Over the past couple years I have been gaining on the shallow water salt fishing game by leaps and bounds, catching Bonefish, Permit and many exotic species along the Mayan Yucatan Peninsula. Working diligently on my distance casting and accuracy every chance I get. With a mere 20 flats fishing days under my belt I have been learning the finer points of being guided in a far away land with a underrated language barrier and many cultural differences. The Local guides are fine people fishing only 50-70 days a fly fishing season, not much considering I guide near 200 plus in a calendar year, but means they get some good fishing practice in. We are learning that there culture and there angling abilities are very strong, once this last week Evaristo picked up one of our rods and simply cast it 70 ft into a 20 knot wind just for fun, something I can do with a few back casts but he simply false casted once and shot it like an arrow, exactly what we want from our fishing guides.
The first day of our fishing produced good numbers of larger Bonefish, well,, large for the area, 2-5 pounders tucked way up in the mangrove flats, in zones I had never reached before, the strong west wind has the tide higher than usual. We stuck to the routine of getting in the groove with some good casting on Bones then we would go for the wily Permit. I ended up landing ten or so and having at least that many run into the mangroves and break off. For some reason when Permit are just around the bend anglers seem to concentrate on them and treat the bones as by catch. Not sure why, as I feel they are a fantastic adversary that require great casting skills and good sight fishing ability, skills needed in all flats fishing, maybe its that there a sucker for a well placed gotcha. Whichever I love em and will fish to them any day of the week.
Day two found us fishing in heavy cloud cover we chose a zone of mudding rays and wile I crushed bonefish after bonefish many over 3 pounds Poppa Mac stayed vigilantly searching the edge of the grey water for Permit. It is important to fish as a team in this sport two anglers with similar abilities and a good back up for the guy on the deck. He soon hooked his first Permit of the trip which ran what seemed like a mile only to turn around and zig zag its way back, at the same time I hooked what seemed like a big ass fish of some sort head shaking and then running all directions, we had the shit show going full Barnum Bailey. Joe’s backing was not tied correctly to his fly line and will not reel back into the rod, Evaristo is laughing his ass off and offering only partial help( exactly what I would do), he held my rod while I snipped the HUGE loop tag left at the backing connection. Joe had since hand lined his fish close enough to see the black edged tail fin of a nice sized Permit, it took one look at us and ran for Chetumal ( laughing of coarse) As it seemed we would end the circus with a bang, both the Permit and whatever I had left us both seconds apart. Lesson learned, DON’T TRUST ANYONE ELSES CONNECTIONS CHECK THEM ALL. That mistake cost us TWO fish!
Day three through five found us with very good conditions and we all had ample opportunity to catch the wily Permit, with 6 – 12 good shots a day, although only one was landed on the trip, Joe hooked two and I had one on my last shot of the week. On the last day Mike Bunny and I where fishing with Chucho we had traded off shots most of the morning and in fact, the best shot I ever had in 20 days and four trips angling, ten large Permit slowly moving in a circle (?), we snuck in and I made three casts one 7 ft right of the group one 7 ft left with two different retrieves and no response, I then dropped one cast straight on 4 ft short of the circling school to have the biggest of the bunch come out and investigate only to sniff and run away through the school taking them all with it. My only Permit hook up came wile wading on some bones peering over my shoulder knowing the Permit would be approaching sooner or later. A pair arrived neurotically zig zagging the white sand flat I followed there progress hastily on foot till they eventually turned my way and offered a 70 ft shot, dead on I cast four ft short of the slow travelers trying to anticipate there zagging, the lead fish turned and was on, instantly running out, but short lived was my victory as I discover in my waist deep wading a loop of running line had found its way under foot and my fly pulls free at the added tension of going through my leg’s, crap. I look back and Mike and Chucho are getting into the boat five hundred yards away coming to get me for the return to the Lodge and the end of my fishing trip. As I stand in waist deep water and revel at what had just happened I realize it was a perfect fishing vacation,,, humiliation and all.
Back at the dock Poppa Mac who fished an extra day with Judy his wonderful wife, arrives late after nearly accomplishing the hallowed saltwater slam he had landed his Permit around 11:30 and caught a quick bonefish and was in the Lagoon Tarpon fishing where he had three 30+ pounders jump off before they all disappear into the depths of the Cenote.
We all had a wonderful trip to the smallest fishing village on the Yucatan, we enjoyed the local community with its permanent and temporary inhabitants. Two very nice restaurants and one local spot that serves the best authentic Taco’s on the Peninsula. Our beach side accommodations where far better than expected and the meals equal to any five star restaurant.
Next Spring I will be hosting two – six day seven night fishing vacations: April 24-May 1 and May 2 – May 9 2012 The later date will be in Acention Bay both have room for 7-9 anglers and wives each week, we will be adding additional recreational services to the package for non angling people, diving/snorkeling, visiting Mayan ruin’s, shopping trips to local villages etc…
If you wish to have further information on this place or want in on a great economical fishing vacation to the Yucatan next spring shoot me a EM Jeff@Brazdasflyfishing.com
Thanks for the opportunity to be your fishing guide, Jeff Brazda.
After thirty five years fly fishing in the NW chasing steelhead and trout a guy gets,,, well,,,,for lack of a sophisticated word,,,, bored with it. Now don’t get me wrong I love my job and lifestyle I crave the next big pull from a pissed off steelhead and the painstakingly slow take of a big brown trout to a dry fly. But for one that is in limbo between the peak fisheries I have re-found the passion that has been simmering in me for many off seasons. The same passion that burned so strong when I caught my first steelhead at 13 has been rediscovered on the flats of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Not only has it re-ignited my desire to fish more but also my excitement for discovery, a thrill I thought scarred out of me on many trips searching for steelhead in SE Alaska twenty years ago. There is a whole world of angling out there that is now newly available to me, a fishery that has eluded my attention for way to long.
Some of it could be the fact that it takes place in a much warmer climate, a habitat as diverse as any on the planet, now instead of grizzly bear’s there are alligators, instead of drift boats there are Pangas, and instead of driving rain and rising rivers, there are sunburns and north winds, hardly as annoying.
The fine people of the Yucatan are Mexican and Americans, the homes for lodging are mostly Americans and the guides are true indigenous Mexicans. The country of Belize is a short water taxi away, another world yet to be fished on a later date.
I feel the urge to spend days on the flats camping on remote beaches hunting in an all new way, picking through mangrove rivers to undiscovered lagoons where one may find tarpon and snook that have never seen a fly, once again my fishing imagination can run wild.
I can hardly wait for my next trip to the region; I won’t have to wait long as it’s already in the works. The first ten days in May 2010 will find me and whomever I can convince to go along on the search for that next big Permit, Tarpon, Snook or Bonefish.