50hp engines might be a great way to whizz pangas through mangrove channels en route to favourite flats. However, when it comes to the actual fishing, a more stealthy means of propulsion is required if you’re to avoid spooking fish. This comes in the form of a graphite poling pole of some twenty odd feet in length. Wielding such a cumbersome thing is an art in itself that involves years of learning. Thankfully, all Casa Viejo Chac guides are masters when poling a flat, giving them plenty of time to spot the ghostly shadows of passing fish. Trust me, having dabbled on top of a poling platform, maximum concentration was required for maintaining balance and attempting to steer 23ft of fibreglass hull in a predetermined direction… Above: Antonio handles a pole as though it’s a mere bamboo garden cane.
Ruben digs checks the skiff’s drift as he spots a shoal of feeding bonefish way off to his right
Senior guide William often passes the pole over his head when manoeuvring a skiff into prime position. What’s impressive is that his pole is fashion from mahogany, which weighs considerably more than graphite.