hi, everyone. it’s been a long time since i posted. the reason was that i have been in Argentina most of the winter (june, july, august), and there really isn’t much fishing. and i’m trying to keep a certain level of quality to my blog, so i’m not going to post crap just to post crap.
anyhow, i just got back into Austin about a month ago, but only spent a few days here before i headed down to Mexico to fish the Yucatán for baby tarpon. i took a small group of anglers down there where we spent 3 days at Tarpon Caye Lodge, which is run out of a quaint little hotel in the fishing village of San Felipe…then we transferred over to Isla Arena on the western side of the Yucatán and fished the virgin coastline north of Campeche. we had flown into Merida to avoid the super touristy bullshit that is Cancun.
the tarpon fishing experience was pretty spectacular. over at Tarpon Caye, we fished a mix of off-shore (1/4 to 1/2 mile out) in 12 feet or so of water for bigger tarpon. we all hooked fish in the 20-50+ pound range, a couple guys even hooked fish up to 90 pounds or so. this was, however, primarily a baby tarpon fishing trip. the rest of the time we targeted fish in the 10-20 pound range, which we found in abundance.
the rest of the first three days consisted of waking up super early (5 a.m.) to take breakfast and head out with the guides in small pangas. on some days we started in the mornings and cast to rolling tarpon in 2 feet of super clear water. later in the day, we’d head out to fish some of the mangrove creeks that line the shores and drain springs and rainwater from the main land. this was super cool fishing. San Felipe was a cool little town of maybe 1500 people (??). primarily a fishing village, and this time of year, octopus fishing was what was in season. octopus ceviche, by the way, is pretty bad ass if you’ve never tried it.
because of the super low tides and strange wind from Hurricane Gustav approaching the Gulf of Mexico, we’d quit around mid afternoon and head back to the lodge…usually there was some sort of awesome ceviche and beers waiting for us there. it was hotter than hell for those days we were there. 2 hours without a shirt on and i peeled for weeks.
afterwards, we headed back to Merida (2.5 hours), did some shopping for supplies with our outfitter, then we headed over to Isla Arena to fish with their outfit (called Isla del Sabalo). this is a remote corner (northwest corner to be exact) of the Yucatán. this small little island was our base. the lodging was quite interesting, nice little clean bungalows and a mini family-run restaurant that would serve us our meals and margaritas each day. for 40 miles south to Campeche, we had nothing but VIRGIN tarpon water. miles and miles of mangrove creeks that drained springs…and lagoons. all the tarpon fishing was done in shallow gin-clear water, poling over turtle grass flats and sight fishing to 10-20 pound fish rolling and cruising in pods. we did quite a bit of sightfishing.
it’s really creepy to see the Gulf of Mexico in the mornings here, dead calm and flat as far as the eye can see. unfortunately, we had some strange wind (from the northwest) and super high tides towards the end of the trip, so our outside (Gulf side) fishing was limited due to chop on the water. the tarpon got a little difficult to find in the afternoons with the high tide as they went so far up the creeks that the boats couldn’t get in there. but we had our fair share of spectacular days. on one day, one of my boat partners John Erskine and i hooked 20+ tarpon, sight fishing to many of them. really reminded me of Texas coast redfishing in a lot of ways
i did a pretty horrible job of NOT taking photos of any of the creek fishing, i just got pretty lazy, but it was really neat, except hotter than hell with no wind, so many times we couldn’t stand too much of it before we had to go run the boat for some A/C. i don’t want to get too long winded about this post, you get the point. oh, and we used Sage’s new (not so new any more) Largemouth Bass Rod, which by the way is a perfect boat/mangrove rod for this purpose.
i’ll post more photos as soon as i get them from the rest of the guys in my group….oh, and maybe some video if i can get this plug-in to work again. some of these photos are out of sequence and mix the 2 destinations, but who cares, right? photos © Joey Lin (mostly), and a couple photos of me by Frank Butler. cheers!