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Flyfishing the Flats #35182
02/24/01 10:39 AM
02/24/01 10:39 AM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 29
willyg Offline OP
willyg  Offline OP
Hi to all the flyfishers out there. Iím hoping you will all respond to this topic and relate your experiences out on the flats at AC. The main thing I learned is I have a lot to learn so any tips or pointers would be appreciated.

My wife Susan and I just returned from 2 glorious weeks in San Pedro staying at Lilyís, which is fine. Weather was perfect although most daysí winds were 15 to 20 knots out of the NE or E blowing my fly line all over the place. Had a stripping basket with me that helped.

Fished five days with Gilberto or Tomas arranged by Amigoís de Mare which is a real professional operation. Both guides were patient, skilled and friendly. Most of the fishing was done on the lee shores and lagoons to the south of AC.

Literally I saw thousands of Bonefish every day in ones, twos and schools of hundreds, including mudding fish and lots of tailing fishing in real skinny grass. Best day was 6 and worst 1 although I probably averaged 10 to 15 good shots a day. I thought I was a pretty good flycaster but boy was I humbled. Too long (big mistake) too short, too far ahead, behind the fish or not soft enough. Fish would follow but refuse to hit and we would change flys and try again. Got one good shot at a cruising school of permit on an open windy flat, panicked and wrapped the flyline around my head. Man was that frustrating.

One morning after a fun night at Fidoís I was so shaky I couldnít even see the fish let alone make an accurate cast. Note to self- hangovers and bonefishing donít mix. Resorted to Belikin cure and trolling this day and nailed a nice 15lb cuda on a green tube lure using my heavy baitcasting outfit with 20lb test. Boy did that fish jump.

Broke my Sage 9wt on the second day (hit it with the fly) and had to resort to my fairly limp 8wt which was not adequate in the wind. Always bring a spare rod, as none are available on the island. El Pescador does have some available but only for guests and they also have a good supply of bonefish, permit and tarpon flys for sale (pricey). Carlos Locos (Crazy Charlie, Gotcha) variations were all we used in #8 and #6 in brown, pearl, white, pink and green. For once I tied the right flys thanks to info from this board. Unweighted for tailing fish in grass and small bead chain eyes for all others

Now Iím huddled in our Condo in Toronto, cause itís Ė10C outside, thinking about a fishing trip to AC in May early June with the guys. Anybody interested?

Bill Guthrie

Re: Flyfishing the Flats #35183
02/26/01 09:02 AM
02/26/01 09:02 AM
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 7
Mt. Airy, MD, USA
gator1 Offline
gator1  Offline
I am going to AC next week (3/8). Plan on flyfishing, I suspect by myself as my wife doesn't fish. What are the typical daily prices for bonefish guides? Do I need a full day or is half day enough? I am planning on bringing my 9 and 11 wt. Sage rods. Fortunately for you, Sage has a lifetime warranty. Do they take credit cards, or do I need cash?

Re: Flyfishing the Flats #35184
02/26/01 10:19 AM
02/26/01 10:19 AM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 29
willyg Offline OP
willyg  Offline OP
Gator, Maybe I should fly down and fish with you. Just kidding I'd be divorced and unemployed. Going rate seems to be $175US per day, there's a half day rate but the better guides arn't available for half days. If you are dealing direct with the guide cash is required, otherwise plastic should work.

When I was there Tarpon were reported over by the mainland about an hours run each way and I didn't think it worthwile. You may not have use for the 11wt so a backup 9 wt would be a good idea. Present your wife with gift 9wt in case she decides she wants to learn. Susan has an extensive flyrod collection. Toss in a spinning rod and 1/4 oz jigs for windy day deep water bones.

My wife doesn't fish either but tagged along and found the scenery great and read a few books in the sun. The boats are very comfortable and smooth. We usually had lunch and a swim ashore at some deserted beach with wading opprtunities if you are real eager.
Good luck, you'll love it. Bill

ps don't forget to give us a report when you return.

[This message has been edited by willyg (edited 02-26-2001).]

Re: Flyfishing the Flats #35185
02/27/01 11:01 AM
02/27/01 11:01 AM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 29
willyg Offline OP
willyg  Offline OP
Surely there's somr flyfishers out there with some fish stories or anybody with questions. Bill

