What an amazing year it has been at Fly Water Travel! 2013 has been a whirlwind of adventure and we are continually humbled by the passion and patronage of our amazing clientele. Our continuing goal is to visit every destination we promote and 2013 was no different. Members of the Fly Water crew traveled to Venezuela, Christmas Island, Alaska, British Columbia, Mexico, Honduras, Argentina, Chile, Montana, Idaho, California and both the Canadian and American Rockies.
This year I saw a dynamic cross section of the saltwater angling scene. Here are a few of my favorite moments of the year from my travels:
The year started off with a bang. As in the bang of broken rods! I was fortunate enough to be invited to Christmas Island Outfitters for the filming of an episode of Fly Fishing the World TV with Conway Bowman. We spent a good portion of the trip filming action of GT’s and this still shot from the show pretty much says it all. Hard to miss that my fish is bigger, I must say!
It was amazing to watch this camera crew lug around $100,000, 50lb TV cameras across the vast flats of Christmas Island. All while trying to keep them from being destroyed by the relentless wind, sand, rain and saltwater.
Camera man Matt displays a beauty after we had all the footage we needed in the can!
TV show host extraordinaire, Mako Shark on the fly expert, world traveler and all around good guy Conway Bowman waves from a flat at Christmas Island.
My next stop would take me to a small island northwest of Cancun called Isla Holbox. This brilliant little island is home to both massive migratory tarpon and a plethora of opportunities for baby tarpon. The charming town of Holbox is void of cars and big on low key charm, great restaurants and a laid back beach town vibe. Couple that with fantastic fishing opportunities and it’s hard to go wrong!
There is a myriad of lodging options on Isla Holbox ranging from the quaint and affordable to the luxurious and fancy. Casa Lupita served as a perfect home base for our baby tarpon excursion.
The baby tarpon at Isla Holbox are hard hitting high fliers! These little guys are pure fun. Just grab your 8wt, a floating line, your favorite waking fly and go have a ball!
My fishing partner Erik Von Heideken displays a beautiful baby from the prolific waters surrounding Isla Holbox.
My next stop was Tarpon Cay Lodge in San Felipe, Mexico. I led a group of 8 adventurous anglers to experience some of the world’s best juvenile tarpon fishing across the Yucatan peninsula. Here is my trip report for these amazing destinations.
Many of the high flying babies at Tarpon Cay move from deep within the surrounding mangroves and creeks out onto the open water flats to feed. At times these fish can be intercepted before they reach the flats, focusing on the water in tight by the creek mouths and edges. Here a 5 pound baby clears the water and tail walks in very tight quarters.
Our next stop on the trip was to the incomparable Isla Del Sabalo. This destination is truly the frontier of baby tarpon fishing on the fly. Opportunities exist to target smaller fish within a plethora of mangrove lined, brackish rivers or larger tarpon on open water deep flats.
A healthy and heavily shouldered baby is landed within one of the many creeks that surround Isla Del Sabalo.
As we neared the end of the trip and made our way back to the lodge we finally found a large school of open water fish from 20lb – 50lbs. Nearly everyone in the group had shots at these bigger juveniles and many fish were landed. It was an epic finish to a fantastic trip and definitely one of my most favorite moments of the year!
After Mexico my next trip was to Los Roques, Venezuela with my wife Chrysta. Los Roques was a revelation featuring some of the world’s most beautiful white sand beaches, friendly locals, fantastic snorkeling, crystal clear turquoise seas and a ton of hard fighting bonefish!
On Chrysta’s birthday I arranged for a special lobster lunch at a remote island at Los Roques. We took an extended break from fishing to enjoy an incredible spread of local lobster, oysters, fried snapper, conch ceviche, flatbread, rice and cold cerveza! It became immediately clear that it would be impossible to handle such a feast by ourselves so we invited our guides Carlos and Vicente to join in. We had a fantastic lunch, enjoyed snorkeling while being enveloped by a massive school of bonefish and even had a siesta. What an amazing day!
A stunning bonefish displayed by my lovely wife! Los Roques is the stuff dreams are made of. I can’t wait to go back!
2013 was a fantastic year filled with amazing adventures, friends new and old, some truly amazing fishing and a host new and exciting opportunities. 2014 is looking like more of the same including potential stops in Mexico, Bahamas, Belize, Los Roques and/or Costa Rica.
Please don’t wait to make that trip of a lifetime, because in the words of the great Warren Miller, “If you don’t do it this year, you’ll only be one year older when you do.”