Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Ascension Bay, Day 2

March 7, 2017

Tuesday morning at breakfast the group was full of energy and ready to go again, as if the challenges of the previous day never happened. Fisherman are an optimistic lot. The wind was blowing strongly, with clouds on the horizon, but no immediate threat of rain.

As is typical of a day fishing here, we gathered our things and headed to the boats right after breakfast, preparing for the Masaje Maya (Mayan Massage). What is that, you wonder? When you head south across the opening of Ascension Bay, you cross five miles of open water that gets a little choppy with the wind that nearly always blows from the east. Add the swells that make it through the reef, and you have a fun ride. Imagine riding a slowly gyrating mechanical bull. Add to that every 10 to 20 seconds something like sitting on a chair that drops abruptly 3 to 6 inches onto an unyielding concrete surface with a bone-jarring thud. Then every 30 to 60 seconds, somebody throw a cup or two of water in your face while the other two are happening. By the time you get across the bay, you are totally relaxed and ready to fish!

The wind was a little less today (but still stronger than we would like), so Rob and Rick went south across the bay. Tom and Hollis went north again. It was a tough day again, but only because of the wind and clouds, which make it difficult to find the fish. Rob and Rick were fishing the flats for bonefish. Before lunch, Rob found one walking and missed a couple others. Rick fished from the boat, and did not encounter anything.
Rob walking the flats with the guide
My guide with the boat (the fisherman in the boat stands in the front)
 After lunch, it was more of the same for a while, Rob taking a turn in the boat, when the guides spotted signs of a school of bonefish feeding. In the next hour or so, we caught about 20 bonefish between the two of us. The remainder of the day was slow again, but that one hour made the day. 
Rob is much happier after catching a few bonefish
 Meanwhile, Tom and Hollis headed further north into some tarpon canals. Tom had a tarpon on for a couple jumps, after which it threw the hook. They found a couple bones and a very large crocodile. The wind makes it hard, but at least the rain stayed away. Tomorrow is forecast to be better through the end of the week. Good news,
Tom and his first bonefish
Hollis really needs some work on his long-arm technique
Crocodile alongside the channel eyeing Tom and Hollis; I think I prefer fishing with mammals (bears) 
Hollis loves his perch

Monday, March 6, 2017

Ascension Bay, Day 1

March 6, 2017

Tom and I arrived in Cancun last night, made it to the Casa Viejo Chac in Punta Allen about 4 hours later, where we met Rob and Hollis, who flew down the previous day. Drove through heavy rain a good part of the way, which would presage the weather today...

We got on the water at 8 after a nice breakfast, blue sky above, but dark squalls building to the west and lots of wind. We went north rather than across the bay as it is more protected from the wind. Started out casting to the mangroves for snook, which is a lot like casting dries to the bank on the Yakima for rainbows. Seven minutes in, Tom hooked a snook after seeing it follow and strike the fly. A great start to the trip, but things slowed down from there.

Tom and snook
Pink Spoonbill
While Tom was casting to snook, I caught a nice photo of a pink spoonbill. Hollis and Rob saw a flock of these beautiful birds. After Tom took over, it started pouring down rain. We pulled over close to a mangrove island and found a little shelter, then back to searching from snook. Without success. Tom cast to a couple bonefish, I cast to one snook, the rest of the time was blind fishing, casting as close as you could to the magroves, then stripping the baitfish fly away from the shore.

It stopped raining enough to eat lunch, where Tom and I handlined for puffer fish that we saw in the mangrove roots right next to the boat. 
Tom and the expanded puffer fish
Ricks puffer didn't puff up

After more rain, we headed west to look for snook and bonefish or whatever we could find. While casting to snook in some larger channels, we found several small barracuda.

Baby barracuda
 In this same channel, we also saw a baby manatee (sorry, no polarizing filter on the camera).

Shortly after, we saw the coolest thing. An entire school of 50 or so silvery fish (roundish, about 12" long) ran away from us (or something), jumping as an entire school in synchrony. An arc of fish flying out and back into the water, then ten yards further along, again, and again, until the fleeing school disappeared around a corner. Rick caught a small bonefish, and that ended the fish for the day. Another rain squall, lots of wind, and back to the lodge for a great meal and good company.

Rob and Hollis went west and south to a large inlet. They found a few more fish, but still fought with the wind. Hollis had a good sized tarpon on, but it threw the hook. They also cast to snook, with little success, but at the end of the day found a few Jack Crevalle casting blind into the current from the outgoing tide. Hollis caught a nice one below. At first he was reluctant to get out of the boat because they had seen a crocodile earlier. Don't go to Alaska, Hollis! You practically fish side-by-side with the bears there!

Hollis and his Jack Crevalle
Forecast for tomorrow is more of the same, then nicer weather for the rest of the week. So one more tough day of fishing, then hopefully we can really get into the remainder of the days. But a warm, 75 degree rain isn't that bad, especially when compared to work...

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Pucusana on the Peruvian Pacific Coast

New Years Eve fell on Saturday, our Preparation Day, and what better way to close out the year than to go fishing!  Our friend from the office, Daniel, invited us to go fishing with him and his girlfriend Lucia in the Pacific Ocean south of Lima.  We got up early for a 5:00am departure and headed south driving on the Pan American Highway until we exited for Pucusana.  Daniel has done this before so he found a captain willing to take us and after a quick pit stop, we were off into the Pacific!

Our target species were rockfish and our skipper knew just where to take us.  We were treated to pelicans and other shorebirds, a few sea lions, and a school of porpoises who quietly spent a good portion of the morning with us once we anchored and started fishing.

