Unguided Bonefish, Permit and Baby Tarpon Fishing in Belize
I had been to this lodge a few years ago and did a fully DIY option which was great but this was my first time fishing here under the new ownership.
The new manager Chris is a guide friend of mine from Alaska and he is already upgrading the lodging accommodations, meals, and overall service at this Belize fishing lodge. He has recently built a new private villa for those wanting a little bit higher end service. Operating year round with the peak season being March and April when the most permit are seen swimming the flats. He offers “off season” rates as well as a very economical couples package.
We spent a week in Belize on the island of Ambergris Caye and did a few guided days as well as a few days of unguided fishing and just hanging out. That’s the beauty of this island and booking with this lodge – flexibility. Unfortunately for us we had an unusual bad stretch of weather for the week we were in Belize.
Since we only opted for 2 guided days of flats fishing we were able to work with Chris and schedule his guides for the days that predicted the best weather.
On our first morning of fishing Lacey and I went back into the boca with the kayaks provided by the lodge and fished on our own. We had a few shots at bonefish and I lost a baby tarpon. This is Lacey’s first time flats fishing with a fly rod and day one was a good warm up for us.
The next day we went out with Jorge, a local guide who grew up on the island. He put Lacey into two bonefish right away in the morning and some snappers that were feeding. The rest of the day Lacey and I took turns on the bow of the boat and missed many shots at bonefish and saw a few permit as well. We learned a lot on our first day with Jorge and had fun, he did his part but we struggled with the windy and cloudy conditions. At one point Jorge saw some plastic water bottles and went over to pick them up which I thought was pretty cool. He explained the old timers on the island don’t have the same respect for the fisheries as he and his fellow guides and that he is teaching the kids the importance of conservation.
Another day Lacey myself and our two friends Benny and Matt all rode the golf carts to a beach on the bay side of the island and walked on foot looking for bonefish. We worked for them that day but all had 2-3 bonefish a piece. After enjoying a pina colada at the beach bar we headed back to the lodge for dinner.
Lacey and I had another guided day with Jose while Benny and Matt went to look for permit with David.
Again Lacey brought a few bonefish to hand early in the morning and then I added a few of my own. We got into one flat where we could see multiple schools of large bonefish tailing anywhere from casting range to 300 feet out. I patiently waited for the next shot as the sun would glisten off the tails and catch my eye. They would near and Jose would tell me when to cast, this has to be some of the most fun fishing out there. The challenge of spotting a fish, fly placement, and then following through when they eat with the correct hook set is difficult. It’s exciting and can be frustrating at the same time but when you do fool a fish and it tears off its the best feeling. Bonefish are incredibly fast and strong for there size! I had over a half dozen bonefish and missed many more opportunities. Lacey also broke a nice fish off that day when the line got wrapped around her foot on the initial run.
Benny and Matt saw over 40 permit this day and had a few close calls with permit chasing there fly right up to the boat but not completely committing to the fly.
Lacey wanted to do some reef fishing and maybe snorkel so we booked a day. We headed out and were fishing live sardines that our guide caught with a cast net before we went out. Immediately we were into action with hound fish, big barracuda and snappers. We saw eagle rays and sharks too.
It was nonstop and when it came time to snorkel for a few hours Lacey said we should keep fishing so we did. Our guide Emerson decided we should go in shallow just off the flats and troll the sardines. He likes this area because you can always see the barracuda come for your bait and crush it just under the surface. We got our biggest barracuda this way and it chased our sardines for awhile before Lacey hooked it. You always knew a fish was close when you could feel the sardine getting “nervous” at the end of your line, shortly after you would see the boil or have one on! This type of fishing has a certain adrenaline rush to it and I would highly recommend a day of it especially if you are with a spouse who just wants to catch some cool fish.
We kept a barracuda and snapper and ate fish empanadas that night for dinner at the lodge and the next evening had coconut friend fish for an appetizer. Lacey really enjoyed this day and getting to eat her fresh catch.
On our last day we just went to town to do some shopping at the local markets to bring something back from Belize. The locals are great artists and the many different wood carvings they do is pretty neat.
We also casted a few times for baby tarpon in the canals and ponds just off the gravel road on the way back and caught one and saw a few others. Before dark we paddled a kayak out in front of the lodge and casted spin rods for Barracuda. We had about a 4 footer strike twice right at the kayak but never hooked him. That was pretty exciting!
On the end of our trip we spent another night in Caye Caulker and enjoyed the nightlife there as well as a little diy fishing from the docks. Belize is a really cool destination that I will surely be back to visit again soon. The lodge is very accommodating to the angler wanting to fish 6 days straight or if you want to do just a few days guided fishing and do your own thing the other days. Chris has some of the best guides on the island who will work hard to get you into the fish you are after.