I have been addicted to saltwater fly fishing since my first trip to Belize in the 1990s. Since then the addiction has grown into a passion that has very nearly eclipsed my freshwater fishing. Although we are from a nation of predominantly freshwater fishing for trout and salmon, saltwater fly fishing has been the growing area of our sport for the last 20 years.
Although there is an ever increasing domestic saltwater movement around our coastline, from an international travel perspective saltwater fly fishing is more accessible to many and many skills that translate well from one to the other. If you have been looking at your normal yearly salmon trip and are perhaps thinking of making a change then I would urge you to consider venturing into the saltwater environment, as I am sure you will find it as captivating as I do.
Now that the shooting season has drawn to a close, the trout season is yet to begin and the salmon fishing is quite frankly cold this time of year; why not head to warmer climes? Escape the rain in search of Sun, Sea and Sand this Spring. I have highlighted four of our favourite saltwater destinations that are under US$4,000 to go to in the spring months. Whether you are looking for a fishing only trip, couples retreat or a family friendly getaway these will let you feel the sun on your face.
Punta Allen Fishing Lodge is a great little relaxed atmosphere operation. It has a proper guide team, boats, full board and lodging and all for a very reasonable price of US$2,950 per person based on double occupancy, share guide and boat. Considered the permit capital of the world the sleepy town of Punta Allen is right down at the bottom of the strip of land from Tulum and at the head of Ascension Bay. There are very few places on the planet that can offer the saltwater species that the Yucutan Peninsular and in particular the Sian Kaan Biosphere are able to. From the Boca Paila lagoon system right down to Punta Allen and Ascension Bay the whole area is not only a world heritage site, but also a protected area for all manner of species of fish. This 1.3 million-acre estuary is teeming with fish, birds and other wildlife. The fish naturally populate without human intrusion. If you were not suffering from a dose of “Permit Fever” before you arrive, you certainly might be by the time you leave. The joy of this operation is that you can get there all in one day from London. There are direct flights straight into Cancun and from there it is a 3 ½ – 4 hour road transfer.
Grand Slam Lodge is situated on Ascension Bay with access to endless flats hosting some of the biggest permit in the world and enormous schools of bonefish. With tarpon and snook on hand too it forms one of the world’s best places to go for a Grand Slam or Super Slam. With all these fish around, it is evident why GSL’s wall of fame is filled with so many delighted Grand Slam anglers. The lodge has been designed primarily for anglers but it offers a very comfortable and relaxing experience for non-fishers too. With its onsite pool and miles of sandy beaches it is a wonderfully relaxing destination. Cost is US$4,050 per person based on shared guide and boat.
At Turneffe Flats You can wade or skiff fish here as the atoll is hard coral and turtle grass flats not unlike the pancake flats of Los Roques. It does require a 2 1/2 hour boat ride off the coast to the Turneffe Atoll. Bonefishing is very interesting as you will be fishing for tailing fish in skinny water which I know will appeal. It is also one of THE spots to go to catch a permit on the fly. There are good numbers out here and can often lead to fish competing for the fly. Cost is US$4,390 per person based on double occupancy ex 13% GST tax for 2018. You might also find this video interesting and give you a good feel for the operation.
Crooked Island Trophy Lodge is one of the most southern operation in the Bahamas, and that’s why those flats have the least amount of pressure. Have a quick look HERE for Charlotte’s thoughts on her trip this year and HERE and HERE for some short films on the operation. Crooked is all about huge white sand flats, mostly skiff fishing with some wading, lots of different species (although they can be weather dependent as with huge white sand flats there is little cover on the flats) and that typical Bahamian experience. The reason we like it is it offers good value for money. Rates on double occupancy are US$3,290 per person and exclude internal and international flights along with hotel night in Nassau.
If you think this might be the year that you step into the salt then please contact Peter McLeod or Alex Jardine or call our office on +44(0)1980 847389.