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Old 12-04-2017, 11:50 AM
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Sundancefisher Sundancefisher is offline
 
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Default where to go fishing? Bahamas, Mexico or Cuba

Currently looking at all three options. Price about the same at $3000-$3500 US.

Pros

Cuba...1 angler per boat, fishing usually really good, less overall fishing pressure. Great for bonefish and tarpon. Easy to get to from Calgary.

Bahamas...better food...more bonefish flats to wade... Good for bonefish.

Mexico...better infrastructure...not sure about the fishing...likely ok. Bonefish and tarpon. Easy to get to.


Cons.

Cuba...food and accommodation not to north American standards.

Bahamas...pain in the ass to get to.

Mexico...two people in a boat.
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Old 12-04-2017, 12:56 PM
Gerald J Gerald J is offline
 
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Hi Sundance,

Not sure how much value I can add here but I'll jump in.

Have you ever fished for Bonefish or Tarpon from a boat before? Don't want to insult you or anything if you're a veteran fly-fisherman, I just don't know. Three years ago, on my annual February trip to Cancun, I booked a guide for a day and went Tarpon fishing. Didn't catch anything. Saw a few. But what made it unpleasant for me is just the fact that I wasn't very comfortable casting 60' feet plus in a wind with one or two false casts. Time is of the essence with Tarpon as they are moving. I'm way more comfortable casting 30'. The experience was a little intimidating for me. Something to think about but I don't know your casting ability and comfort level.

Of the options you mention, I would probably rule out Mexico just because it's two people per boat. How would that work? Take turns when a fish is spotted?

I'm not saying I won't try hiring a guide and doing it again, but not for a while. I now fish from shore in Cancun right at the resorts and do ok.

If you decide and go for it, please let us know how you did.

Good luck.
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Old 12-04-2017, 03:05 PM
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Okotokian Okotokian is offline
 
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Ascension Bay, Mexico, has great flats fishing. You can be picked up at any resort on the Mayan Riviera for a day of fishing, or stay right in the heart of it at Pisca Maya (fly fishing resort). I caught a number of bonefish and a variety of others. Had a boat to myself and two guides (I think one was learning). I think it cost me $500 or $600 plus tip for a one day trip. Saw a lot of barracuda but didn't nab any. Couple crocs as well, which had me declining to wade and stay in the boat. LOL I also hear Belize, a little further down the coast, is fabulous but I've never been.
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Old 12-04-2017, 05:12 PM
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Sundancefisher Sundancefisher is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Gerald J View Post
Hi Sundance,

Not sure how much value I can add here but I'll jump in.

Have you ever fished for Bonefish or Tarpon from a boat before? Don't want to insult you or anything if you're a veteran fly-fisherman, I just don't know. Three years ago, on my annual February trip to Cancun, I booked a guide for a day and went Tarpon fishing. Didn't catch anything. Saw a few. But what made it unpleasant for me is just the fact that I wasn't very comfortable casting 60' feet plus in a wind with one or two false casts. Time is of the essence with Tarpon as they are moving. I'm way more comfortable casting 30'. The experience was a little intimidating for me. Something to think about but I don't know your casting ability and comfort level.

Of the options you mention, I would probably rule out Mexico just because it's two people per boat. How would that work? Take turns when a fish is spotted?

I'm not saying I won't try hiring a guide and doing it again, but not for a while. I now fish from shore in Cancun right at the resorts and do ok.

If you decide and go for it, please let us know how you did.

Good luck.
No offense taken. While I find it tiring casting my 11 weight all
Day I have had lots of success with tarpon on 10 and 11 weights and bones on 8 weight. I have a go to fly for Cuba.

