It has been said that a picture paints a thousand words. I disagree.
This photo was taken by my good friend Roger in Chetumal bay, near the border of Belize. To me it is the epitome of do it yourself fly fishing in a foreign land. We had just waded about 3 miles to a saltwater flat that was, to us, uncharted, in search of bonefish, permit, tarpon and barracuda. It was indeed a Lewis and Clark moment. Roger had an exceptional morning sight-casting to bonefish. On this morning he had the hot hand. I was in marginal shape in both mind and body following the previous night's dinner of tequila and popcorn; a dinner that I will avoid in the future. The prelude to our wading trek was an hour long drive on a really bad Mexican backcountry road leaving from a town of 300 inhabitants. This road passed thru a desolate, weathered tropical landscape.
We reached a single dwelling that was sporting a Mexican flag high above. At first glance we thought it might be a military camp but a shirtless young man in his late twenties or early thirties appeared from the dwelling. The road was blocked with a chain and padlock and I was in no mood to push our luck. Roger hopped out of our car and walked to the chained post without discussion and pulled the chain off the post and said we were going to continue towards the dwelling and park. Reluctantly I followed his lead. In broken Spanish we greeted the young man and told him we were fishing and asked if it was ok if we parked there. He seemed friendly enough and pointed to where he wanted us to park the vehicle. We grabbed our gear and headed to a lagoon.
The water was a bit murky and the depth was hard to judge. It was my turn to get even with Roger for making me nervous about the recent intrusion. I started wading across the lagoon without hesitation, knowing it was a 50/50 chance of getting to the other side and into the flats of the bay. Roger reluctantly followed. After an ankle-to-chest-deep wade thru mud and water we reached the bay. Roger picked off nice bonefish within the first 25 yards of fishing. We both continued down the shoreline for about a mile of fun catching bonefish and 'cudas. We reached a big point protruding from the mangroves forming a bay within the bay. Across the bay facing east was a point about 2 miles away. The flat that connected those two points looked fishy. This was my chance to get two eyes for an eye and really get even with Roger for making me nervous at the gate. Before entering the water I noticed some wakes (fish swimming) at 12 o'clock, a hundred yards away, heading right at me. I had a great shot at a band of Permit swimming at me and around the point, but was simply unable to connect. For me, personally, all Permit encounters are surreal and I will take every one of them to my grave. After this failed and humbling permit encounter, that I blame on tequila and popcorn, I waded back across the 2 mile flat with Roger in tow. When we reached the far point we shared our last bottle of water, took a few photos of the incredible saltwater surroundings, and all I could think to myself was a single silent word; "Wow."