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Subscriber Jim Simcoke recently filed a report on the website detailing a moderately successful experience fishing at Scorpion Atoll, a relatively new fishery off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Alacranes Reef, or Scorpion Atoll, is the largest coral structure in the Gulf of Mexico. The reef is located off the coast of Mérida, Mexico, where travelers spend a night at arrival and also before final departure.
Visitors have two means of accommodation when visiting Scorpion Atoll; the traditional live aboard is the preferred method, but for the more adventurous, the outfitter boasts a camping option. This option, while leaning more toward “glamping” than a pure primitive campsite, as air mattresses and use of the local lighthouse’s facilities are available to guests. Still, keep in mind that water is limited and collected in buckets from a local cistern.
Jim booked his trip through Luis Menocal of Fly Shop of Miami and was joined by four other guests. They flew American Airlines from Miami to Merida, where owner Raul Castaneda had booked accommodations at a hotel downtown. The morning after, Jim had this to say about his experience:
“To begin, Raul met us at the hotel in Merida at 4:30 the next morning for an hour drive to the boat, a 42-foot SeaRay. Once our gear was loaded on the boat, we picked up another 26-foot open fisherman to tow behind us to Scorpion Atoll. The trip was about five hours due to the wind and seas.”
“Along with Raul were two guides—the captain and mate—for a total of 10 people on the boat. Raul and the guides took the small boat and camped on one of the islands every night, while the captain and mate slept on the flybridge. The captain also served as the cook, and the mate would set up the table in the cockpit. We would sit on coolers for meals. Meals were simple, but plenty and good.
“After arriving on the first day, we took the 26-foot boat to two small islands and walked the beaches looking for bonefish. About 5:30 or 6 we returned to the boat for drinks and dinner. We would usually have breakfast between 7:45 and 8:30 every morning, take the 26-foot open fisherman to an island, spilt up into two or three groups, and walk the beaches and flats looking for bonefish.
While we caught fish every day, the bonefish were mainly single and doubles, rather than large schools as we had expected. All the fish were large—8 to 12 pounds. One of the anglers caught the largest bonefish on a barracuda tube fly. We also caught several small jacks and two small permit.
“The return trip was a bit faster, as the seas were not quite as heavy. We spent another night at the same hotel in Merida and left the next morning for the return flight to Miami.
“When we left, Mexican security at the airport refused to clear us carrying our fly reels, and we were all required to check our tackle bags for a $42 fee each. American Airlines was not able to assist us in this matter, although none of us had ever experienced a similar occurrence anywhere we have ever flown. Mexican security was even going to confiscate my three-inch Allen wrench, as it was considered a weapon. Fortunately, all the bags arrived safely in Miami, but this is the first instance any of us had been required to check reels, and each of us have flown throughout the United Sates along with many foreign destinations with no similar incident.”
Postscript: Jim left with mixed feelings regarding the overall experience. Although he gave high marks for the guiding and left with a good opinion of the operators, he did say that there was room for improvement with regard to the lodging, and he felt that even though the bonefish were large, they were not as plentiful as any of his party had expected.
The cost of a six-night / five-day stay is listed at $4,850 per person, based on a group of five anglers. Booking is based on a group rate, as there is a minimum of five anglers per trip. The outfitter can accommodate smaller groups if anglers are willing to split the five-person cost.—Seth Fields, Editor