Man… this hurts a little bit, but in a good way. My Florida trip would be starting soon, but my Florida trip isn’t happening now. The fish are going to be showing up… the big migratory fish, the 100+ pound fish. They’ll be taking the same routes they’ve been taking for thousands of years. This is what a lot of guys live for. I wish I was going to be there, but I’m not.
This little short film by YETI and Felt Soul is simply wonderful. You need to see this. If it doesn’t make you ache a little bit for Florida, I’d check your pulse.
The Sea Dreams dock was kind of money for me. Every evening and every morning there were bonefish there. Not only that, but they were, well, cooperative. They went out and came back and went out and came back and just kept on giving me shots.
Maybe they would have been there later in the day, but the boat traffic and people traffic likely would be enough to even discourage these compliant fish.
These were the only bonefish I caught in Belize. I did get one shot when on the guided day, but that was at fish going away, and you know how bonefish love the going away shot. No, the dock fish were the fish that really made it happen for me.
One of those fish was maybe the second smallest bonefish I’ve ever caught. One of those bonefish was 3-4 pounds (a pretty good Belize bonefish). Pretty darn cool.
My daughter would be pursuing puffer fish in the shallows as I cast to the bones. I did give her the rod once with a good bonefish on, but I neglected to warn her about the knuckle smashing speed at which the reel handle can spin around. What followed was a pretty good whack and three solid swear words I let her get away with. She was done with the bonefish from there, but the puffer fish were never safe. She also found one of the biggest hermit crabs I’ve ever seen.
The sky looked threatening… really threatening. There was a dark wall coming in from the South, a direction no one likes. Nothing good, weather wise, comes from the South, said the guide.
We ran North. So did everyone else. Too many boats all looking in and around Crab Caye. We found some space and I stuck a snook, a nice one, and then we ran for a little one-room shelter built out over the water. There we waited out the rain. There was a lot of it… years worth for many parts or the world. When the first and second walls of water passed, we changed the game plan. There was not going to be much more fly fishing. Next was getting the girl up on the board… any way possible. That meant bait. I was down.
A few minutes after setting up in a spot that looked absolutely no different from any other part of the Caribbean within a mile of us the girl’s live sardine was crushed by a big jack crevalle. She fought the thing for 30 minutes. It was iffy at times if she’d pull it off, but she did.
Damn fine fish for a 10 year old. 15-16 pounds from the guide’s mouth, which seems about right to me. Thing pulled like a champ.
I know the feeling. This was my biggest jack to date from Belize in 2010. We have a shared experience here now.
I got to go once… and it was amazing. That’s where I got my first adult tarpon. It was a very special trip. You could get to feel that same feeling. Yellow Dog Fly Fishing is giving away THREE free trips to fish Cuba. What an opportunity.
“This could be you! Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures will be giving away THREE (3) all-inclusive fly fishing trips to Cuba for THIS SPRING. There is no purchase required, and no strings attached.
Tune in Monday, April 17th at 9:30am MTS / 11:30am EST to hear Yellow Dog’s Director of Operations, Jim Klug, announce the start to the Cuba Fly Fishing Giveaway via Facebook Live.”
I get butterflies. Even just heading to one of my old rivers, I get excited the closer we get. I find myself clapping as if I were in the stands of a sporting event. I kind of get jazzed on this stuff. Maybe that’s why I’ve been writing the blog for as many years as I have.
I’m assembling gear (two go pros, a waterproof point and shoot and another action cam, so, the trip will be well documented) and ordering too many last minute items off Amazon and also packing my daughter, who I won’t even see until Thursday.
The flight to Belize starts off at 6:00 AM. That means I’m going to have to get my daughter up at about 4:00 AM. I’ve been trying to prepare her for that for weeks… months even. We’ll see if it works.
I’m bringing two 8 weights, a 10 weight and 1-2 spinning rods and I’m trying to remember this isn’t a fishing trip, it is a daddy-daughter adventure. This fact may be either significantly helped or hindered by news that there are some dock bonefish that come by at night. I love dock bonefish having caught 2 at El Pescador and having hooked and busted off two at Abaco Lodge. Maybe I’ll sate some of my bonefishing desires by just trying to smack one of those guys.
Just days ago I was bereft. My beloved tarpon trip died and untimely death. Too soon… too soon. So hard to lose that trip. The fishing gods seemed to have insisted on a pre-payment plan, paid in karma, over the previous Florida trips with rain, rain and more rain, and no adult tarpon landed. This was going to be the year for the payoff!
Alas… it was not to be.
So I was adrift… slightly buoyed by the fact I’ll be in Belize next week, but still a bit bummed at the dashing of Florida dreams.
But, not all is lost. The world of saltwater fly fishing, maybe even those same fishing gods, seem to give as well as take. And so it was that a new trip possibility emerged in my consciousness. I’ve managed to fish a few places, the Bahamas, Belize, Cuba and the Keys, but I have never fished the Caribbean side of Mexico. Many moons ago I used to have family (different from my current family) trips to Nuevo Vallarta and I fished from the beach there for Jacks and lookdowns and whatever else I could fool with a clouser, but I never made it over to the Yucatan with a fly rod. I really wanted to change that. If only I had some sort of guide to the fishing in the Yucatan. If only there was some sort of book that laid it all out.
Just a couple of mouse clicks later (thanks Amazon) and I was reading said guide and getting more and more convinced this is what I should do.
So… I’m going to the Yucatan. I’m going despite my almost non-existent Spanish (maybe babble.com can help there). I’m going despite not having anyone, for sure, to go with.
I’m flying in July 24 and out July 29. I’m going to be staying in Mahahual, a place I honestly had not heard of until a couple days ago. I’m going to be fishing at least one day with Nick Denbow, a guide working out of Mahahual and co-author of the above book.
If YOU want to come along, well, we could fish with Nick another day. I figure if we want to put a group together, we could do that, probably no more than 4 guys total though, some being guided, some DIY on alternating days.
I’m excited about the trip and about seeing new water in a new area.
My wife is a fluent Spanish speaker and this general area (although I hadn’t thought about going this far South before) is where I’ve been thinking we could target for future family vacations, so I’m interested in seeing what the region is like.
So, let me know if you’d like to come along. Could be fun. I’m perfectly fine to do this trip solo… that way I get all the delicious water to myself, but, ya know, always good to share the experience (and cost).
A great Belizian lodge in a great American newspaper.
The New York Times ran a piece in their travel section on El Pescador in Belize. I’ll be close to there in about a week when I’m down at Caye Caulker, but I have some fantastic memories from El Pescador including my first (only at this point) grand slam, my first (only) permit, a great trip with my friend Shane where we persevered through horrid weather and a great trip with my wife for our honeymoon.