BAHIA SOLANO, THE LAST FRONTIER FOR SPORTFISHING
By Capt. Rudy Dodero
The first time I visited this incomparable site was in 2012 when I accepted an invitation from a friend, who told me about the potential of the site. And above all the need to bring new fishing techniques.
Located in the Colombian Chocó, surrounded by unexplored mountains, Bahia Solano is really one of those privileged sites that take your breath away.
Its airport is simple but quite safe and ready to serve airplanes of up to 15 passengers. The flow of tourists is constant, and it is nice to decipher the different languages that are heard on the site while figuring out how that tourist came to know about the site.
The landscape is impressive and invites you to explore the town, although small, has become a tourist destination, mainly due to its nature, whale watching and as a port of entry to other national parks. It has comfortable places to stay and the food is excellent, with very good quality restaurants.
The distance between the lodging sites and the pier from where the fishing adventure would start, is not more than a kilometer, I soon discovered that it was much more pleasant to walk the rustic road than to take the taxi, it will be because nature attracts me and the path that is lined with almost virgin jungle, surprises you at every bend with exotic birds or fabulous butterflies.
The local boats usually are 30 to 38 feet, with outboard motors, quite basic, but capable of carrying out the task without problem, the captains with whom I have shared the numerous fishing tasks, have always been, good connoisseurs of the area and its secrets.
Fishing areas rarely require more than 30 miles to leave, marine currents carrying nutrients and bait are present year-round, underwater structures, distant islets off the coast, several river mouths and little commercial fishing pressure, conjugate all necessary ingredients to make this spectacular scenario, not only a fabulous site, but one of the least explored fishing mecca.
Our first departure resulted in innumerable “piques” of sailfish and mahi’s of a very good size and only traveling about 20 miles to the site where we found a current loaded with fish.
The next day we decided to explore the area of Cabo Marzo, located about an hour’s journey away, the objective was to determine its potential as a coastal fishing area, where surface lures could be casted in search of Cuberas, Roosters and other sportfishing species, the potential of the area is impressive, you can chat all day without repeating site. For miles and miles, the coast offers all kinds of scenarios dreamed by any fisherman. All kinds of casting lures, from poppers to walkers are usable in the area. Very good quality equipment is necessary, 50 lbs multifilament line. And equipment with brake capacity to handle it are mandatory, the gigantic Cubera’s, Gallo and even Sabalos are frequent encounters.
We could not stop exploring the shallow depths in search of the famous Bravo’s and Cherna’s in Jigging mode. It was not necessary even a second descent of the jig to achieve a good hitch, a Bravo of more than 60 pounds welcomed us. That half day we repaired more than 10 more Bravos, some of almost 80 pounds. Chernas, Snappers and more than 12 species completed the catches.
Jigging equipment, whether in the Speed Jigging mode or the most modern variation, Slow Jigging, must be of very good quality, if there is a place where marine monsters can be found, this is. The depths to which it is jigged rarely exceed 300 feet, so relatively light equipment can be used with no more problem than taking them to their limits in a good fight. The jigs selection must include jigs of at least 125 grams to 300 grams.
This year I returned to Bahía Solano with some changes I notice, the town a little bigger, more boats to choose from, the food just as tasty, old friends and new friends, fishing the same, fabulous, we achieve Blue Marlin, Sailfish, giant Mahi’s, Wahoo’s and Tunas.
Jigging is still very productive and casting out of this world.
Only one thing I would like to see one day in Bahia Solano. A yacht with diesel engines that allows you greater autonomy to explore those areas still intact with more comfort, and with these guys at Afloat Fishing with its operation Anigua we will get it without any doubt.
This year I left a couple of days in Bahia to dedicate them to explore the wild side that attracts so much tourism, walking those lonely beaches full of life, exploring the jungles was definitely a lifetime joy.
As a good nature lover photographer, I was surprised by the incredible biodiversity of the area, birds, frogs, reptiles, butterflies and amazing scenery complemented my journey.
Special thanks to Capt. Rudy Dodero for guiding us through his experiences in this paradise called Bahia Solano.