- By: Fly Rod and Reel
Boca Paila Fishing Lodge (bocapaila.com) is located to the south of Tulum, inside the Sian Ka’an Biosphere, a unique place for those who enjoy the pleasure of a virgin beach far away from it all. “Aside from wonderful accommodations, Boca Paila’s best attribute is that it offers the angler a great variety of saltwater species. From July to December, we expect a great bonefish, permit and snook season, mainly the months of July, October, November and December,” says Ricky Gonzalez of the lodge. “If you decide not to fish, we also have other activities within the natural biosphere reserve, where more than 300 species of birds live, and where all of the endangered cat species of southern Mexico are found, along with spider and howler monkeys, white-tipped and collared peccary and tapir. And at Boca Paila you can always enjoy the white-sand beach; and if you are into adventure, perhaps snorkeling or kayaking. We also have other activities such as bird-watching, boat trips in the lagoon to see the manatee at their natural habitat and hidden Mayan ruins. And now we have paddle-board tours.” A recent guest, Elliot Glassman, had this to say: “This trip to Boca Paila was probably the best fishing of the last six years. I think I landed eight permit and (my fishing partner) two; in addition we caught a cubera snapper on the flats, which was an experience of a lifetime! As always the staff was wonderful; we enjoyed the food and other people at the lodge.”
Gonzalez continues: “More Grand Slams are recorded here than at any destination in the world. With an average guide tenure of 18 years, they know the water, they know the fish. It has been an amazing fishing season (this year). During May, we had three Super Grand Slams and four Grand Slams. If you have never been to Boca before or you want to go back, here is your opportunity. We are currently offering two specials: the first, from June 1 to the end of July, we are offering a 10 percent discount off the standard rates. Better yet, from August to the end of the year, we are offering a 20 percent discount off the standard rate. The standard rate based on double occupancy and shared boat for a 7 night/6 day fishing package is $3100,” he says. “In our next season, our boats will have four-stroke engines, known for their smooth, quiet operation and helps the ecology of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.”
Says Bobby Settles of Casa Blanca and Playa Blanca Fishing Lodges (casablancafishing.com): “The summer and fall months on Ascension Bay are some of the finest months for fishing. Why? Well, first you don’t have to share the flats with anyone. That’s right—all by yourself. Also, the large migratory tarpon have moved in to the back side of the bay and are hungry, while the large permit are all yours. This added to the fact that you don´t have to deal with the winds of winter make for ideal fishing conditions. Is it hot? Yes, but that is why we have air-conditioned rooms. After a full day of fishing you can come back to a cool room and a chilled margarita! A positive aspect to the fall is that the previous two years we have had a booming snook population. We don’t know exactly what to attribute it to, but the effort put forward by the lodge and Mexican Government to conserve the fishing has played a large role in the development of the snook population. As always in the Caribbean, the summer and early fall months are susceptible to tropical storms, and we always suggest travel insurance.
“To sum it up, the summer and early fall is the best time for a Super Slam. As Lefty Kreh put it years ago ‘Casa Blanca and Ascension Bay is the best place in the world for a chance at a Grand Slam.’ Combine all of this with the first-class service, comfortable spacious rooms, gourmet food, Dolphin Super Skiffs equipped with 4-stroke Yamaha motors and marine radios, you have a combination that can’t be beat.”
“In July, August and early-September, the air and water temps warm up significantly. Fishing remains spectacular in the mornings with big numbers of fish and lots of tailing bonefish but fishing stagnates in the afternoon,” says Oliver White of Abaco Lodge (www.abacolodge.com). “The Bahamas is generally not a permit or tarpon fishery, we see more of both species from July to November. However, August is the opening of crawfish season and finding guides becomes difficult for the month.
“Late September to early December, my favorite time of year to fish, we have great weather and good water temperatures, meaning great fishing throughout the day. The fish are coming off a few months of zero pressure with the opening of crawfish season. We typically catch some of our biggest bonefish of the season this time of year,” White says. “Last fall we had spectacular juvenile-tarpon fishing, landing almost 50 fish under 30 pounds in October and November. Offshore-reef fishing on fly is limited this time of year. Shark fishing on a fly rod is always around and is one of the most underrated aspects of flats fishing.”
Current deals for anglers include a private charter flight to Bair’s Lodge in the Bahamas, directly to South Andros, for all 6- ($3950 per angler) and 7-night ($4450) trips taken during January and February. The rates apply for groups of four or more anglers. Or bring a partner for free: 7-night rate per angler is $4550, 6-night is $3950 and 5-night is $3400.
Bill McDermott, of Lake Rotoroa Lodge (lakerotoroalodge.com) on the South Island of New Zealand, reports: “The fishing season in this area closes rivers from April till October 1. This spells the rivers over New Zealand’s winter period. From opening day, fishing is traditionally quite good although the waters may be colder in some years. Many prefer this time as there is reduced angling activity and less spooky fish. Whatever flies you have, leave them at home. Our guides have the imperative skills of very keen eyesight and exceptional knowledge of the local rivers—from how the big browns behave to the entomology required as the season progresses. They will have the right fly for the conditions.
“Sight-fishing is the preference of our guiding team and this offers both excitement and challenging fishing,” McDermott says. “We have direct access to more than 20 rivers with many more accessible only by helicopter, making for some fantastic sightseeing as well as great fishing opportunities. Our many guests from the USA enjoy the time spent on the water with local N-Z guides—not only fishing, but learning the local history and hearing more of what this country has to offer. We don’t guarantee you will catch a fish, but the opportunities are here to net the biggest wild brown trout you will ever come across.”?
For more information on travel to all of the lodges mentioned here, please go to frontierstravel.com.