We woke up the last morning at El Pescador knowing the clock was running down. We had to be back and packed by 11:45 before we took the boat to San Padro, flight to Belize City and then to Dallas before we’d go separate ways. Since it was 5:00 AM, we still had some quality fishing time to get after and that’s what we did.
We got the canoe out in the lagoon and hit our favorite spot from the first DIY day. When we got there the water was glassy smooth and, as you might expect, there were a few tails working, easily spotted from a couple hundred feet. It was a nice scenario for our last day.
I got to the tails first and managed the first fish of the morning, which was nice. Unlike the last time we had fished this spot we didn’t find large schools of fish, but smaller groups. Shane stuck a couple more and then we moved.
In the transition the weather started to change… up came some wind, in came cloud cover and the threat of rain. We came upon a clearing between mangrove chutes that looked pretty good. Shallow. Good bottom. Spooking fish as we paddles. We tied up the canoe and went to work.
Here, Shane managed one of the better Belizean bonefish we saw. It was a single, cruising the edge of the mangroves. Shane pulled some ninja stalking techniques out and the fish ate.
Shane really came into his own here… seeing fish I couldn’t see and then casting to them and catching them. I walked through the muck to get to another spot and managed to have a decent bonefish come unbuttoned. I also managed to have THREE mojarra beat bonefish to flies… damn mojarra. I managed a couple more bonefish, included one small enough to make me think I was fishing a creek back home.
Shane ended up catching something like 15 bonefish just that morning before we paddled back. I caught three. This bit of ass-kickery kind of illustrated exactly how much the Grand Slam from the day before was up to fate and luck as opposed to skill. I knew I wasn’t as good an angler as Shane and this re-enforced that belief. The guy can flat out fish.
Soon we were paddling back across the little lagoon, wind in our face. We made it back with plenty of time for showers and lunch. While Shane was eating lunch I took 15 feet of tippet and a small velcro crab out to the dock. I had a hunch I wanted to test out about those dock bonefish. I managed to convince a little snapper to eat the crab and then I saw a little school of 5 or so bonefish. With the wind to my back I tossed in the crab. One bonefish came right up to the little fly and ate it. I tried to set the hook, lifting the head of the bonefish up, but the hook simply came right out. Damn, I thought… that would have been a good end to the trip!
The trip had been a good one… a great one even. I had caught my first ever permit and my first ever tarpon in a magical day that had landed me a Grand Slam. I had caught my largest fish to date… a 25 pound Jack. I had caught many smaller bonefish to add to my overall bonefish knowledge for future bonefish trips. We had fished through crappy weather and good weather and some tense times with Katchu and fun times with Katchu. I had shared the trip with a good friend in a kind of magical place.
I hadn’t caught as many bonefish as I had really thought I would, but then I hadn’t figured on chasing permit and a day on the tarpon flats, which were both great experiences.
Thank you El Pescador for having us. You have a special place and a special fishery.