Fished two in a boat. Went by take turns at legit shots at fish. Can take shifts and sometimes the best water comes at once
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Old 12-04-2017, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Okotokian View Post
Ascension Bay, Mexico, has great flats fishing. You can be picked up at any resort on the Mayan Riviera for a day of fishing, or stay right in the heart of it at Pisca Maya (fly fishing resort). I caught a number of bonefish and a variety of others. Had a boat to myself and two guides (I think one was learning). I think it cost me $500 or $600 plus tip for a one day trip. Saw a lot of barracuda but didn't nab any. Couple crocs as well, which had me declining to wade and stay in the boat. LOL I also hear Belize, a little further down the coast, is fabulous but I've never been.
Fished central Belize last year. Seemed over fished. Fished northern Belize a number of years ago. Good first spot but limited fishing spots. Mexico has more water.
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Old 12-05-2017, 08:16 AM
DrQuack DrQuack is offline
 
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Default Bahamas bonefishing

Sundance:

I spent two weeks from the end end of December to the beginning of January on Andros in the Bahamas last year fishing mostly for bonefish. The bonefishing was fantastic. We saw one permit, caught a few Baracuda and spent a day fishing for Tarpon on the West side. I have fished bonefish, permit and tarpon in Belize a couple of times and bonefish and tarpon in Grand and little Cayman. The fishing in the Bahamas was far better than either of the other two locations and the bonefish were substantially bigger. I have not fished in Mexico or Cuba so can't provide a comparison for you. If you decide on the Bahamas, let me know and I will give you a lot of useful information on what worked for me. I found that a lot of the information on the internet was too general as far as flies, equipment, etc..
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Old 12-05-2017, 03:19 PM
Pikebreath Pikebreath is online now
 
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Having fished all three locations multiple times each over the last 20 some years, I would have to say it depends on what you want to experience.

So here is my two cents,,,

1) Mexico- the bonefish tend to be smaller than either Cuba or the Bahamas but are numerous and generally easy to catch.

Some tarpon fishing is available south of Cancun but don't expect too many over 20 lbs The tarpon fishing is better north of Cancun and seasonally there are some larger tarpon caught there (April though July) but very few bones or permit are caught north of Cancun.

If you want to say you have caught a permit, Ascension Bay or Xcalak is the place to try. You will likely get more shots at schools of 3 - 12 lb permit which tend to be the best fly eaters than anywhere else you might cast a fly to permit (Belize and the Honduras would be my next choices for permit). You might have shots at permit over 20 lbs, as well in Mexico.

I am not impressed by the work attitude of many Mexican guides, they seem to get pretty routine orientated and watch the clock very closely for quitting time. Language can be an issue if you don't speak Spanish.

2) Cuba has some of the best flats fishing in the world but thanks to Avalon most of it is a lot more than $3500 now (other than Las Salinas and and some of the north shore cayos). I haven't done the Las Salinas thing but I have fished the north cayos a few times and have several good fishing buddies who have done the Las Salinas thing. And yes, as you already know and have experienced, the "budget fishing" in Cuba is still pretty darn good, but I personally have given up on Cuba fishing as the logistics of fishing Cuba result in long daily travel times between the fishing grounds and accommodations eating into your fishing time and generally poorer fishing boats and equipment than you see in Mexico or the Bahamas.

3) The Bahamas are all about bonefish, bonefish and more bonefish!!! Possible shots at double digit bones, but mostly schoolie bones averaging 3 -4 lb with lots more bones in between.

Do not go there if you want to target permit or tarpon. Websites and lodge promoters may suggest you can have your shots at permit and tarpon, but I would be very surprised if more than 1% of the anglers who go to the Bahamas actually get to cast to a tarpon or a permit while there.

Andros probably has world's best bonefish habitat and several of the other Bahamian Islands are a close second, third , fourth etc.. Many of these flats lend themselves to easy wading (typically you will have more opportunity for easier wading here than in Mexico or Cuba).

Guided flyfishing for bones is well established and most guides are very good at what they do and have better flyfishing boats than you will find in Mexico or the "budget Cuba"

Daily travel times between the fishing areas and accommodation are reasonable in most Bahamian locations allowing you to maximise your fishing day. (There are some exceptions to this such as operations that fish the south or west side of Andros or out of Pittstown Point at Crooked Island)

Bahamians speak English, certainly not the same English as we do, but if you can learn to understand a newfie, you can probably catch on to the Bahamian lingo as well.

