Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Trip 7/21-7/26 Report!

Discussion in 'Fishing Reports' started by JerseyBrian, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    Prologue
    1st off, had a Fantastic Trip!

    The plan was that my dad and my older brother, Kevin, would play 3 days of golf at the Punta Cana Resort and Spa while I fished all week wherever I could :)

    Secondly, I would like to personally and publicly thank Carlos Rodriguez for taking me out jigging two days on his boat during my stay. Carlos, I can't thank you enough for taking me out and popping my jigging cherry! And as luck would have it, I popped it on the same type fish I replied to your thread, "What Caribbean Fish?" (on the other forum) which is how we even started to communicate with each other. I feel that you are a kindred spirit; kind of like a brother from another mother You are a die hard fisherman just like me and find satisfaction from catching "little" inshore species like Jack Crevalle, Snook and even Lady Fish to Tuna, Marlin and everything and anything in between. You have the ability to utilize your beautiful boat everytime you're in the Punta Cana area, but yet you have the humility and humble nature to take out your kayak and fish the reefs somedays. That's what I love about you. Remember hermano, anytime you're in the Noreast this year or in St. Kitts for the next 3 years, call me up and it would be my greatest pleasure to take you out fishing or just show you around the area(s).

    Enjoy the pics and report!

    -Brian Pyun
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    We left Newark, NJ International Airport at 12:30PM on Monday and arrived to the Punta Cana Airport in the Dominican Republic by 3:30PM. We were shuttled to the Punta Cana Resort and Spa by 4PM and were blessed with the perfect Beach Casita Bungalow which was right on the beach and close to the main hotel and restaurants. Here are a few pictures from our Casita. What a view!
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  2. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    Although there were No Fishing Signs posted on the beach, I had no problems at all fishing the entire week. Most of the workers (including the security guards) were very intrigued and excited about my fishing reports and pics about their back yard. Most were eager to keep anything I caught either for food or for bait :)
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    By 4:15PM I was on a little dock that branched off a small jetty rock piling which looked very fishy.
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    While walking down the beach, I could see a myriad of Needlefish and a HUGE school of 50-60 mullet that constantly swam back and forth, jumping out of the water in front of me all week; if I only had a snagging treble hook haha. When I approached the rocks, I saw a good size boil in front of me and knew this was going to be a good spot for fishing.
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    My gear consisted of a Temple Fork Outfitters 7ft Travel Spinning rod with a 1/4-3/4oz lure rating and Medium action, a Quantum Catalyst 20 PTs reel, 10lb Sufix braid line and 20lb Yozuri Fluorocarbon leader material.

    My first lure of choice was my Yozuri Crystal Minnow in Silver and Black. On my second cast of the trip, I landed a nice 2lb Jack Crevalle, but didn't expect to land such a nice fish so soon so I didn't have my camera on me :( After giving the fish to some locals that were VERY excited to eat fresh fish that night, I quickly went to get my camera and on my next cast back on the docks, I landed another type of jack species.
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  3. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    The dock was crawling with baby Jack Crevalle and other inshore species which kept things exciting. Constantly :)

    The most valuable lure of the week as far as the inshore fishing went was a 1/4oz Tsunami TS Holographic Shrimp. This lure caught about 80% of all the fish which were caught off the dock. I had 2 of these shrimps in my lure box and by the second day, I had regretted not bringing more along with some packs of Gulp! shrimp.
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    The primary fish I kept catching off the dock was a Lookdown or Moon fish. They are certainly beautiful with an almost luminescent color tone and when they put their Permit-like bodies against the current, they can put up a nice light tackle fight on such light line. The biggest specimen caught was a nice 13 incher, but most were less than 12 inches long.

