Guy Harvey Magazine

WIN 2017

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 66 of 83 | 67 Ascension Bay is a dreamland of bonefish, permit, tarpon and snook. Throwing my bags down, I grabbed a strong Mexican coffee and cast a popper out into the Caribbean Sea, steps from my room at the lodge. Three casts out and I promptly brought in a 12-lb. great barracuda. The kitchen staff kindly (and expertly) turned it into an afternoon meal of ceviche. It was a great way to settle in, and as we ate, I wondered if all the fishing was going to be this sweet. The answer would come soon enough. A half hour later, we set out with local guide Daurin Xec to the hallowed grounds of Vigia Chica. The Ascension Bay area prides itself on its numbers of bones, not necessarily big bragging weights, but lines are tight 24/7. "Maybe you can get a 5-lb. Macabe (the Mayan name for bonefish) here," said Daurin, "but we don't generally have trophy fish around. However, if you want to cross a bonefish off your list, we have plenty 1- to 2-lb. fish." I picked up the 9-weight fly rod and cast a shrimp fly into a small channel that cut through a flat of slick azure waters. "Strip, strip, strip!" commanded Daurin. I was tied tight to my first bonefish of the day, and then a dozen more, only hours after my flight landed. Daurin was anxious for me to experience some different types of fishing, so we moved on and he put the bow onto a sandspit beach— where you must be wary of saltwater crocodiles—and mate Venancio Chan, AKA Benny, and I stepped off the boat. We scurried through the palm tree underbrush looking to collect hermit crabs. We loaded a Tide detergent gallon container full and set out again to see what we could find. Emily had never seen a bonefish before, much less caught one, but that didn't matter. Benny hooked a hermit crab on a bucktail with a shrimp fly teaser, passed it to her, and with a couple quick twitches of the wrist, she was holding up a double-header of 2-lb. bonefish. The hermit crabs caught the attention of a variety of bonefish, jack crevalles, ladyfish, pufferfish and blue runners, which kept Emily busy and smiling. The shrimp fly I kept flinging out also landed a variety of flats species until it came tight on something with a more pronounced wobble to its fight: an exquisitely finned palometa. The day was over, with dozens of fish caught and released, but it wasn't enough. As night fell, I cast chunk baits into the Caribbean surf just from my room. Above, I could spy the Milky Way white band in full effect overhead, and I caught tarpon and blacktip sharks nearly until the sun rose. Day one seemed like it would be hard to beat, but Captain Daurin pointed us toward a 50-year-old shipwreck, a storm victim from the days of the bubblegum tree trade. (For centuries, the Mayans boiled tree gum into a sticky, multi-purpose substance called "chicle." In the late 1860s, it was exported to the U.S. and used for bubble gum, including the popular Chiclets brand). Daurin said that permit should be sticking close to the wreck. "Throw that ghost crab out there and see what happens," said Daurin, as I lobbed the crab out on a 3/0 hook over the wreck and clicked over the 5 SPECIES, 1 BAIT MANGROVE MADNESS

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