Isla Holbox - Fly Fishing Forum
Bonefish, Tarpon, and other Obsessions Turquoise water, silver demons on the fly

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  #1  
Old 10-28-2008, 01:06 PM
Tim D Tim D is offline
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Isla Holbox

Anyone been? Did my first tropics trip last year to Pesca maya and loved it. The other guys I go with are looking for more tarpon and from the research I've done, this looks like a great place. Would love to hear from some of you with first hand experience.

Thanks
Tim
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  #2  
Old 10-29-2008, 08:07 PM
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Trevor B Trevor B is offline
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I was there this May and have been meaning to write a report about my trip for ages but have just never had the time, let me know what your looking for and I'll fill you in best I can, the good the bad and the ugly, just as soon as I can get some time.

Trev

Last edited by Trevor B; 10-29-2008 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:02 AM
Tim D Tim D is offline
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Hi Trevor,

Thanks so much for the reply. I'm going with three buddies and am looking for somewhere where we can get a good number of shots at medium sized tarpon, and plenty of shots for babies.

We're pretty laid back so as long as the accomodations are clean, that's all we care about.

I did some research and it looked good until I saw a few reports that they fish for the bigger tarpon in deeper water(30-40 ft) with sinking lines. We were really looking for someplace where we could sight cast to them with floating lines.

Would love to be able to mix it up a little as well and get a day of bones/permit in as well. We'll be fishing 4 days.

Thanks VERY much for any info.

Best Regards
Tim
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:09 AM
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Gseries69 Gseries69 is offline
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Tim,

I did a lot of research on Isla Hobox as well. According to the director from The Flyrod Shop in Ca. Hobox offers great fishing for baby tarpon. The bigger tarpon are in deeper water and are fished for using deep sinking lines. The risk there according to the travel rep is that if the wind kicks ups the boats won't be able to go after the bigger fish. The wind makes finding rolling fish nearly impossible. He said if you get the right conditions it can be excellent fishing but if not you can have a good time with the babies.

If I were you, I would also consider Belize. Outside of Florida, it is one of the only places where you can sight fish tarpon on flats. Depending on when you go you will also have shots at permit and small bones.

I went to the Everglades this year and have to tell you it was a great place to fish. Lots of tarpon but again, no sight fishing. These were rolling tarpon in the back country.
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Old 11-03-2008, 10:57 AM
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Trevor B Trevor B is offline
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Tim
I think Gseries69 has really hit the nail on the head, I’ll relate how the week went that I spent there this past May.
I was part of a group of six that traveled to Holbox (pronounced Hobosh).

Accommodations: we stayed at the Holbox fly fishing lodge and I can only say that I thought it was excellent, the host there is a guy by the name of Luciano and he could not do enough to make all of us welcome and comfortable, there was a happy hour each evening with hors d’oeuvres and Margaritas to die for plus as many beers as you could drink no matter what the time of day. I also got to enjoy some of the best Cuban rum and certainly the best Cuban cigar of my life. One evening also we were treated to a terrific meal; breakfast was included each morning preceded by a wake up coffee. Evening meals were on you were on your own but with many restaurants to choose from this was never a problem.
Fishing: Ok here is where is does get a little tricky. First day the weather was perfect and we all got out to the open ocean and we did see very good numbers of very large fish, all were well over 100lbs many I would guess in the 130 to 150lb range. I did witness a guy in another boat hook one that was I heard later went around 130lbs or so but this was his first and only hook up of the week, he was leaving the next day. My partner and I did get a couple of shots at fish but they were not good shots, the problem being was getting close enough to the fish as the depth of the water does not allow for poling the boat and with no trolling motors it is very difficult for the guides to paddle the boat closer for an intercept after the motor had been shut off. After a couple of hours of 3 or 4 boats chasing these fish they were only intent on getting the hell out of there.
The next day the wind was up a bit but one of our boats did get out and that did produce a 130lb plus Tarpon landed for Andy from Australia. But I think by mid morning we were all inside and to me this is where part of the problem arises. Yes there are good numbers of large fish but the wind out on the open ocean has to be just about perfect to be able to first of all see them and second get within casting distance, for us the wind blew progressively harder as the week went on. As has already been said it’s 12wts with sinking lines not what I thought fishing for Tarpon there would be like, certainly not like Florida for example.
Fishing for the smaller Tarpon: yes there are plenty but if the wind is up even the lagoon is difficult and when you get into the smaller channels then you are looking at real babies, I’ve caught brook trout bigger than most of them. Some of the spots were only really suitable for one angler and often we would bump in to another boat checking out the same spot. We had a different guide each day some were quite good but I found all of them to be a little over the top shouting casting instructions and really getting pissed off if you could not read their minds or cast under a over hanging tree in the wind.
There were several decent fish caught during the week and I personally caught a few babies and jumped one around 40lbs or so but for 6 days fishing it was not what I had hoped for, I did not go there for babies or to fish the mangroves for small Snook.
The last day was the biggest disappointment as our guide was 45 mins late and tried at first to dump us off at a very small walk in spot that we had already fished a number of times that week, and became decidedly hostile after we refused to fish it, it was spot for one for 30mins maybe. We did get him to go to the lagoon entrance when he sat down and fell asleep, our day ended an hour and a half early, and the other boats did catch some Tarpon that day in the lagoon not big but worth the effort.
If you really want to catch a big Tarpon and want to chance the wind then yes Holbox is the place to go, the people are friendly, the food is excellent, the beach is gorgeous and the fly fishing lodge brilliant. The game ‘B” plan for fishing however is not as good as advertised and there certainly are some guiding issues and there were a few during the week with some of the other boats, some I would guess due to the fact that these guys want to succeed very much and they get a little over zealous and there is a little bit of a language barrier as well. It’s not my intent to bash the guides there but it’s not a cheap trip and it is a long way to go to have such problems. I did finally receive some rebate for the last day but I would much rather have had a guide that tried then get money back.
Is it worth a trip to Holbox ? YES, are there better destinations if you want to catch tarpon and are not so concerned with catching a large one then YES.
Sorry this was so long winded but I wanted to give you all out there the whole story
Hope this helps

