Wednesday, 29 December 2010

~William fuels up with morning coffee before preparing his skiff~

Unsung Heroes:

I've fished with many saltwater guides and can only say the team at Casa Viejo Chac are second to none. Aside from giving you an experience to remember they're extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the environment. Friendly and upbeat they understand our British sense of humour so a day with them is always fun. At the hub of a successful operation they're the unsung heroes and I'm already looking forward to seeing them in 2011. Fly Odyssey have reserved two weeks in Nov 2011. These trips offer great value for money and include accommodation, all meals, guides and fishing-for further details contact Mat McHugh:

email: tel: 01621 743711


~Marcus and Tara prepare to ferry lunch for our final day~

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

~Rosette Spoonbills and Herons look on at our rescue efforts~

International Rescue!

You encounter all sorts when out for a day on the flats of Mexico. A first for Pete Eville and myself was this troubled cruiser, she'd managed to run aground on a sand bar close to a long Island. Our guide Manuel decided to motored over and after attaching a stout rope (Pete's new leader material...), we were able to pull her into the safety of deeper water. Just as well really, as hours later a storm came blasting through. Good deed done, we went in search of a few more fish before light stopped play.


~Nearly there~

Monday, 27 December 2010

~Guide William cradles a good sized Bonefish~

Them Bones:

For my money, nothing beats wandering around in ankle depth water and targeting tailing Bonefish. Over the past few years, we've seen the average size of Bonefish in Ascension Bay increase. Some of my fondest memories included encounters with such streamlined and graceful fish. I was fortunate to enjoy several days tip-toeing through skinny water and flinging a shrimp pattern at some impressive Bonefish, roll on next year!


~Bonefish like this head my species list~

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

~An Infant Permit...........Stunning~
Little & Large:

Now, I know many of you think I'm not wired right, as permit really don't do it for me. Despite this I can be persuaded to go in search of these illusive if not downright moody creatures. And occasionally, things happen to fall into place. The baby permit above actually snaffled my fly before a huge bonefish.....not that I complained. However the fish below were sighted and cast to. Believe me, when you see permit like this tailing on a flat "buck fever" sets in. I now understand why you need at least 250 yards of backing on a reel, as their initial run beggars belief. We were very fortunate to interact with permit every single day of our visit, proof that above all else, Ascension Bay truly is a permit destination.

~My best to date, a huge permit in anybodies book~
(note the size of the eye.....)

~Jonathan with a decent permit~

Monday, 20 December 2010

~A handful of teeth....!~

Underrated Barracudas:

Wade across any bonefish flat and chances are you'll soon come across the menacing shape of a barracuda. And although needlefish are their common prey they're more than happy to snap up mullet and even bonefish. Many people pass them up, but believe me these fearsome creatures make for some of the most exciting fishing you can ever wish to experience. Firstly, they strike with lightening fast speed, before sprinting off at a rate of knots. Chances are they will then start tail-walking in a bid to shed the hook. Better still, Cudas are often in a feeding mood and because of their sheer size, are relatively east to spot, even during poor light. From now on, I'll always have a rod set up with a wire trace and baitfish imitation.


~An impressive set of gnashers~

~The remains of my fly following a single encounter~

Sunday, 12 December 2010

~Angry storm clouds gather over Ascension Bay~

Taking the rough with the smooth!

If you spend any appreciable time fishing in the Caribbean, it's not all roses round the door as sooner or later you're going to run into some pretty nasty weather. Thankfully this often proves the exception rather than the rule, but nevertheless, be prepared. A cold front from the north brought with it threatening cloud and some pretty fierce winds. Obviously, being hardened fishers, we battled through 2 days of adverse conditions and despite murky water, it was still possible to find the odd fish.


~Graham hooks a baby tarpon in a riot of mangroves~

~Such fish brighten up any dreary day~

Friday, 10 December 2010

~Guides need to adopt a stealthy poling approach during low water~

Low water brings out the Snook:

Whilst everyone bangs on about potential sport during a rising tide, fishing at low water has its benefits too. Not least the chance to get on terms with secretive Snook. These impressive ambush predators can easily melt away into the mangroves at high tide. Yet, come the ebb they're pushed out of their hidey holes. Now, cruising the margins, it's possible to target them using small streamers and baitfish imitations. Steve Langan (The Doc) and I had an interesting day chasing such fish. Admittedly, we'd started our adventure in search of permit, but things weren't working out, so quick to revise our plans, we went in search of Snook and were duly rewarded.


~Guide-Phillip and the Doc with a good looking Snook~

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

~Battling a tangle of mangroves gave you access to more remote places~

Mangrove Mayhem:

Mangroves constitute an important part of the eco system in Ascension Bay and whilst they might be cursed they hold many secret lagoons that teem in fish life. Battling your way through them is well worth the effort as what awaits you is often some of the most spectacular fishing imaginable. Obviously, you need to keep an eye for crocs and the likes, but even these can prove entertaining in their own way!


~ On the other side, a welcome bonefish flat.......pure paradise~

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

~Tackling up for toothy creatures.........!~

Avoiding the cold!

Ascension Bay in the Gulf of Mexico is currently a lot warmer than our weather trends here in the UK. I've been lucky to spend the last 3 weeks down there in search of many saltwater species, unfortunately there was no Internet access in such a remote place, so I'm playing catch up here. Despite constant travel the first morning of any new trip is always an exciting time. Up with the sparrows, our rods and leaders were assembled long before breakfast. And following scrambled eggs (Mexican style), we chatted our plans through over a cup of strong coffee.


