Guatemala has gained an international reputation as having higher concentrations of sailfish than anywhere else in the world. In addition to prolific sailfish, three types of marlin are available. There are huge populations of dorado, tuna, roosterfish and various other species both in/offshore. This is a year round fishery. Guatemala holds both the conventional and fly fishing records with most sailfish released in one day.
Sailfish Bay records include 70 sailfish releases in one day!
Destination is Best Known For: Sailfish All Species Available: Sailfish, Marlin, Tuna, Roosterfish, Barracuda, Mahi-Mahi
There is also some Caribbean fishing on the east side which allows for permit, some bonefish and tarpon. That being said, we would not make Guatemala a primary bonefish, permit and tarpon location
|Species & Tactics|
This is the fastest fish in the ocean!
Individual Sailfish have been clocked at speeds over 70 mph which is the highest speed reliably reported in any water creature. Sailfish are two species of billfish, the Atlantic Sailfish and the Pacific Sailfish and live in warmer sections of all the oceans of the world.
There is no fight like the fight of a Marlin. This is the prized fish of most saltwater anglers all over the world. They span almost all of the waters of the globe and can be caught by a variety of methods at various times of year in many diverse places. Marlin fishing is considered by some game fishermen to be the pinnacle of offshore game fish, due to their power, size and the relative rareness. It is an expensive hobby, requiring considerable money to pursue on a regular basis, single day of Marlin fishing can cost over $1000. They are possibly the most well-known fish in the entire world which probably accounts for millions of dollars in commerce spent hunting them. The novel by Ernest Hemingway, "The Old Man and the Sea" chronicles the struggle of a Marlin fisherman who after 85 days of failure, ventures out to sea to change his luck and catch a Marlin. Hemmingway frequently fished for Marlin, quite successfully with his family. The Marlin is the largest of the billfish and comes in many variations: Pacific Black Marlin Pacific Blue Marlin Atlantic Blue Marlin White Marlin Striped Marlin
SNOOK! The snook is a very desirable target on the fly for many reasons; the abundance of energy & fight despite the subtle strike (well sometimes anyway) but and much to our dismay, they apparently are incredibly tasty as well. We can say that we have never killed a snook, and never will. We encourage you to catch and release as this species is in trouble in Florida and the Gulf states.
There was a very cold season which included a freeze of 2009 which killed and chased off most of the species there. Bonefish, permit and tarpon disappeared but we think they just went south because they did gradually come back. The snook there are still not quite back and not where they used to be. The number and size of the snook in southern Florida and the Gulf of Mexico is still significantly decreased. The commercial and recreational harvest of common snook was prohibited throughout Texas and Florida (USA) until August 2013.
Mahi-Mahi (Coryphaena hippurus) (aka Dorado, Dolphin, Lampuga, Lampuki, Lapuki, Maveriko) If you're interested in catching super-strong, beautiful, not-too-choosy, leaping fish, here ya go. These are the saltwater equivalents of bluegills, except they jump, and they get big. Like as big as your aging retriever. The common English name "dolphin" causes much confusion and lots of hand-wringing. Let's be clear: this fish is not related to the marine mammal also known as dolphin (family Delphinidae).
General Information If not already fishing for tuna on the fly, we'll just ask....Why not? This is a serious Saltwater fly fisherman's target. It's big, hits your fly at 40 mph (75 kph) and is found in just about every fishing destination you could possibly think of. Tuna are incredibly beautiful and powerful predators that come is many many different flavors too: Bluefin, Blackfin, Yellowfin, Bigeye, Longtail, Dogtooth
The Roosterfish, for very good reasons, are quickly becoming very a popular target among saltwater fly fishing enthusiasts. They have a very noticeable appearance, big profile body covered with silvery blue scales and distinctive black stripes. This shiny bag of Braun and speed is topped with a crown of seven long black dorsal spikes that can flair up or lay flat at will. During the hunt and chase in the shallow waters and beaches, Roosters will sometimes flair the dorsal upward which is a really special thing to see. In additional to their unique appearance, the Roosterfish is an inshore bruiser that is gaining popularity. They are fierce hunters in shallow water with excellent eyesight and have been seen beaching themselves while chasing down bait. Roosters never give up on a chase or a fight. Most importantly they eat flies fairly regularly. Anglers often talk about the fight of a bonefish or redfish, but Roosterfish can hold their own with the best of them. They are truly one of the best kept secrets in salt water fly fishing to date.
Barracuda may be the most underrated saltwater species to catch on a fly. After hooking one, imagine this scenario: the fish is on the end of the line thrashing and running, suddenly the line goes slack. You think the fish is off but he's not because you stand in amazement as you watch a 5 foot barracuda leap 15 feet into the air like a missile being launched from below the surface of the ocean.
Spinner Shark (& other shark species)
One of the best kept secrets in all of salt water fly fishing is the Spinner Shark migration in late winter through early spring in. It happens in a place where you least expect it...West Palm & Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Really, we aren't kidding. This is spring break for sharks. They migrate to the beaches off of Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach chasing fish (snook, blues and false albacore & other tuna species) that are breeding & feeding in the surf or just beyond the surf. You can sight fish for a 100+ lb. powerhouse in just 8 feet of water. Flyfishbonehead had so much fun that we went out twice in 2012, hooked 9 and landed 5 on our first trip and landed 5 of 6 on the second. Considering the fight and how hard it is to subdue this beast that was pretty darn good.
Migrating Tarpon...This is what we dream about. A school of Tarpon 20-30 strong each weighing about 130 lbs. swimming across the flats. It's a fly anglers dream! These are the large adults that have been in deeper waters reproducing and are traveling in search of warmer waters and a new source of food. They're hungry, aggressive and will destroy your rod and reel in no time if you let them
SEARCH TARPON FLIES IN OUR SHOP
Albula vulpes is one of about 15 different species of bonefish found in the world, but is the most prolific in the Caribbean and surrounding Atlantic. The information here can be applied to nearly every species.
