Bonefishing in Cozumel, Mexico, 1995 – 2009


Cozumel is a well-known scuba destination which we have visited a number of times. The diving is as good as it gets, it’s relatively easy to get there, and not terribly expensive. On our first visit we discovered that fishing for bonefish and tarpon was available there as well. The usual bonefishing destination is to the north of the island, in a lagoon system called Rio La Plata, found near the lighthouse. Groups of bonefish prowl around in the calf-deep water, nosing into the sand, in the search for bottom-dwelling critters like shrimp and crabs. Coral rocks in these lagoons are a wading and fishing hazard, with fish often running around these rocks, cutting the leader. In the uppermost lagoon is a small island with a Mayan ruin on it. Quarried limestone blocks form a path to it from both sides of the lagoon. On an early foray to this lagoon I made the mistake of trying to step up on one of these blocks, which turned out to be slippery with algae. I fell and cut my knee, which was followed by a leg swollen by cellulitis. This required a visit to the ER immediately on our return to the USA. We also made one trip to the south end of the island, where we caught a few fish. In 1995, tarpon were fed bread under the lights in a pool directly adjacent to the hotel’s restaurant. I hooked and lost a couple of these, and others that were found off the rocks to the side. One large tarpon took a small spinning lure and came completely out of the water, shaking and throwing spray, ten feet from where the waiters were counting up their tips, and much to their surprise. Our favorite guide in Cozumel is Adolfo, with whom we’ve fished from 1996 to 2009 (and will again, if and when we go back). Now one or more of his sons work with him.

Black vultures, at the marina, Sept. 2009

Black vultures, at the marina, Sept. 2009

Jeep art at the marina, Sept. 2009

Jeep art at the marina, Sept. 2009

Jeep art at the marina, Sept. 2009

Jeep art at the marina, Sept. 2009

Jeep art at the marina, Sept. 2009

Kathy and Jeep art at the marina, Sept. 2009

The northern-most marina, in the bay that contains the Isla de la Pasion

The northern-most marina, in the bay that contains the Isla de la Pasion

The northern lighthouse is seen in the distance

The northern lighthouse is seen in the distance

At the beach where our guide, Adolfo, sometimes gathers hermit crabs to "flavor" our flies

At the beach where our guide, Adolfo, sometimes gathers hermit crabs to “flavor” our flies

The Mayan ruin, on a small island at the top end of the lagoon system

The Mayan ruin, on a small island at the top end of the lagoon system

The path of limestone blocks that leads to the ruin from the entrance to the lagoon

The pathway of limestone blocks that leads from the ruin to the other side of the  lagoon

The Mayan pathway, from the far side of the lagoon, looking back at the ruin, Kathy and the panga

The Mayan pathway, from the far side of the lagoon, looking back at the ruin, Kathy and the panga

The pathway and the ruin, from the back

The pathway and the ruin, from behind

In the lagoon, with Adolfo's son, Sept. 2009

In the Rio La Plata lagoon, with Adolfo’s son, Sept. 2009

Adolfo's son poles, while he talks on his cell phone

Adolfo’s son poles, while he talks on his cell phone

Heading back south, to Montechristo Lagoon, Sept. 2009

Heading back south, to Montechristo Lagoon, Sept. 2009

Montechristo Lagoon, Sept. 2009

Montechristo Lagoon, Sept. 2009

Montechristo Lagoon, Sept. 2009

Looking out of the boca, at Montechristo Lagoon, Sept. 2009

Montechristo Lagoon, Sept. 2009

Montechristo Lagoon, Sept. 2009

Adolfo, 1996

Adolfo, 1996

Adolfo, 1996

Adolfo, with a crappy reel that kept giving him backlashes, 1996

Bonefish, 1996

Bonefish, 1996

Bonefish, 1996

Bonefish, 1996

Flamingo, 1998

Flamingo, 1998

1996

Adolfo and Kathy, 1996

Bonefish, 1998

Bonefish, 1998

Ladyfish

Ladyfish, at the south end of the island, 1995

 

Ladyfish, 1995

Ladyfish, at the south end of the island, 1995

Blue-striped grunt, at the south end of the island, 1995

Blue-striped grunt, at the south end of the island, 1995

Bonefish, 1996

Bonefish, 1996

1998

1998

Adolfo and Steve

Adolfo and Steve, 1996

"Nervous water" betrays the location of a bonefish school

“Nervous water” betrays the location of a bonefish school, photo by Kathy Miller

The boca or mouth, of Montechristo Lagoon

The boca of Montechristo Lagoon

Montechristo Lagoon

Montechristo Lagoon

Montechristo Lagoon

Montechristo Lagoon

Fly rods and reels

Fly rods and reels

Sea fan on the beach

Sea fan on the beach

The panga

The panga

About believesteve

I am a photographer and have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grand/id672492447?ls=1
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