Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Salt For Steelhead?

The muggy air caused every pore in my body to open and spit as we stepped outside. It was also a soothing break for my bone-dry eyes which had just endured 8 hours of recycled, fart filled airplane air. Yea baby, we are no longer in Kansas and there probably isn't a steelhead within 2000 miles. But we were in Mexico and on a quest for another chrome fish, Tarpon and the possibility of a slam.

We were hurried into a shuttle to head off to the place we would call home for the next few days. Before we even departed from the airport we were questioned by one of our shuttle-mates repeatedly about our plans. You know the type, the ones who can't stop talking. This guy had a very close vocal resemblance to Zed (Bobcat Goldthwait) from Police Academy. His voice almost cracking as he released his excited words in an not quite yelling but not quite talking voice. He even pulled out a bank wrapped wad of 100 one dollar bills, explaining that " this is the only way to go in Mexico....tip with lots of singles and you can get anything you want here!" I would have paid at least and extra $20 to be the next ones off the shuttle but our fate was sealed. We got to spend the following half-hour hearing about all his previous travels and his plans while in Cancun.

Once we arrived at our abode (The Blue Bay Club), checked in, cranked the AC, and got our first cervasa we were finally at ease. Now only a single res less night lay between us and some stalking on the flats (a few more cervasa and a good Cuban cigar made quick work of the evening).

The first morning started off with a short boat ride from the marina. The channel inlet into the lagoon area was like something out of a movie. Apocalypse Now flashed through my mind as we turned the first corner and got a view of the thick green vegetation surrounding the channel and lagoon. I was even so in ah that I didn't even reach for the camera.

We began by casting into the numerous holes along the edges of the mangroves. Because the water in this lagoon was quite deep we were pretty much blind casting to areas that looked good or to the rings left by a fish that had rolled. The entire time that we were back in this area fish were rolling back up in the mangroves and along their edges. The casting was somewhat tight and the gaps we were aiming for were sometimes only a foot or two wide with overhanging branches! We jumped a number of fish but most made one jump and then headed straight for the mangroves which caused one of two outcomes; a break-off or the fish coming unbuttoned. We did land one nice Snook.

The balance of the first day we spent outside of the mangroves on the flats. We had a few shots at some Bones and Permit but no fish to hand. A front also moved in and brought with it a good dose of wind and some heavy chop.

Day 2 was a complete bust as the winds were very high. In addition to the heavy chop it also caused very significant changes to the tides. The areas we attempted to fish for tarpon were quite high and it was our guides thought that most of the fish were back up in the groves instead of cruising on the edges.

The third day began with a beautiful sunrise and very light winds. 'Time to make up for yesterday' was running through my head as we tootled out through the marina. And it just so happened that was exactly what lay ahead of us.

We covered a few flats searching for the Bones and Permit. We did see three or four schools of bones but they were all on the move. We also came across a few Permit but just like the bones they were completely on the move. The next few hours we spend back up in a series of lagoons and channels sight casting to Tarpon and the action was unbelievable and almost non stop. This is what we had come for and we got our fair share. There is something sweet about spotting, casting to, and leading a fish until your fly disappears into the mouth of a crazy, pissed off Tarpon. A millisecond later the fish 5 feet out of the water thrashing. I have yet to experience anything else like it.

This trip was put together by Keith Kaneko of Angling On The Fly. Kieth has numerous destinations around the world that are all top notch. If you are considering a destination please give Keith a call as I am sure he will have something that will far exceed your expectations.