Guatemalan Billfishing Adventures - Fishing Report - 15 March 2006
Incredibly unbelievable!!!!!!!!! That is how one would have to describe the sailfish bite that we have just seen off Guatemala this past week. Records didn't fall, they were shattered and those that saw it, were apart of it or have heard been trying to grasp what a mammoth bite it was, are still trying to digest the weeks events.
The bite had been building the past 2 weeks. My friend from Guatemala City, Rafa Medina joined us with his fiancé Titi, brother Alfredo and his two young sons for a good 14 releases on the 26th of March.
The following three days we had George Coe of Ducks Unlimited on board with the fly rod. The fish were there in numbers raising 20 to 30 a day but getting them to eat and stay hooked on the fly was tuff.
For the 2, 3 and 4th, Jerry and Carol Peterson of Montana joined us on the baits. They released 13, 21 and 20 sailfish on their three day run with all the activity being inside the 10 mile zone.
The 'Sirena ' was at with South African friends Hennie du Plessis and Lloyd Balcomb for the 4th, 5th, and 6th, they averaged 30 release a day with a high of 35 for the 2 anglers on day 2.
After a two day break for us we were at it on the baits with Bill Easum and his friend Jeff Svajada, of Texas. The fish were really stocking up (I think they come in here to spawn) and we had a busy busy day releasing 41 from 78 bites. The following day Steve Cothron the owner of 'Decisive', joined his friends Bill and Jeff, to up the averages and go 49 from 74 bites. The 9th saw the bite getting better, going 70 from 115 on the sailfish and setting a new boat record for our new boat. Leaving the dock the following morning on high spirits little did we know that we'd again break our boat record and fall only a fish short of the trolled bait release record when we released number 80 for the day and picked them up to trundle on home sticking to our charter boat 'accord' of hitting the dock before 5pm. We had 99 bites and an average of over 80% on our Eagle Claw 2004EL circle hooks, a great testament to the anglers improving averages and the hooks efficiency in ensuring a solid corner of the mouth, healthy hookup, and the resulting healthy release.
Everyone was thinking, just how long could this bite last and how much better could it get, but the 11th of March 2006 with be a day in angling history everyone will recall for years to come. We were joined by Monroe Howser of the Gold Coast, Australia for his first attempt at sailfish on the fly rod, and what a day to start. The bite had slowly been moving offshore and they were found snapping at 17-20 miles. Monroe needed a little time to get in the groove and only managed 2 releases from the first 23 fish we had up, the bait boats already had posted 20-30 releases by this stage and the 'Release' a whopping 16 releases on the fly by 10am, for the boats owner, Jim Turner, his wife and Herb Rosell who was also on board for the day. But when it all clicked for us, it really clicked....in the next 2 hours we stepped it into high gear and released an unreal 28 fish to have 30 IGFA fly releases by mid-day and have broken our two year record of 27 fly releases in a day. It didn't seem possible but the afternoon bite just kept going and by days end we'd released 51 sailfish on the fly, from 80 bites and an unheard of 151 raises for our single angler on his first time out. My hats off the Chris Sheeder who had the morning jump and ended up with 57 releases from 78 bites for a new 'perhaps never to be repeated' single day fly record. Ronnie Hamlin released 124 on the bait this day for another new record, shattering his previous 81 record releases. To have been apart of such a day is truly special, Ronnie, Chris, myself and our anglers together raised our glasses on the dock at 5 that afternoon and toasted the bite and the way in which a charter fleet could work together in not only staying on the bite but also being able to capitalize on it and set such an outstanding mark. The time spent alone trying to get every fly back probably accounted for a total of an hour and a half of fishing time and maybe a dozen potential releases, but this wasn't about just setting new records it was about seeing a bite that nobody before has ever witnesses and (may never again see), and putting our skills up against it, along with the client/s we had on board.
The following day we released 32 on the fly for Monroe, another outstanding day that had it not been for the craziness of the day before would have been a landmark in itself, giving us 83 on the fly for his two days.
We had a days break and fished a short day yesterday with my wife Cindy and our Billfish Inn "crew"