Dominican Republic Outdoors
Casa del Mar Accommodations & Activities For the Outdoorsman
by Larry Larsen
"He's on," shouted my fishing partner David Jones, as he hung on to a bouncing rod. Our guide shifted the
outboard into neutral, as I started to reel in my bait. The guide motioned for me to leave my trolled bait out behind the boat, which I did. The small ballyhoo baitfish settled
toward the bottom in about 30 feet of water, as I again focused my attention on my partner's short-lived battle.
"He's off," a dejected Jones stated a minute later.
"Well, I've got one," I laughed as I set the hook hard into a predator fish that was
tugging on my bait. The lightweight rod bend over with the pressure of a decent
shallow water fish and my battle had begun. The barracuda vivid light blue form bulled downward beneath our 23 wooden boat.
I pressured the feisty fish to the surface when it's madness showed. A 10-pounder with an attitude tried to
froth-up the surface as he neared the guide's ready gaff. The captain smiled when his dinner was brought over the gunwale.
Another small barracuda and three more bites was all we could generate on our trolled baits that day off Saona
Bay near the fishing village of Bayahibe. Staying at the new Casa del Mar Resort, we were a short boat ride away from the waters off the river mouth. The depths ranged from
about 20 feet down to 150 in the area we trolled off Saona Island.
The slowest fishing months of the year are reportedly November through January. Big tuna are most active
between November and February however, and white marlin move in from April through June. Dolphin catches are tops between November and July. Bonito, barracuda and wahoo
can be taken year around.
A few sportfishing boats are available in the La Romana area, but overall the waters off the Dominican Republic have
been overlooked by American sportfishermen. The area's captains offer half and full day trips and also go after mako sharks or bottom fish such as dog and cubera snapper.
The Dominican Republic on the island of Hispaniola has been overlooked by the traveling sportsman, but recent
effort by some of the resorts on the island may change that. AMHSA hotel's Casa del Mar is an all-inclusive
beachside resort located near the fishing village of Bayahibe about 15 minutes east of the international airport at
La Romana. Lying on a palm-fringed beach, the new Caribbean resort offers a great vacation value.
There are blue water gamefish in that area many times of the year, but July and August are the best months for
the catch-and-release blue marlin fishing. Yellowfin tuna and bonito are abundant then. Late spring is also a good
time to go after most blue water fish. Marlin are said to range to over 1,000 pounds, bull dolphin up to 88 pounds and wahoo to over 150 pounds.
Reef scuba diving with Garza Divers is a popular outdoor option in which I participated. There are almost 40
dive sites within 40 minutes boat ride, including a 250-foot cargo freighter call Saint George. I dove a nice ledge
wall at La Pinas and a reef with scattered coral heads at La Pamilla near the resort. Lobster, queen triggers and
other interesting fish and rays were sighted along the bottom in 40 to 60 feet of water.
Another resort offering is an exciting ATV (all terrain vehicle) off-road adventure that goes through farms, sugar
cane fields, villages and stops at the river. Our group had a flat tire before we started and one during our three
hour adventure. But it was no problem! Offsite lies Altos de Chavon, a picturesque artist village on the banks of the La Romana River.
Beachgoing activities at the resort or an excursion to a nearby white sand island where a barbecue lunch and
snorkeling await, are available, or you can enjoy the resort's outstanding amenities. There's a huge freeform
swimming pool and jacuzzi in the resort's lushly landscaped tropical gardens. Water sports along the beautiful
beach also include kayaking, canoeing, windsurfing, sailing and paddleboats.
For those up to the challenge, and Jones and I were, two great golf courses lie a few minutes away. We
played a round and one half on "The Teeth of the Dog" course at Casa de Campo. I shot a par four on the first hole on the first
day, and from there on, it was downhill. The many ocean holes seemed to gobble up wayward balls easily. My fishing partner was actually a very good golfer once he got into his groove.
Casa del Mar has 536 superior rooms with private balconies and beautiful views, and their are 32 suites with ocean front
views and a fully stocked mini-bar. There are four restaurants which offer a variety of dining options, and there is a disco with
live entertainment at night. Call (800) 472-3985 for more information on the very comfortable resort. Click if you want help with lodging or flights.