I've been in the game for a few years now. In my native Canada I have caught a good portion of the amazing fresh water spices that Alberta has to offer and I am grateful for the opportunities that my province offers!
However when a small town Alberta boy that is addicted to documentary TV discovers that there is a whole huge wide world outside of a provincial life he begins to not only to dream about those places but desires to find a way to make those experiences happen!
Zihunanjo/ Ixtapa might not be on your radar as far as exotic destinations go and certainly not a destination for saltwater fly fishing. You might believe it to be more touristy place. Or from a fishing perspective more of a deep sea style of fishing community. Welllllll!!??
Let's talk about Ed Knunze and the very experienced and courteous captains that make up: https://sites.google.com/site/flyfishingixtapazihuatanejo/.
Our guides Captain Chavez and first mate Alejandro, who is also Chavez's son,have a plethora of knowledge in the local waters having fished and guided here in Zihuanajeo there whole lives! And very important to me is their competency in dealing with Fly fisherman!
Now this a very stripped down form of saltwater fly fishing. Which for me is exactly what I'm into. The simple pangas that make up the Dos Hermanos fleet are not fancy. But the boat was very comfortable and meticulously neat and clean. No stereo, no GPS, not even a radio. Just a cell phone a cooler of water and a captain that knows the water as well as the amazing diversity of species that inhabit the South Pacific waters of Mexico!
Captain Chavez's English is pretty good. Certainly enough to have solid communication. And my Espanol is good enough to fill in the rest of the communication gaps. I am a big believer that when you visit another country you should learn their language. We actually had wonderful conversation in both languages.
My wife Tammy and I made our early morning rendezvous with Ed and the Dos Hermanos crew at the Zihuanajeo municipal pier. The pier is not difficult to find with a simple google map search and all the cab driver we delt with were courteous and knew that area well.
Leaving the bay in the dark we made a quick stop to grab live bait. Make sure you have 100 pesos in your pocket for the local guy's catching bait in the dark of the morning.
I order to get to the good fishing waters we had quite a long boat ride right off the hop. We left Zihuanajeo bay and headed an hour and a half north to Troncones. At first this seemed like a long trip but when you arrive in the waters to the north you will immediately forget the boat trip.
Now before we get into the fishing side of this trip I feel it important to acknowledge that the we fished more than just our fly rods. Many of the spices we were targeting my wife and I had never seen let alone caught. I am a hard core fly angler and it is certainly my preferred method. But I would encourage anyone that gets an opportunity in new waters and new species not to limit your options. I never forget that I fish for fun first and foremost!
So we arrived 100 yards off of one of the most stereotypical Palm tree littered beaches that make up the South Pacific coast of Mexico which means it was awesome!! An absolute postcard! But we really didn't get to appreciate the view much on account of my wife's screaming reel!
As if out of a well written movie scene Tammy was into a tuna on her very first cast!! And it just kept coming! With Tammy on the back of the boat using regular tackle and me on the front casting deck with Fly gear it was really difficult to know where to cast.The waters were boiling with tuna and Spanish mackerel. Every time I stopped to catch a breath between casts and looked to the back of the boat my wife was hooked again!
Tammy yells at me "that's 6! How many have you caught?" Now I am a prototypical hardcore fly fisherman and I'll be damned if I put my fly rod down just because my wife is kicking my ass in a postcard card paradise. No no no... I am the prototypical alpha male. I Will not relent!! Then she yells at the top of her lungs "DORADO!"
After about a 20 min battle with one of the biggest Maui Maui I have ever seen Tam unfortunately lost her fight with the iridescent green giant and I thought I actually herd whimper a bit. This was the only fish she really wanted on this trip. But no time to morn. I realize that I really want to start getting into some fish. So I tucked my fly rod between my proverbial legs for now and sheepishly asked Chavez for the bait rod. About 3 casts in and I have my very first Skip-jack tuna! After about the 5th fish landed, I lost count and simply enjoyed the rest of the morning!
Alright. Now that we have some fish under our belts and in the cooler, Chavez asks if we'd like to get back to some fly fishing and go hunting for a Rooster! This is the part of the trip that I crave and my wife is dreading! You see Rooster fish are found in the breakers and not everyone likes a boat that pitches and yaws 5 to 15 feet. Go figure.
Any who... we get into the breakers and almost instantly I'm into Cocinero fish or cook fish on the fly . These are a great little bait fish that are a ton of fun on the fly measuring in at between 8 and 12 inches. These little guys are also good for pulling in the Roosters. Now while I am thoroughly entertained by these little gaffers I am oblivious that my wife has gotten quite sea sick and has puked twice.
And to add a little more fuel to our competitive fire, Tammy is still hooking up and reeling in fish between gasps of air and vomit vollies!
In fact during this vomit comet she managed to land one of the biggest Needle fish I've ever seen!
After about a hour I decided to take mercy on my wife and asked Chavez to take us out of the breakers and slowly maybe sort of head for home. My trooper of a wife never once asked to leave! Yup I married a good one!
So we head out for open water and my wife's eyes gave me a very resounding look of thanks! BUT! Chavez had told me on the way home not to put my fly rod away. Hmmmmmm hopes of a big saltwater memory is restored!
Half an hour underway and Chavez spots something on the horizon that's different from everything else we've seen today. He stands up and quite quietly says "I think that's Jack's?"
Instantly my mind races. I don't have a lot of bucket list fish ,but Jack crevalle is one of them!
We pull up slowly to an absolute Malay! The water is boiling and the birds are slamming the water with enough force that I can feel the spray of saltwater from the impact. Then from behind me I hear my seasick wife squeak out "I'm in ". Being to tired to attempt the fight in front of her she graciously offered me the rod. So after a 10 minute fight I have landed my first Jack. So a quick pic and back in the brine he goes. Not to complain about the fact that I just landed my first jack but as that hard core fly angler and and stubborn man thing, I'm feeling a bit unsatisfied. And Chavez being the steely eyed captain that he is doesn't miss a stroke of the engine and we're in hot pursuit of the bait-ball once again!
This time I'm not putting down the fly rod. Chavez cuts the engine and we drift into what looks like bait fish hell. I have about 60 foot of fly line laying at my feet. I am having to actually duck diving birds! I can see the Jack's breaching the water. One false cast and I throw the fly. I get to witness the take. A small strip set and then......the rodeo begins!
Alejandro is right beside me and yells at me to let the line go! I didn't quite get the line out of my hand quick enough and I got stung for it. With reel screaming in ecstasy I look down and Alejandro and I are now very concerned that I don't have enough backing! I have caught a lot of fish on a fly rod but I have never felt anything like this. My drag is maxed out and this fish hasn't even thought about slowing down. As the backing is spooling off at a speed I've never seen Alejandro and I are saying to each other that I d
on't think I'm going to make it. So I palm the reel just enough to slow this fish down. And when he finally stops. I have 5 wraps left on the reel. Happy that he has stopped the first thing on my mind is to get as much line back on the reel as possible. What a day! After another 10 min battle I am sitting on back of the boat with one of the best memories of my angling life! Oh..and after that I was fortunate enough to do it on the fly 2 more times!!
Fly fishing or just inshore fishing with Dos Hermanos and Ed Knunze of Zihuanajeo you can't miss! Excellent people who know their waters and know their saltwater fly fishing!
Check them out at the link below!