Quest for a grand slam in Xcalak - Take 5 plus
Written by Rob Mukai on Jul. 06, 2016
UPDATE (Aug 29, 2016) Three more attempts. Try number 10 was pretty uneventful, saw 3 schools of permit. The first one within 5 minutes of stepping out into the flat. I was thinking this is going to be a great day. Got a couple of shots before they took off. Then it was over an hour before I saw another school. This one I got like two dozen shots and no eats. The last school I couldn't get close enough to them to get a shot. So no fish on try 10.
Try number 11, went back up to the flat north of us, stepped in and saw several groups of bones in what I call coffin corner. There are bones in that corner quite often. I cast multiple times to different groups, but it seems like I was hooking everything but bonefish. I got a small jack, then a mutton snapper, then another mutton snapper, then another small jack, finally got a bonefish. Yeah, 1/3 done. Wading on, it was dead calm and the water glassy. The advantage is you can see fish a mile away. The problem is you can't wade fast enough to get to fish a mile away. (See Grand Slam rule number 342) In any event, got on several schools of permit, and finally got an eat. I was tired of leading the fish and having them swim right by my fly and not look at it so I dropped a cast right on 3 of their heads, and what do you know, I got an eat. Landed permit number 8. 2/3 of the grand slam. Went back into the lagoons with a paddle board, but the water was high and off color from recent rains. Couldn't see anything and didn't get a sniff in over 4 hours of paddling around. I realized, I need to spend more time going after tarpon. I keep holding it to the last, but because I don't get the bone and permit that often, if means I don' t get out after tarpon enough to know where to get them. Need to work on that. So have I mentioned this grand slam thing is hard?
Try number 12. Just started wading north of the Inn. The wind was almost non-existent, but couldn't find any fish. Finally found one permit in the turtle grass. Got a couple of shots at him before he was on me and spooked. Heading back to the Inn, I saw a good sized school of good sized permit like 50 yards from the Inn. Got multiple shots at them but it looked like they weren't seeing the fly in the turtle grass so I tried what I did last time and dropped it right on their heads.Unfortunately, I think a the line went across one of their backs and they blew up. Oh well go big or go home right.
UPDATE (July 16, 2016) Ok so this is a little late. But Try number 9 was a couple of weeks ago. Been a bit busy at the Inn. We've had a lot of great guests in what should be low season. But in any event, to update the Quest. Went out up north again, but this time on an incoming tide. Partly cloudy with 15 MPH winds. Not too choppy conditions. Saw a school of 10-12 Lbs permit almost right off the bat. But permit being permit, couldn't get them to eat. Saw another school of much smaller permit that chased my fly right to the end of my rod they spooked. I did end up catching a bone on a blind cast to sand bucket (a deep hole in the flat). I usually don't blind cast into them because most of the time you will catch a small jack, or worse, a small barracuda will cut your tippet and literally take your fly. But gave it a shot and came back with a decent sized bone. I'll keep updating this as I go out.
So, this grand slam thing is pretty hard ;) so I am just going to start writing to this post and update it as I go along. We had a bit of a busy stretch and I wasn't able to get out very much. Try number 5 was June 5th. Then try numbers 6, 7 and 8 were on July 2, 3 and 4. Try number 5 was back in June on a flat to the north, but the wind was kicking and it was low outgoing tide. Only saw one school of bones, and wasn't able to catch any. Try number 6 was July 2. same flat as try number 6, again a low outgoing tide. But good weather and the water was clear and winds at 10-15 MPH. Again, low tide, and very low water but saw 4 schools of small permit. Got casts to them all. A lot of them, would follow the fly up until they saw me then scattered. One, I caught a tiny mutton snapper as I was picking up to cast to the permit. By the time I got the stupid thing off, the permit were gone.
Tries number 7 and 8 were again, low tide but pretty good conditions. I didn't have a lot of time in either try (just a little over an hour) so I just walked up the beach. Again it was a low slack tide. (I can't seem to get out to fish an incoming tide for whatever reason). But I think this is the first time I have waded the flats walking north and not seen fish either time. Usually even during a low tide there are bones rooting around in the turtle grass, but for whatever reason the last two days, I saw nothing. Maybe I need to try again with a better tide.