Fly Fishing

ASCENSION BAY

Ascension Bay Fly Fishing

Ascension Bay in the Sian Ka'an Biosphere offers world-class saltwater fly fishing. It features kilometers of easy-to-wade flats, most with hard-packed white sand and others covered with turtle grass. Ascension Bay welcomes beginner fishers and seasoned veterans alike. The quality of the fishing in Ascension Bay is excellent. Visitors can fish for bonefish, permit, tarpon, jacks, snook,barracuda and other exciting species. Saltwater fly fishing for game fish means catch and release. Capturing bonefish, permit and tarpon all on the same day is considered a "Grand Slam".

A "Super Slam" means hooking bonefish, permit, tarpon and snook all on the same day.
Our visitors are also drawn by the isolation of the area as well as its beachcombing opportunities. Ascension Bay has hundreds of kilometers of flats to wade in for fly fishing. Our very experienced local fishing guides from Punta Allen will make sure your experience on the water will be great.
Hotel Sol Caribe, in the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, is a perfect base for fishing tours.

8 hours guided fly fishing by boat in the world famous Ascension Bay, with one of our experienced English speaking guides and full lunch with cold drinks on the boat.
US$ 420 per boat (2 pers. max.)
This price does not include fishing equipment or gratuities.


GEAR

Anglers should be properly dressed for their fishing adventures. We recommend wearing the following:

  • Polarized sunglasses 

  • Long-sleeves shirt and long pants

  • Wading boots

  • Gravel guards or high top socks (this will prevent sand and coral from getting into your boots)

  • A fishing hat that includes sun protection for your neck

  • Some sun block with 30 S.P.F. or higher.

FISHES




The ultimate prize catch for saltwater anglers is permit, a game fish. Permit is to flats anglers what Atlantic salmon is to fresh water anglers. Permit – found in Ascension Bay and at the lagoon mouths - attracts the attention of serious flats anglers. Permit is unusual, unpredictable, and has a reputation for avoiding capture despite anglers’ best casting and retrieving efforts. Yet permit is actually far more “catchable” than most anglers realize. Ascension Bay is world-famous for permit fishing. It provides the ideal ecosystem for permit to thrive, and the permit population that swim in these waters is unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Various sizes, including schools of pan-sized baby permit to permit weighing over 13 or 18 kilograms (this includes several line-class records) are waiting for anglers in Ascension Bay.


Permit Tackle (Fly Fishing)


(Fly fishing) Rods

· 9- or 10-wt. with fast action
· A three- or four-piece rod is easier to travel with
· A spare rod is a good idea

Reels

· Fully anodized
· Featuring smooth, span drag systems
· In a size appropriate to your rod
· Large enough to accommodate a minimum of 183 meters of 9-kilogram backing
· Large arbor design is a good idea

Fly lines

· A short belly, weight forward floating line that performs well in hot weather

Leaders

· 3 to 3.7-meter tapered saltwater leaders in 3.6 – 6.8-kilogram class
· Some fluorocarbon tippet material in the same weights

Flies for Permit

· Bauer's Fur Crab #6
· Turneffe Crab (olive) #6
· Raghead Crab #8, #2, or 1/0
· Del's Permit Crab #2
· Popovic Ultra Shrimp # 4 or 1/0
· Bauer's Mantis Shrimp

Can be caught in May, June, July, October and November; numerous in December, January and February



Bonefish (locally called “macabi”), which thrives in Ascension Bay, is among the world's best game fish. It is highly sought after by anglers. It weighs two to three pounds on average and offers good eating and large catches. Bonefish is likely the spanest and fastest-running saltwater fish. Ascension Bay bonefish is smaller on average than Bahamas, Florida Keys or Seychelles bonefish. But since gillnetting was banned in Ascension Bay, the bonefish population is increasing in size and numbers. Many 2- to 3.5-kilogram fish have been caught in the Bay. In addition, “trophy” sizes (heavier than 3.5 kilograms) are captured here at least once a year.


Bonefish Tackle


 Rods

· 7- or 8-wt. with fast action
· A 3 or 4-piece rod is easier to travel with
· A spare rod is a good idea

Reels

· Fully anodized
· Featuring smooth, span drag systems
· In a size appropriate to your rod
· Large enough to accommodate a minimum of 137 meters of 9-kilogram
backing
· Large arbor design is a good idea

Fly lines

· A weight forward floating line that
performs well in hot weather

Leaders

· 3 to 3.7-meter tapered saltwater leaders
in 3.6 – 6.8-kilogram class
· Some fluorocarbon tippet material in the same weights

Flies for Bonefish

· Crazy Charlies #6 (silver, amber, crystal pink, crystal chartreuse)
· Blind Charlies #6 (silver, amber, crystal pink, crystal chartreuse)
· Mini Puff #6, # 4 (pink, tan/orange, chartreuse)
· McVay Gotcha # 6 (chain bead-eye)
· Christmas Charlies #8 (tan, pink, yellow)
· Nasty Gilbert #6
· Bonefish Clouser #6 (chartreuse)
· Raghead Crab #8
· Popovic Ultra Shrimp #4
· Mangrove Critter #1/0
· Jan Isley's Yucatan Charlie #6
·This last fly has:
·a pink or beige marabou tail with 3 - 6 strands of chartreuse crystal flash
·the flash is tied in all about a 15-centimeter-long, white kip tail wing
·the wing is tied in on throat 1.9 centimeters long
·it has bead chain eyes or blind, translucent yellow swannundaze (a flattened oval plastic) or v-rib
·the v-rib is wrapped over chartreuse flymaster plus thread


Bonefishes are numerous all year round, but in May, June and July, anglers can catch the largest ones. Also, anglers can catch them from February through to August.




