Guest Post by Jim Houck
My Memorable Last Cast
I returned from Belize late Saturday night and wanted to give Stillwater an update. The fishing was tough most of the week because of high winds (as usual). This limited our access to many of the more productive permit flats that we usually fished. We targeted permit almost exclusively; ignoring the huge groups of bonefish that we came across as they patrolled the flats. Our mission was to feed our addiction to the magnificent permit that every saltwater angler obsesses over.
Our persistence paid off on Thursday with the sun rising on a beautifully calm day. The reprieve from the relentless winds allowed us to access the flats around Blackador and Rosario islands. This good fortune brought me one of the most memorable experiences of my many years chasing permit with a fly rod. Literally, on my last cast of that day, I lucked out and presented my fly almost perfectly in front of a giant permit with my new 10wt. Scott Meridian Saltwater Fly Rod. Miraculously, the large permit took my fly almost immediately. After an hour long pitched battle that tested the angler as much as the fly rod, I landed the 30lbs permit. This gorgeous fish is the largest one that I ever landed.
What a Great Lodge!
That magnificent experience was the fishing highlight of the trip. What made our trip extraordinary was the opportunity to fish with my good friend and master tarpon guide Alejandro Vega Cruz (Mr. Sandflea). He is a legend among tarpon fishermen in the Yucatan and one of the finest people I have ever met. The other skilled guides, Nano and Darrel Smith, showed us the way. Mr. Sandfleas’ expert eyes were essential to our success, his years of flats trained vision not missing much on or in the waters we fished. Our hosts at the Blue Bonefish Lodge, Jim and Phyllis Johnson really put out the welcome mat for us and helped to make our stay a lifetime memory. This is truly one of the finest fly fishing destinations in the world.
My Take On The Scott Meridian
The Scott Meridian rods I carried were magnificent! Coincidentally, when I arrived, James Johnson (Jim’s son) had the identical 10wt. Scott Meridian that I had just purchased rigged up and ready to go. He has fished with it for the past few months and loves it. James is a tournament fly caster, throwing a fly line with ease and beauty. In addition, Jerry Darkes, the Scott rod representative for the midwest and northeast region was also in camp with a few Meridan’s of his own. It was interesting to talk to him and get his opinions about the new Scott rods as well and the Scott Fly Rod Company and its president Jim Bartschi. Everyone in camp who had an opportunity to cast the Meridian rods were impressed with them. Jim Johnson thinks they are the best saltwater fly rods he has ever cast.
This is my opinion of these rods. The 9wt. Meridian rod is the finest 9wt. rod I have ever cast. It throws effortlessly with tight loops at both close range and distance. Long casts,70 to 80 feet, are made with little effort and great accuracy even in the fierce tropical winds that we seemed to battle continuously. The Meridian 9wt. has a wonderfully light feel and is a pleasure to fish and cast under all conditions.
The 10wt. Meridian fly rod is pretty much the mirror image of the 9wt. rod, except it is on steroids. It throws a 10wt. line with authority and at the same time, has great rod feel and feedback. The rod feels very light in hand for a 10wt. and is not tiring to cast all day long.
I really like how the rod is sensitive, for a 10wt.; yet has tremendous power at the same time. Simply state, it is a great permit rod. I also used it to fish bonefish on occasion, since it was the only rod I had in hand as we stalked the permit flats. It had the delicacy to actually be a pleasurable if not over gunned rod for those speedy and powerful fish.