Thursday, July 30, 2009

Trip Photos: Isla Blanca (Cancun) July 2009

Jim with a primo Palotmeta at Isla Blanca...

Our latest group returned from Isla Blanca with excellent fishing reports of Permit, Snook, Bonefish, and some baby Tarpon. The hottest months are always the prime time frame for Permit at Isla Blanca - shallow water sight casting to Permit on the flats! Isla Blanca truly is a diverse environ from white sand or mud flats, to extensive backcountry lagoons and channels. Most impressive is the trophy Snook that Jim Christensen (Sacramento, CA) landed during this trip - way to go Jim! Have a look below at some of the other highlight catches during the trip.

All smiles for Guy and guide Luis about baby Tarpon at Isla Blanca...

Isla Blanca Bonefish

Jim Christensen's trophy Snook...

Another Permit for Jim...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Trip Photos: Isla del Sabalo (July 2009)

Sunset upon Isla del Sabalo

This past month, we have a number of groups return from Isla del Sabalo share some wonderful photos of their adventure. The environs surrounding Isla del Sabalo are pristine and remote - towering mangroves, lush turtlegrass, vast rio systems, and gin clear water.

We have received reports of very good fishing mixed with some tougher days during a week of fishing. Most Baby Tarpon have been ranging in size from 10 - 12 pounds, with some trophies of 25+ pounds being hooked. A nice bonus fish has been some really nice sized Snook that have been landed this past month.

The hot flies have been the Tarpon Toad (chartreuse/yellow), Foxxy Griz Baitfish, (olive or blush) and the Puglisi Tarpon Streamer (mangrove special or hot orange/yellow).

We will be posting more reports from Isla del Sabalo very soon... so please stay tuned!

Terry with a nice baby T landed on the gin clear flats...

Rick with a mangrove baby Tarpon...

Terry with an Isla del Sabalo Snook...

Bob with a nice baby T landed amongst the groves...

Bob lands grande Snook in the mangroves...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Trip Photos: Isla Blanca (Cancun)

Permit on the grab at Isla Blanca...

All smiles from the crew fishing Isla Blanca last week...

Last week, our good customer Ed B. (Fair Oaks, CA) fished Isla Blanca. They were blessed with good fishing conditions and fishing success. The Permit were on the bite and some really nice Snook were landed. To add, this summer we are seeing good numbers of nice sized bonefish at Isla Blanca. The only species that was a little "off" this week was the baby Tarpon fishing. But this crew was more than happy with 3 other species that were on the grab. Way to go guys! Fish On!

Ed with a baby T taken in the backcountry lagoons at Isla Blanca...

Isla Blanca Bonefish...

Isla Blanca Snook

Permit head shot...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Trip Report: Isla Blanca & Tarpon Cay Lodge by Gary Kramer

Twilight cast upon Isla Blanca

Below is a recent report from renowned writer / photographer Gary Kramer who fished at Isla Blanca and Tarpon Cay Lodge earlier this month.

"I recently returned from 3 days at Isla Blanca and 3 days at Tarpon Cay. The weather got us at Isla Blanca - a tropical storm moved into the Yucatan and the skies were gray and it rained - at times it was relentless. Despite the weather we had good luck with the baby tarpon - in the 5 to 12 pound class. The best fishing was in the mangroves were we jumped at least a dozen fish between us per day. Our guide Luis was first class and did everything in his power to get us into fish. The third day it cleared and for the first two hours the conditions were perfect for permit - sunny skies and glass smooth water. We found two pods of fish - the first one was 5 or 6 permit and while I got a shot, the fish refused the fly. The next shot was better - it was at three fish and my buddy Alan Sands hooked and landed his first permit - about a 4 pounder but a permit none the less. Then the wind came up and we switched to baby tarpon in the mangroves and had our best day overall. The all inclusive Blue Bay Resort had good food and is close to the launch area. The equipment and boats were all first class.

Then it was on to Tarpon Cay in the small fishing village of San Felipe. The lodge was basic yet clean and the food good. Here the weather was much better - calm every morning with the wind coming up in the afternoon. We fished for the big boys (migratory tarpon) two mornings - saw a bunch of fish but they were moving fast. One of my buddies caught a 25 pounder and we had a big fish flash on a fly - at least a 75 pound tarpon. But the real action here during my stay was for baby tarpon - 5 to 15 pounds but more 10 to 12 pound fish than any anything. Lots of action - jumped a dozen fish one morning and almost as many in the afternoon. Classic stuff - sight casting to rolling tarpon - the chase, the blow up and the jumps!! Overall it was great trip! - Gary Kramer" (all photos by Gary Kramer -

Jumping baby Tarpon on the flats...

