Ascension Bay Flats Fishing Report
January 31, 2016
I just returned early this morning from week 1 of the Red's Fly Shop flats fishing program in Ascension Bay, MX. This particular group has been largely intact for about the past 4 years, and we all agreed that it was the one of the best weeks of fishing we've ever experienced down there. The weather started out a little suspect with evening low temperatures around 60 degrees (normal is 70+). The next morning, we expected the worst when a few of our guides showed up with stocking caps on! The snook, however, have a reputation for actually becoming more aggressive in the face of cooler water temperatures, and we found that to be the case. Not only were they willing to eat, but they were also swimming in vulnerable zones which allowed us to toss a fly in front of them! Often times snook will tuck so far back into the mangroves that it's nearly impossible to fish to them at all. The numbers of snook were high this year, but their size was also formidable. The biggest one that you'll see in the slide show tipped the hand held scale at 22 lbs, and the same guy caught a bigger one that came unbuttoned on the beach about 10 minutes later. Not only are those monsters exceptional fish, but they were swimming in open water!
During the first 2 days, the entire group of 10 anglers only saw a handful of permit, and managed to land one small one. By day 3, the weather had warmed up to normal, and the bonefish and permit showed up in force. Over the next 4 days, we landed a dozen more permit, countless bonefish, an assortment of tarpon, jacks, barracuda, and still good numbers of snook! The weather was inconsistent, but it only rained at night, and we had sun for at least part of every day. The lodge that we utilize has made improvements every year, and this year is no exception. The most controversial topic our group discussed is what our favorite dinner was. Every meal we ate was "off the charts" delicious. Tender perfectly cooked filet, melt in your mouth snapper tacos, and stuffed lobster all made the weekly dinner menu. It's easy to see why not one single morsel was left on anyone's plate! Although it was slow and often needed to reboot, we had internet every night, the AC worked, and the bugs were fairly scarce. The staff and guides executed every aspect of the trip flawlessly, and that is why we look forward to going back every year!
As for the fishing end of things, there were a few items that stood out enough that they're worth mentioning. The first one is the Sage Bass II series Largemouth rod. Our host had one of these along a couple years ago down there, and found it very enjoyable and accurate for fishing into the mangrove pockets. The rod is 7"11" long and at 330 grains, it actually qualifies as a 9 weight. A few guys cast it the first year, then bought their own. Last year a few more bought them, and by next year, I won't be surprised to see everyone in the group owning one. The short length is not only great for pocket fishing, but it's also easier to control fish and keep the tip out of the bushes when landing them in the narrow mangrove lagoons. Don't let the short length fool you into thinking you can't cast long with it, either. The guides picked one up everyday at lunch and effortlessly managed to dump the entire line with just a few back casts. Another exciting new development is the Tara's crab fly. I had 3 good shots at permit with that fly tied on, and all 3 of those fish ate it without hesitation. The fly is durable, the hook is strong and wide, and most importantly the fish eat it! If you've ever felt like you made the right cast but didn't get the right response, this fly is a "must add" to your permit box.
The trip home is always bitter sweet. This one was bitter in that the weather on our departure day was the best sun we'd seen all week, and very calm; however, it was sweet knowing we'd had an exceptional week of fishing and will be back to try again next year. We wanted to leave a few fish for the rest of our trips heading down anyways! Speaking of, we do have a few spots still open for the March 26- April 2 slot. If this trip sounds like something you'd like to experience, or are going there and have questions, give us a call at the shop or shoot us an email. We're happy to help you make your trip the best that it can be!
Check out our slide show from 2016 Ascension Bay Week 1 by clicking here!