Finally, our small group made it to lovely Bahia Solano, Colombia, and Black Sands Lodge. This trip was originally scheduled for May of 2020, but had to be rescheduled of course. And, with current COVID-19 cases in Colombia, it almost canceled again. Such is the state of travel right now.
Bahia Solano is a short commuter flight of about 30 minutes from the lovely city of Medellin. Located on the Pacific Coast, about 70 miles south of the border with Panama, Bahia is a small coastal town of people who subsist on the plenty of the nearby ocean.
Black Sands is owned an operated by the Argentine, Felipe Morales. Recognizing the potential of Colombia, Felipe brought his operation here 3 years ago. He also brought the Argentine sensibility of immaculate dining, wine, and accommodations which are not in abundance throughout Colombia. The lodge is cozy, open air, and made from jungle hardwoods. Besides an incredibly helpful staff, the chef and her meals were easily the best I have experienced in any fishing lodge I have visited around the globe. Fantastic Catalina!!
We scheduled this trip around the annual migration of Sardines to these waters. With that migration come Sailfish, Marlin, hordes of Yellowfin Tuna, and Dolphins. Of course, all fish that inhabit these waters take advantage of the menu, so Dorado, Jacks, Cubera Snapper, and Tarpon also are susceptible to anglers while they are feeding. Due to weather and currents, it seemed the sardine run was largely over when we arrived which was disappointing. It did change how we fished.
Normally, when the sardines are in abundance, predators surround them, feeding en masse in what are known as bait balls. We saw few of these. We certainly found lots of Tuna feeding, but they were on the move and very difficult to get a fly to quickly enough. We did catch them on flies, but a spinning rod was much more effective. Most of the fish we did land were under 30 pounds, while the previous week fish were hooked well over 100 pounds. Yikes.
We did tease up and hook sailfish, and we had loads of fun when we found current lines in the open ocean. Looking like glassy rivers, these current lines carried everything from plastic water bottles, to trees and stumps. Anywhere we found these, we found Dorado. We caught many on the fly, and saw some that were in the range of 50 pounds
I loved this trip. I will go back, and plan to put more trips on the books. For interested anglers, I would note that my experience did teach me that Black Sands is not for a fly fishing purist. You may get lucky, and have opportunities with a fly your entire week. More likely, however, is that you will have many situations that are best fished by multiple methods. For anglers wanting to cast a fly rod, willing to launch a plug on a spin rod, and happy to troll in search of big fish, this is the spot for you.
Here is a short video from the trip.