Gary with a typical baby T at Tarpon Cay Lodge...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tackle Tip: Mason Leader System for Baby Tarpon

Mason Hard Mono in 30#, 25#, and 20# - the foundation of this leader system

Many of our customers ask what leader system to use while fishing for baby Tarpon. There are a variety of options on the market and we have tried them all. After years of pursuing baby Tarpon in the Yucatan, we have learned what leader materials and system performs best in the conditions you may experience - summer heat, wind, and/or gin clear water. This leader system has proven effective for baby Tarpon up to 35 pounds.

For the tapered portion of this leader system, we like Mason Hard Type Nylon (mono) in test ratings of 30#, 25#, and 20# (class section). Connected to the 20# class section, we prefer shock tippet materials of Jinkai 50# (for shallow water) or Rio Flouroflex 44# or 52# (for fishing deeper rios/channels). Here is the suggested length of each section:

Mangrove Tarpon Leader (short version = total length about 8 1/2 feet)
Butt Section: 3 feet of 30# Mason
Taper Section: 2 1/2 feet of 25# Mason
Class Section: 18" of 20# Mason
Shock Tippet: 18" - 24" of Jinkai or Rio FlouroFlex

Flats Tarpon Leader (long version = total length about 11 feet)
Butt Section: 4 1/2 feet of 30# Mason
Taper Section: 3 1/2 feet of 25# Mason
Class Section: 18" of 20# Mason
Shock Tippet: 24" - 30" of 50# Jinkai

Leader Knots: All Mason sections are connected with 3 turn blood knots and the shock tippet can be connected with an albright, slim beauty, or improved blood knot. Also, a super clean method to seat these knots is to apply Loon UV Knot Sense (while indoors or in the shade!) to each knot while tightening - once each knot is seated, expose the knots to UV light (sun or UV light). This provides a clean and smooth knot connection that minimizes snagging on turtlegrass or other debris.

Here are the primary benefits of this leader system:
  • Turnover Efficiency: Mason leader material is STIFF! Even in the blistering summer heat, this material stays stiff and, therefore, provides excellent turnover of your fly, even with longer leader lengths. TURNOVER = better ACCURACY!
  • Stealth: This leader does not have sections of twisted leader material which can refract light and spook wary clearwater Tarpon. The small connecting knots and relatively longer leader length allows for stealthy presentations of your fly.
  • Simple!: This system can be easily tied on the water and uses basic knots.
Disclaimer: this is not a leader that meets IGFA specifications, so don't use this system if you are pursuing an IGFA record!

We encourage you to give this baby Tarpon leader system a try! Good fishing to you all!

50# Jinkai Mono is our choice for shock tippet while purusing shallow water baby Tarpon on the flats or in lagoons

Rio Flouroflex (flourocarbon) is an excellent choice for shock tippet when fishing deeper channels or rios amongst the mangroves (NOTE: flourocarbon sinks faster than mono)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Trip Report: Tarpon Cay Lodge

Tom and guide Carlos displaying a baby Tarpon landed on a popper!

This season at Tarpon Cay Lodge has been a dandy... we continue to received glowing reports from our customers fishing at Tarpon Cay Lodge. Long time customers, Ken and Tom of Colorado, made their 3rd trip to Tarpon Cay Lodge and reported a great week of fishing. They even reported good fishing with poppers and other topwater offerings - WAY TO GO KEN AND TOM!

Overall, this season we have been receiving reports of larger than average baby Tarpon. We are not sure why this is the case, but the anglers are sure enjoying hooking and battling these varsity baby brutes. Most anglers are fishing for them with 8 weight rods or Sage's Bass rod (330 grain - Largemouth model). The hot flies for baby Tarpon lately have been Haskin's Floating Minnow and Deep Cover Shrimp, Puglisi Tarpon Streamers (orange/yellow, mangrove special), and Hanley's Mayan Warrior.

We are in the midst of the Yucatan season at Tarpon Cay Lodge, Isla del Sabalo, and Isla Blanca - we will be sure to update you with more customer reports throughout the rest of the season. Good fishing to all!


Ken and guide Carlos with one of many baby T landed on topwater flies...