Ascension Bay Flats Magic

Mexico's Yucatan hot spot unveils permit, bonefish, tarpon and snook

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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
Mayan guide Luis Mukul from Pesca Maya Lodge displays Paul Sharman's first permit from Ascension Bay, on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula south of Cancun. Paul Sharman is a freelance outdoor writer, photographer and consultant based in the United Kingdom. He is the UK representative for the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, and for the last five years has been editor of several angling web sites led by FishandFly.com. You can see more of his work or get in touch via paulsharmanoutdoors.com. Also, check out Paul's last mako shark gallery.**
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Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
The Ascension Bay flats are as beautiful as any in the world. Here some young mangroves have gained a first foothold.Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
Working along the edge of the mangroves, fellow angler, writer and photographer Scott Donaghe looks for laid-up tarpon and snook.Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
The Yucatan Peninsula was a stronghold of the ancient Mayans and is still home to their ancestors today.Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
While Ascension Bay is better known for its large schools of small bonefish, larger specimens can also be found.Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
Dawn patrol – this small contingent of the Mexican armed forces carries out its regular sweep, looking for evidence of drug runners along the beach.Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
Snook are another great target and make a super grand slam a possibility on the right day. There are some absolute monsters lurking under the mangroves – this was just an average-size fish.Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
It’s all about the anticipation!Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
There’s not a much better way to unwind at the end of the day than with a beer and a few last casts down the boat dock.Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
Stereotypes rule – permit, crab, Ascension Bay!Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
A Mexican thrill ride – high speed through the mangroves.Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
What it’s all about: that wagging tail of a bonefish on the feed. This one was in a pod of three larger fish that saw me belly crawling along in inches of water trying to get close while keeping the camera dry at the same time.Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
Saltwater crocs like this one inhabit the back bays and mangroves along with a cornucopia of other wildlife – all part of the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve.Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
It doesn’t have to be all about the glamour species. Ascension Bay is home to a multitude of other species like snappers, grunts and barracuda, just to name a few; they’re more than happy to bite when nothing else is going on.Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
Small islets dot Ascension Bay, and local guides like Luis Mukul know which ones have the best chance of holding fish. The pangas are comfortable but open, so remember to cover up in the sun like my father Allan Sharman, here.Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
Birdlife is abundant; you could spend a week ticking off dozens of species should you wish, and many eco-tourists do just that. For me, they are a very pleasant distraction and another great subject to photograph.Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
Permit come in all sizes here but none are easy.Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
Against the stunning backdrop of the setting sun, a couple of local Mayan guides head for home, after seeing off their clients for the day and cleaning the boat.Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
Always a welcome sight at the end of the day for the anglers – cold beers back at the lodge, often accompanied by some tasty appetizers before dinner.Paul Sharman
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Ascension Bay Flats Magic
Why do I love Ascension Bay so much? The remoteness, the wildlife, the fishing, the people and the Mayan heritage that is around every corner.Paul Sharman