Fish Catching Travel
When I left off yesterday Clyde and I had just caught our permit and we were feeling good. And even though we were happy, Capt. Ken stayed after it and we ended up almost to Belize City to fish a flat for permit. It is one of his good spots and we no more than stopped the boat when he saw some. With the breeze it actually looked like a school of redfish pushing water.
We made a couple of casts and then Ken could see them pretty well, and they were only 2 or 3 pounds, but there were lots of them. As we were throwing big crabs we left them alone and kept working the flat. It was interesting as the flat had a light sandy bottom, but there was places the bottom was black. Ken told us that was were permit were stirring up the bottom looking for crab. After we worked the whole flat it was getting late and he started heading back.
As we crossed open water both Ken and I spotted baitfish fleeing. We turned around, he thought they were barracuda, but it turned out to be ladyfish. Now I would not give you 2 cents for another ladyfish, but these were something. As we started throwing topwater they attacked. And I mean 5 or 6 at a time, mouth open and ripping it up. Then the frigate birds joined us and the melee was on. I have never caught them that size, and there were thousands of them. In fact when I caught the biggest one I have ever seen, or caught, he ended up jumping in the boat, landing at Ken’s feet. So after a couple of minutes it was off to hit a barracuda spot. I made a short video which just does not do it justice, it was crazy.
I should have shot some more of this but I could not stand it, I had to catch a couple.
We stopped at a set of old ruins, and the barracuda were all over it. We got lots of bites, caught several, but they were small. Clyde did have a big one follow him to the boat, but no go. So after a little of that the day was done and we headed back.
That night we did some fishing off the dock. We put a couple of bones in the boat and Shoedog kept throwing his Skitterwalk. Like I said he has caught fish on that thing in lots of places and then he had a good bite. It turned out to be a snapper, the one who ended up in the fish stew. Just a little while later he jumped a tarpon. It was small, but made a couple of jumps and was off. So we went and caught some sardines on the Sabiki and came back. Not a couple of minutes later Clyde hooked and landed what turned out to be the only tarpon we put in the boat on this trip.
Clyde on his way to the slam.
It was really a great fight as it jumped a couple of times. Then made one big totally nuts jump thrash, Clyde bowed perfect, and then the weirdest thing happened. Clyde actually led him back to the dock, around the dock and right to the edge of the beach so we could land him. Of course the fish then went ape snot crazy. A couple of jumps then under the dock and around a pole. Clyde did a great job working him out, and he was done. A couple quick pics, a revive, and off he went, no worse for the wear. So a good day for Clyde, a tarpon and a permit, what more could you ask.
The next day it was Jeff and I with Capt. Ken. He was there promptly at 8, and after a quick bait stop we were on our way. Our first stop was a small bunch of tarpon, but if memory serves me right we did not see them or maybe we made a couple of bad casts, but either way none in the boat. The rest of the morning was spent trying to find permit. The wind was howling, and the water was getting dirtier and dirtier. Even Ken was not seeing anything. About lunch time it was clear we were not going to be able to sight fish on the points so he took us to the back side of an island to fish the mouth of the lagoon.
We both picked up a topwater and started chucking. Then Jeff spied a nice cobia. I am not use to seeing them back in the bay shallow, but there he was. He was about a foot behind a big ray, which was about 2 foot deep. Jeff tossed his topwater and Ken got me baited with a sardine. Even Ken was excited. I made the perfect cast and he ate. He started ripping off line and I set the hook way to hard, and he was gone. Then came the damnedest thing I have ever witnessed.
Ken actually spotted that fish about a quarter mile away. We cruised over and both tossed a sardine. I made a terrible cast behind him. Jeff cast way to long, Ken is yelling reel them in when that fish turned and I mean blew up on Jeff’s sardine. So it went from a bad thing when I lost him to a great thing as he took out line and Jeff was on.
What a fight.
Jeff hooked that cobia on 10lb line, a 30lb. leader, on a bonefish rod. Ken estimated it at least 20, and he looked all that big to me. Jeff did everything right, but sometimes it just does not happen. Ken told us when he got tired he would roll, fray the line, and he did. I really felt sorry for Jeff, it was the biggest thing he hooked all trip and he did a heck of a job. But a short while later he got back in the game.
We headed back to the creek mouth to throw topwater and he made the perfect cast. He was walking the dog past a little point of mangroves and a cubera came out of the point and I mean exploded on it. It was probably the fastest most aggressive strike I have ever seen on a topwater. I posted that picture on the Austin Bass Fishing Forum and one of the members, ChitownLonghorn, commented that he saw a buddy catch one in Costa Rica and his description was pure violence. I could not have said it better, it was pure unadulterated violence, pure bad intent. There was no missing that fish. If our trout bit like that I would be afraid to cast, NOT! He tried to get back into the mangroves and Jeff had just enough power to keep him out. He ended up being on the grill at Wish Willy. And boy was he tasty.
Not only a beautiful fish, but look at the chompers on that guy. A great way to get over losing a big one.
We finished out the day fishing inside the lagoon. The water just was not right, and we did not put any more in the boat. And that was the end of our time with Ken. The wind was just howling at that point, and the water was really off color almost everywhere.
I want to say that I really appreciate how hard Ken worked for us. The conditions were not perfect, but he did put us on big a fish every day, and that is all you can hope for. And trust me, if we could have seen them better and made a few better casts we would have whacked a couple more good fish. But absolutely no complaints. And for me to cross a bucket list permit off my list the first time I tried to catch one was the kind of thing I live for.
A little boat ride so you can get a feel for what it is like there.
So there you have it. I always wish when I get back I had filmed more, but it is just to hard to put the rod down. But what a cool time. And like anywhere I have traveled, fishing is fishing. This time it was wind, but you just make do with what you have. I hope Shoedog and Clyde had as good a time as I did. I know one thing, we will be back, and much more prepared next time. Good eats, good friends, big fish, and personal bests, what more could you ask. And nothing beats the planning and then getting it done. When it was all said and done we saved lots of bucks and lived like kings.
Thanks for reading my stuff. I have a lot more pictures and will sort them and post soon. So keep stopping in, and I will keep fishing if I have to. And last but not least, to the president of Team Nancy, my wife, thanks. I am lucky to have you, and you can just go ahead and give me a fishing trip for any present in the future, it will be easier on you that way. You know, saves all that shopping.
Good Luck and Tight Lines