View Full Version : Placencia 11/6 - 11/13

Too Fly
11-28-2007, 09:50 AM
Based on the beautiful weather of the first day, we were banking on the rest of the week to be outstanding. This turned out not to be so. I'll also start by saying that I royally choked on the few shots I had at permit the first day. I chalked it up to rust. Hey, I only threw a fly line a handful of times the past two seasons. The second day however, we got no shots at permit as we were nowhere near the flats. Regardless of the favorable tides in the a.m., the guides said the conditions weren't conducive to sight casting for them. We found this to be true most of the days as the weather got progressively worse. When we did attempt to find permit during the short breaks in the weather, we were often rewarded with rough seas en route(4-6 one day), 15-20 mph winds, spotty sunlight and white caps on the flats. Weather-wise, four out of six days were crappy. They were so crappy that we spent half the time fishing the lagoons and estuaries for snook and baby tarpon. Not only was it was a bummer not to be on the flats, but it was painful and itchy due to the numerous sand fly bites I got while fishing along the mangroves. And like a knucklehead, I wore shorts and rolled my sleeves up everyday. By the time I realized the flies had gotten me, I had 27 bites on my forearms and hands and close to 20 on my legs. Trying to get some solid sleep while scratching at night was torturous. Aside from the flies, fishing the lagoons was a cool experience. We caught various types of snapper, black drum and hooked several 5 lb. tarpon. We also saw a bunch of exotic birds, a big saltwater croc and sometimes we’d hear the monkeys in the distance. On the third day it finally dawned on me... I was fishing in the jungle!

Fishing Belize was great, but nothing like the expansive flats of the Bahamas that linger on for miles. Unlike Andros, the wadable flats around Placencia were short and separated by long, deep blue holes. Sometimes the holes were 80+ feet deep. And while on the flats, spotting permit in 2+ feet of water was surprisingly more difficult than I had anticipated. My eyes are pretty well trained for bonefish, so I figured a big silver dollar-like fish would be a piece of cake to see. Nope. They blend in well with the bottom. Plus the conditions made it tough to see them, even when tailing, until were just about on top of them. Out of the few permit we saw, not very many were “happy” either. They spooked easily and were always on their way somewhere, fast. The guys were disappointed and said that during the last few trips, they had close to a dozen shots at permit each, per day. I had about a dozen good shots the whole week. The guides agreed that we hit some really bad luck.

The tarpon were not along the flats as I thought they’d be either. We fished for them off a key called Moha every time we were after them. They hung out there because of the massive schools of glass minnows and would rarely touch a fly due to all of the available food. We saw several other boats anchored on the same key throughout the week and maybe five hooked fish on gummies. Until we got our two on the same day with small clousers, we didn’t see a single fish landed among the fleet. We were lucky in that our fish were likely from a new school that weren’t quite as keyed in on the bait. An hour later, they were hip to us.

In hindsight, I would’ve taken more shots with my left hand rather than try to get around the fish for a more favorable cast with my right. But I had no confidence in my left. I’m actually a lefty, taught to fish right-handed. One day while goofing off in the lagoons, the guide asked me to show him my left. He broke my cast down and gave me a few pointers. On the next cast I threw 50‘ of line. I was amazed. On the next bunch I was throwing 80’ before I started working too hard and the casts would fall apart. That was a big highlight for me on the trip. Another mistake I’d like to take back was not dropping the fly when the guide instructed. I instead went for the infamous "hold on, one more false cast!". I did this on two permit and dropped the fly too close, spooking them. I then got to see how powerful they were as they moved a ton of water when startled. The guide said I surely would’ve hooked the latter of the two fish had I listened to him. Live and learn… Of course fighting the fish through the coral heads would’ve been the next challenge.

By the end of the week, the four of us hooked several small tarpon, had very few shots at permit and landed only three real fish... two tarpon and a tiny bonefish. I got one of the tarpon and the bonefish. The rest of the fish landed were a bunch of three lb. bonito (albies) while trolling flies around the shrimp boat (geez that was fun), horse-eye jacks, jack crevalle, various snapper and baby drum. I'm not complaining though. The company was great, though I get picked on as I'm the whipper snapper of these trips, and the accommodations and food were better than I expected. The scenery wasn't too shabby either. Here are some pics: