by Mick K.
I’ve got the slam bug – I try to catch an inshore grand slam as often as possible when I’m on the flats. The famed “Super Grand Slam” is achieved when you catch a bonefish, tarpon, permit, and snook on the same say; a Grand Slam is achieved when you catch any three of the four species on the same day. SO far I’ve caught 15 slams at the Belize River Lodge, including one Super Slam. Two of the slams really stand out in my mind.
The slam that God wanted
It was May 3rd, 2008, my final day of fishing for my last trip of the year to the Belize River Lodge (I go about three times a year). Fishing with Raul, we had taken a couple of snook early in the day, and then went looking for bonefish (while hoping for permit). The tides were very low, and many of the flats on Fowler were high and dry. We staked out in the shallow water waiting for the rising tide to bring in some bonefish. Soon we could see them – on the other side of the flat. As we watched, their backs were completely out of the water, but they were also about 200 yards away. Slowly they made their way toward us and, after several fly changes to avoid spooking the fish (I’m very good at that) I hooked up with a bonefish and brought it to the boat.
While we were staked out we saw storm clouds building to the south and east, and we could see the rain they were bringing. We decided to head for Rider Key to try to find a tarpon to round out the slam, but as we headed there it was obvious that the storm would beat us to the punch. As the rain began to fall, driven by very impressive winds, we headed toward the River, trying to decide whether to return to the lodge or try for some tarpon further up the River. Hoping we could get out of the storm by going upriver, we headed for a spot where baby tarpon often gathered and rolled – but the storm was blowing so hard the rain actually hurt when it hit you. When we got to the honey hole the wind had to be hitting 30 knots, and the rain was unforgiving. Just as we decided to head back the rain stopped and the skies opened up. Bright sunshine illuminated the jungle – it glowed and sparkled as if it had been lighted up for a celebration.
Almost on cue the tarpon started rolling. One cast and I had a fish on – two minutes later the little 8 pounder was at the boat and released - I had my slam! Just as quickly, the clouds closed in and the rain returned, with the wind blowing as hard as before. Truly, God wanted us to get that slam!
One fly, one slam
In early March of 2009 I was once again with Raul, pursuing slams. It was unseasonably cold and quite overcast. While looking for Snook around the mangroves of Fowler Key (10 wt rod with a Puglisi Everglades Special on the shock tippet) we spotted some bonefish dead ahead. Rather than grabbing the bonefish rod I took a leading cast with the streamer and let it sink. Retrieving slowly in front of a small school of bones one took it and took off – but he was no match for the 10 wt rod.
The day got worse as the wind blew, so we headed for Burdon Creek and the Sibun River. Hitting a mangrove lined lagoon on the way to the Sibun we ran into a small group of snook, and took 3 fish, each less than 3 pounds, on the same fly that had previously taken the bonefish. Knowing that I only needed a tarpon (of ANY size) to round out the slam, we headed up the River but found none. One the way back to the lodge we went through Haulover Creek (the “Mangrove Cathedral”) and spotted some small tarpon rolling. After a few casts one hit and I landed a cute little 5 pounder, and completed the slam, all on the same fly.