~Inspiration can often be found in a coffee cup~
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 14 October 2010

~The San occasionally produces a hatch of tractors~

A good send off:

Despite bright conditions, our closing days on the San brought some memorable moments. Stephen Tinkler and Lyndsay Smith found a pod of decent grayling and managed to prise out a few notable fish. The cold weather prompted locals to gather firewood for the coming winter and tractors could be seen crossing the river in parts. Stephen (Shep) Webster certainly deserved a medal, as he spent a full day in the shade with temperatures struggling to just above freezing. What kept him captivated was a shoal of hefty grayling. I did warn him that these fish can consume you, and to his credit he connected with a couple of them. Paul Mercer opted to use his zero weight rod to enjoy entertaining sport on the tail of a long pool. So with reluctance, we bid farewell to the San for another season.


~Stephen Tinkler targets risers on smooth water~

~Paul Mercer stretching to net a good grayling~

Monday, 11 October 2010

~Stephen Webster basking in glorious sunshine~


Following three days of harsh sunlight, things finally began to settle down. With fly hatching and fish rising we were back in business once more. Stephen Webster and I wrestled with a nasty downstream wind one morning to eventually connect with feeding fish, which were sat tight against the far bank. As evening drew close that niggling breeze dropped away, allowing us to target risers on smooth water at the tail of pools. Lyndsay Smith and Stephen Tinkler were frequently rewarded for the perseverance, these old-hands literally had to be dragged from the water, making us younger guys feel like positive lightweights.


~Lyndsay Smith accurately covers a sipping rise~


~A huge flock of Cranes heading south~

Easterly wind brings change:

Chilly easterly winds brought a massive change to the conditions during our second week in Poland. Common cranes flocking south were one of the main indicators and on the following day we awoke to a biting frost. The bright sun certainly took its toll on hatches as things began to slow up a little. Fingers crossed, both fish & fly should quickly acclimatize, hopefully giving us a final shot of some late season dry fly sport.


~Grass snakes constantly crossed the San, probably their last swim before winter~

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

~Ace nympher-Kevin Moran surveys a likely pool~

~Liam Spencer about to net another San trout~

Hatch of a lifetime?

We were privileged to see the San produce what might be considered the hatch of a lifetime. Weather wise, nothing much had changed from previous days, but what we experience was beyond words. Nymphing aficionados Grant Breckell and Kevin Moran soon swapped their beadhead bugs for dry flies as BWO duns streamed off the water like no tomorrow, even the fish struggled to cope with such numbers of fly. Even Wojtek claimed, he'd only once witnessed a hatch nearing this. At the height of it, our tiny imitations appeared as the proverbial needle in a haystack. Our best chance came as the hatch subsided and once more, fish became catchable.


~BWO duns littered the surface~

~The rewards of perseverance-a cracking 2lb grayling for Liam~

Friday, 1 October 2010

~Liam Spencer and Peter Marshall striking out on the San~

San smiles on us:

Despite a slow start, our week on the San has seen the fishing improve no end. Obviously, overcast conditions (perfect for upwinged hatches) have encouraged countless BWOs to emerge. Consequently, as each day passes, more and more fly appearred on the water. Be it a dry fly presented with care, or a brace of spiders drifted to nebbing fish, we're enjoyed some top drawer sport with San trout and grayling. Even some of the more elusive larger fish are being tempted up with quality trout taken by most of the group. During the evenings we're busy tying flies, fuelled by the occasional beer or two.........


~A solid San brown trout taken on a #18 paradun~

~A setting sun concludes another eventful day on the San~
~The large tracks of Red Deer~

Rich and Varied Land:

The San river valley carves its way through ancient Polish forest that is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. Each day, we are seeing wild deer and their tracks as they pass by the river. Beavers too seem to thrive along the San's banks. With the river too wide for the dam, they seek the many side streams to construct their homes.


~Beaver dams could be found on most side streams~

~The teeth marks of beaver are clearly visible~

Thursday, 30 September 2010

~Grant Breckell brings another fish to hand~

~San grayling are both handsome and plump at this time of year~

Water Fines Down:

Our second morning greeted us with much clearer water and fish were active on our arrival. Targeting fast water, Grant Breckell and Kevin Moran connected with some fine San trout using small nymphs. Liam Spencer and myself preferred to search out smooth, flat glides, looking for dimpling fish amidst the ribbons of foam. The first hour proved slow, but once a hatch got underway, fish were rising all around us. Size 18 dries were the winning formula though fickle as ever, grayling seemed harder to tempt than trout.


~Lunch and a warm fire by the river are good for the soul~

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

~The Boys tackling up~

~Ready for battle~

Mucky Water:

Heavy overnight rain rendered the San a mucky brown for our first morning. To add further insult, a cold northerly breeze pegged back air temperatures. Nonetheless, there was plenty of excited chatter and banter as the Boys prepared for their first full day on the San. On arriving at the water, we were met with BWOs streaming off and the occasional caddis hatching. Our biggest problem was deciding on which method was going to be most profitable, as nymphs suited turbid water, yet emerging fly had encouraged a few fish to rise................


~Sadly, this caddis didn't quite make it~
~The San has it's share of beavers, which are gradually gnawing through this tree!~

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

~Safely arrived and unpacking in Poland~

~A quick coffee before hitting the water~

Poland Adventure:

We arrived safely in Poland to find balmy weather. And following a good hours drive from the airport, a strong coffee set us up for some evening sport. The boys fared well with everyone catching fish on our first outing. Grant Breckell took the hounors for the largest fish-a cracking 2lb San Brown Trout. Better still, there was evidence of BWO spinners and I managed a couple of fish on my para-spinner. Though, as we left the river that evening, heavy rain clouds filtered down the valley, let's hope it doesn't come to much.............


~Master at the Vice, our host Wojtek Gibinski tying a killing fly~