watch the world go by, trying to decide in which gem of an antique town
we might pause for the evening, until our friends came ‘round the bend and
we jumped back aboard.
On one of my favorite evenings, we just pulled over to the side of the
canal, where the scene was magically lit under a full moon, and the little
town in the distance was from a picture postcard. Each barge comes with
a sledgehammer and a couple of picks, which you just tap into the ground
and tie to on those days where you want to forgo the village bustle for some
solitude; docking all along the canals is free. The locks close at 6, so there’s
zero traffic in the evenings. That night, on our dining table were mouthwatering fresh foods from the day’s markets, delicious wines from the region
— inexpensive, yet some of the finest we’ve ever had. My dream had come
true, and it was a more stunning — and more affordable — voyage than
we’d ever imagined. Douglas has been talking about going back.
BILLFISHING AT ITS BEST
Casa Vieja Lodge,
Puerto San Jose, Guatemala
BY PAT FORD, MIAMI, FLORIDA
AFTER TRAVELING AROUND THE GLOBE chasing exotic fish, I can safely say the Casa Vieja Lodge in Guatemala has to be at the very top of my list for any- one who wants to catch a sailfish on a fly or just pull in big Pacific sails all day long. Peak season is December through March and it’s not uncommon to raise 30-plus
sailfish in a day. Most are teased up to the transom with hookless baits so
the angler can throw a fly or pitch a ballyhoo (baitfish), which results in a
hook-up 30 feet behind the boat, and that makes for spectacular jumps.
The boats, mostly 37- to 40-foot sportfishers, carry all the tackle, baits,
lures, and/or flies that you’ll ever need, and they fix a hot lunch every day.
There’s always the chance that a blue marlin will come into the spread and
there’s no place better on earth to catch a blue marlin on fly. Fishing legend
Jake Jordan runs several fly-fishing schools each year as well as a fly tourna-
ment every January. If you
can’t make Jake’s tourna-
ment, Hall of Fame angler
Stu Apte, who has held 44
light-tackle and fly-fishing
world records, also has one
in late January.
The fact that these two
picked Casa Vieja Lodge to
host their operations says it
all. It has everything you’ll
need and it’s first class —
the staff, chef, beds, and
especially the bar. My
week there was one of the
best fishing trips I’ve ever
Every day is all about fishing at the Casa Vieja Lodge. These guests on Makaira, the resort’s boat, land a sailfish.