Monday, March 19, 2012

Guanaja - Bonefish, Permit, and a Massive Mangrove Restoration Effort

You may recall a few months back former president Jimmy Carter wrote an article for one of the major magazines about fly fishing for bonefish in Guanaja, one of the Bay Islands of Honduras.  Guanaja has been on my bucket list of fly fishing destinations for quite some time.

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What struck me about the article was two things:

1) Our former president got 14 quality shots at permit in the few days he fished there, plus plenty of nice bonefish;

2) There is a massive post-Hurricane Mitch mangrove restoration effort underway.

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It is estimated that during the 3.5 days the category 5 Hurricane Mitch hovered over Guanaja in 1998, 95% of the island's mangrove stands were destroyed. Mangrove forests can typically recover on their own without human intervention and have done so for millions of years.  However, the extent of the mangrove devastation in Guanaja requires significant human intervention to avoid soil erosion, excess silt flow and significant habitat loss for many species including tarpon, permit, bonefish, sea turtles and wading birds. Without the protection of the natural mangrove forest barrier, island residents are also at risk from future storm surge events.

Pam Cragin and Scott Duncan, owner/operators of Fly Fish Guanaja, have been instrumental in organizing a herculean effort to plant 400,000 mangrove propagules where the forests previously existed.  Through their non-profit Guanaja Mangroves Restoration, they have succeeded thus far in planting close to 100,000 propagules.

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While the team is off to a great start, they can use all the help they can get.  If you would like to donate or volunteer to help with the restoration effort, check out  You might volunteer for a few days and earn some good fish karma before heading out on the flats with Fly Fish Guanaja.

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