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Journal of Dan T. Cook - Fly Fishing the Globe

Traveling 75,000 miles around the world in search of fish and friendship.
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22 April 2008 - Location: La Ceiba, Honduras

Greetings from Honduras! I hope this e-mail finds everyone happy and healthy!

After the Tropic Star trip, I drove up into Costa Rica, Nicaragua and arrived here a couple of weeks ago. Aside from the usual border crossing pleasantries (underpaid, under-motivated customs officials, sneaky money changers, etc.), the trip was without much excitement. So....... onto Honduras!

Paradise
After doing a little research, I discovered that the best flats fishing that Honduras has to offer is near Guanaja, a small island located 40 minutes off the coast. I booked a seat on the next flight and found a nice place to stay called "Graham’s Place." Graham came over from the Caymen Islands 16 years ago and immediately began converting his small caye ("key" in English) into paradise. I reckon he’s done a nice job.

My room was located exactly 6 feet from the ocean....... 10 feet at low tide. A school of 10-15 bonefish were usually present in the small bay just feet from the bar/restaurant. About 3 square miles of flats surrounded the caye. Basically, it was perfect for the do-it-yourself fisherman.

Although the conditions were a bit windy, I managed to catch a few bonefish, a few jacks and a few barracuda. I also managed to kill another camera! Yippee! I guess "waterproof" can be taken to mean something different than "waterproof." No worries though...... plenty of pics of Graham’s place can be found here: www.grahamsplacehonduras.com.

The Jungle
A fishing guide that I talked to at the airport suggested that I look into Laguna Brus. My research revealed that the place is located in the coastal heart of the jungle area called the "Moskitio." Often referred to as the "Little Amazon", the Moskitio is home to the indigenous Moskito tribe (and other tribes) as well as thousands of square miles of pristine jungle. Nearly all travel in the Moskitio is done in dugout canoe. The town generator is turned off from midnight to 9 a.m. There are no roads because there are no cars. The Moskitio is the "real deal" for jungles. I was excited to meet the people and do some fishing!

I found a fishing guide named Teri. He agreed to take me out for 3 days in search of "robalo" (a tasty fish found in the estuaries) and sábalo (tarpon). When I asked him if the stories of 200-300 tarpon were true, he told me a story about some recent tourists who hooked a 250 pounder. The fight didn’t last long........ the rod snapped in half. This sort of got me more excited. In the morning, we went to the premium fishing spot only to discover that the water clarity was horrible due to recent rains. We did see quite a few tarpon breaking the surface, but my attempts to induce a strike were unsuccessful. This was probably just as well, since these huge tarpon occupy small estuaries about 40 feet wide. Unless the fish broke toward the open lagoon, it would have been impossible to land it. Instead, I enjoyed my time enjoying the wonderment of the jungle and catching a few robalo.

I eventually met Mildred Mejia Calix, a temporary teacher at the local high school. "Mili" must have pitied a gringo in the jungle and so became my guide during my stay. I was very thankful to have an "insider" with me as it opened up a number of opportunities to see and experience the Moskito culture. On one occasion I attended the birthday of a local 2 year old. To say that it was unfamiliar territory for me is a bit of an understatement. However, it was an "Incredible Hulk" themed party, so I was game. I was picked out of the crowd of forty 2 to 12 year olds to participate in the "pin the tail on the donkey" activity, which I masterfully completed with the help of the 40 screaming kids. I won 2 lolli-pops for my efforts. Next we listened to the local church leaders give the b-day boy some blessings (he was a bit "under the weather" with a bout of malaria). This was followed by food....although the kids meals looked more appetizing than the adult version. By the end of the evening, a good time was had by all.... although I would have liked to have been invited to participate in the mini-Hulk piñata bashing.

I was quickly adopted by most of the community........ that tended to station themselves at the bar all day. I believe invitations to buy them cheap rum was the Moskito "right of passage," although there is a strong possibility that I was just the closest person to them when they ran dry. Either way, my visit to the Moskitio was an incredible learning experience. A special thanks to Mili for helping me during my stay in the jungle!

I will be departing tomorrow for Belize, then the Yucatan. More updates to follow.... and soon! Thank you for your continued support!


The idyllic “Graham´s Place” near Guanaja.


Teri and I on the way to find some robalo and sábalo.


Mainstreet Brus Laguna! This is where it all happens...... or more accurately, doesn't happen.


The kitchen and the ladies at the unnamed restaurant casually referred to as "Nehomy's."
This was the only place I ate for 5 straight days. Of course, it has limited competition.


Tranquility in the jungle. This photo reveals some of the incredible beauty
and placidity of the Brus Laguna area at 5:30 a.m.


Dan and a robalo. I'm not sure what this fish is actually called in
the "outside world." The "robalo" I caught in Argentina was quite different.


Mili with her two robalo. These are the first two fish that my little Honduran friend had ever caught!
Perhaps this is a bit of insight into the world of a fishing guide, but it was incredible fun helping her
catch these fish. And she was even more excited than me. However, I am confident
this is not an indication of a future career change for me.


7 year old Abby recognized my "fish out of water" status at the birthday party and helped
me navigate that tricky and dangerous world! For her help I shared my lolli-pop winnings.


Here is the piñata bashing........ and the ensuing scrum that resulted. Things have
certainly changed since my day..... I used to share my candy with everyone.

 

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