4) A wild card to consider is the weather. If you go from December through March , you are probably more likely to experience a longer cold fronts (wind and cloud) in the Bahamas or on the north shore of Cuba . You can experience bad weather anywhere in Caribbean but if you want to play odds of perhaps experiencing shorter lived fronts then look to the south shore of Cuba or Mexico.

5) Finally the food, I agree with your assessment of the food in Cuba though they tell me that Avalon does much better job than your typical Cuban fare. I love the food in Mexico and would give Mexico the nod, unless you want eat conch. If getting "conched out" is the priority then the Bahamas is where you want to be.

Personally with the criteria you mentioned (overall cost, guide quality, food, lodging, and logistics) for that price range I would choose the Bahamas becuz I like to catch fish (bonefish) instead of possibly casting to them (as in permit) and baby tarpon just do not turn my crank. (I can handline in a 10 lb tarpon, try to do that with similar sized bonefish or a pike for that matter!!!)

But if permit and tarpon are on the bucket list as well as bonefish, then I would go to Mexico (if permit is #1 priority) or Cuba (if catching tarpon is really important in addition to bones and perhaps a shot or two at permit).
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Old 12-06-2017, 02:28 PM
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Sundancefisher Sundancefisher is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pikebreath View Post
Having fished all three locations multiple times each over the last 20 some years, I would have to say it depends on what you want to experience.

So here is my two cents,,,

1) Mexico- the bonefish tend to be smaller than either Cuba or the Bahamas but are numerous and generally easy to catch. heard that also

Some tarpon fishing is available south of Cancun but don't expect too many over 20 lbs The tarpon fishing is better north of Cancun and seasonally there are some larger tarpon caught there (April though July) but very few bones or permit are caught north of Cancun. I am happy with tarpon under 20 lbs...still a blast

If you want to say you have caught a permit, Ascension Bay or Xcalak is the place to try. You will likely get more shots at schools of 3 - 12 lb permit which tend to be the best fly eaters than anywhere else you might cast a fly to permit (Belize and the Honduras would be my next choices for permit). You might have shots at permit over 20 lbs, as well in Mexico. caught one permit in my life...tried for 6 days last year to catch my second. I am happy catching other fish but would love another permit just cause they are harder to catch

I am not impressed by the work attitude of many Mexican guides, they seem to get pretty routine orientated and watch the clock very closely for quitting time. Language can be an issue if you don't speak Spanish. Cuban guides also watch the clock although in my experience at Las Salinas they work hard

2) Cuba has some of the best flats fishing in the world but thanks to Avalon most of it is a lot more than $3500 now (other than Las Salinas and and some of the north shore cayos). I haven't done the Las Salinas thing but I have fished the north cayos a few times and have several good fishing buddies who have done the Las Salinas thing. And yes, as you already know and have experienced, the "budget fishing" in Cuba is still pretty darn good, but I personally have given up on Cuba fishing as the logistics of fishing Cuba result in long daily travel times between the fishing grounds and accommodations eating into your fishing time and generally poorer fishing boats and equipment than you see in Mexico or the Bahamas. Last time I went I paid $2700 CDN. Talk about spoiled based on today's price. Now the cheap place is $3400 US however the fishing is great and guiding in one boat...one angler is value over Cuba. Las Salinas has always served me well for lots of bonefish and a few 20 plus tarpon days. Lost a 90 pounder one day when it launched 9 feet into the mangroves. Also have a video on my channel of a tarpon I hooked jumping and landing on a manatee

3) The Bahamas are all about bonefish, bonefish and more bonefish!!! Possible shots at double digit bones, but mostly schoolie bones averaging 3 -4 lb with lots more bones in between. Really thinking hard here. Never been. Travel from Calgary is a pain compared to Mexico and Cuba. But wet wading tons of bones sounds like heaven.

Do not go there if you want to target permit or tarpon. Websites and lodge promoters may suggest you can have your shots at permit and tarpon, but I would be very surprised if more than 1% of the anglers who go to the Bahamas actually get to cast to a tarpon or a permit while there.

