Trip Report - Ascension Bay, Mexico

Montana winters can be tough, no doubt about it. So a trip to warmer latitudes is something many of us look forward to each year. We usually try to plan ours around some kind of flats fishing. Thanks to a great offer and some urging from some close friends, this year we chose to return to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.

It’s a great winter destination because even during poor weather daytime temps are usually still in the 80s. And furthermore, at the southernmost end of the peninsula lies a large bay that is inhabited by Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit, Snook and Barracuda. So naturally we called up our good friends at Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures and made some plans to fish. 

Our first stop was the Sensatori Azul resort near Puerto Morellos for a couple of days of beach time. This beautiful all-inclusive resort is a great family spot. After a few days of total relaxation we packed up and headed toGrand Slam Lodge near the small fishing village of Punta Allen. Getting there is an adventure on it’s own. A driver picked us up at the Sensatori Azul for the 1 ½  hour drive south just beyond Tulum, where we entered the Sian Kaan Biosphere at the beginning of one of the worst coral-cap/dirt roads on earth. Luckily we only had to travel a few clicks down that road. We stopped and carried our luggage down a dirt path through the mangroves to a small dock called Ceziak where our guide, Louis was waiting with his Panga. We loaded the Panga and then drove another hour south on the bayside of the peninsula. It was a beautiful late afternoon ride with lots of tropical birds to look at and even a few saltwater Crocs!

Grand Slam Lodge is very nice and family friendly. Small and modest, but very well appointed. The guest rooms are beautiful. High thread count and equipped with all the modern creature comforts: Wi-Fi and A/C. Nito runs the kitchen and the bar and does an outstanding job at both. The food was excellent.

Fishing in Ascension Bay is great because of the multi-species aspect. Bonefish are plentiful although generally on the small side. The largest we saw on this trip was 3-4 lbs. and great fun on my Scott 7 wt. S4s. Tarpon are abundant but not always easy to locate. Though there was a nich school of 20-30 pounders rolling each morning right off the beach in front of the lodge. Snook in the 1-4 lb. range are also abundant with some larger fish around although they alluded us.

For me, fishing down there is really all about Permit and large Cudas. Of course Permit are a very tough fish on a fly rod, but that’s why we love ‘em. Though we didn’t have great action, we did see enough fish and get enough shots to keep it interesting. And most of the fish I saw were good size (15-25 lbs.) and I saw a couple that looked like 40 pounders! Caught one, about 18 lbs. on our last day.

Cuda action was solid on a few flats with several fish that were pushing the 50” mark. Pink and green tube lure on spin gear remain the best way to catch these awesome beasts.

After our stay at Grand Slam Lodge we re-located to a rental house near Tulum with several good friends. Although there weren’t any real fishing options from our rental house, we weren’t too far from the bounty of Ascension Bay.

Pesca Maya Lodge is also located at the southernmost end of the Yucatan near Punta Allen and they offer day trips, complete with all transportation for anglers staying as far north as Cancun. From our house in
Tulum it was about 1 hour and 15 minutes to the lodge by van and by boat from the Ceziak dock.

It’s a great program for those who prefer the more family and non-angler friendly accommodations of Cancun, Playa, Akumal, and Tulum. The wife and kids who may not want to fish can hang on the beach, while the angler(s) go flats fishing for the day.

The guides at Pesca Maya did a great job with our group. Several of whom had never fly fished in saltwater yet all came back boasting their first Bonefish.

All in all, it was an awesome family vacation and we were impressed with the operations at both Grand Slam Lodge and Pesca Maya Lodge. And Yellow Dog did a great job of booking and planning the fishing part of our trip. No details were overlooked, and all of the logistics came off without a hitch.