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First Fishing Trip In The New Year.
January 9, 2010
5:52 pm
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johnpeten
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August 31, 2009
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Yesterday, Friday the 8th January as the forecast looked good, a mix of Sun and clouds, we made our first collecting trip of the year.
We woke up to a heavy mist and light rain but as everything had been organized we went anyway. This weather persisted all day but the temperature was about 76° F 23°c so it was tolerable.
We were going to retrace Carl Hubbs footsteps in 1935 when he found Amphilophus robertsoni (False Firemouth) and Rocio octofasciatus (Jack Dempsey) in the southern arm of Lake Peten.
Although this part of the Lake is close to the Airport and in view of Peten’s Capital City, Flores, it is ignored and unvisited. There is no access by land and it is surrounded by reed beds growing in the marshy surrounds.
We first made for the extreme eastern lagoon where a small stream enters. As we approached the entrance we found the water shoaling to a few feet. The entrance was blocked by water lilies (Nymphaea ampla). With binoculars we saw that the whole lagoon was covered with these lilies. We did not venture any further. If the launch had become trapped by the octopus like roots of the lilies, we would have had a major problem.
We started fishing near the entrance and collected some brightly colored Thorichthys affinis and some others with which we have doubts. No ocular spots and a smattering of blue dots..
We were about 15 yards from the shore and an unusual bird (Jacana spinosa), was busy walking on the lily pads pecking at insects which had been attracted by the scent of the lilies. This bird known as the Lily trotter is sometimes called the Jesus bird as it appears to walk on water.
We then moved back down the Lake and collected the usual C. urophthalmus and Paratheraps melanurus.. Opposite the unseen Airport (we could see the top of the control tower) we started pulling in a brightly colored Paratheraps which looked more like synspilus.
I then noticed that the launch had swung round on the anchor and the wind direction had moved round, blowing from the East and increasing in velocity. Amid protests from my crew I called it day. We had to cross the open Lake to get home and flat bottomed launches do not behave well in rough water.
When we cleared the headland and entered open water, the launch was pitching and tossing and the temperature had dropped. My boys were hunkered down below the gunwales but enjoying the roller-coaster ride.
We did not find what we went for but had an enjoyable day in beautiful but damp surroundings.
John

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January 9, 2010
9:02 pm
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tdcaquatic
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May 16, 2009
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QUOTE (johnpeten @ Jan 9 2010, 05:35 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yesterday, Friday the 8th January as the forecast looked good, a mix of Sun and clouds, we made our first collecting trip of the year.
We woke up to a heavy mist and light rain but as everything had been organized we went anyway. This weather persisted all day but the temperature was about 76° F 23°c so it was tolerable.
We were going to retrace Carl Hubbs footsteps in 1935 when he found Amphilophus robertsoni (False Firemouth) and Rocio octofasciatus (Jack Dempsey) in the southern arm of Lake Peten.
Although this part of the Lake is close to the Airport and in view of Peten’s Capital City, Flores, it is ignored and unvisited. There is no access by land and it is surrounded by reed beds growing in the marshy surrounds.
We first made for the extreme eastern lagoon where a small stream enters. As we approached the entrance we found the water shoaling to a few feet. The entrance was blocked by water lilies (Nymphaea ampla). With binoculars we saw that the whole lagoon was covered with these lilies. We did not venture any further. If the launch had become trapped by the octopus like roots of the lilies, we would have had a major problem.
We started fishing near the entrance and collected some brightly colored Thorichthys affinis and some others with which we have doubts. No ocular spots and a smattering of blue dots..
We were about 15 yards from the shore and an unusual bird (Jacana spinosa), was busy walking on the lily pads pecking at insects which had been attracted by the scent of the lilies. This bird known as the Lily trotter is sometimes called the Jesus bird as it appears to walk on water.
We then moved back down the Lake and collected the usual C. urophthalmus and Paratheraps melanurus.. Opposite the unseen Airport (we could see the top of the control tower) we started pulling in a brightly colored Paratheraps which looked more like synspilus.
I then noticed that the launch had swung round on the anchor and the wind direction had moved round, blowing from the East and increasing in velocity. Amid protests from my crew I called it day. We had to cross the open Lake to get home and flat bottomed launches do not behave well in rough water.
When we cleared the headland and entered open water, the launch was pitching and tossing and the temperature had dropped. My boys were hunkered down below the gunwales but enjoying the roller-coaster ride.
We did not find what we went for but had an enjoyable day in beautiful but damp surroundings.
John

Sounds like a great day..shame you couldnt find the Robertsoni...truly a great fish to keep and very underated...just have to wait for them to colour up...this is our one...hes a few years old now. About 6 inches plus without tail.

(:

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January 9, 2010
9:55 pm
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johnpeten
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August 31, 2009
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QUOTE (tdcaquatic @ Jan 9 2010, 02:45 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Sounds like a great day..shame you couldnt find the Robertsoni...truly a great fish to keep and very underated...just have to wait for them to colour up...this is our one...hes a few years old now. About 6 inches plus without tail.

(:


Thanks for the great photo, there are not very many around. Something to look forward to. We will return to this area when the weather improves. We may be able to tow a canoe so that we can enter the lagoon and we will make a more extensive search along the south shore where it was found before.
John

January 10, 2010
8:08 am
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Bluedave
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Thanks for posting John - I really do enjoy your posts, really informative and sounds like you had a great day.

January 10, 2010
1:01 pm
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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June 13, 2011
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Very enjoyable report and great photography John. /cool.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="B)" border="0" alt="cool.gif" /> I may have asked this before but how clear is the water in the lake?

Cake or death?
January 10, 2010
1:36 pm
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johnpeten
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August 31, 2009
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QUOTE (Matt @ Jan 10 2010, 06:44 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
I may have asked this before but how clear is the water in the lake?


It was a dull rainy day but I noticed that the water in the main Lake was still bright turquoise. We stopped to pick up fuel in San Benito about 500 yards to the west of the Island of Flores. The water was black with visibility in inches. This area is a disaster of partly completed abandoned construction and human produced pollution. While we were waiting my boys threw in their lines and were pulling out young fish within minutes, so the fish don't appear to mind.
Once we had passed around the Island of Flores and travelled East the water became dark green, but without sunlight we were able to see the bottom at about 4 feet and at a distance distinguish the weed beds from the sandy bottom. I was surprised by this but several streams enter this arm of the Lake and the prevailing wind is from the East which must keep it clear of pollution from the towns to the west of the Airport.

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