Andros probably has world's best bonefish habitat and several of the other Bahamian Islands are a close second, third , fourth etc.. Many of these flats lend themselves to easy wading (typically you will have more opportunity for easier wading here than in Mexico or Cuba). Do you think these bones are overfished and highly educated or pretty dumb? I have found Cuban bonefish to be very dumb. I hooked and stung the same large bonefish 3 times and on the 3rd time broke it off and it still came back looking.

Guided flyfishing for bones is well established and most guides are very good at what they do and have better flyfishing boats than you will find in Mexico or the "budget Cuba" Good to know

Daily travel times between the fishing areas and accommodation are reasonable in most Bahamian locations allowing you to maximise your fishing day. (There are some exceptions to this such as operations that fish the south or west side of Andros or out of Pittstown Point at Crooked Island)

Bahamians speak English, certainly not the same English as we do, but if you can learn to understand a newfie, you can probably catch on to the Bahamian lingo as well.

4) A wild card to consider is the weather. If you go from December through March , you are probably more likely to experience a longer cold fronts (wind and cloud) in the Bahamas or on the north shore of Cuba . You can experience bad weather anywhere in Caribbean but if you want to play odds of perhaps experiencing shorter lived fronts then look to the south shore of Cuba or Mexico. I was thinking January for Cuba or April for Bahamas if we find space

5) Finally the food, I agree with your assessment of the food in Cuba though they tell me that Avalon does much better job than your typical Cuban fare. I love the food in Mexico and would give Mexico the nod, unless you want eat conch. If getting "conched out" is the priority then the Bahamas is where you want to be. Cuban private restaurant food is good. State food like quick made home cooking...still fine but nothing special. Never ate in Mexico...everyone says good things.

Personally with the criteria you mentioned (overall cost, guide quality, food, lodging, and logistics) for that price range I would choose the Bahamas becuz I like to catch fish (bonefish) instead of possibly casting to them (as in permit) and baby tarpon just do not turn my crank. (I can handline in a 10 lb tarpon, try to do that with similar sized bonefish or a pike for that matter!!!) With airfare...which do you think is cheaper? I do think one angler per boat is best value cause taking turns means fishing only half the trip unless jointly wet wading. Is Bahamas 2 in a boat?

But if permit and tarpon are on the bucket list as well as bonefish, then I would go to Mexico (if permit is #1 priority) or Cuba (if catching tarpon is really important in addition to bones and perhaps a shot or two at permit).
Great points.

Thanks

Sun
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It is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself. Charles Darwin
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Old 12-06-2017, 05:04 PM
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Off in the Bushes Off in the Bushes is offline
 
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This spring a buddy and I went to Mexico just outside Cabo and fished for Rooster Fish in the surf it was a great time as we stayed off resort, it was an amazing experience. Unfortunately we only had a few shots at some Rooster as the weather was just not in our favor, for a budget friendly fishing trip I would recommend it. It was more like hunting for the fish and then spot and stalk, then it was fly fishing like you do for trout.
It was my first salt water experience and I am addicted to salt water fishing.
With our guide you only fished for about 8 hrs as that was the amount to time that you had fish able light where you could see it penetrating the water column and was no reflecting off the surface.
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Old 12-07-2017, 01:19 PM
scel scel is offline
 
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This spring a buddy and I went to Mexico just outside Cabo and fished for Rooster Fish in the surf it was a great time as we stayed off resort, it was an amazing experience. Unfortunately we only had a few shots at some Rooster as the weather was just not in our favor, for a budget friendly fishing trip I would recommend it. It was more like hunting for the fish and then spot and stalk, then it was fly fishing like you do for trout.
It was my first salt water experience and I am addicted to salt water fishing.
With our guide you only fished for about 8 hrs as that was the amount to time that you had fish able light where you could see it penetrating the water column and was no reflecting off the surface.
That is super cool. Do you think that you could do it now without a guide with any success?
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