24
Apr 17

Dock fish

Oh dock fish… I could never be mad at you.

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.

Thank you dock. I miss you.


23
Apr 17

The plus and minus from Spring Break 2017 – Caye Caulker, Belize

Here’s the score card from Spring Break, Caye Caulker, Belize

We’ll start with the Negatives:

  1. The one guided day coincided with the worst weather of the stay. Big rains and winds made the day a pretty short one for fly fishing and really tough looking for tarpon.
  2. The first night we were there happened to overlap with Easter celebrations at The Split. That meant loud music thumping until a little past 2:00 AM.
  3. I did not manage to knowingly cast at a tarpon.
  4. My daughter did not manage to catch anything on a fly rod.
  5. My daughter managed to lose her flip flops on the second day of the trip.

The Positives:

  1. We didn’t notice my daughter lost her flip flops because there was no reason to wear shoes of any kind until we were leaving.
  2. I had a perfect moment on the guided fly fishing day for a nice snook before the rains took over.
  3. My daughter smacked a really nice Jack for biggest fish of the trip.
  4. My daughter got to reel in a nice cuda, caught on bait, for the second biggest fish of the trip.
  5. My daughter was the Puffer Fish Queen, catching dozens off the beach at night just using a cup.
  6. The dock provided… I managed several bonefish off the Sea Dreams dock in the morning and evening, including one that was a legit 3-4 pounds.
  7. Sea Dreams staff were really, really nice.
  8. Met some really nice people who were staying there.
  9. The day AFTER the rain, we had absolutely perfect weather for a half-day of bait fishing and caught fish after fish after fish.
  10. The food was good and cheap on Caye Caulker.
  11. So was the beer.
  12. We did manage to SEE tarpon, in a canoe, at the spot where you can feed them.
  13. I managed a few jacks from the dock as well in the evening.
  14. The snorkeling was really, really great.
  15. When my bag got misplaced on the water taxi the assured me it would be found and returned and it was.
  16. They let my daughter sail the boat for a bit on the way back after snorkeling.

My Belize Snook

What a good day for fishing looks like.

Nice cuda.

Awesome

Nice Belize Dock Bonefish

Bonus – A crab, we named Mr. Brown, came to visit from the septic system, which was a pretty good hoot (this was not normal and you should not expect this on your trip).

We named him Mr. Brown

 


22
Apr 17

Belize Spring Break 2017

 

The girl stuck this big jack on some live bait.

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.

A not-small Jack from Belize.


12
Apr 17

Belize getting really close

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.

It is going to be a great trip.

 


10
Apr 17

Culling

Oh man… so many of these things need to be retired. So many more need to be tied. Maybe I don’t need to tie anything for Belize (I don’t, I’m sorted there), but for the Yucatan I’m going to need some different flies (like, flies with lead eyes, which I have found zero use for when casting to bonefish in 12 inches of non-tidal-action water).

I dig my boxes. There’s some serious time invested in there.


10
Apr 17

7 years

Facebook memories… gotta love ’em.

This picture popped up today letting me know this scene played out seven years ago. This was in Nuevo Vallarta on the beach watching the sunset with my then three year old daughter.

On Saturday I’ll be taking my now ten year old daughter on a daddy-daughter trip to Belize (Caye Caulker).

It feels like I’m doing something right.


08
Apr 17

El Pescador in the New York Times

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.

Check out the story here. 

Honeymooners, Belize, 2012.


03
Apr 17

Slam the Flats – El Pescador

Check out the video here. I can’t embed it, you have to go to the website to see the video, but it is well done and it features El Pescador in Belize, one of my favorite places.

Love this place.


02
Apr 17

Two weeks from today

In two weeks I’ll be in Belize with my 10 year old for a daddy-daughter Spring Break. There probably won’t be fishing this day, but there probably WILL be snorkeling and seeing sharks and jacks and all manner of cool fish. The fishing will be the last two days of the trip, although, knowing me, I might get a little bit of fishing in before that.

Belize… I’ve been twice before. Once in 2010 to El Pescador for a trip that produced my Grand Slam with my friend Shane. The last time was in 2012 for my honeymoon, again to El Pescador.

This time I’m headed to Caye Caulker, which is, admittedly, not that far from Ambergris Caye, so I’m not spreading my wings too far.

Two weeks out, I need to put my gear together and get all my daughter’s stuff packed (I wont’ have her again until the day before we leave). I need to sort out my fly situation and put the spinning gear together, make sure I have what we need. I need to find some travel-sized sun screen. I’m getting excited, but I also have a mountain of work to do between now and then.

It will be here before I know it and I am going to need to soak up the time there with my girl. If this goes well, maybe we go back next year. Hoping at 11 she’ll still want to go hang out with her dad. We’ll see.


19
Mar 17

27 days to Belize

The sand in the hourglass no longer looks so daunting. This trip is going to happen.

Just a few weekends left to get things sorted out, but I think I’m mostly ready for Belize.

I did have one little setback earlier in the week. Mainly, a no-contact injury in my 40+ indoor soccer league. Looks like a partially ruptured left calf, an injury I’m familiar with having tired it out on my right calf a couple years ago. Good news is I’m already up and walking on it, almost without a limp. Should be fine in a couple weeks.

Speaking of legs and feet and whatnot, I also picked up a pair of the Simms Zipit II flats booties. I have had Patagonia boots for the flats for a long time, but 1. those either need to be replaced or repaired, and 2. they take up a lot of room when packings (I wear a 14). So, I decided to try out something different. The soul here seems thick enough to stand up to the odd urchin or jagged shell and they should be lighter and smaller when packing. We’ll see how it goes.

I’ve been at the vice a little bit, although not enough. Tying up some #6-8’s, with weed guards, for the bones and I haven’t decided what I need to try and whip up for baby tarpon yet… likely something bunny-ish.

The count down continues. Looking forward to it all.