World Wide Fishing!

On the Fly in Honduras
Sikalanka Report

Sikalanka Lagoon

By Paul Melchior

I had a hidden agenda. I was familiar with Honduras' Brus Lagoon as an excellent location for tarpon. But over the years the focus was so concentrated on the biggies that smaller tarpon as well as other species had often been ignored. I suspected there was a larger piscatorial bounty to be plundered. When the owners of brand new Sikalanka Lodge invited me to see their operation I had a chance to test my suspicions.

Barely 6 months old, inviting Sikalanka Lodge overlooks a lagoon of the same name. The camp is reached through a winding, mangrove shrouded canal that joins the Sigre River about a mile above where it melds into Brus Lagoon itself. Sikalanka offers attractive, comfortable accommodations for 8 anglers and easy access to Brus' enticing fishery.

Guest Cabin

After an afternoon at the lagoon's mouth, and a few hours in the rolling ocean, I had enough of the hunt for giant tarpon. Make no mistake, they were there and during our visit, we spent time trying for them. One of our party, Ron Libel, landed a handsome l40 pounder and Jim Veugeler, who has fished these waters often, battled an estimated 180 pounder to a standstill, only to lose it at boatside. Aside from a very steady stream of jacks, big tarpon were scarce and I was far more anxious for action than the seeming long shot of tangling with a giant silver king.

Leaping Tarpon

Jim and fellow angler Gerry Poger had also tired of the same geography and ventured up the Lost River. At dinner they were giddy with excitement. "It was perhaps the fastest small tarpon fishing I've ever seen, and I've had some good days before," reported Jim. "We jumped over 40, maybe 50." The next morning the six of us, in three boats, found ourselves on the Lost, anxious for similar rewards. The Lost is not a large river, perhaps 40-50' wide on average, with a tight runs and the occasional larger lagoon. We fished where creeks joined the main river. If you waited a few quiet moments, dark backs would begin to lazily roll on the surface. The anticipation was tremendous but if you disturbed the tarpon right away, the game was over. Once things got heated up, you could remain for quite a while and still get plenty of strikes.

Paul's tarpon Jim Veugeler and I fished together, taking turns casting as close to the far shore's overhanging tree limbs as possible, the river erupting with the antics of 5 to 25 pound tarpon. We spent almost three hours in one spot and jumped well over 30 fish. The strikes were hard, the tarpon up in the air as soon as they felt the hook. Gerry, fishing near us, hooked a tarpon well over 80 pounds which leapt almost to eye level just feet away from his boat. Later a snook, perhaps 20 pounds tracked his lure nearly to boatside, then swam away indifferently. It was the kind of fishing I had dreamed of finding.

White Egrets

On another day, Gerry and I fished Mokabila River. While the other rivers had shorelines thick with vegetation, from broad leafed banana trees to massive Ceiba trees, the Mokabila's shoreline was savannah like, spiked with a few spindly trees. Storks, white egrets, ibis, and a variety of songbirds voiced their welcome to us. We drifted with the current, casting tight to the shoreline. A silver sided snook flashed in the dark water but missed our offering. My flies enticed small tarpon from under the mangroves, the brief fight punctuated by reckless leaps. Eventually the river split into two narrow channels our boat could not fit through, though ahead tarpon frolicked, as if to mock us. Gerry and I took turns standing at the bow, throwing our lures and flies into the narrow gap. I landed a nice ten pounder. Gerry jumped a 25 pounder which put on a spectacular aerial show in this very confined space. Behind us the water under overhanging mangroves would occasionally erupt. "Beeg snook," our guide Timo said. "No catch." I tried repeatedly to pitch a lure into the impossible spot, knowing if I hooked the monster it would break off instantly. Not even close.

Paul's jack

We didn't have a chance to explore all of the rivers of Brus, nor some of the large interior lagoons. We ran out of time. I missed a chance to fish the scenic shoreline of Sikalanka Lagoon itself, right out the front door. Crystal clear water held the promise of freshwater guapote, mojarra and machaca, perhaps even a tarpon or snook.

I don't want to diminish the potential of the bar mouth and the ocean. You can pretty much always get into the ocean there, but during our visit, the waters were roiled, which puts off the tarpon.. When the ocean is calm, as it was, naturally, on the day of our departure, it's not unusual to see large schools of tarpon breaking the surface. Calms seas also allow anglers to reach the blue water a few miles off shore, with tuna, wahoo, dorado, jack and kingfish all possibilities.

So much to do, so little time. It was as if you were missing out on the fishing if you went fishing!

The camp runs a small fleet of 22' fiberglass pangas with front casting platforms, rod racks and spacious open decks ideal for two anglers. New, 40 HP outboards moved the boats around nicely. All of the guides spoke English, had worked in the area previously, were good boat handlers and most pleasant companions.

Cabin interior

While enjoyable fishing always puts a positive spin on food and lodging, it really wasn't necessary as Sikalanka has plenty of its own charms no matter what your piscatorial luck. The lodge is entirely built of attractive native hardwoods. Duplex guest cabins feature two large, double beds in each spacious room, plus attached bathroom with tiled shower and washstand. Outside, there's a small veranda overlooking the lagoon. There's plenty of light from the camp's large generators, overhead fans and good cross ventilation. The main lodge has both a bar/lounge as well as large dining room. Not elegant but quite charming throughout.

Meals were another pleasant surprise. While I didn't expect gourmet fare we were all very pleased with the food. If anything it was too plentiful: well prepared main courses - lobster, fresh fish, shrimp, chicken and pork, plus plenty of side dishes.

Dining Room

Trips to Sikalanaka run on a weekly basis. Anglers begin by flying, via either Miami or Houston, to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Both American and Continental have late morning departures that get anglers to SAP by noon. From there it's a short commuter flight to La Ceiba and overnight. We had a most enjoyable dinner at a local restaurant, with the bill for 8 of us, including a glass of wine here and there, for well under $100.00. The following morning, early, a twin engine plane flies guests onward to Brus Lagoon, and boats transfer you to the lodge from there. This is Central America and things don't work on the same clock like schedule we like to believe is always true in the US but generally, even if things are somewhat delayed, you'll still comfortably be in camp by late morning, with plenty of time for a full afternoon of fishing that same day. On the return leg, most guests will be able to make it back to home on the same day they depart the camp. At present, flights between La Cieba and Brus Lagoon operate only on Monday-Wednesday and Friday, and thus anglers are restricted to coming and going on days that fit that schedule.

Weekly packages are a most reasonable $1995 per angler, including transportation from San Pedro Sula to the lodge, hotel overnight in La Cieba, all meals, accommodations and guided fishing.

Bookings can be made through: Angling Escapes: email: Toll free phone: 866-347-4365. ~ Paul Melchior

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