Captain
Rafael Apellaniz

Member since March 2014

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Background
Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Captain Rafa has been fishing the local waters since the age of six. Educated in Illinois, USA, he has fished all over the midwest and east coast of the US mainland and the Caribbean. This has given him an intimate knowledge of many modes of fishing and working with people, offering his customers a rewarding and memorable fishing experience.
Techniques
Captain Rafa specializes in life baiting adn fly fishing inshore for Tarpon, Snook and Jack Crevalle.

Hey, I'm Captain Rafael Apellaniz

San Juan, Puerto Rico
Background
Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Captain Rafa has been fishing the local waters since the age of six. Educated in Illinois, USA, he has fished all over the midwest and east coast of the US mainland and the Caribbean. This has given him an intimate knowledge of many modes of fishing and working with people, offering his customers a rewarding and memorable fishing experience.
Techniques
Captain Rafa specializes in life baiting adn fly fishing inshore for Tarpon, Snook and Jack Crevalle.

My Charter Listings

    
San Juan
trips from
US$ 325

Fishing Reports

Awsome day, awsom people!

January 05, 2017

1/5/2017 Morning Charter Jim & Sue Hillard, Nick Feranec and Clarck Diffendaffer from Florida & Nebraska Awsome day, awsome people! The charter was set for 8 am, since customers were coming on the Oasis of the seas. I knew… Read Full Report →


Super Moon!

December 14, 2016

12/14/20016 Morning Charter Chris & Caroline from San Diego Caroline a novice and Chris having some experience, got to the marina on time, within 15 minutes we had made bait and opposed to the past few days the wind… Read Full Report →


A time to be thankful!

November 24, 2016

11/24/2016 Morning Charter A time to be thankful! Jorn Morten & Hilde Skaara from Stavanger, Norway I went along with my first Norwegian customers on the traditional Thanksgiving trip. The bait were plentiful and within half hour we were… Read Full Report →


Finally Caught Fish in PR!

November 23, 2016

11/23/2016 Morning Charter Sergio & Carolina, Houston, TX We had lots of rain last night, this morning we made bait in the mouth of the river and headed for the fishing grounds. Sergio and Carolina had gone shore fishing… Read Full Report →


Captain Rafa and the Dutch

November 18, 2016

November 18th, 2016 Morning Charter Jared Van Groningen, California This morning the big greenies showed up, this usually for tells the arrival of big tarpon. We filled up the livewell and started heading out to the bay, on the… Read Full Report →


They came from Bass Pro Shops...

May 25, 2016

5/25/2016 Morning Charter They came from Bass Pro Shops... Sam, Dave & Jon from Springfield, Missouri, the home of my favorite store in the whole wide world, Bass Pro Shops! The guys came in from the cruise ship at… Read Full Report →


Tarpon river rumble...

May 15, 2016

Morning Charter 5/15/2016 Rumble in the river... Giordie Sausa and his father Phil from Boston, MA.. Geordie is one of the crew of the Tuna.com, from the hit TV series Wicked Tuna. It is awsome to fish with people… Read Full Report →


It's like a box of chocolates...

May 14, 2016

Morning Charter 5/14/2016 It's like a box of chocolates... Phillip and GJ from Louisiana The morning was clear and with a bit more wind than usual. After quickly getting a livewell full of greenies, we headed to an area… Read Full Report →


Windy...

May 07, 2016

Morning Charter May 7th, 2016 Windy... It seem like the wind brought, Sean Wilt and his Stepson Cody from Florida, to San Juan Bay. Sean is a Bass Tournament Coordinator among other things, as an avid fishermam, I wanted… Read Full Report →


Here comes the rain...

April 26, 2016

Morning charters April 26,30, May 1st Here comes the rain... The end of April and beginning of May bring the rain and with it, the early summer of plenty! This is a summary of 3 morning charters, Tarpon dreamers… Read Full Report →


Desert people fishing in the rain...

