Choices were made in the late summer of 2011.
By early November my wife and I were both grabbing after resources that we assume will be fleeting. She booked a trip which she assumes will be her last for a while to photograph in Mexico. Seeing the opportunity to tag along and the possibility of spending up the last of our disposable income I considered booking a week long trip but made the responsible decision and cut it back to a day, and that was all I needed...
This was my first and some times feels like may be last mid winter trip to the tropics. Mrs. Tops had been in country for two weeks. I flew into Cancun and spent a night on the outskirts of town.
First time to Mexico
I left this
and arrived to this
and then I truly arrived
After lunch I reorganized my gear and did a little fishing
It was pretty surreal wet wading and casting flies in January
I got a bag of chips and a beer for dinner and paid less than $2 for it, ate at the bus stop across the street from my hotel and turned in early for my 4:30am departure for the fishing grounds. Not much night life going on around here anyway
After some input from some Drakians I decided to fish with Pesca Maya. They have a pretty good deal where they pick you up at your hotel, give you breakfast, pole you around all day, beers back at the lodge and then run you back.
Anyone who has been down to Ascension Bay knows the road it is unavoidable and not fun. Sleep was not happening and I think I lost most of my fillings. but the scenery was pretty great once the sun came up.
After breakfast I met my guide and assistant and rigged the rods.
Before I left I was questioning how much gear I was bringing but was really happy to have three rods, each rigged for a different quarry, bonefish, permit, and tarpon/snook. I tied enough flies for a two week trip to the back country but that was all part of the fun of the preparation. And I really put most of it to use, well except for the flies. Out of close to 60 flies I tied I think I used a total of 5.
With in minutes of getting on the boat, literally minutes, we motored no more than 200yds from the dock before the guide got up on the platform. I had two refusals from the first fish and then, off the starboard side the guide spotted the first permit about 40 ft at 2 o'clock. The assistant quickly handed me the permit rig but I had the line tangled around the rod and missed my first shot. I didn't get the week knees but my heart was definitely thumping.
We continued back down the shore line. I had another refusal and we changed flies for one a little heavier and it was game on. a school of 5 or 6 fish came cruising along and the smallest in the pack pounced on my fly. A little disappointing for my first bonefish but hey
I landed two or three more then the guide said in a loud whisper,
" Neeck, get your shoes on. Permeet."
150' feet off our 1:00 there were three sickle tails wagging about in the air. Thats when my heart really started thumping.
The guide and I slipped into the water while the assistant got on the platform to keep an eye on the fish. We made our way quickly and quietly towards them until we were with in range. My first shot was short but as I was stripping it back the line came tight and stopped. I thought I was hung up but it turned out to be a nice bone (much larger than the first) was in the mix with the perms. As instructed I put the wood to him and cranked him in with out letting him ever take off. The guide popped the fly off in the fish, retied and we were back in the hunt.
The fish were still feeding heavily harassing crabs and not paying attention to much else. Couldn't really ask for better conditions for a beginner permit angler. On my third shot into the school I got a good follow. After a long pause and a few quick hops I came tight. It took him a while to realize that he had been stuck but once he did, was almost immediately into the backing. Bringing him in was not as hard as some other fish I'd fought. He made a few decent runs but bringing him to hand was near impossible. We had him with in 20' of us for the majority of the fight and the guide got a hand on him at least three times before he finally relented.
This is all within the first hour of my first day of flats fishing in the tropics, mind you. To say that I was stoked is a bit of an understatement.
There was nothing left to do but go for the slam. We motored around to a point of mangroves were the guide keeps a few pet snook, and they were home.
*(full disclosure I did not hook this guy in the month. False hooked in the side of the face, So I don't really count the slam but the guide didn't care, it was a slam in his book)
A *Grand Slam with in the first hour and a half of fishing. Huh. yeah. well, let's go see if we can find some tarpon. On the way to the Caribbean side I lined a few tailing bones and that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the day.
We found a couple laid up juvis but they weren't eating what I was feeding them. Then poled the shore line looking for rollers with no luck.
So we headed back into the bay and started looking for more perms and bones. We spooked a huge permit going through the channel into a lagoon.
I had a few more shots a bones and landed a couple but mostly fucked up, lined fish, blew shots and pissed off my guide.
"Are you even seeing the feesh!?!?"
I did manage to boat a couple right before lunch but that was pretty much it for the day
Right around lunch the wind really kicked up and the clouds covered the sun. After eating we poled miles of shore line looking for more snook (what the guide fishes for on his days off), using the back drop of the mangroves to cut out the glare. We spooked a couple of perms but never saw them. I blew a shot a 20lb snook because my line was completely wrapped around the rod. I was able to feed one more snook but popped him off at the boat so maybe the slam counts...
So over all I had a most excellent day although it was a bit frustrating having climaxed with in the first hour funny I've never had that problem before.
And now I'm pretty sure I want to move to south FLA.
Not sure whether to bore you with reunion and remainder of the vacation with Mrs. Tops so I'll just include some fotos
Mayan ruins. Was unaware that the Mayans developed rebar
Best street food of the trip. Jicama with dried chili slat and lime
Beach dog buddies rule
Did a little surf fishing but got skunked and wished I had a stripping basket. Those rocks are line grabbers for real. And with all those flies I didn't bring the right ones for this environment.
foot protection is a must
Public safety. not a big concern