Wednesday, January 27, 2010

To Cozumel in Search of the White Fox

Albula Vulpes in Latin means white fox and it is the taxonomic name for bonefish. Bonefish reside in the warm tropical waters of the Caribbean and Africa. They are a streamlined torpedo shaped mass of muscle and speed that cruise the flats in often less than a foot of water searching for shrimp, crab, clams, smaller fish and other items.

Two weeks ago my wife, Natasha, and I headed south for a weeks vacation and a hidden mission to persue and hopefully catch the powerful fish. We asked our local tour operator, he of course had a guy with a hundred years experience, state of the art equipment and guaranteed fish. It was pricey and he demanded cash up-front which always leaves you a bit suspicious and worried in foreign countries known for misleading the odd tourist. I paid it without a second thought.

As promised the guide met us at the pre-arranged place - a 19th century catholic church near the town square at 5:30 AM. We jumped in a taxi van with our guide and another fishermen and his guide. A 20 minute ride later we were at the north end of the island at a dock with many beached 25-foot fiberglass flatfishing boats. Not quite state-of-the art, I mean don't expect the canopy-covered, elevated-decked-sloops of the Bahamas, but they were effecient in shallow water.

The sunrise that greeted us was magnificent. We motored past Isla Pasion and poled our way over the shallows into a lagoon. The wind blew hard and I knew it was going to be a tough day of casting. Our guide, Adolfo, readied the gear - handing me a 9 1/2-foot, 8-wt fly rod with a shrimp pattern tied onto the tippett. It was decent enough but I can't stand it when I get a fly reel that has a right-hand wind - that's just not good or smart.

In any case, I took the rod eager to make my first cast. Adolfo explained in his broken English and my shattered Spanish to look for mud clouds in the shallow water. These indicate bonefish activity as they dig for crabs and other invertebrate embedded in the sandy bottom.

That was not an easy task. With the wind and a pair of non-polarized sunglasses which I had picked up at the last minute from a streetside vendor, I could barely see the surface let alone what lay below the chop. It was a disadvantage, however, Adolfo identified areas immediately, pointing vigorously at spots where fish had been feeding or cruising. Occassionly, he'd grab the spincaster launch it out into the sea and hook up within seconds. Natasha gladly played these fish to the boat before release.

I did have many hits but missed most of them. After catching and releasing a few Jack Crevalles and amber jacks, I managed to hook a bonefish. The fight was amazing for its size. I thought I had hooked at least a 5-lb bonefish the way it tore line, but when I played it to the boat it may have pushed 12-inches if you stretched the tape a bit.

We had a great day though. The north end of Cozumel is a beautiful if not pristine area. We only saw a few boats all day, we're greeted by a stunnning sunrise, decent fishing and a blissfully relaxing day of fishing the flats in pursuit of that cunning white fox, the elusive bonefish.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy Holidays Everyone - Thankfully they're over

I'd like to wish everyone a happy New Year and hope all have a brilliant and successful 2010.

Sadly, I had neither the time nor inclination to fish in December. Between work and Christmas and the obligatory cheer one is compelled to indulge, the month held no time for fishing. However, I did make it down after New Years to fish the Columbia on a surprisingly warm Sunday afternoon. As you can see, one fish at least cooperated.

I am looking forward to 2010. We start by visiting Cozumel, Mexico at the end of January for a week. Look forward to some flats fishing and maybe a deep sea excursion.

I have also posted a new set of photos on my gallery page entitled 'East Kootenay Streams'. Check out some pics of arguably the best fly fishing country in the world.
If you'd like more information just email me or leave a comment on my blog.
Warmest Regards for the New Year,