Anglers visiting Ascension Bay prize these large coastal game fish. Tarpon can reach nearly 91 kilograms in weight and nearly 2.5 meters in length. Tarpon is an elusive fish, residing in tricky-to-access hidden “lakes” in the far reaches of Ascension Bay. Smart anglers can discover pods of baby tarpon, each weighing from seven to nearly 14 kilograms. In the fall, anglers can hook larger migratory fish (upwards of 36 to 45 kilograms) as they swim into the bay. A few of these bigger fish stay in Ascension Bay year-round. It is possible for anglers to catch several tarpon a week while fishing for bonefish and permit. Tarpon readily grab flies and their fiery, acrobatic antics create an unforgettable fly fishing experience. Experienced anglers always keep a tarpon rod rigged and ready in the boat!


Tarpon Tackle


 Rods

0- to 12-wt. with fast action
· 0- to 12-wt. with fast action

Reels:

· Fully anodized
· Featuring smooth, span drag systems
· In a size appropriate to your rod
· Large enough to accommodate a minimum
of 229 meters of 9-kilogram backing
· Large arbor design is a good idea

Fly lines:

· A short belly, weight forward floating line that performs
well in hot weather and a clear intermediate sinking line

Leaders:


Hand-tied

· These incorporate a shock tippet section married
to a class tippet section by a series of special knots

Store-bought

· Rio Powerflex Big Game Leaders (sold in packets of
three with pre-straightened shock tippets; ideal weights are the 7.25-kilogram class tippet / 27-kilogram shock tippet leaders)

Flies for Tarpon:

Tarpon flies should generally be tied on 1/0 & 2/0 size hooks.
Flies should be dressed heavily to maintain neutral buoyancy.
They should also create an appealing silhouette that moves water.
Tarpon can respond to just a few variations in shape and color.
Anglers should note that brightly-colored flies work best from November to March.
Dark flies work best from April to October when the water is typically clear.
There should be some color contrast between the water and the fly.

Flies that work well include:

· Paradise Sunset (orange, yellow & grizzly)
· Paradise Purple (black & purple)
· Prince of Tides
· Paradise Cockroach
· Grim Reaper
· Borski's Orange Butt Tarpon
· Red & White Tarpon
· Lefty's Deceivers in various contrasting colors
· Tropical Punch
· Mini Crystal Poppers (these can produce brutal top-water strikes by tarpon,
particularly during the fall months)


Tarpon – can be caught all year round, but more numerous in May and June. From June through to December, bigger migrant tarpon can be caught. Baby tarpon can be hooked in October and November.




Horse-eye or Big-eye Jack is another popular game fish in Ascension Bay. It can grow up to 101 centimeters long and weigh a maximum of 13.4 kilograms. Jack has – as its name suggests - large eyes, and is considered a span fighter by anglers. Jack is often caught while moving quickly in schools. It tends to swim in schools and frequents reefs in open water as well as brackish water. Horse-eye jack will often swim up to scuba divers.

Jack fish can be caught all year round





Snook is perhaps the most under-rated and under-fished game fish in Ascension Bay. Snook is reclusive, tending to shelter near mangroves, but is fairly common in many areas of the Bay. It is also quite large (up to 1.2 meters in length and weighing nearly 23 kilograms). Aggressive and cannibalistic, especially when young, snook often tries to swallow fish of the same size. Once a snook is hooked, anglers need a lot of skill to manoeuvre it into open water. This is where the real battle to secure the powerful and thrilling snook begins.


Snook Tackle (Fly Fishing)


(Fly fishing) Rods

· 9- or 10-wt. with fast action
· A three- or four-piece rod is easier to travel with
· A spare rod is a good idea

Reels

· Fully anodized
· Featuring smooth, span drag systems
· In a size appropriate to your rod
· Large enough to accommodate a minimum of 183 meters of 9-kilogram backing
· Large arbor design is a good idea
Fly lines
· A short belly, weight forward floating line that performs well in hot weather

Leaders

· 3 to 3.7-meter tapered saltwater leaders in 3.6 – 6.8-kilogram class
· Some fluorocarbon tippet material in the same weights

Flies for Snook

Snook target surface flies energetically. The following surface patterns flies work well:

· Whitlock's Swimmin' Frog
· Swimming Baitfish
· Randy's Gator Frog
· Peacock Diver
· Snook-A-Roo
· Crystal Poppers

Flies listed in the tarpon flies section also work well for subsurface patterns. So do the following flies:

· Whitlock's Sheep Fly
· Lefty's Deceivers
· Dahlberg's Rabbit Strip Divers

Snook can be caught all year round



Barracuda is a powerful, predatory prize game fish living in Ascension Bay. It grows to about 1.8 meters in length and up to 30 centimeters in width. The Barracuda has powerful jaws and span, fang-like teeth. It is caught as both a food and game fish. Barracuda is usually eaten as fillet or steak. It is especially used for preparing Ceviche, a type of citrus-marinated seafood salad. Barracuda’s taste is span, like tuna or salmon. However, a few species of barracuda carry ciguatera, a kind of nerve poisoning, and cannot be eaten. Anglers need to use tough rods to hook Barracuda and then make lengthy efforts to reel one in. But be careful – the Barracuda’s sharp teeth and span jaws can still bite as a reflex action even when it is landed.

Barracuda – can be caught all year round, but especially in December, January and February.





Ascension Bay boasts one of the world’s most diverse varieties of game fish for the light-tackle saltwater angler. Saltwater fly fishing is evolving in and around Ascension Bay. Anglers will find that they can catch all kinds of different species on the fly. Shark, needlefish, jack, dorado, triggerfish, and snapper are all waiting for the intrepid angler.







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