April 18, 2016

Morning Charter 4/18/2016 Benjamin Martinez & Father from New Mexico Desert people fishing in the rain... It was Ben's birthday, grew up fishing for trout in new mexico. Wanted a chance at the big leagues. It was raining, jacks… Read Full Report →


Happy camper...

April 09, 2016

Half day morning charter 4/9/2016 Benjamin Kur, New York Now that is the face of a happy camper, a guy that filled his bucket list, in San Juan Bay, Puerto Rico! Not in a week of fishing in Costa… Read Full Report →


Paging Doctor Cruz

April 07, 2016

Morning Charter April 7th, 2016 Paging Doctor Cruz... Philip Cruz from New York It was a last minute booking, a referral from a happy customer, Doctor Cruz stepped into my world for a round of fishing, San Juan Bay… Read Full Report →


Jacks for Jack...

April 06, 2016

Morning charter April 6th, 2016 Eric & Jack from Indiana Jacks for Jack... When Jack from Indiana came fishing on Wednesday to San Juan bay, he never thought he was going to find Jacks, Jack Crevalle that is! After… Read Full Report →


Oh, how sweet it is...

March 27, 2016

Oh, how sweet it is... 3/27/2016 3/4 day afternoon Alan & Rosemary White from Montana It was very windy! I was able to tie up to the bait dock and quickly made a livewell full of greenies and pilchard.… Read Full Report →


Sometimes the second is the charm...

March 23, 2016

Morning Charter 3/23/2016 Tim Doppler, Michael and Jack from Minnesota. Sometimes the second time is the charm... Yesterday I received a call from a angler and father who went fishing on Monday with another captain, he was hesitant since… Read Full Report →


When God sends lemons...

March 21, 2016

Morning Charter 03/21/2016 Mark & Dana Parsons from Connecticut When God sends you lemons... Fishing was slow for all the charters, we had gotten one Tarpon Jump all morning and then Mark got to a head on collision with… Read Full Report →


There are times...

March 03, 2016

I am happy to say, I have some of the best customers in the world and I have been around. But sometimes you get special people that you root for. That was the case today. They wanted Tarpon and… Read Full Report →


One more for the skipper...

March 02, 2016

Randy Stillwell & Co. from Minnesota. As it happens sometimes, fishing doesn't go as planned. Today's anglers came on a cruise and got a late start. Went out early and caught bait and waited, there was a low tide… Read Full Report →


A week in the life...

February 28, 2016

A week in the life of Captain Rafa in San Juan Bay, Puerto Rico! The fishing has been great this year, the cold fronts have mostly held off and the Tarpon are on the move, followed by Mr. Jack… Read Full Report →


Almost all about fishing...

February 16, 2016

Afternoon Charter 02/16/2016 Christopher Yu & Co. from California As a charter captain, I'm always looking for more and bigger fish. This afternoon the bite was tough, the wind was blowing and the tide was off. The Yu family's… Read Full Report →


All for Tarpon and Tarpon for all...

February 08, 2016

Morning Charter 02/08/2016 All for Tarpon and Tarpon for all! Steven, John and James from Arkansas, as good fishermen, came in early this morning. We headed out to catch bait with Sabikis, they didn't expect to catch so many… Read Full Report →


Rain or Shine, Tarpon's Delight...

February 07, 2016

Andy Dubman and Co. from New Jersey. We started early on a very rainy morning, we quickly made bait (greenies) and headed out, still raining. We caught and released the first tarpon within 10 minutes and a Jack Crevalle… Read Full Report →


Incredible day out...

January 30, 2016

Morning Charter 01/30/2016 Gerald Lyons and Co. from New York City. Incredible morning out! Caught bait early and headed out to the open bay, red buoy #7 is were the fish have been. I marked the bait at about… Read Full Report →


When it gets cold in the north...

January 24, 2016

Morning Charter 1/24/2016 Hank & Steve from New York. Most excellent day out! Full moon, 9:45 high tide and a light breeze from the south east, very good conditions. Activity began from the first drift, a Jack Crevalle, from… Read Full Report →


We do a lot of first time tarpons...

