South of Playa del Carmen the Flats Fishing is World Class

Upon arriving on the Boca Paila Fishing Lodge beyond the long row of beachfront Tulum Hotels without delay at 7:30 am, we noticed the place was already jumping .  Visitors were   finishing up breakfast and the guides were getting the last of their equipment in the boats while being proficiently directed by  Chico, the general manager and the primary host of the property.  Undoubtedly this was not the opening occasion these guys had done  this, in fact Boca Paila has been around since the late 1960s.  To say these guys are pioneers of fishing in this area is  an understatement , they were the only game in town long ago and it had been a a couple of hour drive from Tulum, not 20 to 30 minutes as  it is now.

We came for the fishing and they had been equipped on behalf of us.  Subsequent to brief introductions with Chico, he informed us that our boat and  guide Alfonso had been by now waiting on the pier in favor of us.  A quick assessment of our tackle and off we went.  Chico made certain we  also had a variety of the best flies and jigs for the locale and season before we departed and handed those to our guide Alfonso  following he personally escorted us to the boat.

Once on the water, Alfonso didnt squander much time and we took off across the glass lagoon seeking our first fish of the  day.  There was a brief stop at a cut in the lagoon, where it meets the sea , and Alfonso said we needed to stop on behalf of   something there.  Devoid of giving freely all the secrets of the area , the stop proved to become relatively helpful during the day.

Subsequent to the “stop” where the lagoon meets sea, we made our path to the first of many of what I imagine are Alfonsos favorite   spots within this magical lagoon.  There awaited at least 30 miles of practically unaffected and protected wetlands and  interconnected genuine waterways.

Alfonso killed the engine as we came across the first spot and he commenced poling us across the black rooted mangrove shoreline as  he surveyed the water with his proficient vision .  Within 10 minutes he saw the bone fish and we had been directed to “11 ‘o  clock about 30 feet out,” and then a rapid call to “strip it, strip it, strip it!” We followed our guides instruction and  bingo, my Dad had our opening fish on. Inside two minutes, an additional respectable sized bone fish was caught and released by me.  This  was going to be fun !

Further over the shore, Alfonso continued to scrutinize the waters from his 3 foot platform in favor of the next catch.  This time it  was Permit and I had one on the line.  If you have never caught a Permit fish on a fly rod or even light tackle, its tricky   to explain the amount of fun it sincerely is.  It had been run of the mill size for the area , about 10 pounds however it fought for 15 minutes  before relenting and after a quick photo it was released.  What a rush and what a ravishing fish!

a number more Bone Fish and a mixed bag of Jack, Mud Snapper and Porgy and off we went into the next spot.  I thought to myself,  if all of the spots are like that, one of my arms might not make it the day.  We had a few issues using the line on my rod and had  to return to the lodge for line which took Alfonso no occasion to get back up and running.  

Subsequent to about an hour of poling down inside the briny waters close to our first prize pool we had caught a variety more of the  undesired Snappers, Jack and Porgy so we decided to move along once more .  I should mention that there is rarely a dull moment   on the lagoon.  Even when you arent catching fish, theres quite a lot to catch sight of .  In the course of the day we probably saw twelve rays of  various species and witnessed several instances of Mullet boiling, bursting and leaping from the water to flee from the   striking Barracuda along many birds of countless species and colors .  We also saw a nesting couple of Sea Eagles  (Osprey).

We crossed the lagoon at high speed for afternoon fishing before gliding in, engine off and back to the poling for  Alfredo.  I should point out that Boca Paila Fishing Lodge has an especially talented fisherman and guide in Alfons.  I didnt  see a tenth of what he spotted for us, of course he was sitting up 3 feet higher than us, but he was amazing.

Just before lunch I got into my second Permit and this one was closer to 15 pounds and he wanted to run.  The Permit are  rather common within the Tulum, Boca Paila region of the lagoon so I shouldnt have been too startled to catch sight of Alfonso making lunch  while I fought this fish.  What did surprise me was that when I said “I think he’s coming in, get the net”, Alfonso didnt  move .  The fish gave me my answer when he took off on another long run and I caught a wry smile from Alfonso and went back  to my fish.  another 10 minutes and I did at long last land that one, and yes, Alfonso had the net equipped this time .

Subsequent to lunch, which was wonderful by the way, a ham sandwich, chips and a beer. After being in the sun for 4-5 hours, it had been one  of the best lunches I have had in a while and Alfonso showed us the Mexican method of adding a few hot sauce into the   sandwiches… it was good .  We moved nearer to shore and once more began to stalk the next catch, it was hot and the fishing  seemed to slow a little in the afternoon heat, but Alfonso was relentless and when he caught me sitting on the bow he demanded  that I stand up. “You can’t catch fish sitting down…stand up and get !”  I was up and about directly and was slightly   embarrassed but that ended instantly after I hooked into another Permit, this one was a little smaller, probably 8 pounds but  the struggle lasted 10 minutes and the thrill was definitely not gone.

We stalked a variety more small groups of Bone Fish and Permit pairs, landing a few more run of the mill sized Bone Fish before  moving on once again.  This occasion , as we arrived at the new spot, Alfonso informed us that this was a sizable channel and one  of the deeper parts of the lagoon.  Still only twelve to fifteen feet deep but we changed up the tackle and went to a large jig with  a significant leader.  I am guessing about 20 to 25 pound test.

This is where things got very attention-grabbing .  We must have hit that channel as a school of baitfish were passing through or  had just passed because it was a feeding frenzy!   The opening casts for both my father and I produced two large Snook within the   20 pound range , pretty good fights for both, but pound for pound I think the Permit is hard to beat.   In any case , as things  got crazy , and cast after cast produced larger and larger Snook, I started pondering the obscure “Super Slam”; Bone  Fish, Permit, Snook and Tarpon.  I would have been ecstatic to have such an incredible day and fall short but then as if on queue  another big strike and from the water it came , the Tarpon ran beyond the boat at full speed then prepared a run back by means of   another spectacular leap .  While it had been comparatively undersized for Tarpon at about 10 pounds, it was the icing on a perfect day  of fishing.

We stayed at the channel another 20 minutes roughly and I was so tired and absolutely pleased that I handed my rod to  Alfonso and watched him catch a number more Snook while my Dad did the same and brought in a few more Bone Fish respectable   measure.

All in all, I must say that this was the very best day of fishing EVER.  Between the company, the Boca Paila Fishing Lodge  services and the awesome number of fish we caught, this one will be tough to beat.  I want to once more personally express thanks   the personnel at Boca Paila for this glorious experience we are going to both never forget !

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