Quest for a Grand Slam - A Year Later

Written by Rob Mukai on May. 16, 2017

Tags: Xcalak Saltwater Fly Fishing Grand Slam

So today was nearly perfect. Absolutely epic, but not quite perfect. Came thiiiiis close.

The bonefish

Friend of the Inn Holden, invited me to go out with Capt. Victor to fish in Chetumal Bay. I had some time so of course I said ‘Yes”. Always take an opportunity to go out with Capt. Victor when you can. We started out a bit late due to some miscommunication but we were out on the water pretty quickly. Victor has been fishing a new secret spot lately so we went to try it.

Holden gets up in the bow of the boat and there are big tarpon rolling. First cast and he hooks up with a very large baby. This thing is a hog, probably pushing 35-40 lbs. After a prolonged fight, many spectacular jumps, Victor is able to grab his face and the tarpon comes to hand.

That is a poon

My turn. Fighting that fish must have put down the tarpon as they are not rolling any more. It also could be it is later in the morning. In any event, I get a couple of shots, but no takers. As we are looking for tarpon, we spot some nervous water. Permit. There are permit everywhere. Schools of really tiny ones, and schools of bigger fish. A few bigger singles. It seems like they are circling the boat. Shot after shot, get follows, then refusals, change flies, shots, refusals. Permit being permit. Finally, I cast to a school of mixed sized fish, some as small as a softball, others up to 10 lbs. As I strip, I am watching a couple chase the fly in. Finally, a dinner plate grabs it. Permit number 11.

Permit number 11

Holden is back up. Still permit everywhere. Schools circling in front of the boat. Good casts producing follows but no takes. Finally, a group of about 6 coming across a sandy spot. Good cast right in front of them. Stripping in, one fish comes up, takes a look and peels off, a second does the same, a third the same, finally the last fish comes up and grabs the fly. It was the smallest of the bunch but hey, no such thing as a small permit.

Holden gets a permit

This goes on for another hour but no more permit come to hand. We decide to get Holden his grand slam, and we run to some bonefish flats. Holden gets on the bow of the boat and immediately sees a school of bones, one cast and he has his grand slam.

My turn, I see some fish moving off the flat, couldn’t tell if they were moharra or bones. Cast to it, and I have a small bonefish. After that we run around looking for more permit. Had a few more shots, but nothing like earlier in the day. I did catch a moharra casting to a bone, first one. Which seems a little weird as they are all over the place here.

Rob's bone

Started getting late, but Victor thinks he knows where we might find tarpon to finish off my grand slam. Holden already has his. So we run to a spot, and do some blind casting. I hook a lady fish. First I have ever caught on of those too. They are really aggressive and for a second I thought I had a really skinny tarpon. Another blind cast, and I have some a little more substantial. Ok, it’s a small snook. According to IGFA any three of Permit, Bonefish, Tarpon and Snook is considered a grand slam. Woohoo. After almost exactly a year of trying for a grand slam. I finally got it.

And a snook for the grand slam.

Well snook of that size are rarely loners so Holden steps in for some blind casting. The Sargasso is making it hard to fish, and he even had a pelican almost grab his fly. That would have been really ugly. He hooks into a small snook. That gives him a super slam.

And a snook for the Super Slam for Holden

So in Victor’s boat you have a grand slam and a super grand slam in the same day. Not bad ;) On the way, home, we thought we would try for two super slams. We headed into the lagoons behind the inn looking for a tarpon to get me my super slam. Holden did most of the paddling as we hunted for that last tarpon. We found some, and I jumped 3-4 but couldn’t keep them on. Soooo close. The sun started going down and we needed to get back before it got too dark to find our way back. Two super slams would have been a perfect day. But a grand slam and a super slam is pretty good.

So close