January 02, 2016

Morning Charter 1/2/2016 Derek & Janae Rast They have been in Belize, Costa Rica and Florida looking for their first tarpon. One half day in Puerto Rico and boom, bucket list tarpon down! First one of the year! This… Read Full Report →


The rain kept the fire going...

December 02, 2015

Gurney Thompson and Ricardo Cardenas from Denver Colorado had the time of their life! Last night rains kept the fire going in San Juan bay! 5 minutes into the trip we were hooked up with our first tarpon. As… Read Full Report →


San Juan Bay is on Fire!!!

November 30, 2015

Jake Burduo & Co. from Maine, looking for his first Tarpon, ended up with a trip of a lifetime. Caught and released 5 -5 Tarpon and 1-1 Jack Crevalle, Bated for 1,000! Not bad for a Tarpon Rookie! San… Read Full Report →


What happens in San Juan Bay...

November 25, 2015

Fishing in the bay has been OK. On Wednesday, I received Ryan and Leticia from Las Vegas. Leticia made the reservation and I recommended that day. It was 2 days out of full moon with a 9 am high… Read Full Report →


Jay & Hunter's Triple Hookup!

April 07, 2015

Morning Charter April 7th, 2015 Fishingbooker Customers Jay and Hunter Garrison Jay Garrison and his son Hunter from Wisconsin had an awesome time fishing with us today at Puerto Rico Tarpon Connection. Early morning began with a triple hook… Read Full Report →


3 generations of fishing!

April 01, 2015

Today I had the pleasure to host a day of fishing for 3 generations of Minnesottans, Deb Moes (Mom), Kelly Moes (Daughter), and Carrigan Murphy (Granddaughter), we had a great time releasing 5 fish out of seven! A mixed… Read Full Report →


Usual Suspects...

March 24, 2015

Dan joyner and company showed up early today, as we had agreed, they got to the marina at 5:45 am. We got bait quickly, threadfin herring and pilchards was the menu for the morning session. We had a 6:30… Read Full Report →


Tarpon family Fun!

March 02, 2015

Mike and his girls visiting from Wisconsin had a world of family fun on our outin a week ago. Although they had no former experience had no problem catching and releasing 2 tarpon, 1 ladyfish and 2 jacks in… Read Full Report →


It almost didn't happen...

February 25, 2015

While catching bait this morning I was more excited than other days. Mike from Pennsylvania had made reservations almost a month ago and was arriving on the Quantum of the Seas, to fish in the morning session. Cruise Ships… Read Full Report →


Stranded in San Juan!!!

February 16, 2015

I was contacted by Chuck from Boston, MA yesterday about tarpon fishing. He reserved a half day morning trip for today. He is stranded in San Juan with his wife due to the blizzard in Boston. A cool front… Read Full Report →


Tarpon & Jack Shuffle!

February 01, 2015

Morning Charter Steve & Judy Cartmell from Albuqurque, New Mexico and customers from FishingBooker, did the San Juan Bay, tarpon & Jack Crevalle Shuffle, releasing 3 tarpon out of 6 and 3 jack crevalle! Not bad for a half… Read Full Report →

Customer Reviews

4.29 out of 5 stars from 14 reviews

Boat
Crew
Overall
5 star
9
9
4 star
4
4
3 star
0
0
2 star
1
1
1 star
0
0
Went fishing on Tuesday, June 13, 2017

So last minute I was contacted by carribean fishing academy saying they were having issues with the boats transmission, however the referred me to another charter who would take me out. Captain Rafi with Puerto Rico tarpon connection. He was friendly, however, our trip was unsuccessful with catching fish. We spent a little to much time in certain places, and waited for the big fish that never came. In all honesty I would rather have caught smaller fish and more than wait for the big one. When we got there in the morning he wasn’t ready to go, so we used so time waiting for his bait guy, who didn’t catch much. He provided us with helpful info for things to do but when it came to fishing not so much. Overall, it was by no means what I expected. And when they say fillet and clean fish you catch that wasn’t done at all the cut off the heads and sliced down the middle but that was about it. Very disatisfied for the money we paid for a fishing trip.