any question I'll be happy to help if I can
Trev
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  #6  
Old 11-04-2008, 01:20 AM
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Hi Trev
Thanks for a great report.
I have also been toying with the idea of going to Holbox and I think you have now put my mind at rest. A trip to Cuba for us non americans is probably a better idea as you can catch all sorts of things there. Where is your next trip?

pete
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  #7  
Old 11-04-2008, 06:16 AM
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Trevor B Trevor B is offline
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Don't get me wrong Holbox is a great place and a very wife friendly place as well if you want to take the other half along, it's just such a gamble weather wise and not the kind of fishing for Tarpon that most people imagine (for the large fish that is)
There are very good numbers of very large fish there, but like I said the plan B fishing
I think is a little questionable, I'm sure many others might disagree.
It's a week in Cuba for me DIY I need a break from being guided !
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  #8  
Old 11-04-2008, 07:50 AM
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Here's a cuban tarpon that I caught a couple of years ago. It's not a monster.
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  #9  
Old 11-04-2008, 10:06 AM
Tim D Tim D is offline
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Trev,

Thanks very much for the detailed response. That's not the type of fishing we are looking for. Looks like its back to the drawing board.

Thanks
Tim
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  #10  
Old 11-04-2008, 10:12 AM
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Pete, nice fish! Really wish yanks could legitimately fish there; but maybe the new administration will do an about face.

Is that a rag-wrapped gaff sticking out of its mouth, or an illusion?
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  #11  
Old 11-04-2008, 10:54 AM
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Hi Jim
No it is not a gaff but just a cloth.
My guide suggested that if I held its bottom lip with the cloth I would not get my fingers skinned. Very good advice I think.
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  #12  
Old 11-04-2008, 11:06 AM
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Trevor B Trevor B is offline
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Really that's the perfect size,
many people say you only do the giant tarpon thing once, because it can be just so much work to get them in and very time consuming as well, it's the mid sized ones that are the most fun !
Nice fish Pete
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  #13  
Old 11-05-2008, 07:44 AM
Tim D Tim D is offline
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Hey gents,

Now that we are looking at Belize, anyone have any intel on the lodges/fishing down there? I'm looking at Belize River Lodge and El Pescador.

Thanks again
Tim
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  #14  
Old 11-05-2008, 08:03 AM
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Gseries69 Gseries69 is offline
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Tim,

I was on San Pedro Island two summers ago. We did not stay at El Pescador but it was only about a mile away. The area you would be fishing is magnificent. There are tarpon flats, permit flats and bone fish flats. The bones are very small, although there are some nice ones around. For the most part we fished for bones at the very end of the day. They were typically mudding which is fine if you want to just feel a tug but certainly not the kind of fishing you go there for. The permit flats are excellent and the permit get big. I don't know how to post pics here but the week we were there we landed two with one just shy of 30 pounds. A fight that will not soon be forgotten.

There are a good number of tarpon with both flats and deep channel opportunities. Belize has both resident and larger migratory tarpon. The peak is around the July - Sept time frame when the migratory fish come through. Again, the wind will be a big factor in your success. We had wind almost every day but still managed to jump a couple of tarpon and had shots on the flats at a few more. There are jacks as well which in my opinion are an excellent plan B fish.

The best part of Belize is the value. They are at about .50 on the dollar and the lodges provide outstanding food (well above what we were expecting) and the people were very nice. We were supposed to go back this year and stay at El Pescador but plans fell through and we ended up doing the Everglades.

One of the big things we found in Belize is that the tarpon and permit were not as finicky as the heavily pursued fish of the keys. If they see the fly, they will eat it.
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Old 11-05-2008, 08:58 AM
Tim D Tim D is offline
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G,

Good info, thanks! I'm pushing for either El Pescador or Belize River Lodge. One of the guys I am going with wants to do Panama. We'll see.
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