    Here's the family and Virgil at dinner
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  4. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    On the second day, my dad and my brother woke up early (6AM) to go golfing and since I woke up from all the commotion, I got up early to get that early morning bite off the dock
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    After a couple of Lookdowns, I saw 3 nice 2 foot long Jacks about 12 feet off the corner of the dock and casted my TS Holo Shrimp to them. I immediately got bit, but they were quick to spit the hook. After a few more violent hits, one inhaled the plastic and spit it back up in pieces! I only retrived back the jighead that comes built into the soft plastic :(

    Luckily, I had one more TS Holo Shrimp left and with two more casts I had a good hookset and line was ZINGING off the little reel. The fish kept making these insane runs which is when I suspected it might be a Bonefish, but after about 10 minutes of retrieving and loosing line, I landed this beauty. One of the best fights I've had on this setup. More than any Striped Bass or Bluefish has given me to date (besides my biggest Bluefish at 18lbs).
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  5. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    On day 3, I woke up at 5:30AM to meet Carlos at the PuntaCana Marina.
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    Soon, I saw a large boat coming towards the Marina and soon I met Carlos, his cousin and his two deck hands for the day and set off for deeper waters to begin our jigging exercises for the day :)
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    Master jigger Carlos finding the fish!
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    Some of Carlos' gear
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    I have to admit the underwater topography off the Dominican Republic is fascinating. At 3 miles offshore, we are at 800ft! Then by 5 miles, we are back upto 140-200ft and by 8-9 miles we are 500-600ft deep where it begins to drop off to about 2000ft. We were primarily fishing the Mona Passage between DR and Puerto Rico. I have to admit, I threw up a few times, but it wasn't a "sea sickness" type of situation. I had about 4 hours of sleep and didn't have anything to drink or eat for entire trip which proved to make me a little nauseated even with the minimal waves we had. But as soon as I would puke up some water, I would be right back in it, jigging my heart out hahaha. I think the deck hands really thought I was weird haha.

    During our first drop, Carlos was using a small 60g Hopper Jig and started getting a few hits which lead to a assist hook cutoff. I re-rigged it with a 3/0 Gami Assist Hook and off we went to a new spot. At our second drop, I dropped a Benthos jig and got hit on my second drop. What a hookset! Now I know what you guys have been talking about all this time! After a nice workout, we saw color and knew it was a Jack species. Suddenly, behind my fish, you could see the outline of a shark coming upto the surface after it. Cool stuff!!

    My first fish jigging! I was using my Hot's 5'0H Fake Lez rod and Saragosa 18000F with Varivas PE6 line and 80lb Fisherman Stealth Leader. I love this rod Paul! I know EXACTLY what you mean know when you told me I was going to fall in love with this rod. Thank you very much for the recommendation :)
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  6. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    Carlos is a great jigger and has a very smooth jigging motion down packed. He had high hook of the day and here are some action shots of him pulling on a Rock Hind (they call it Cabrilla down there), a NICE Almaco Jack and another Black Jack. His Go-To reel was the Ocean Mark Blue Heaven L50 H. Super smooth reel, but his Cork Drag gets a little "sticky" sometimes. Still he managed to tame every fish with ease.
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  7. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    On day 4, I met Carlos again at 5:30AM at the PuntaCana Marina for some more jigging. This day was FLAT. These pics are for you Annuvat :)
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    On this trip, Carlos started off the day hooking into a nice size Bar Jack.
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    We moved off into the 500ft depth and ran into a nice series of schoolie tuna and I caught a False Albie and a Black SkipJack with a $10 130g Daiwa Jig with a 6/0 OTI Raptor Assist hook. You can see Carlos battling his own False Albie behind me when I caught the Black SkipJack.
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    As we setup again for the same drift, Carlos changed jigs to a beautiful 200g Pink Hot's Keitan Jig and hooked up instantly. However, Carlos said it was a small fish as it wasn't even taking line at the lowest drag setting on his Accurate 870N 2 spd reel and Jigging Master rod setup.
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    Soon after, we see color and he lands his 15lb beauty on the deck. Nice Blackfin Tuna sashimi!
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    Good Eats!
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    One notable story of this trip was that Carlos' cousin cut up some chunk bait with the False Albacore meat and drop it to the bottom with a stout roller guide rod and an Avet JX. Next thing I know, the rod is doubled over in the water and Carlos' cousin is frantically trying to engage the reel when SNAP. There was a tangle in the line at the spool of the reel and it popped off the terminal tackle :( However, as soon as he tries to come over the back of the boat (as he was outside on the back platform), he slips and almost falls in. Carlos quickly shuffles to help him out and all I remember is Carlos ending up holding his fishing rod and not holding his cousin from taking a dunk! Haha. Carlos's specific words were, "That ***** can float! My rods can't!" hahahah I would have done the same thing buddy. Lol!
     