The members of the Albulidae family of fishes, or Bonfish, as they are more commonly known, are one of, if not the most sought after species on the flats with a fly rod. The silver torpedo shaped fish with variably colored vertical stripes ranges in size from 2-19 pounds, with the average fish caught being between 3 and 16 pounds (depending on location).
There are many other words often associated with fly fishing for Permit but they will be excluded to keep profanities off the site. To quote a professional fly fisherman in the Miami area who's name and expletives are intentionally left out "after all these years, I'm done with that fish". He literally quit fishing for Permit after over 7 years of frustration but he really didn't. He caught his first Permit on a fly in July 2012.
Quitters never win and winners never quit. One of the flyfishbonehead staff members fished for 3 years and spent over $10,000 before landing his first Permit on a fly. Many ask how this can be if there are so many photos and instruction on how to fly fish for Permit. Actually many Permit are caught on live crabs with a spin rod and a much of the published information is just speculation, propagated rumor and scuttlebutt. There is some good information out there and fisherman that have significant success, but much information is hear-say and rumor.
|What To Bring|
Bonefish, Snook and smaller species
Bonefish can be caught on a 6-8 weight. Most commonly used an 8 or 9 weight because of their versatility & universality, most anglers own one. Many prefer a 6 weight for smaller bones because it is more fun to use little tackle in general. Again as long as wind is not an issue this is certainly ok. Use a floating line with at least 200 -250 yards of backing on your reel. Leaders should be 9-15 feet with at least a 10 lb tippet. We typically use a 12-15 lb depending on water clarity & size of fish. The reel should have a sealed drag and made for saltwater fishing. We use the term ‘bomb-proof” which means a tested & proven reel with the following features: 1. Very few or no moving parts 2. Smooth drag with smooth start-up 3. Sealed drag which will not corrode 4. It will not fail under any circumstance
Try crab & shrimp patterns like: Turneffe Crab, Bonefish Bitters, Gotchas, Crazy Charlie, Yucatan charlie
Fishing for Permit requires a 9-10 weight rod. We almost always use a 10 weight, mainly because it is very rare that there is no wind. You don’t want to miss a fish because you can’t punch your fly through the wind. Why take a chance? The extra lifting power of a 10 weight will also give you an advantage when trying to keep a hooked fish from getting into coral or diving into a deep channel. Anglers need a floating line and at least 250-300 yards of backing on your reel. Leader should be 9-15 feet with at least 12 lb tippet. We use 16-20 lb tippet in most cases but again water clarity & size of fish matters. The reel should have a sealed drag and made for saltwater fishing. We use the term ‘bomb-proof” which simply means a tested & proven reel with the following features: 1. Very few or no moving parts 2. Smooth drag with smooth start-up 3. Sealed drag which will not corrode 4. It will not fail under any circumstance
Some of the more popular ones include Turneffe Crab, Bauer Crab, EP Permit Crab, Bonefish Bitters, Merkin Crab and others.
Tarpon usually require a 10 -12 weight. Most anglers prefer a 12 weight for the lifting power and usually gives the angler more control when trying to land the fish. Wind is usually not an issue when casting a 12 weight. Use a floating line or what we prefer is the intermediate sink line with at least 300 yards of backing on your reel. Leaders should be 9-12 feet with at least a 20 lb tippet. We use 20 shock tippet for smaller fish and sometimes a straight 6 foot piece of 60 lb test to pull little tarpon out of the mangroves. The reel should have a sealed drag and made for saltwater fishing. We use the term ‘bomb-proof” which simply means a tested & proven reel with the following features: 1. Very few or no moving parts 2. Smooth drag with smooth start-up 3. Sealed drag which will not corrode 4. It will not fail under any circumstance
More popular flies include: Blue & white Clouser minnow, gummy minnow, tarpon toads (black/purple), seaducer, big-eye tarpon fly in tan/white
Barracuda & Shark
Barracuda & Shark usually require a 12 weight. A 12 weight for the lifting power and usually gives the angler more control when trying to land the fish because they fight! Wind is never an issue when casting a 12 weight either. Use a floating line or what we prefer is the intermediate sink line with at least 200 yards of backing on your reel. Leaders should be 9 feet with a metal tippet material. (we use 30 lb metal tippet) The reel should have a sealed drag and made for saltwater fishing. We use the term ‘bomb-proof” which means different things to different people. To us, it means simply a tested & proven reel with the following features: 1. Very few or no moving parts 2. Smooth drag with smooth start-up 3. Sealed drag which will not corrode 4. It will not fail under any circumstance
Flies can be searched in the HD Fly Tying Library.
Some of the more popular ones include: baby dorado, any baitfish pattern, poppers, the rat, great pumpkin for sharks
Billfish & Tuna
Offshore fishing for billfish & tuna usually involves a 12 -15 weight. Here you will have a chance at blue & white Marlin, Sailfish, Mahi-mahi & Tuna. We prefer a 14 weight and there are some which even have a butt suitable for gimbel use. Again because we are all about control of the fish and landing the fish quickly which decreases mortality and injury after release. The reel should have a sealed drag and made for saltwater fishing. We use the term ‘bomb-proof” which means different things to different people. To us, it means simply a tested & proven reel with the following features: 1. Very few or no moving parts 2. Smooth drag with smooth start-up 3. Sealed drag which will not corrode 4. It will not fail under any circumstance
Tuna: small minnow patterns like surf candy & eat me
Marlin/sailfish: Poppers, Baitfish. Trey Combs style double hook mackerels & sardines