I got to fish three days in Guatemala last week with the great crew of Casa Vieja Lodge. Spent two days with Capt. Chris Sheeder on the Release, a classic 37 Merritt, and one day on the Intentisy, a 37 Gamefisherman with Capt. Mike Sheeder.
On day one we released 13 sails on fly. The bite picked up in the afternoon and we saw freejumpers every where we looked.
On day two, we worked our way a bit further offshore and had raised 40 fish by 11 a.m. Unfortunately, they wouldn't tease up close enough to the boat to catch em on fly. We only caught 4 before we decided to switch to ballyhoo rigs and it paid off huge. We caught 26 on baits. I lost count of how many double and triple-headers we caught.
On day three, most of the fleet headed out some 40 miles to find the fish. We decided to put the teasers and baits out at around 33 miles. Within 30 minutes of trolling, we raised a blue marlin of about 250 pounds but didn't get him to bite. An hour later, we raised a 500-plus blue marlin and it was one of the hottest bites I have seen yet.
Amazing power, grace and speed. That fish had some serious shoulders and it took nearly an hour to get him to the boat. Unfortunately the fish came unbuttoned just as the mate grabbed the leader so I didn't get any good photos. Still, the fish was as long as the transom (13 feet!). The trip ended with us watching the Superbowl back at the lodge with Mexican commentators. It was a blast. I bet there was more than 50,000 billfish releases caught among the captains who came to our little Superbowl party...
Guys like Brad Philipps, Ron Hamlin and all the Casa Vieja captains. It was just amazing. My thanks go out to Jim Turner and his fantastic crew at Casa Vieja. I'll be writing a story on the new lodge in an upcoming issue of Marlin so keep an eye out for it.