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...

1 comment:

Tom Merrill said...

It was a rainy and windy, but fun first day!