Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Yucatan Flats on the Fly - Pesca Maya Review

The Yucatan peninsula seems to be founded on a slab of chalky stone, and after an hour of being jostled down a Mexican jungle dirt road in a van full of strangers, local radio station playing seemingly the same song on repeat, one's mind begins to short circuit and confuse the chalky dust covering the road side vegetation as fake snow applied from an aerosol can. It can turn twighlight zone real quick in the Mexican backcountry. The van ride that started in the 5:30 am darkness ends on a strip of Caribbean wilderness no wider than a 100 yards with the sea to the East and Ascension Bay to the West. Pesca Maya fishing lodge is an unglamorous lodge perched on a remote strip of jungle in the middle of paradise.
Front porch of the Pesca Maya Ascension Bay Fishing Lodge
I've spent a lot of money to cast a fly towards bonefish on the picturesque flats of Ascension Bay, and the flavor of the lodge seems to screams "Mexico" more than "moeny well spent." During a breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs chunked with diced ham, and coffee I'm introduced to my guide, Wilberth. Moments later, we are walking down one of two sandy tire ruts that leads to my first tropical flats fly fishing excursion.
road to dock
Less than 5 minutes later, Wilberth has the motor on the mexican panga whining, and 10 minutes after that, Wilberth's assistant Angel hands me a 9 wt. Sage with a right-hand set up Hatch reel and I step up on the platform, tucked close enough to the mangroves to shelter us from the 25 mph winds..  Nearly an hour passes and we have only seen mullet and barracudas. I begin to question if I shelled out way too many bones to chase fish.  We finally corner an nice sized snook under some mangrove roots, and part after Wilbert and Angel throw ice from the cooler at the fish in attempts to move him out from under his cover. Wilbert signals we are changing locations, and I hope that the fact we havn't seen nary a bonefish and have already resorted to "jumping" snook out of the bushes with cooler ice doesn't foreshadow the rest of the days activities.

Wilberth taking us to new water
Not only is the new location more picturesque, we start seeing fish.  In the next 2 hours I land my first two bonefish, miss my first two bonefish, and cast to 4 permit and 1 baby tarpon. The skunk was off, and I was crazy stoked to see permit, much less cast to 4 and get a follow.  Lunch on the boat was great, and afterwards, the fishing only got better.
My first bonefish in the boat

Angel with my second, and smallest bonefish of the day

 I can't say enough about Wilberth Xec.  Not only could did he pole a panga with 3 people in 25 mph winds all day, he gave me an opportunity for a grand slam on my first trip in those rough conditions. The end of the day saw seven bone fish landed, with a handful of jacks, a blue runner, and cuda to boot.  I only hooked myself in the back once. Angel helped to manage my line on the deck, and Wilberth's ability to spot fish and coach me on strips and hook sets was great. He english was some of the best I heard from any native while in Mexico, and his knowledge of the fishery and techniques were spot on .  I highly recommend Wilberth if you ever choose to set up a trip through Pesca Maya.

The location was remote and gorgeous. My guide worked hard, was professional, and put me on fish in tough conditions. It wasn't cheap, but I got picked up from my hotel by Pesca Maya, fed breakfast, and caught fish on my first attempt on bonefish. If I had a bucket list, this would have been on it and happily scratched off at the end of the day.

Here are some more pics from the trip.

Wilberth Xec, Pesca Maya Guide

Front porch of the lodge

Ocean view from the lodge

1 comment:

  1. Pesca Maya is a wonderful place to stay and fish. We stayed 2 nights and had 2 days fishing. We arrived mid-morning and spent the entire day fishing from shore, snorkeling, and laying around in the hammocks!

    Grace Crawford (For info…)