Monday, August 22, 2005

Yucatan 2005-Tarpon Cay Lodge and Isla Blanca

San Felipe, Yucatan

A group of 6 guys headed for Tarpon Cayo Lodge to fish for the baby tarpon that inhabit the coastal estuaries, creeks, and flats. This small fishing village was the perfect backdrop for friendly people, great food, super guides and good numbers of tarpon. Although most fish we encountered were less than 12#, they were plentiful and possessed all the high flying acrobatics of their older cousins.

On many occasions we would pole into very narrow creek channels and quietly approach rolling tarpon. The tangle of mangroves (in this case hurricane damaged mangroves) made casting almost impossible. Sometimes we were able to shake out some line and make a low roll cast. Other times only a "bow and arrow" cast was possible.
Whatever the cast, strip striking is essential to effectively set the hook. I'm not sure how I managed to wrestle this fish from the roots and limbs, but we eventually brought this fish to the boat!

Another situation found us at the mouth of a small creek. Tarpon would come cruising out from under the mangroves, where we were waiting. The Tarpon Neutralizer, again, was the perfect fly. We could make the cast anticipating the path of the tarpon. Once they entered the small opening in the mangroves, we were ready, with no worries of spooking the tarpon in the calm, clear, shallow water.

This is a typical baby tarpon from San Felipe....
...caught on a Prawn Neutralizer.

Our group made 2 long runs to search for larger tarpon, that visit the deeper flats.

Several fast moving pods were located, and I jumped a 30-40 lb. fish that came unbuttoned.
This fish was hooked with one of my new slider baitfish patterns, tied in blue and white.

The five days we fished Tarpon Cayo, were incredible. John Quigley, my partner took many tarpon on the new "Slide Ball", slider; and I used Tarpon Neutralizers all 5 days, in a variety of colors.

We finished our week with 2 days back at Isla Blanca, near Cancun, to chase tarpon, permit and bonefish. I was fortunate to land this nice 10# permit, caught on a FoxxCrab, of my design. We were also fortunate to fish with Enrique, who guided us last year, and helped put us on a number of permit and a good number of baby tarpon.

This tarpon ate one of my new tan-colored Tarpon Neutralizers. This is a very realistic prawn imitation that will probably be one of my new patterns for 2006.