The harbor at Pucusana, Peru

Daniel, the skipper, and Lucia

Peter, James and John were fisherman--why not us too?

Colorful fishing fleet at anchor in the harbor

Laundry day

Beautiful home on the point of the harbor
Owners of a grocery store chain here (Wong)

Our anchor to stay in place with the waves and current

Fishing tackle was a little different than what I have used in the past.
Sand fleas were the carnada (bait) of choice (live)
These are also known as mole crabs.
Click here for mole crab info

My first Peruvian Pacific Ocean Pescado (fish)
Lucia's was bigger

Mary getting some fish action as well
Notice how rugged the coastline is here.
Most of coastal Peru that we have seen is cliffs dropping into the ocean.

And increasing size

Still smiling after several hours!

Laundry is almost dry as we return to harbor

Part of a cooperative fishing fleet

Mary with our skipper

The fisherman's unloading dock and cleaning facility

We took our catch to the dock where the commercial fisherman unload and weigh their catch.  There is a large room there where women clean the commercial (and recreational) catch.  We were able to have two grocery sacks full of rockfish cleaned for 8 soles (about $2.40).  We had been successful enough that we also left the captain enough to fill another grocery sack as well.

We got some ice to cover the fish for the cooler in the trunk of the car and after an ice cream, headed back to Lima with our friends, then had lunch together before parting until the New Year.  A wonderful way to spend the morning here in Peru!  Happy New Year to all!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Fishing the Ditches

Had to travel to Spokane three times this week with Carlynn. I'd been doing some research on a wasteway (ditch) between here and there, and found a government report from 1977 that indicated there was a stretch that had rainbow trout, but also infestations of carp and that it wasn't managed for fishery anymore. Google Earthed it and saw what looked like moving water, so Monday on the way back I paid it an exploratory visit. We were in a hurry that morning and I forgot the rod, but peering down into the water there were a couple moving shapes, and some tailing - carp. Up a little farther, a pretty moving stretch, and carp below a culvert sucking in whatever they eat. So Tuesday on the way home, I stopped with the fly rod to see if any descendants of the rainbows from years ago were still around, and if not, try to hook a carp. 

The wind was blowing, so it was difficult to see fish. Tried some likely water, but nothing. A few deeper shots as I was walking down, but it appears to be troutless. The bottom is all large, broken basalt, so I don't think there is any way for trout to naturally reproduce. I did find some tailing carp as it was getting dark, but couldn't interest them in anything I threw at them.

So today, I planned to visit a ditch where I knew there were trout, where Tom and I had a great day last Black Friday. Got there with the sun low on the horizon. Fished swinging the small black bugger straight downstream. Found fish again, but didn't go far from the road as Carlynn was waiting in the car. 
Nice little rainbow
About a half dozen to hand, 6" to 9". Missed a lot with the downstream presentation. Looking down into the deep, slow water between runs you could see dozens of trout this size, with one or two 16"+ big boys keeping watch over them. Skittish fish!
Pretty colors!
As the light was fading, I tried upstream casts with a small fly to rising fish, but no luck. Once the line hit the water, they went down. Next time I have to remember to bring dries and emergers! Carlynn was very accommodating, resting in the car and reading, while I lived my motto - "Every trip is an excuse to fish..."
End of another good day! (as any day fishing is)

Friday, October 21, 2016

A Try for Tucannon Steelhead...

...but all I found were trout. With some rain the last couple weeks, I thought it was worth giving the Tucannon a try to see if any steelhead had wandered upstream. The changeover to the new endemic hatchery stock is supposed to be up and going after a couple years with almost no steelhead other than the native fish, so it was worth a shot.

Fished a familiar stretch where we have found some steelhead before, but didn't find anything large. Found enough trout to keep things interesting, a couple reasonably nice ones. Saw one big, red king go swimming by. A nice, rainy morning to spend a couple hours on the river. Maybe next time there will be steel.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Not every trip is successful...

In the interest of accurately tracking all fishing effort, just a quick post to report a couple stops on the way home from Carlynn's medical appointment in Spokane. Rained heavily all day. I was torn between the chance of a big fish at Nunya and the probability of many fish at Little Nunya. Ended up both places with barely a fish. Visited the first few holes at Nunya in the late afternoon while Carlynn read in the car. Really low, had one smallish trout on briefly. Left to Little Nunya. Also quite low, not quite as much as last year. A pile of worm container trash at the bridge. Nothing but one 4" trout. Not even another strike. About the same as found last fall with Kirk. Who knows where all the fish go, but they always seem to be back come spring.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Finally fishing again...

After a couple months full of overtime at work, I finally had a break. Left early from work, Carlynn was working, Mel had a cross country meet in Walla Walla, so I headed out to find some trout. 

Left Richland with sun and 76°F, arrived at the river with light rain and 56°F. Good thing I threw in long sleeves. Once on the river, the psycho was surprisingly mostly ignored, with the fish keyed in on a small dry that was hatching. Switched to a small EHC and found a lot more, missing two or three to every one to hand. Mostly small, but they got bigger through the afternoon. Fished through a familiar stretch and had 36 to hand in a couple of hours. About halfway through, the hatch ended and it was back to the PPCG. 

Back to the car, I turned towards home, but with an hour left until dark, a favorite stretch called to me as I drove by. So back into the water, where the psycho promptly dredged up a couple dozen more without moving more than 20 ft upstream. I love this stream. Better size here, many 9" to 11". Quite a few more came to hand, before the waning light led me back to the car. 

Driving home into a beautiful sunset, I let out a sigh and started thinking about my next trip.