  8. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    Carlos also hooked into a GOOD size shark that he battled for 10-15 minutes which ended up cutting off his 280g Hot's Drift Tune jig and 100lb Mono line. Here's a short 60 second clip of the long fight which led to a cut off.

    YouTube - Carlos fighting a shark on a jig in Dominican Republic

    We also ended up catching another Cabrilla each. Carlos caught his on a 112g Shimano Flatside jig and I caught mine on the same 130g Daiwa jig.
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    On the way back in, we set out a line with a small leadhead to troll back in and quickly had a Cero Mackerel and Barracuda to the boat about 200-300 yards from the Marina entrance to end a great 2 day trip with a new found friend.
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    Here are some shots of Carlos beautiful boat docked back at the Cap Cana Marina. You can see his Kayak behind his boat on the dock.
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    Here are the jigs that I used which landed fish or had hits/hookups with. Top to Bottom is the 130g Daiwa jig, a 168g Shimano, a 215g Benthos and a 200g OTI
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    Came back to the hotel and had some lunch with the family at "The Grill". They make a MEAN cheesesteak with actual Churrasco beef!
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  9. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    On friday, I woke my brother up to go fishing at 6AM to get him tight on some fish and the experience is one that would, in his words, "change his life"....
    As the sun was already up, I rigged him up with a 1oz. Chrome Crippled Herring and on his first cast, as soon as it hit the water, I saw a fish come up and inhale it! His first Lookdown/Moonfish of the day on his first cast!
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    While I'm rigging up a 1oz Chrome Krocodile spoon in hopes of a big Jack or Barracuda, I hear Kevin scream, "Oh my god! What the hell is that?!" As I look back up, I see a 40-50lb Tarpon in mid-air doing a backwards flip back into the water about 25 feet off the dock and sadly hear the metal jingle and fall out of its mouth :( Kevin was in such a shock an awe state, he didn't remember to set the hook HARD into the Tarpon's boney jaw, nor did he bow to the Silver King. :p It was a beginner saltwater fisherman's common mistake when seeing such a big fish taken on his lure. It was definitely the biggest fish he's ever seen on a fishing trip. I quickly changing to my soft plastic shrimp, but with 10 casts in the same vicinity, I knew it was definitely spooked. So, back to the Krocodile spoon and with my first cast over a huge bed of Sea Grass, I hooked into a 2foot Barracuda that made the morning. The fight was filled with jumps and a nice initial, tearing run.
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    The next few casts, I kept feel that I was getting hits on the spoon, but never got a solid hookup...until the 3rd cast :)
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  10. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    At 10:30AM, my step mother, dad, brother and I headed off to the hotel's Ecological Preserve and got to see 7 of their Freshwater Spring Lagoons. They were filled with Tilapia (some upto 6-7 lbs!!) and crawling with freshwater shrimp (definitely their main diet) as well as some small cichlid looking-like fish that made their homes among the porous underwater rocks right beside the shrimp.
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    The Tilapia sure loved Ritz Crackers hahaha You could hand feed them as they were not scared of people.
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  11. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    At one of the lagoons, there was a nice platform to jump into the water and all of the guys in the family had a good time jumping in :) Even my pops struggled to make the jump! haha
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    Before the last dinner at the resort, we decided to pregame a little bit :) Annvat, we only went through a 1.75L bottle of Johnny Walker Black that week along with a Liter Bottle of Absolut and some of the local "home grown" Brewed MaMaJuana...I love that stuff!
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    Which led to some dancing with the Mariachi band at dinner LoL Those guys kicked ass!
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    Here's a clip of a "Special song" they sang for my step mom, being that it was our last night.
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    And a pic of the main meal including our 5lb Caribbean Lobster on the grill!!! That was YummY!
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  12. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    On the last morning of the trip, I took my last early morning trip to the dock in hopes of a few more fish before heading back home :(
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    So I went at it again with my tattered and broken Tsunami Holo Shrimp and started bouncing it off the bottom with a slight twitch right next to the rocks and landed this beautiful fish specimen. Don't know what it was, but it sure was pretty. Perfectly camoflouged for a predator lurking near the algae covered rocks for a small baby Jack Crevalle to innocently pass by.
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    And here is the last Lookdown/Moonfish of the trip. Victory goes to the Tsunami Holo Shrimp!
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    The lures which were used for inshore fishing that were fish catchers (I threw out some Smack-It Jr. Poppers with no luck :( )
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    This last pic is what I felt was the essence of this trip. Here's my brother jumping off the dock with a bottle of Mamajuana at the bottom left corner of the pic standing proudly on one of the dock pillars. The trip was Fun, Relaxing and Free Spirited!
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  13. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    Here are a few more random pics of the trip.