Melanie Todd does not recommend Puerto Rico Tarpon Connection

Fished June 2017

  • Boat
  • Crew
  • Overall
Rafael Apellaniz (The Captain)
Replied to this review on Friday, June 23, 2017

.

Went fishing on Thursday, March 30, 2017

Our Captain was super friendly and native to the area so he knew the water very well. We would definitely do it again.

Fished March 2017

  • Boat
  • Crew
  • Overall
Rafael Apellaniz (The Captain)
Replied to this review on Friday, March 31, 2017

Thank you, Jason, you are very kind. We always try to do our best to have our friends enjoy what we have to offer. Hope to see you soon!
Tight lines!
Captain Rafa

Went fishing on Friday, April 22, 2016

Caught 1 tarpon and lost another big fish.  Captain was great from start to finish and was very well versed on fishing for tarpon.  We saw a variety of birds and iguana’s and had a very nice half day on the waters of San Juan.

Fished April 2016

  • Boat
  • Crew
  • Overall
Went fishing on Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The captain was knowledgable and put us on fish. We landed 2 / 25+ pound tarpon in the first hour. Great fun. However we had boat problems getting back to the marina. Needs to update or better maintain equipment. Good experience.

Fished April 2016

  • Boat
  • Crew
  • Overall
Rafael Apellaniz (The Captain)
Replied to this review on Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Thank you for taking the time to write a review. I am glad your wife had the chance to fight 2 tarpon in one day. Maybe with some more practice, next time you can get your own. Our breakdown had nothing to do with maintinance but a bad batch of fuel.  My boat is one of the best in the fleet. I think that any day with 2 tarpon is a great day even with a unforseen breakdown an hour after the trip was already over. Thank for the great tip and it was my pleasure to take you back to the hotel.

Went fishing on Sunday, March 27, 2016

With our Trip to Puerto Rico and other activities we had planned, we decided to try fishing for Tarpon. making the choice to fish with Rafa was nowhere close to disappointing. It is clear that Rafa knows these waters well and he has great experience with the many years of knowledge in this area. I have taken many Charter fishing trips in other places in the past and Tarpon Connection is one of the best.
Besides being harassed by the Coast Guard and a Speed Boat later on in the day, we had a great time with Rafa.

Alan

Fished March 2016

  • Boat
  • Crew
  • Overall
Went fishing on Wednesday, March 2, 2016

As an experienced fisherman I could immediately see that the captain knew exactly what he was doing, from managing the boat, quickly setting up our equipment and releasing fish, it was obvious he was experienced in his business. He was very personable and the boat was clean and organized. We arrived on a cruise ship and the captain was accommodating on setting an excursion that worked with the timing of the ships arrival and dropped us off at a dock right next to the ship when the tour was over. I would definitely visit Puerto Rico Tarpon Connection again if I ever get the opportunity in the future.

Fished March 2016

  • Boat
  • Crew
  • Overall
Went fishing on Friday, February 12, 2016

The experience was not only unbelievable it was memorable. My father, 91 years old,  was a fisherman in Greece many years ago and could not believe how quickly we caught fishes. We were able to take home 3 fishes-Jacks I guess and ate 2 the same day.  My father and I will never forget this day. Captain Rafa was very hospital and helpful in teaching me how to handle the fishing poles and was very patient. I would not mind doing it again. Thanks for the wonderful experience Captain Rafa.

Fished February 2016

  • Boat
  • Crew
  • Overall
Went fishing on Wednesday, December 2, 2015

fun and really exciting to catch the tarpon=well organized

Fished December 2015

  • Boat
  • Crew
  • Overall
Rafael Apellaniz (The Captain)
Replied to this review on Thursday, December 10, 2015

Saludos Gurney!
It was truly a pleasure to have you and Ricardo on board Puerto Rico Tarpon Connection! I hope we can do it again real soon! I am glad you all enjoyed our trip as much as I did! Take care and as always;
Tight lines!
Captain Rafa

Went fishing on Friday, July 24, 2015

Had a fantastic trip! captain rafa is very helpful as well as giving great instructions on tarpon fishing, this was my first time to fish for tarpon I got a photo of my first one,but we caught several that day.

