not a monster but strong and beautiful
There is just something magical about flats fishing. Nothing beats being in one of the most special places on this planet trying to get these fish to eat your fly. But why is this place a true fly anglers paradise? A big chuck of why it’s so special, Has everything to do with the most diverse and spectacular saltwater fly fishing possibly anywhere on the planet.
The lakes and its location in the middle of the two bays is the reason that Dial Duncan build paradise lodge at this spot 20 years ago!
The lodge is super comfy with specious air-conditioned rooms, nice beds and great tasting food. Besides that the managers Eric and Lana are great and will do anything for you to make your stay the best ever. They are really dedicated to making your stay the best ever. The lodge capacity is only 8 anglers so it can deliver individual attention and provide you with the best time ever. This place is just top notch! Plus a bartender that whips up one of the biggest and best tasting margarita’s I have ever had, at the end of a day’s fishing doesn’t hurt either!
launching the boat into one of the numerous lakes
But the true reason this place is so special and sets it apart from all the other lodges is its location. A unique place that will let you fish for tarpon and snook on one of it’s dozen magical lakes and fish for bones and big permit the next day. In either Espiritu Santo bay or Chetumal bay, yes both! Not one but two massive bays for you to explore and fish, both are stunning places to fish with endless flats and amazing wildlife. The guides also now where to find tarpon in the bay’s so the dream of catching a grand slam is within ones reach. Although not easy, every year a lot of anglers achieve their ultimate goal of catching a slam right here. Not to mention that you can, when the time is right, sight fish for massive snook. In skinny water it is an ultimate fly rod challenge of hooking one of these monsters. Believe me it is something that will get your hart pumping. And requires a lot of skill from the fly angler on the bow. We all know that permit are not easy fish to catch at all, so are these skinny water snook. Give sight fishing for these big snook a try, it is as challenging and exciting as it gets.
choosing the right fly
There is just something about getting out of a flats boat at Espiritu Santo bay and wading in ankle deep 80-degree warm water. Stalking a couple feeding and tailing bonefish with a fly pinched between your fingers. Placing your fly with precision in just the right place, and then seeing the biggest bone of them chasing your fly like a cat chases a mouse. For him to finally eat your imitation thinking it’s the real deal. But not for long, you set the hook with a strip strike and he rockets off like nothing you have ever seen before. Ripping your line from your reel leaving you and your guide standing there with nothing but big smiles and a sense of victory. And that’s not even the best thing about it, you’re alone on the entire flat. Totally secluded with not another fly fisherman to be seen in every direction you’re looking. Yes this is a true paradise on earth for an fly angler.
in search of the silver ghost
Something that also struck me is the mere size of these bonefish, not your typical one to two-pound Yucatan fish. But an average more like three to four pound fish and with bigger fish seen and caught regularly. We managed to land several 5-6 pound fish that were cruising in either doubles or singles. We used different flies but the one that they didn’t refused even once was my own design called a DD-shrimp. This fly is my #1 and the bones seem to agree with me. The bay also produces good numbers of permit, typically found in a little deeper water. They room these waters for crabs and big shrimps and when the weather and tides are favorable. Listen to your guide and fish for these awesome fish. The chance of you hooking up with one of them is very high. Always make sure you have a rod rigged up with a permit fly. One of the best fly’s to use here is a squimp, not a crab pattern but a deadly shrimp pattern with rubber legs. Believe me, most permit are caught here on that fly!
nice 6Lb bonefish
Chetumal is another bay that will provide you with the classical flats fishing experience. And maybe the best place in the world for catching a permit on fly. I have never seen so many (big) permit in one day in my live! Seeing 30-40 permit a day is not unusual, catching them is another thing though as always. But if the weather gods are kind, mixed with a little luck magic things happen here.
The bonefishing here is also very good with high numbers of fish, but with the average fish being smaller than at Espiritu Santo bay. And again the guides at paradise lodge found the tarpon here. So this is a great place with a high chance for catching a grand slam. The beauty about these bays is that they provide a totally different scenery and experience. Again it is all about the diversity of this fishery witch is the true reason this place is so special.
The lake fishery was something new for me but man I really had a blast. It’s an awesome thing to see a tarpon eat your gurgler from the surface and then going ballistic. Being true acrobats this is as much fun you’ll ever experience with a fly rod in hand. And if you like to do something special and do a little bush whacking. You’ll be able to fish some hidden (secret) lakes, full of baby tarpon up to 50 pounds and lots of Snook. It is possible that you are the first fisherman there in years. If the water is clear this is sight fishing at it’s best and very spectacular. For me it was an experience I’ll never forger. Motoring in to one of the small bays at one of the bigger lakes. Getting out the boat and moving through the jungle in search of a lake no one has fished for quit some time. On our way we saw some foot prints that looked like it was a very large kitty, its a big Puma print according to the guide. Pretending not being ‘a little’ scared we moved on. There it was, a secluded lake and the first thing we saw were some really nice tarpon cruising the mangrove shoreline. We caught a lot of tarpon and it is something I’ll never forget. Every lake has it’s own character and one could not even fish half of them in a week of fishing. One of the reasons a lot of fisherman keep coming back to fish here. I’ll be back fishing in paradise for sure!