.


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2 comments

  • Just had the pleasure and great fortune to fly fish with Captain Laurenz Van Mook. Caught the biggest bone fish of my life! Next trip I would schedule an offshore trip as well. I had an excellent experience and one I’ll never forget.

    Nils on
  • I have been taking bags of your baits down there. A mate named Bran Richardson turned me on to them and I introduced Laurenz to them. I began fishing with him when he first moved there from Beliz. Great story. I will be down there for a month in November for my 18th year.

    Ron Bell on

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