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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's another "warm water" report.

Last week I was in Mexico on my first successful bonefish trip. I have been on two other bonefish trips over the years neither of which resulted in catching a bonefish - but that is another rather long dissertation in itself. This was a trip put together through one of the local fly shops here in Fort Collins. I was one of 12 on the trip which included the shop owner who has been doing this trip for 12 years. The lodge we stayed at was Pesca Maya.



The lodge is located on the Caribbean and is a four minute walk to Ascencion Bay on the other side of the peninsula; in the Si'an Kaan International Biosphere Reserve about 2 miles north of Punta Allen at the southern end of the peninsula. While the weather was great for tourists, it was not particularly good for fishing the flats. While it was warm, generally running in the upper 70's; we had a pretty stiff north wind all but one day and a lot of cloud cover most days which made spotting fish difficult and a lot of the time virtually impossible.

We fished out of locally made 23' pangas, which I found to be a very stable and dry ride. We would meet our guides at the dock each morning about 7:45 and head out. The shot shows Barry my partner for the week and Manuel our guide putting our rods in the holders.



Weather wise the first day was the best with lots of sun and air temps around 82. It was a 45 minute boat ride across the Bay to the flats the guides preferred to fish. Barry started wading with Rueben, the guide's assistant, while I went with Manuel. I missed the first bone we saw as it spooked while I was casting. A few minutes later Manuel spotted two bones heading towards us about 80' away. He directed me where to cast as I did not see the fish until just before it hit my fly.

As this was the first bonefish I'd ever hooked; I was amazed to watch my entire fly line and about 25' of backing just disappear from the reel. I got what turned out to be my largest bonefish of the day, about 16".





The rest of the morning went about the same, with me spooking way more fish than I actually got my fly in front of! Barry did about the same. By lunch I had landed 2 of 3 bones hooked, Barry had missed one. The afternoon went a bit better and I wound up with a dozen bones and two blue runners, while Barry landed two bones and a jack.

One problem became immediately apparent the first day. Our guide had a different idea of distance than either me or Barry. In fact just about everyone else on the trip said the same thing about their guides. Part of the reason I had such a hard time spotting the fish the guide was pointing out was when he said 10:00 - 50' that is where I looked while the fish were actually another 20' to 25' further out. Once I added about 20' to the guides distance estimation I started seeing more fish.

Over the course of the week we primarily fished for bones which averaged 14"/15". We did see some larger fish which looked as though they might go to 24" and 4 to 5 lbs. but we never hooked any of those. My best bone was 20", with several I landed in the 17" to 20" range.





Over the course of the week, I did get a couple of chances at tarpon. We saw about a dozen ranging in size from 24" to about 54". Mostly they were way back under the mangroves. I kept trying to skip my fly several feet back under the mangroves and did manage to put a fly in front of a tarpon several times. Unfortunately, all I got were two brief, half hearted follows but no hit.

We also spent an hour one afternoon trying for permit. We came across a school with a mix of bones and permit. They were in a large, deeper "pot hole" in the otherwise shallow flat. They kept cruising back and forth in the pot hole but were either not interested in our flies; or the jacks and snappers were just more aggressive. All I got were a couple of yellowtail snappers and something that hit and cut my line.

Whenever the wind or clouds just got to bad, our guide would resort to trolling for barracuda. He did not believe you could sight cast to a barracuda and strip fast enough to get one interested. Well I surprised him on one 4' barracuda by casting to it numerous times before I provoked a strike. Unfortunately, I did not land that one. It took a couple of fish to figure out what was happening. I was using a #17 surflon bite tippet attached by a loop to loop to my leader. The wire was so fine it actually sliced through the leader if to much pressure was applied by the fish. Over the course of the week I landed a half dozen barracuda from 20" to 32" from the boat. I also managed a barracuda in the surf one evening in front of the lodge while blind casting without a bit tippet.





Over the course of the week, I landed about three dozen bones, seven barracuda, a dozen or so mixed snappers and jacks, and with 10 minutes left to fish Friday afternoon our last day, I caught my first permit. It wasn't very big at only 9" or so but you got to start somewhere.

Some of the notable catches made by others in the group; two women fishing together got 6 permit one afternoon, a baby tarpon was "boated" it was not hooked and actually jumped into the boat when it was spooked in a mangrove tunnel, a 4' crocodile was cast to, hooked and boated, and one boat had a 62 bonefish day by finding a school of fish in deeper water, anchoring and casting to that school all day.

It was a great trip, can't wait to go back. While in Mexico in snowed 10" in Fort Collins and a fair amount of that was still on the ground when I got home Saturday night.



Guy
 

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Awesome report Guy! Congrats on all the catching, especially the first bonefish.

Thanks for the cool pics too.

David
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I retired from Montgomery Co. Gov'n't 2 1/2 years ago, left the traffic of D. C. and moved out here to Ft. Collins. I basically spend my time trout fishing, hiking, dable in photography, cross country and downhill skiing or snow shoeing during the winter.

Guy
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The trout fishing here in northern Colorado is considerably different than it was back in the Mid-Atlantic. Trout fishing in MD was frequently; get up early to get a good spot on the stream and fish over heavily pressured fish on crowded streams; with an average day being a catch rate of 1 or 2 fish per hour - except on the wild brookie streams where the catch rate was much better.

Here in Ft. Collins, I get up, have breakfast, read several papers on the internet and generally head out to fish the Poudre or Big Thompson around 9 or 10. I'll break for lunch around 1 and fish until 3 or 4. During the time actually spent fishing I will average 4 to 5 fish per hour landed. The average size of the wild browns and rainbows will be in the 12" to 13" range. Then there are the smaller brookie and cutthroat streams where the catch rates are frequently just plain silly.

Within a 2 to 3 hour drive are a number of waters where trout up into the 16" to 18" size range can be caught, but those tend to be all day trips and some of those locations can get a bit crowded - especially on weekends.

All in all, the trout fishing here is pretty darn good.

Guy
 

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Here in Ft. Collins, I get up, have breakfast, read several papers on the internet and generally head out to fish the Poudre or Big Thompson around 9 or 10. I'll break for lunch around 1 and fish until 3 or 4. During the time actually spent fishing I will average 4 to 5 fish per hour landed. The average size of the wild browns and rainbows will be in the 12" to 13" range. Then there are the smaller brookie and cutthroat streams where the catch rates are frequently just plain silly.
OK...Now you're just rubbing it in. ;)
 

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Darn Guy, you old retired guys have all the Fun:)) Nice trip and photos! I got two more years and I’m out the door! I’ll wave as I pass thru Colorado on my way to Montana.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Chris,
I was just answering the man's question.:D

Ken,
Don't just wave as you go through Colorado, stop by and I'll show you and Dianne some of the fishing around here.

Guy
 
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