Around 5:30am, the first rays of this morning’s light poured over the horizon, and unlike yesterday, this sunrise found us already on the boat. It’s our second of two days fishing in Belize with El Pescador Lodge and we’ve opted to get … on the water much earlier today. After our slow start yesterday, we're hoping this will give us a leg up. The confidence levels today are already much higher as we aren’t jetting in to the unknown. We’ve done this before (just once but whatever…). We’ve spotted fish, had shots, made casts, experienced euphoria and heartbreak within an instant. We’re flats anglers now…or something like that...
This morning we’re targeting tarpon again. Our guide Nestor is taking us south to an area we didn’t fish yesterday. The skiff shuttles us down a large channel and we are instructed to keep our eyes peeled toward the edge of the mangroves for rolling fish. Nestor cuts the motor and we slow abruptly. The eerie silence and calmness of the morning is reason enough to drag your self out of bed at 4:00am. Fog lifts from the water and burns off as the sun rises. I’ve noticed I quite enjoy kicking back and stopping to consider the ridiculousness of targeting fish with a fly in this endless expanse of ocean. This is one of those times.
Nestor hops up on the poling platform and starts pushing us down the edge of the channel. Andrew is on deck making blind casts while we scope for fish. For a moment it almost feels like we are trout fishing; pounding the banks; though it’s hard to feel fishy while blind casting in the ocean. As we near the end of the channel we're greeted by the fish that we had our fingers crossed for this morning. As you can imagine this gets the hearts pumping. These fish are sporadically rolling as they appear to cycle up and down mangrove “bank”. With a few casts tucked up in to the brush it’s on! A bright silver flash and the line peels off the water and goes tight. “Strip, strip, strip!” By the time either of us realizes what’s happening, the fish in pinned and going airborne; what tarpon do best. It’s a solid resident "baby" tarpon, and we’re all smiles. There’s that feeling of sweet relief as Nestor leans over the side of the boat and gets a grip on the fish. High-fives and hollers of excitement are exchanged. A memorable way to kick off our day, no doubt.
We spend the next couple of hours continuing to fish for tarpon. At a small caye we stopped by yesterday, I blow a couple of good shots at some larger fish. This has me stressing that a well-paired rod/line that you’re comfortable with is crucial in making the most of your chances. Okay, no excuses, time to jet on.
The sun is now overhead so it’s time we go hunting for some forked tails. It will be difficult though, with clouds blowing in and light fading fast. The surface of the water is also gaining texture. This combination is not ideal for spotting fish; let alone putting a fly on one. Today happens to be Mother’s Day and my mom has always done a good job teaching me that there’s no sense worrying about things I can’t control. Right now this is coming in handy. Some grumpy conditions are basically inevitable in the salt, and we’re fortunate enough to have been dealt calm weather and blue skies so far. This calls for some afternoon Belikins’ and some half-assed time standing on the deck searching. I’m not complaining. I operate best in a slower paced environment.
It’s getting late in the day and it doesn’t look like the weather is going to make any special exceptions for us; it’s about time we call it. As Nestor poles us out of the bay before turning on the motor, I’m gifted a small hole in our cloud cover. This small amount of sunshine unveils one lone fish. This mud-puppy is digging on the bottom in about two feet of water. Single or paired up bonefish tend to be larger than the schoolies, and this looks like the case. This is a one-cast situation and I put the fly right next to it’s tail. Not perfect but close enough for the fish to take notice, turn around, and beeline it to my shrimp pattern; nabbing it without hesitation! Within a split second the backing is ripping through my fingers and my 6wt is torqued. What a goat rodeo! One last surge of adrenaline for us, and suddenly our energy has resurfaced and the repose of the boat has dissolved. We boogie back to the lodge, again, all smiles.
Sound like something you would enjoy? We still have spots open in our hosted Spring 2019 trip to
El Pescador Lodge! Contact Logan or the shop for details!