Re: Flyfishing the Flats #35186
02/27/01 09:06 PM
02/27/01 09:06 PM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 20
Shreveport, La, USA
Art from Louisiana Offline
Art from Louisiana  Offline
Hi all,
We went to AC last July and fished 6 days with George Bradley. I have a report in the archives, but briefly, as Guthrie found out, it's a whole 'nuther thing casting in the wind at invisible moving fish. I got some casting help from the local fly shop owner, who also accompanied us on the trip. The lessons really helped a lot, and the practice built my casting muscles up so I didn't get sore. I even practiced casting to spawning carp to practice leading a moving fish.(didn't catch any though). I marked my line at 10' intervals which helped me get used to stripping in the right amount of line before casting again. Learn to load the rod, and be sure you are stopping the rod on the back and forward cast. The stop is what delivers the power and the control. If you wrist it, you lose both. Action Optics copper lenses worked great. Banana Boat sun stick and Hawaiian tropic lip balm for sun protection, plus gloves and good hat. Cortland tropic plus line, flourocarbon leaders 8-12# for bones, 20# class w 100# flouro shock tippet for tarpon. Good long hard strip strike essential to hooking tarpon. I tied orange barred Stu Apte tarpon flies with orange thread painted with orange nail polish. Cast ahead of the tarpon and let it sink to his depth. Strip strip, and then the long strip after the take and again. I took my shoes off fishing for the tarpon so I could feel if I stepped on my line. I broke one chinese finger puzzle line/leader connector and now use a piece of 40# line triple nail knotted to the fly line with a loop in the end to attach leader to. Broke off a couple of permit while bonefishing around muds. Should have tried the small crabs, but guide said they didn't work. Lots of people say they do, however. Maybe don't use head cement on them or anything else that smells artificial. Permit are really concious of smell. Caught about 10-15 bones a day on brown charlies with small bead chain eyes. Caught a few on a pearl gotcha tied with pink thread. Tried lots of others with no luck except a couple on a tiny clouser made of fox squirrel tail. Fly shop owner (Carol) caught a 13# horse-eyed jack on a deciever. She caught it on a 6wt and it took 1 1/2 hours to land. It was the only fish we ate. It was good. Next time we'll have and assortment of rods rigged for targets of opportunity(cuda, jacks, sharks, tarpon, permit). There were several times when we had shots at fish, but had the wrong fly on. But, there's only so much room in a boat. Gosh, I've said a lot, but there's a big learning curve. The better your skills, the more fish you'll catch. I'll probably stay in La this year, or possible go to Fla, and hope to return to Belize the next year. It sure was a super trip.

Re: Flyfishing the Flats #35187
02/28/01 12:42 PM
02/28/01 12:42 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 29
willyg Offline OP
willyg  Offline OP
Thanks for the tips Art. I like the fly line marking idea, seems it could also be useful in gaugeing distance. You are so right about practise. Prblem in Feb up here is that the ice is real hard on the fly line. O well I'll just have to stay longer next time.

On two occasions we encountered large cuda while poling the flat for bones. Both times I was able to get a shot with my tube lure baitcast outfit. This was also(with a quick lure change)my Tarpon outfit. If I had them I'd rig two 9wt, one with a small crab imatation for permit and the other for bones. My guide was big on a small nickel sized crab fly.

Re: Flyfishing the Flats #35188
03/02/01 11:58 AM
03/02/01 11:58 AM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 29
willyg Offline OP
willyg  Offline OP
I'm shamelessly bringing this topic to the top in hopes some returning flyfishers will ahve a report. Bill

Re: Flyfishing the Flats #35189
03/02/01 12:12 PM
03/02/01 12:12 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 62,031
oregon, spr
Marty Offline

Marty  Offline
feel free to bump to the top, thats a time honored tradition. and this is a GREAT thread....

Re: Flyfishing the Flats #35190
03/02/01 02:28 PM
03/02/01 02:28 PM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 38
Poughkeepsie, NY
rdb Offline
rdb  Offline
OK, you finally got me. I haven't replied before because I've never been to AC (planning for next winter) but I've fished the flats in a number of places including Turneffe Island. As you found out, wind is a problem that you need to be able to deal with. Practice, practice, practice. Popping a fly into the wind is no big deal, especially a small bonefish fly, once you get your timing down and know how to adjust. I'm assuming you have some trout streams nearby. Casting is casting, so go fishing.

The next thing to do is learn how to spot bonefish. Some people are great at it, some OK, and some folks, like a friend of mine who loves the flats, never acquire the knack.
It gets easier with time. Look for tails, nervous water or any other clue until you can also pick up their shape off of the bottom.

Where to cast is fairly easy. If they're tailing, hit them on the nose. If they're cruising, lead 'em. How much and how far?
The best answer is: enough. Too far probably is not far enough to start.

I like to wade rather than fish from a boat so stalking is more important than casting. A good stalk should get you into short casting range.

By the way, check the serial number of your Sage rod. The older rods have a more limited warranty, but they're a good company to deal with. The serial number is in light ink near the hook keeper. The alpha character the begins the number is the key to the warranty level.

If you have more questions, let me know. My address is [email protected]

Re: Flyfishing the Flats #35191
03/02/01 07:52 PM
03/02/01 07:52 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 45
Muskego. wi.usa
D brandt Offline
D brandt  Offline
YO Bill:
If you are sitting at Lilies and not fishing
because you are not feeling well WHAT did
you forget to bring with you????

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