Fished July 2015

  • Boat
  • Crew
  • Overall
Rafael Apellaniz (The Captain)
Replied to this review on Friday, August 7, 2015

Saludos Foster!
Thank in you for your review of Puerto Rico Tarpon Connection.  It was a pleasure fishing with you on July 24th. I am glad you enjoyed it as as much as I did. I am looking forward to our next trip. Take care and as always,
Tight lines!
Captain Rafa

Went fishing on Tuesday, July 28, 2015

We met the captain and got the trip started. I’m happy to say that we hooked up with a fish pretty fast and it was great to see that first fish along side the boat however I lost it at the surface. The rest of the trip wasn’t what I had hoped for because the fish weren’t biting. We tried for another 3.5 hours but they just weren’t biting but we saw 4 tarpon jump so we know they were there.

The captain had no control over the fish and the lack of bite but I still had fun and got to help drive the boat while he changed out the gear for our next attempt. I would try again with Captain Rafa and hope for a more active trip.

Fished July 2015

  • Boat
  • Crew
  • Overall
Rafael Apellaniz (The Captain)
Replied to this review on Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Saludos Ira!

Thank you for your review of Puerto Rico Tarpon Connection.  I am glad you enjoyed the time we spent fishing together. I hope Web we can do it again real soon.  I am sure the fishing will be better next time.

Tight lines!
Captain Rafa

Went fishing on Thursday, March 26, 2015

We only boated one fish and had no bites the last 3 hours. It was disappointing. Captain Rafa was a great captain and guide but we didn’t catch any fish.

Cameron Waite does not recommend Puerto Rico Tarpon Connection

Fished March 2015

  • Boat
  • Crew
  • Overall
Rafael Apellaniz (The Captain)
Replied to this review on Monday, March 30, 2015

Thank you for taking the time to review our performance at Puerto Rico Tarpon Connection. As I remember, we caught bait quickly and got to the fishing grounds, on the first drift we got 5 strikes! We released 1 fish after I grab the leader, we could not get a picture, still it was a release. The other fish got off due to lack of experience in bowing to the fish. On the second drift we got 3 more strikes and those were all tarpon too, releasing 1 more tarpon, the fish were small and came to the boat green, shaking the hook off, those are still released.  On the next drift we got a small bar jack. Then the bite tapered down. Cameron fishes for steelhead in Idaho and said he understood fishing. The whole group expressed how much fun they had and Cameron even tipped me. I am sorry we could not get pictures but we definitely cought more than one fish and lost at least four more due to lack of experience. Cameron even said he could not wait to come back and do it again. I hope they do and I will work just as hard to get them fish.
tight lines!
Captain Rafa

Went fishing on Sunday, January 25, 2015

A great trip and an excellent captain.

I just expected a bit more fish, but this was in no way captain’s fault he did his best.

I will recommend him to my friends here in Canada

Fished January 2015

  • Boat
  • Crew
  • Overall
Went fishing on Sunday, February 1, 2015

Out in the bay less than 15 minutes and we each caught a large tarpon.  Captain Rafa can find the fish!  He was a great guide with some good information and tips. Had a great time.

Fished February 2015

  • Boat
  • Crew
  • Overall
Rafael Apellaniz (The Captain)
Replied to this review on Monday, February 9, 2015

Saludos Steve & Judy!
thank you for your recent review. I am glad you enjoyed our fishing excursion as much as I did. I am looking forward to our next trip. I am sure we wiil catch steve’s tarpon on a fly next time. until then I will keep an eye out for you on the water and tight lines!
Captain Rafa


Went fishing on Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Trip was fine, captain was pleasant and professional, we caught just one fish :(

boat and gear were good

I would recommend the captain

Fished December 2014

  • Boat
  • Crew
  • Overall