By Cole Burnham
Kay Fly Lodge
This trip had been in the works for quite some time. Friends old and new, the gang consisted of 10 total anglers, six of them being saltwater fly fishing virgins. We had two late 20’s insurance salesman, a photographer, a graphic designer, a nervous nelly ranch foreman, a dude ranch manager, a doughnut craftsman and three fly fishing guides. We had all spent time with each other, but never on a beach (or a rooftop palapa). With my fingers crossed, we set sail to Ascension Bay.
The excitement builds en route to our boat taxi
If you have ever been to Punta Allen, I hope you did not drive the entire way, on second thought, I hope you did. The road from Tulum to the small fishing village is one for the record books. You haven’t experienced a pot hole until you have been on this road. In hindsight, this is a good thing. Keeping the daily tourism/traffic from Tulum away from this special place is something I hope lasts ‘till eternity. With that, our group arrived a day early to ensure that we could get a boat taxi from a dock on the lagoon side of the peninsula just south of Tulum Beach. The shuttle van picked us up at our hotel and we rallied our way through traffic. We loaded the boats and headed south only to see a massive black cloud in our path. After motoring through a 10 minute downpour, we were all soaked with big smiles.
Duct take will keep your gear dry?!
An hour and half later, our team arrived at the newly renovated Kay Fly Fishing Lodge. We settled into our rooms, and hit the bar for Pepe’s famous margaritas. The excitement was obvious, ear to ear grins across the board. Overall, our travels were pretty smooth with the exception of one bag that didn’t make the trip. After a few long phone calls with Delta, we had our lost bag heading in the right direction. It would arrive two days later (Note to folks traveling: don’t put cash or heart medication in your checked luggage!). As the sun went down, everyone put their rods together. Soon after, night settled in and so did we. Tomorrow is Super bowl Sunday, game day!
Molf Monster and Fish Flop Henry enjoying a dip
Game one was a victory on all accounts. Everyone caught something. As a group we landed bonefish, tarpon, snook and broke off a large permit. The crowd went wild and we proceeded to celebrate and watch the super bowl at the local watering hole, Muelle Viejo. After losing $100 quicker then I ever have before, the Rams were super bowl champs and the gang was in rare form.
Fish Flop and the always entertaining finger game
Game two had a bit of a slower start, there were a few headaches within the locker room. We gave it our best effort and managed to battle through the strong northeasterly winds and scored a few runs, boating a couple tarpon, a few bonefish, snook, a first ever permit for Justincase and several milligrams of Advil.
RAP and guide Nestor, with an awesome snook
Game three was another breezy, high overcast day. Visibility was not great but we made the best of it. Having a few days under their belt, our ‘new to salt’ anglers were getting the hang of it and building confidence, a massive part of fly fishing. If you don’t think you are going to catch anything, you probably won’t. Positive thoughts and confidence carry through the water and I believe fish can feel it, just like boat noise.
ReverMax teasing in the tarpon
Game four was our first blue sky morning, visibility was good. The strong easterly breeze kept the water in the bay, resulting in tough tarpon/snook conditions as they are able to stay up in the mangroves with the baitfish. Permit were shown plenty of choice flies and some bonefish were given sore mouths.
Rooftop corn hole
Ready to take the field
Game five, felt like a home game in a series between two battling rivals. Another beautiful morning with great visibility. The breeze had laid down a bit and started to shift more out to the south/southeast. Pedro, a first time saltwater angler, boated a beautiful 12 pound permit and jumped two tarpon. Several other permit chose not to eat our ‘perfectly’ presented flies but we had shots, that’s all you can ask for, a chance. Several bonefish and a couple tarpon were brought to hand. One game left in the series.
Pedro with a beautiful permit, see the scorpion here
Game six was clear skies for about an hour, then we were bombarded with clouds the size of Texas. Losing our visibility, a couple bonefish put the boys on the board and gave us the victory. We didn’t score many runs, but enough to take home the Win.
Conditions were not perfect but rarely are with anything outdoors. Two scorpions were digested (a Kay Fly tradition for anyone who lands their first permit at the lodge). Smiles across the board and it is safe to say this crew will cast into saltwater again, there is talk of Cuba or Belize, who knows.
The Real Gangstars
Thank you to everyone at Kay Fly Lodge, even you Roméo.