    I saw your boobies! haha Sorry guys, no topless pics..I felt weird enough taking this one after they sun bathed topless all morning. :)
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    Here's a few shots of the great scenery and relaxed atomsphere
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    A nice "secret" spot Carlos showed me where he lands everything from 20lb Jack Crevalle, Ladyfish, Juvenile Tarpon, to 25lb Snook! It looked VERY fishy and I really wanted to throw a plug in their, but didn't bring my inshore rods with me on the jigging trip to have for later....grrr haha :)
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  14. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    Some of undeveloped landscape in Cap Cana (Phase 1 ;) )
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    The center of the Presidential House they are building in the Cap Cana Resort.
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    The windows on this $18 Million dollar home costed $1 Million alone! I believe Carlos said they were Owens Windows
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    Bye-Bye Punta Cana! See you again soon!
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  15. paul708

    paul708 Site Sponsor

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    sweet
    great report brian glad you had a nice trip
     
  16. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    sweet
    great report brian glad you had a nice trip

    Thanks Paul. I brought my OTI 7.5ft Popping rod with me on the first day out with Carlos, but didn't see any life up top so I left it at home on the 2nd day.....and of course as my luck would have it, we saw schoolie tuna busting at the surface on the second day :mad: Still kicking myself in the ass thinking about it!!! :p

    I always have a good time on Family Vacations. Especially when I can squeeze in some fishing ;)
     
  17. paul708

    paul708 Site Sponsor

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    Thanks Paul. I brought my OTI 7.5ft Popping rod with me on the first day out with Carlos, but didn't see any life up top so I left it at home on the 2nd day.....and of course as my luck would have it, we saw schoolie tuna busting at the surface on the second day :mad: Still kicking myself in the ass thinking about it!!! :p

    I always have a good time on Family Vacations. Especially when I can squeeze in some fishing ;)
    you didnt learn nothing from gmans quote:D :D
     
  18. snappergeorge

    snappergeorge Member

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    Whow!
    We have been discussing our next vacation spot and we weren't sure if Punta Cana was all that good.
    Now we know!!
    Excellent pictures Brian!
    Where did you all stayed?
     
  19. JerseyBrian

    JerseyBrian Senior Member

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    you didnt learn nothing from gmans quote:D :D
    Haha, you're totally right Paul :p

    Whow!
    We have been discussing our next vacation spot and we weren't sure if Punta Cana was all that good.
    Now we know!!
    Excellent pictures Brian!
    Where did you all stayed?
    Thanks George. It was a great time all-around. Fun and relaxing with the family and fun fishing; both offshore jigging and inshore light tackle fun! :)

    We stayed at the Punta Cana Resort and Club in one of the Beach Casitas. If you end up going to this hotel, you'll see the jetty/dock where I fished as soon as you walk on the beach ;)
    Welcome to PUNTACANA RESORT & CLUB

    If you want to spend top dollar on the BEST place in DR. Look at Cap Cana Resort and Marina. It has 7 golf courses, amazing landscapes, a beautiful main hotel....everything is top notch at this resort and they do not spare any expense. Cap Cana
     
  20. feeder

    feeder Senior Member

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    Looks like a nice trip there. Fishing and vacation are synonymous.

    That one ugly fish you caught looks like a type of scorpion fish. Be careful with anything that looks like that since some of them are poisonous if they stick you.