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Articles: Mi primer Grand Slam

by: Gonzalo Herrero

Isla Blanca welcomed us as usual: beautiful,quiet, deserted.
My heart was beating fast as in every fishing trip. But it was beating faster this time. I had still a debt outstanding: the so desired Grand Slam I wasn't able to achieve last year. I had already decided to use a lighter rod totally convinced that my fly presentations would be more precise and delicate, as long as the weather conditions allowed it.
That day was completely calm; the typical Yucatan bonanza (fair weather). The lagoon was like a mirror where few clouds reflected on. It was the perfect day; it was MY day.
We could use a rod #6 and leave a #8 ready for later.
Humberto, our guide, told us, "I hope that good fishing comes with this fair weather. At least there is perfect visibility. It's going to be a good day". We set off fishing from the pier. It is located in a nice flat, home to plenty of bonefish and permit. Precisely, those are two of the species I needed to achieve my goal. Julián, a new fly fisherman friend, took the first shot. So I would have to wait for my turn. Very soon after leaving, Humberto spotted a school of bonefish. Julián got ready and cast in front of the group. As soon as he moved his brown crazy charley, he succeeded in attracting the leader of the school, which charged at the fly and managed to unhook during the fight. He didn't miss his second chance and approached the boat close to a nice bonefish, which was to be the start of his personal achievements.

I had decided to use a cream-colored crab and grizzly pincers. Although there were bonefish, we had also seen some permit. Besides, fishing with my own flies was a pleasure I didn't want to waste.
We spotted another school of bonefish further away, and we headed for it. I cast and presented my fly in front of the school. I made some short and consecutive movements. Finally I retrieved strongly, and the next run began giving another nice bonefish to photograph. Fishing With two satisfied anglers, we saw the typical movement of the water the ghost of the flats makes: the permit.
I don't know why, but every time I dream of the shrieking sound of the reel, this silver image comes to my mind. This was to be confirmed when we had to add yards to our backing. It was Julian's turn this time, who was making his first attempt with them. His first try finished with a categorical " You are empalometado" from Humberto. This event pointed out the fact that this species does not forgive any mistake with regard to the precision, presentation and retrieval.

I went up to the bow quickly, and after Humberto's comment "permit at two", my line darted away. The permit couldn't help being attracted by my crab, and after a short run, he swallowed the fly. As soon as he felt the hook, he raced away as if he had seen the devil. His first long run offered us that music that only fly fishermen are able to appreciate. 4 other runs followed the first, separating us from the longed prey. A nice fight with a better photograph. I had landed my second species. There were no more opportunities of permit for Julián. The flat had become a mangrove swamp, and the rod #6 had turned into a #8.

He didn't waste his turn with the tarpon. He showed he knew how to tempt, hook and approached to them very well in his first shot. His strength was not weakened by the energetic leaps. This resulted in a third species on the boat, and so we shared the Grand Slam. Now I had the chance of achieving my own Grand Slam.
There were many rivals in the area all the time, coming out from behind every mangrove tree. I had chances on several occasions. I was able to tempt five fish, but because of mistakes when striking, the line tangling in the roots and escapes when leaping in a fight, I kept being empty-handed.

I had lost all the faith in myself by that time and decided to give up my shot to Julián, who proved to be an excellent partner, giving me his support and encouraging me to go on.

By the end of the day, Humberto suggested going into a lagoon of 2-3 meters deep. Big size tarpon were rolling in the area. We picked the one which was closer to the boat. As soon as it rolled to the surface, I tossed my black and red seaducer. Fishing The fish charged at it violently as soon as the fly touched the water. It was a long fight, with leaps and runs which made us feel nervous. Noone talked, until Humberto said, "This seems a funeral!" We all laughed. Suddenly a loud "Orale!!!" was heard in Isla Blanca. It was our celebration for having caught the third species, and the so-desired Grand Slam.
As an anecdote, I should mention a second tarpon that Julián landed and the Super Grand Slam I hooked and wasted when I pulled up too hard, thinking it was a tarpon, when in fact it was the fourth species, the snook. As its mouth isn't so hard, it managed to unhook after such a strong strike. Thank you very much Daniel and FlyFishingCaribe for organized this great trip !!!!

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