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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Central Texas

    Default All-Inclusive Adventures

    Ok, here's my latest report, from last week in the Mayan Riviera.

    I was wary of staying at an all-inclusive, but the wife was fairly adamant about wanting to minimize fuss and stress, and maximize relaxation. Having been to the Yucatan well over a dozen times – as a child with my adventurous parents, as a student on the cheap, as a solo saltwater addict, and now as a father-husband – the all-inclusive scene just isn't my style. I'm open minded. Don't knock it 'til you try it, right?

    I did my armchair fishing research of the area, Xpu-ha, and since I'm doing a 7-day tarpon trip on the Campechean side of the peninsula in August, I figured I'd forego a guided trip this time, focus mostly on the family side, and just surf fish in the mornings.

    Sure enough, we show up and the all inclusive screwed up our reservation, and were juicing us heavily for our 5yo daughter. Not cool. We filled out all our names, ages, and info when we registered, and I called twice to confirm reservation and airport shuttle. Not cool. I've played a lot of games in Mexico, and paid my fair share of gringo tax in the process, but I'm not playing this game.

    As we recede to regroup, a large group of disgruntled guests, overhearing our experience, shares their less than fortunate experiences. That solidifies it. We're out. No gracias, amigo. No nos vemos. Nos vamos. We're out. My wife pulls a rabbit out of her social hat (from her last girls' trip to the area), and we lined up a room for that night in Tulum, from which we can re-assess our next move. Taxi!

    Teetotum on the thoroughfare from Tulum Centro, to the Tulum beach zone, were fabulous hosts with excellent food. We were miraculously able to line up a stay at El Paraiso, a place that my Tio Hector introduced me to over 25 years ago, and one of the places we stayed on our honeymoon. Anyway, long story short, what's a trip to Mexico without some adventure? Pff. Hard to find real, quality adventure in an all-inclusive anyway. On to the fishing!

    Forecast was a bit foreboding, but the first day on the beach I quickly saw bonefish cruising around in the surf! It was low tide, but sun was shining, and people were out in force. I had to walk a ways to find a patch where I could legal-ish-ly fish, 200-250m from swimmers. The waters were absolutely crystal clear, but there was enough sargasso to make blind-casting a fool's errand, so you had to play the in-close sight-cast game. That made for spooky bones, so I only really ended up with a dozen or so real opportunities at a decent presentation. The surf made it difficult to dial in what I know to be a good flats presentation, in the dynamic surf. No takers.

    Between the pinche sargasso, swimmers, tides, winds, rain, and sun, the fishing planets would not re-align favorably for the next few days, and no eyes on any fish. Wife presses me to go fishing for a few hours (love emoji), so I bolt down to Boca Paila in the rental car to catch the end of a falling tide. The road has improved, and I make it to the bridge in record time. Talked to a chap from Colorado, looking super hungover, as I rig up. Wasn't sure if he was going to make it out to fish or not.

    I don't have much time, so I book it out to the mouth, and a pair of gringos are stationed on the hotseat working it, mercilessly double-hauling & mad-stripping a 10wt, so I make my way down the beach blind casting, hawk-stalking. Nada. Twist my ankle in a little depression / gut lip, but it's not bad. Power on. I return to the mouth, and wave over to the gringos, they oblige and I walk out for some conversation. They were super nice, and turns out one guy is a guide, Rhett, who co-wrote "FlyFishing the Yucatan". There's a G&G article pimping the book, which I just bought on Amazon, but haven't read too far into it yet.

    Steve, the client, said he's about worn out, and their luck/action was waning (2 nice jacks to hand, and lost a big one) so they graciously offered up the spot, while they retired to the beached lawn chairs and soft yeti before later working up the beach. I tried my luck with nothing to show, with both floating and sinking lines. Worked my way up the canal, but with threatening storms, a host of boat traffic (ff'g and eco-tours), and a ticking clock, I called it quits. Back on the bridge, while watching the crocs, I had time to use some of my Mayan phrases with the locals to great effect. They responded in kind and, man, did I get schooled! It was great - learned how to say "fishing" and a few other words and phrases in Maya. Queue thunderstorm, and a hasty retreat.

