The long dock jutting out into the Caribbean in front of El Pescador is not that different from the many, many other docks that one finds to the North of the sleepy town of San Pedro on Ambergris Cay, Belize.
There is one thing that does seem oddly appropriate about this particular dock though. There seem to be bonefish around it at pretty much all times. They usually aren’t the biggest fish, but they have a way of hanging out in the same spots time and time again. It is very common to see them cruising slowly away over the turtle grass on both the right and left sides as you walk out onto the dock. Past the casting platform they can often be seen over light patches of sand, in slightly deeper water, not 10 feet off the dock itself. The deeper the water, the less concerned the bonefish appear to be. They will mill around in the same exact spots for 20-30-60 minutes.
These fish are pretty used to people and they are hard to convince to eat a fly, as they have likely seen the vast majority of flies anglers have brought with them to El Pescador over the years.
Still… I like to throw at them. Why? Because they are there.
The first day we were there I rigged up the T&T TNT 7 wt and headed out on the dock, looking for bones. I walked down the dock and saw a little cloudy water. I walked past about 20′, turned around, cast my #8 gotcha into the cloudy water, counted to 10 and gave a strip. There was weight, angry weight on the end. Bam. First bonefish of the trip. A dock bonefish.
Pretty much, I was stoked.
One, or maybe two days later, I had walked the grass a bit in front of the lodge with no fish sighted. I walked down the dock and sure enough, there were fish over the sand, about 5 feet off the dock. They were in deeper water and I had been fishing a #8 gotcha, so I switched to a #4 Peterson’s Spawning Shrimp, something that would get down faster. I walked past the fish, turned back and cast. I counted to 4 or 5 and pulled and the first strip found a fish.
Second dock fish. Bam.
Another day, while the Mrs. had some casting lessons I was casting around the margins and hooked a little snapper. As I turned to tell the wife that I had a fish on a smaller (2.5′ or so) cuda smashed the snapper, staying connected to the fly for a little while before cutting the line. That was fun, but that was the end of dock productivity.
I love that dock.
- Unique Post
A similar situation exists on a white sand flat near Harbor Island, Bahamas.
On the rising tide, sure as the tide, a schools containing hundreds of small bones surge on the snad with tails waging, looking like a fleet of minatures sails on a shallow sea. They too have been presented flies daily for the past twenty years and are wary. But, you throw at em because they are there.
Had a similar experience over labor day in front of a little b&b in between Islamorada and Marathon. There was a little jetty leading into a dug out boat launch built up with concrete walls. On every incoming tide I witnessed 3 – 4 schools (about 10 – 15 fish per school, averaging 2 – 3 lb fish I would guess) come blazing around the jetty at about 50 mph , kicking up awesome little wakes , and then charge into the little launch area and mud it to hell. They seemed very aware of human proximity and wanted nothing to do with the assortment of feathers and yarn I tossed there way, over .. and over.. again… Nice to see so many bones in one place in the keys though!