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October 08, 2009

Guatemala Fishing a "Busman's Holiday"

"Busman's Holiday" ??.is a colloquialism meaning that sometimes people enjoy their work or career so much, they even do it on vacation - in the case of the "busman", he used to take the bus on vacation.

We could be accused of the same, as in the off-season, we enjoy at last getting our lines wet and exploring the blue water for fishing opportunities. More of that a little later.
If you have been to Guatemala fishing, or are considering a trip, try and make time for the fabulous ruins of Tikal. It is possible to make the trip to/from Tikal in a day from Guatemala City. Although it is a very long and tiring day; our recommendation is to overnight at the Park in order to take full advantage of the sounds and sights that the park has to offer. An indicator of the "quality" of the park is the ranking published this year by the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees (CNPSR) who voted Tikal as the fifth in the world. Hence the "busman's Holiday" - who better to advice and make recommendations for where to visit and what to see (the Park Ranger's "Bucket List") than the collective voice of the National Park staff.
In case you were wondering - TONGARIRO National Park, New Zealand headed the top ten list, and just ahead of Tikal in the number 4 spot was Kruger National Park in South Africa.
The commentary from the survey featuring Guatemala describes how the Tikal settlement was a magnificent tribute to the leaders of the Mayan culture. This was a major point of focus for the whole civilisation, with at one point as many as ninety thousand people living within its limits at the peak. One of the great mysteries still pondered today was how such an apparently progressive and sophisticated culture only managed to survive a relatively short period - from 250 AD until the mid 10th century. The most likely cause is that their violence and warmongering caught up with them, and combined with th development of "distance weapons" by tribes that they had preyed upon for many years soon caused massive casualties and the collapse of the population.
There is a well developed plan by the Guatemalan authorities to develop Tikal and other locales into world archaeological sites to protect the treasures from the Mayan period. There was another remarkable find just last month of a 200 year old carving, said to be as impressive as the discovery of the Mona Lisa, in the dig at Parco Cuatro Balam, the newest of the sites that eventually will encompass over four thousand Mayan pyramids. If you can make the time, the Mayan ruins in the North of the Country are a very worthwhile trip that you will not forget.
More on the logistics of visiting Tikal and other excursions can be found in our eBook "Angler's Guide to Guatemala" which is available as a free download on Guatemala fishing : all-inclusive fishing trips in Guatemala for sailfish fishing and marlin fishing in Guatemala.
And so back to the fishing - we have only been fishing sporadically through the "off season", so this report cannot be taken as quantitative in any way, but the fishing has been good. Even better, the weather has been good; the "rainy" season turned out not to be so rainy, and the winds have been mild - making for decent conditions to make an easy run offshore in search of fish.
We expect at this time of year to be running into plenty of dolphin/mahi, which we certainly did. The floating debris makes for an easy target, and a few casts usually produced swift bites and the spectacle of schools of hungry dolphin swarming beneath the boat. When trolling, we regularly came across pairs of bull dolphin, mostly in the 30+lb class.
The billfishing has been excellent for the summer, although that is mitigated by our normal expectations of 2-5 sailfish per day. Almost every boat that has gone out has found good concentrations of bait and and billfish feeding actively that has resulted in hookups consistently at the high end of the expected range.

The winter almanac is forecasting the coldest winter in North Anerica in a decade - so this is a great year to book in for a fishing trip to the calm waters and sunshine of Guatemala while we still have dates available !