As far as the fishing goes at Mango Creek Lodge, it seems that March showers have brought April flowers. The weather has taken a welcome turn for the better, and more and more schools of permit are being spotted, cast to, and caught by our fishermen. In addition, the challenging, good-sized bonefish on the flats are consistently rewarding to catch. Unlike other areas of the Caribbean, a bonefish at Mango Creek Lodge is not a given; these fish are bigger, spookier, and more discerning. But many of those who have been patient and diligent have been rewarded by hooking bonefish in the 7-lbs.+ range. Here’s a recap of the latest action.
The end of March saw the arrival of four guests from Sweden eager to chase down fish on our exotic island. And although the Scandinavians were dealing with the tail end of our ugly March weather, fisherman Jonas Andersson and his guide, Kessel, landed an enormous permit. It was estimated to be between 25 and 27 lbs., and it had been found cruising along a deep water edge. Interestingly enough, this monster was hooked not on a typical crab pattern, but instead on a 10-wt. rod rigged with a shock leader and a tarpon fly! Still, even with a heavy outfit like that, the fish took more than 25 minutes to land and put up a staggering and exhausting fight.
Also in March, we were visited by a lone Englishman, Alexander Kennedy, who stayed just long enough to get a taste of what Mango Creek has to offer. In a couple of days of clear skies and light winds, Alexander caught a number of good-sized bonefish with the aid of his guide, Miguel.
Regularly, bonefish have been spotted in great numbers. In fact, fisherman have been returning to the lodge in disbelief of the enormity of the schools of fish they were able to stalk and cast to. Yet many of these anglers have also been dumbfounded by their pickiness. Generally, small (size 10-8 hooks with some as tiny as a size 12) patterns that match the bottom are allowing for a quiet presentation and a better chance of a hook up. Also, it must be stressed that because most of our local flats are turtle grass and coral, a sturdy weed guard can be the key to ensuring you don’t spend the day snagging the bottom.
On Easter Sunday, a couple from Colorado managed to sneak away from their last week of skiing to get some time in on the water. Be it for the long winter or the pina coladas, both said it took a couple of days to “get the kinks out.” But once they did, guests Sammy and Weatherly made the most of their tropical holiday with their guide, Kessel. Several bones were caught, both in the deeper areas along the north end of Barbaret Island and on the flats around Helene. Most importantly, Sammy struck gold halfway through their trip when he managed to land his first permit. With the trophy fish behind him, he and Weatherly were able to kick back and enjoy the gorgeous scenery as they fished out the rest of the week, finding time for a little snorkeling as well as a siesta here and there.
Without a doubt, the fishing only continues to improve as the peak of the busy season is already behind us. With a little more spare time on our hands, everyone is anxious to explore new areas beyond our well-known haunts to expand the lodge’s repertoire of flats. Also, pioneering excursions by kayak are taking place as we speak into the mangrove canals that run like veins through the eastern quarter of the island.