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Giant Tarpon Fishing - Nicaragua Part I

One day, I saw a great video about Tapam Lodge, a place in the jungle of Nicaragua to fly fish monster tarpon. It was a 5-minute video, or even less than that, but as soon as I finished watching it, I just thought: “Hey, this is definitely my next trip. It’s my dream. I should go there!” And it became true! Right now, I am in Managua on my way to fish these huge tarpons in the middle of the forest. It’s quite difficult to explain how excited I feel. The best is yet to come!

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I’ve been carefully planning this trip for about six months, I have thought about every single detail, but I started off on the wrong foot. I showed up at the airport to take my flight to Nicaragua, but when I was doing the check in, a representative of the flight company told me that everything was fine except for the fact that my yellow fever certificate was missing. So, I told him, “Yes, I got the yellow fever vaccination, but I don’t have that certificate here.” “Well,” he said, “you cannot fly unless you get your certificate in 45 minutes.”

Now, we are talking about 3 in the morning and I had no choice: either getting that certificate or losing my flight. I was with Juan, one of my brothers, who had driven me to the airport. I had to call Ignacio, my other brother, and after I told him everything, he quickly got to my office and searched it all around. But he didn’t find the certificate. That was like panic attack… At that moment, I had two options: getting mad, upset, stupid, or just taking it easy. I went for the second: thinking and trying to remember where it was. I kept saying to myself “I’m sure I DO HAVE IT. I just need to remember where it is.” On the first drawer of my desk at the office. Or at least, it should have been there... So, I told Ignacio, “Look, that drawer is usually locked. But do what you need to do to open it.” It was pointless, the yellow fever certificate was not there. It was not in the office, it was not in my house, end of the story. I couldn’t get in that plane, I missed my flight.

The following day at 8 in the morning, Ercilia, the Fly Fishing manager, who was at the office, remembered everything about my certificate. I actually got it when I travelled to Tanzania. So, she contacted the hospital there, which was not an easy task. People at the hospital said they could check their register and if I was lucky, they could issue a new certificate. I said, “forget it, they’ll never call again, Erci please call them again 15 minutes later.” Amazingly, they found the register which showed that I’ve had my shot in 2016, so they were able to issue a new certificate. That was like breathing again. And fortunately, Miriam from the US flight agency Frosch, was able to reschedule my flight - it was all so great!

At that time, my friends were flying from the US to Managua and I was supposed to meet them that day in Managua, but here I was, still at the airport about to take my flight. I was one day behind, I really needed to go there as fast as possible to meet them and fish with them! 

By the way... While I’m writing this story I got a message from Ercilia which reads, “Pablo, are you there already? Happy Birthday!” Yes, guys. Today is my birthday, and, I must tell you, I’m really happy to be here on my way to fish monster tarpons. This actually makes my birthday even more special. Thank you Ercilia and Miriam for all your help.

Now, I’m supposed to take a flight in one hour, a 45-minute flight to Bluefields. I’m gonna be picked up and taken to the lodge until tomorrow and then I’ll be on a boat for three hours until I get to a camp in the jungle where these big tarpons are. So, I’m still waiting my flight drinking a great beer and Ron. I had the pleasure to meet two guys from Canada. Andrew was one of them. He had been in the fly fishing business for more than 5 years for Atlantic salmon. They were going to a place that now is in my bucket list. It’s called Little Corn Island, in the Caribbean area of Nicaragua. They told me they’re going to fish bonefish and tarpon. We said we’re going to catch up one day and talk about our own experiences, but we got a commitment: we’re going to go fishing together one day. They’ve invited me to fish salmon in Canada and I’ve invited them to fish Dorado in the Southern area of Argentina.

An aside comment... this Patagonia backpack that I’m carrying, a waterproof one, is SO NICE. I have in it my cameras, my computer, and my reels. Everything is in there, except for the rods. At the airport, they told me I couldn’t take my rods with me, so I put some lockers on my luggage. The good news is that I saw my luggage when I landed on Managua and I saw it leaving to Bluefields, so more chances are to get all my luggage once I arrive there.

This time, I’m dressed as if I was going to the river right now, and I highly recommend you do the same. I’m wearing fishing sneakers, quick-dry pants, a fishing shirt and I’ve put 3 shirts and underwear in the carry-on luggage to be ready for the fishing just in case my luggage doesn’t make it. 

Welcome to Central America!

I finally arrived at around 3.30 and guess what? My luggage is not here. And the same story for other two or three guys. It seems the Sesna was too heavy and they needed to send some luggage on a different plane, so I’ll have to wait here for about half an hour to get all my stuff. 

By the way, huge tarpons are already waiting for me, and I couldn’t be more excited for action! This is just the beginning of a great story...

Do you want to know how my very first day of fly fishing at Nicaragua was?

THE BEST IS YET TO COME.

STAY TUNED!!

 

Pablo Aguiló 

Pointer Outfitters 

 

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