    When it rained, we toured a great "dry" cave system at Aktun Chen. Back at the hotel, I fished when I could, and day before we left, at sunrise, the conditions looked passable. Max high tide, manageable sargasso, medium winds. Slapped on the 200gr sinker, and went to work. Years ago I got a lesson in surf fishing from guide Scott Donaghue, in San Diego, so I put that knowledge to work reading the flows and subsurface, focusing on the holes - so much easier with clear waters. I wasn't seeing any bonefish, and no action beyond the breakers, but it was cloudy and the waters were rougher. In the deeper pockets the water was calmer, more turquoise, less churn, and that's where I found the pompano. That day I landed about a dozen.

    The next day was our last, with departure from the hotel at high noon. I packed as much of baggage as I could the night before, and started out after a quick sunrise breakfast. Of course, being the day we had to leave, the wind and sargasso was as light as I'd seen all trip. As I worked down the beach at peak high tide, I was finding more and more pompano in the holes. Finally, in the last two holes, I hit the jackpot. Cast after cast, BAM! Back-to-back-to-back... Many times as soon as the fly would hit the incoming wave. They must have been riding the crest of the waves, immediately pouncing on and chomping whatever got churned up. What a blast! After about an hour and a half, and 40-odd pompano, my fingers were raw, and I had to call it quits. I brought a few finger-protectors, but did I remember to wear them?!? Rinse gear, throw the luggage in the car, and make like MJ and beat it to the airport.

    Can't wait for Campeche tarpon in August!
    Last edited by wf0; 05-05-2017 at 12:13 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    City of Angels, CA

    Default Re: All-Inclusive Adventures

    Excellent report.

    My parents were born in Merida, and we used to take yearly trips during the summer and have the opportunity to able to visit the entire peninsula (from Campeche all the way to Belize) for 15 years.

    I haven't been back in over 15 years. As my siblings and I grew up, being 'forced' to visit family in Yucatan was no longer a thing, and I began exploring new places in the US by myself and with friends.

    Both grandparents on my mom and dad's side spoke fluent Mayan, and instilled a lot of the language to my parents, who in turn, have given me some phrases and words. It's always interesting running into someone who speaks Mayan in the states (lots of Yucatecos in Los Angeles). I never had have the opportunity to speak in with the native people.

    As this fly fishing obssession snowballs down hill, I've always wanted to go back to Merida, and use that as a base camp. Having relatives there, I know lodging and food wouldn't be a problem, and I think I'll need to pick up a book to find out where to fly fish. My family still owns a beach house in Chuburna (near Progreso) and as a kid, I used to surf fish till the cows came home. I don't even remember what I caught, but I distinctly remember them looking like small bonefish and small pargo. I've always heard stories about the infamous "sabalo" and until now, I didn't realize they were talking about tarpon. Same with the "robalo" which I came to find out was a snook.

    Anyhow, thanks for the report and good luck in Campeche this month.

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Lincolnshire, Illinois

    Default Re: All-Inclusive Adventures

    Sorry to hear about the hotel problems. I'm in Playa del Carmen as I write this, but didn't even plan to set up fishing - family vacation and all, I didn't want to take the time away from my wife and kids.

    We went another way, found ourselves a place through Air BnB, which worked out great. We take the local "Colectivo" bus from place to place: Monday, to a local cenote to swim in, loads of fun; Tuesday, Akumal to snorkel with the turtles. On this busy beach at Akumal, I saw several bonefish threading their way among the tourists! Today, Chichen Itza and back (we did use a tour company for this).

    Every day, we find local places to eat, best Mexican food, typically less than $10 for four, never any intestinal difficulty.

    Many of the resorts that have the all-inclusive thing going seem remote from the actual culture; You might as well vacation in Florida or Hawaii. We want to see a little more about how the Mayan people live, what they eat, etc.

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  6. #4

    Default Re: All-Inclusive Adventures

    Awesome! I have stayed at El Paraiso. It's a fantastic place with great food and super nice people. I also fished from the beach there and did well. It's no surprise you ran into Rhett down at Boca Paila, he's a regular fixture there. Man, I can almost taste the Molcajette. Now you got me missing that place.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  8. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Pinedale, WY
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: All-Inclusive Adventures

    Awesome report, sorry to hear the wows with the "All Inclusive", but it sounds like you probably had a better time despite the difficulties.

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