Well I will be heading down to Mexico in July for a family vacation at the Barcelo Maya Beach Resort. My wife graciously has agreed for me to charter a flats fishing trip to Ascension Bay for bonefish, snook, permit, and baby tarpon. The problem if it is one is that I can cast a freshwater fly without an issue but have never fished saltwater flats in my life! You are responsible for furnishing your own flys but they have rods for you to use. I am getting an 8wt here sonn after I return home from overseas. Problem is that I won't have much time to practice with the new rod at all. So I have some questions:
1. What should I expect and how tough would it be for a beginner saltwater flysiherman? I think I could get the hang of it pretty easy.
2. What flys would work best, I have found a fly packs that our based on your destination at Black Fly Outfitters:
3. Should I even bother bringing my rod? I was thinking about brinign it just to mess around with while at the resort to see what would bite. The problem is that it won't have saltwater specfic line on it, although I am not really sure whether this is a necessity. I would get appropriate saltwater leaders.
Thanks for your time and this is my first post. I have been reading a lot but this is the first post.
Casting a salt rod is hard for some, and easy for others. I learned on an 8wt, and my background makes handling it easy. Focus on being able to hit targets quickly within 50', and you'll be able to catch fish. Throw some frisbee's out randomly in a field, and practice hitting the targets quick.
Quickly= two false casts.
You'll almost definitely have some wind to deal with, so intentionally practicing when its windy would be wise.
Those fly pkgs aren't rock bottom prices, but Vaughn sells good stuff, and they're very precisely assembled for specific locations. The Pesca Maya kit is designed exactly for where you're going, and has some tarpon flies thrown in as well. If you want something cheaper and just flies for an 8wt, the Bonefish kit should do nicely.
I fished Ascension Bay (out of Pesca Maya) two years ago and Turneffe Flats this year. 8 & 9 wts. are the rods of choice in both locations; which are not really that different. Cliff is right, you will be casting with wind; sometimes a lot of it. The week that we were in Belize, it blew a steady 20 knots day and night. it was great fishing, but you had to get used to the wind.
Overlining was popular at Turneffe; 8 wt. rods with a 9 wt. line and 9 wt. rods with a 10 wt. line. (I know that Cliff isn't liking this post!); but it helped me to deal successfully with the wind. I actually overlined a very stiff 7 wt. rod (Sage TCX) with 9 wt. line and found that the rod weight matched well with the size of the fish and the line weight got me through the wind.
You do want a saltwater line to deal successfully with the heat; I use a floating line (Scientific Anglers Bonefish) and it has performed well for me.
Get ready for a rough 20 mile ride (no, I don't mean a roughly 20 mile ride, I mean a rough 20 mile ride!) across Ascension Bay to get to the flats! Fishing is great - you'll have a blast!
While I'm generally opposed to overlining, I'm more opposed to not catching fish due to tackle issues. Overlining by one can be a great way to get the line out there quicker by flexing the rod more deeply. (I still say tighter loops beat wind better than heavier lines though)
One last point, the "Saltwater" model lines from both SA and RIO are both not built for tropical heat. You'll want to pick a "Bonefish" line, or one with "tropical" in the title.
Thanks guys that really helps me out, I think I can pick up using an 8 weight pretty easily by adjusting my rhythme some. I am not necessarily a novice ot flyfishing but definitely a novice to a the higher weight lines. Money for the flies isn't an issue if they will help me catch fish! I will pick up a bonefish line while I am at it with a good 30 pound backing. The eight weight that I am getting is not a saltwater rod but I think it can handle it, maybe not we will see. It is a custom rod built on a rainshadow blank. Supposed to be great for steelhead and a larger rod for river smallmouth. I plan on throwing an Allen Alpha Reel on it with a 9 weight line. So overlining was what I was going to do as well, sorry Cliff!
Pocono I saw your report on Belize and that was my inspiration for a taking a day to fish the flats! Do you guys recommend a guide down there? I emaild Tom Martin but haven't got a response. I may try calling him as well.
Yes, I do recommend a guide. They can spot fish that you simply can't see. Maybe it's me, but I catch a lot more fish when I'm on the flats with a guide than when I decide to go it alone.
If you're having any issues with guides, boats, reservations, etc., then I suggest that you try "Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures". They'll pick you up at your hotel in the morning and drop you back there at night. In Mexico, they operate from Cancun all the way down to Tulum and out onto the Boca Paila, which is where you'll go to access Ascension Bay. You have to go into the Si'an Kaan Biosphere (a huge national park) in order to get close to the flats. They'll have gear, flies, boats, guides, lunch, drinks and lots of good advice. I haven't used them myself, but I've heard nothing but good things about them. Here's their link, in case you don't have it already.
One more thing, they have what they call "sea lice" in Ascension Bay; they're jellyfish larvae and they attach to you legs while you're wading, bite and sting. There's a product on the market called "Sea Safe", that's effective in keeping them off your legs. It goes on like a sunblock, is clear and comes off easily with soap and water.
Think Bonefish and Permit; that's what you'll see the most of. Good luck on the Permit; I'm still 0 for about 100 on that species!
Thanks Pocono its great to get advice from someone that has done it before! I will definitely get some sea safe as the biting and stinging does not sound like fun!
I tied contacting Yellow Dog and did not get an email response, yet. So I may try calling their number and going from there. I also contacted Tom Martin at Pescamaya and just contacted Pesca Maya Fishing Lodge. No responses from anyone yet but it only has been a day or so, minutes in the case of the Pesca Maya Lodge.
Do you guys think it is a good idea to take the 8wt. I described above down with me? It isn't a purpose built salt rod but it is a fast action and was built with Steelhead in mind.
Well I got back and had an email from Pesca Maya Lodge waiting for me. They had one day during our vacation open and I took it! Looks like I will be fishing Ascension Bay July 19th! I believe this the same lodge that Yellow Dog Outfitters sets you up with but I am not positive. They provide a rod and I still might bring my own! Wife is not keen on that idea but I might overule her. She doesn't want me spending money on Saltwater line and leaders and stuff.
I think that you made a good choice with Pesca Maya and, yes, they are one of the lodges that Yellow Dog uses.
No other advice from me.
But, you can forget about taking flies with you. Pesca Maya will have all of the flies that you need. And, since you'll be getting a guide, he'll have his preferred flies that he'll want you to fish anyway. if you feel absolutely "naked" without your own flies, then go ahead and get the best deal that you can. But at Pesca Maya, you won't need them.
You also won't need your rod. They have plenty of gear designed to fish the conditions in Ascension Bay. I'd advise that you reserve your set-up ahead of time, just to be sure that they don't run out. But when we were there, they had plenty of gear because all of the lodge guests had brought their own rods/reels with them (usually multiple rods and multiple reels).
Have your wife come down with you and she can spend the day touring the Si'an Kaan Biosphere. The wildlife is worth seeing. I think that Pesca Maya can arrange for a tour for her. It's an interesting place to visit, as well as a great place to fish.
This will be a "spoiling" experience for you - you will return!
Thanks for the tips Pocono! I am very exvcited and I think I will just leave my rod and reel at home. I hope to get spoiled! I will pick up a selection and then get some of the guide's favorite fly while I am down there. I was afraid that they would jack up the cost of the flies at the lodge since you have no other options. Good tip on reserving a rod! I told them I wanted a fly fishing rod and a spinning rod for my wife. But I think the Biosphere tour is an excellent suggestion as she doesn't enjoy small boats. She can swim well, I don't understand it.