The Cenote Lagoons.
These lakes are unlike anywhere else you will fish in the world. They are anchialine systems meaning land locked but connected to the ocean through underground passage ways. Here on the Yucatan Peninsula the entrances to these caves and subterranean rivers are called Cenotes.
These Mangrove lined lakes vary from 10 to 300 acres have an average depth of 3 feet and will have at least one cenote where the depth drops down sometimes over 100 feet into the caves below. They will gradually run clear at the end of the rainy season around December-January and will go tea coloured after the first strong rains in late May or early June.
All the lakes hold Tarpon and Snook who smell the fresh water leaving the caves on the ocean side and swim through the caves, under the beach and up into the lakes. The Tarpon are generally baby to teenaged fish in the 3 to 30lb bracket but occasionally we catch fish up to 80lbs or even bigger.
When the water is clear it is possible to sight fish in all other times we are casting to rolling fish or just to the structure of the Mangrove shoreline. As we are casting a lot typically we will do 90% of our fishing with an 8 weight rod and full floating line. In the deeper cenotes we will sometimes use a 10 weight with a sink tip line to sink heavier flies deeper in the water column.
There are 78 miles of beach between Espiritu Santo Bay to the north and Chetumal Bay to the south and we are the only people guiding fly fishing here!
The beaches have easy access with a sand and rock beach road running just a stones throw from the water along almost the entire length. The beach is comprised of Turtle grass flats, sandy beaches and rocky points offering a large variety of habitat types to fish for practically every salt water, fly friendly fish in the Caribbean.
The coast runs almost north south and the prevailing “trade” winds from the East average 10 knots. Flies that we generally use on the ocean are bigger than those on the flats so we stand a chance at passing Permit, Jacks, Snook as well as Bonefish. For these two reasons we will typically fish with 8 weight rods as a minimum and will carry a 10 weight rigged on heavier gear of we keep seeing bigger fish on the day.
Full floating lines are preferable but an intermediate sink tipdoes help presentation when fishing in the waves in the bigger water.
To the north Espiritu Santo Bay is a virtually untapped fly fishing paradise. It takes about 2 hours to drive there from Mahahual as the last 18 miles are very slow going. Unlike Chetumal Bay access to the water is difficult and DIY wade and walk trips are unsafe and almost impossible to access the fishing area. Fishing days here are guided by boat for a mixed bag of fish.
To the south Chetumal Bay is only 45 minutes away. The fishing area is a maze of Mangrove channels and ponds spread out by expansive sand flats. Here there is always somewhere to get out of the wind. The bay is almost always cristal clear and so fishing is done by sight casting to cruising, waking or tailing fish.
Fishing for Bonefish in either bay we use classic light weight flats flies and these can be thrown on 6 to 8 weight rods and full floating lines. It is advisable to have a couple of other heavier rods rigged as Permit are common on the flats during spring and summer months. Having another fly rod or spinning rod rigged for Baracuda can bring some of the most explosive fishing available on the planet.