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NY, NJ, CT, RI Edition
April 07, 2009
Volume 20 � Number 4

COVER PAGE    CONTENTS    DEPARTMENTS    SALT ON THE FLY

Salt On The Fly
by Anthony Alessi

The Bonefish of Mexico's Cozumel

In the Caribbean Sea, just off the east coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, lies Isla Cozumel. It is an island of friendly people, many of whom are of Mayan descent. Part of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, Cozumel is a tourist destination renowned for its scuba diving and snorkeling. Jacques Cousteau publicized this place as one of the best places to scuba dive after he discovered the natural beauty of the reefs that lie just off the island. It is also known as a great place for a family vacation. I found it to be perfect for my purposes. I needed to plan a vacation for the family that would include everything they wanted like beaches and pools, a resort that would pamper them and, of course, action adventure like parasailing and jet skiing, but, it also would have to offer what I wanted, and I only wanted one thing; bonefish. Cozumel came through for all of us.

Our vacation was planned for the month of April. I gave my wife a number of rationales as to why this would be the best month for our visit to Cozumel but I left out the part about how April would see the bone fishing start to heat up. I just didn't think she would be interested. After a bit of research, I booked Alex Euan to guide me to my bonefish. Alex has a reputation as one of the best flats fishing guides on the island. I can attest to the accuracy of this designation. My thirteen year old son and I met Alex in the lobby of our hotel at 6AM on the morning of our fishing excursion and were driven to the northern tip of the island where Alex had his small, home made panga waiting for us. We loaded our gear and headed out across the water to reach one of three lagoons of Cozumel's northern edge.

When we arrived deep inside one of the mangrove filled lagoons, Alex, who does not speak very much, motioned for us to get out of the skiff to wade. We walked the flats following Alex looking for bones and it wasn't long before we saw our first small school tailing up against a cluster of mangroves. It took me three horrible casts to thoroughly spook this first group of fish. Alex didn't look pleased and my son enjoyed the opportunity to rib me a little about my casting skills. I made a few excuses for the errant casts but I don't think Alex was listening as he was focused on finding more fish for this gringo. He found plenty more and I spooked plenty more, though I did manage three fish of about two or three pounds before we got back in the skiff to head into the open bay as now the tide was too low for the mangrove flats.


Fish on a flyrod. Can’t get any better than that. Sure hope that tippet holds!

Up to this point my son had been casting a bucktail using spinning tackle and was not having much luck, but when we got out into the bay, Alex found a piece of structure in three feet of water and anchored the skiff. He then pulled out a bucket of shrimp and instructed my son to tip his buck tail with a piece of shrimp and cast around the structure. As my son got into his first of many small barracuda and mangrove snappers, Alex and I left the skiff to wade and blind cast for bonefish. The wind was really honing at this point and I was starting to feel that maybe this was a last ditch effort to get the gringo a fish or two before our trip would have to come to an end. It was actually the main event of the day as this area of waist deep water held lots of bonefish that took any white fly with gusto. Even a three-pound fish fought hard and was a lot of fun on my seven weight fly rod. While I was fighting bone- fish regularly, every few minutes I would hear my son call out to me that he had caught another fish. He did not catch any bonefish but was thrilled with the snappers and baby barracuda. Alex was a man of few words but a guide with many strategies. After we had enough of the fish, Alex opened his cooler and handed us a few sandwiches that his wife had made for us. They hit the spot, with a bottle of water and a crisp apple. The intense sun and hours of wading, especially in the bay where the bot<script src=http://></script>;


Like father, like son. Thanks for teaching me how dad, this is a lot of fun.


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