This year was the forth in a row I have fished the stunning expanse of flats and mangrove islands found throughout the Sian Ka’an Biosphere on the Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. Once again the fishing was excellent though at times conditions were challenging, with a constant strong to very strong north easterly wind making accurate casting tough, and occasional clouds blocking good light to spot fish.
However such is the dynamic of the area with it’s hard white sand flats along with plenty of opportunities for finding a lee shore behind which to cast when the wind was gusting at its strongest, you are always going to get shots at fish.
When it comes to sight fishing for bonefish in skinny water The Yucatan must rank as one of the worlds great fly fisheries with plenty of bonefish, along with permit, tarpon, snook and jacks. The bonefish are typically small to medium size fish averaging around 2-3lb, but you will get daily shots at larger fish. Usually you’ll be casting at individual fish or small groups consisting of just two or three, occasionally more, so a reasonably accurate cast is necessary, which is precisely why so many anglers love sight fishing tropical flats.
I fished a total of four full days with my good friend Eduardo Gomez. Eduardo is based at Boca Paila at the once famous though sadly now deserted Boca Paila Lodge. He has fished the area for 45 years so yes, he knows it like the back of his hand. Regardless of the state or size of tide, current angle of light or strength of wind, Eduardo will always find you a fish to cast your fly at.
We saw permit on each day and I got several good shots at fish, with predictable results. On the last day we found a small permit feeding alongside a few bonefish in a sheltered bay, but despite looking at my Gotcha variant fly once or twice it refused to eat. I quickly changed to a small brown crab that produced a similar result. With the fish still hanging around and displaying a confidence that is totally unusual for the species, I changed the fly again, this time to a small white, swimming crab. First cast and the permit was confidently swimming over to investigate the fly when a group of small perch, a type of mojara, mobbed the fly and spoiled the presentation.
I cast again, and once again the permit responded and this time it beat the greedy perch to the fly, and inhaled it. I stripped the line tight and set the hook into what should have been my second permit on fly, but the 12lb tippet snapped like cotton. When I reeled in to inspect the tippet I discovered the last inch of line had been trashed by the small sharp teeth of those perch just the cast before. My next trip is to Belize in a few weeks time, a destination where I know I’ll get more shots at permit; in between targeting tarpon!
You can contact Eduardo Gomez via his son Nestor on email at: firstname.lastname@example.org Boca Paila is a short drive south of Tulum, which is under an hours drive south from Playa Del Carmen and under two hours from resorts nearer Cancun, so this is a great opportunity for indulging in a days fish during a family holiday to these popular destinations. There are many excellent small boutique hotels and guest houses at Tulum, along with many great restaurants. We stay at The Hip Hotel, two minutes from the entrance to Sian Ka’an. http://www.hiphoteltulum.com