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Articles: Pescando macabí con mosca

by: Nassim Joaquín

We had already got to the salt-water lagoon by dawn. I was studying the horizon with the help of my fishing guide, holding my rod and standing at the bow of the boat ready to cast. He was poling the boat slowly with a wooden pole just as a Yucatec gondolier in the flat clear waters of the Mexican Caribbean. The calm seemed to be forever under that bright sun of May. We were in the search of that fish with a Mayan name called Macabi (Albula Vulpes), the famous Bonefish of the United States. Even though the South of Mexico abounds with this fish, it is widely ignored by Mexican anglers.

Gaspar Chulim, my fishing guide who was descended from the Mayas, noticed a bonefish school just 50 metres from our boat: "They are close to the mangroves; they must be more than five and they are tailing". I could see them tailing in the sandy sea bed, searching for crustaceans, shaking their silver tales under and over the surface. Adrenalin was flowing all around my body while the time seemed to stop. Gaspar kept poling the boat to get closer to my objective, while he was giving me some pieces of advice: " Take your time carefully, cast accurately. Don´t you spook them away; they are as nervous as a cat in a pound".

They appeared and disappeared as submarine shadows, taking advantage of their mimetic condition, imitating a mirror. This is why they are also known as "the grey ghosts of the flats", owners of an illusion that makes them visible and invisible.

I got ready to cast without losing them of my sight. I delivered a cast backwards and another one forward; one, backwards again and I placed my fly no more than three feet from the first fish, allowing only my leader and the fly to get close to it. The bonefish was shaking its silver tail under and over the surface when it spotted the olive Crazy Charlie going down right in front of it. It darted to it thinking it was a shrimp. I gave the fly one or two twitches to entice the fish to take it and let it fall. The bonefish took it while it was going down. "You´ve got it!", Gaspar shouted, and the rest of the school rushed away. The line passed from my hands to the reel in micro-seconds and it came out of it very fast. The bonefish was rushing away scared to the scales and with the fly hooked in its soft mouth, while the fly line zigzagged cutting the water at an amazing speed.

"Wow! Some speed! I think this fish wants to reach Cuba!", I exclaimed. The rod bent sharply and the reel was impossible to stop. The line plus about 32 yards of backing had reeled out and the bonefish didn´t show any sign of surrender. "When is he going to stop?", I asked in a naive way. "When it feels like it", Gaspar answered. The bonefish raced away a couple of times more with the same intensity but less distance, and stopped gradually. I brought it near the boat slowly and Gaspar took it in his hands to remove the barbless hook and release it safely.

"The power and resistance of this relatively small fish are unbelievable. It weighs less than 4 pounds!", I said in amazement.


That´s the bonefish; it seems to be born to be fly-fished. Its mimetic quality, its constant caution, the way it moves its fin out of the water tailing when feeding, its great power, speed and resistance to fight to the end. It does it pound after pound, one of the greatest challenges for a fly fisher.

In the end, my guide Gaspar was smiling broadly with the clear water reaching his calf. "Well done! That´s the way you do it!". He stretched his small wet hand and shook mine. "What´s happened? Shall we go for more?", he asked.


Suggested tackle for bonefish:

Fly rod: from #6 to #9, specially #8
Reel: It must be capable of holding 40 metres of 10 pound test backing.
Leader: 9 ´15 feet long
Monofilament or fluorocarbon Class Tippet, usually from 6 to 10 pounds.
Flies: Crazy Charlie, Clouser Minnow and Bonefish Special are the most popular.
Accessories: polarized sunglasses, cap and wading boots.
A good fishing guide.


The best destinations to fly fish for bonefish:

Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
Gardens of the Queen, Cuba
Islands on the Caribbean
Los Roques, Venezuela
Florida, USA
Bahamas
Belize
Christmas Island, Kiribati
The Seychelles
New Guinea


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