San Pedro, Belize
Jet lagged from the night before & filled with anticipation, waking up in a country way to far from home, with a guy in the next bed I barely know. Along with a room full of gear enough to fill a local shop, I had no clue what was going to happen. I was out of the local pond and into a world I only heard and read about in the local fly shop and magazines. This is how my first trip to live out my dreams began.
I had made it to my destination in search of my first real hook up, the bonefish. After spending countless hours, reading, casting, buying and asking questions. I was here, the big leagues. Hearing stories at dinner of guys who have been fishing for 20+ years , myself having less then 6 months under my belt, was ready to do the deed. Being fortunate enough to get here with the right gear (rods, reels, flies, etc.) I was up to bat 5:00 am the next morning.
As the alarm went off, quickly I smacked it, I hadn’t slept a wink. On edge with anticipation not knowing what to expect from this day. I had gotten ready and headed to the dock for my first encounter with “salt”. My guide Tayo a early 20’s man who has been commercially fishing for as long as hes been alive, now guiding for better pay, took my rods and gear bag with a smile. He had headed in to the lagoon to weave in and out little islands and bridges to get us to my first bonefish feeding hole. Twenty minutes later I’m staring at a clean blue water just like the magazines, with nothing but us three for what seems to be eternity. The cool water just fills my flats boots with tiny water bubbles, that add to the moment, I’m trying not to forget. My casting was very difficult to put together with the winds just knocking my line around, as if I have never threw loop. So Tayo put me on this little flashing feeding hole , and had told me,
” dem bones, dos flashes”, So with my little shrimp like fly in hand and line stripped out , I began to cast. Looking at my back cast trying not to hook myself or the guide, I took deep breaths and got into my rhythm, and let my loop straighten out. With a few strips in , I began to get the hang of it. Another cast out, strip, strip, nudge….ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ….There’s goes my fly line. Tights lines and a bent rod what a combo. That day turned out to be a day that will humble and still build up this newly made fly fisherman. Many fish lost and a few that were brought in, yet it was well worth the time and effort.
That week I had learned many knots, casting on a clock, fighting fish, slinging an 8wt all day is like using a hatchet on a rock & whats its like to get into your backing. All in all I had met some great people, especially the locals and there warm hospitality.
Down time at night, with a smile stuck on my face from that day, I had the chance to spend time in this little island town while not feeling like a complete tourist, the local restaurants offered great food. Riding my green beach cruiser bike home that night I sort of had a little swagger to me, like I just climbed Everest or finished the Iditarod . My first salt trip had came up successful, with a learning curve that I will remember forever. Life on the fly.