Quick summary of my trip to the Dominican Republic with my girlfriend, Alex. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort named "BlueBay Villas Doradas". I would it recommend it to anyone looking for a relatively affordable resort. It's small but had good, fresh food, plentiful drinks, and a nice beach. Staff were very friendly and security even allowed me to fish in the ponds on the resort, which saved the fishing portion of the trip.
Because of the smaller nature of the resort, it didn't take long before it seemed like everyone, both guests and staff, knew me as the "fishing man", and would constantly ask how the fishing was lol. Before leaving, I read reviews warning about annoying timeshare and beach vendors, but they all seemed more interested in the fish I was catching rather than trying to sell me something. I was actually more annoyed by the "did you catch anything?", than the "do you want to buy something?".
Like I said earlier, fishing in the resort's ponds really saved me fishing-wise. Unfortunately, the ocean in the area seemed to be rather fished out and I had very poor luck fishing from the beach and kayaking out to the reef. We did see some smaller reef fish while snorkeling, but nothing I managed to hook.
On the other hand, the ponds had some surprisingly great fishing! I started in a shallow, swampier area for some micros I saw swimming about. They turned out to be Fat Sleepers. I was super happy to add a Sleeper Goby to my list, and Alex got some as well. They aren't listed in the frshwater fish of the D.R. according to Fishbase but I assume there hasn't been extensive sampling on the island.
Next I moved to the main pond and tried using a small jig for some Tilapia I had spotted. They did not react to the lure but suddenly I saw a big flash of silver, a strong hit, and next thing I knew, my hook was bent out! There were Tarpon!! I rushed back to our room to switch to a jerkbait and it was game-on. The Tarpon seemed to react most on the pause. As expected, they would jump all over the place and were quite difficult to keep pinned. Eventually I caught a few and added a pretty special fish to the list.
Next was Alex's turn, she took two casts in the bigger pond and suddenly got an aggressive hit. I saw the fish jump, it was a huge 40-50lb Tarpon! About two head shakes later it broke the 50lb braid, and that was the end of that story. In any case, I knew it was going to be nearly impossible to land the fish in such a small body of water filled with snags such as fallen trees and fountains. Luckily, she eventually managed to hook a smaller one that was much easier to land.
After having plenty of fun with the Tarpon, I switched to a simple hook covered with bread to catch some of the Tilapia. They were actually pretty big and we caught some that must have been pushing 5lbs. So far I'm leaning towards them being Mozambiques, Niles, and hybrids of those two, but opinions are much-appreciated. I've also heard Blue for the larger pale one.
That about sums up the fishing portion of the trip, it was mainly a relaxation vacation to spend time with one-another. I still felt lucky to catch a few really cool lifers despite the lack of good fishing in the ocean. I'm gonna try to have a Florida report up soon as well.