A fishing story from Belize

For a 40th birthday present to ourselves, a good friend and I decided to head to Belize. It was a trip organized through Orvis in Bellevue at El Pescador Resort on Ambergris Caye. It was our first trip to Belize, and our first time hunting Bones, Tarpon and Permit. No doubt, we watched plenty of footage of those monsters being fought on fly rods prior to the trip. We thought we knew what we were getting ourselves into. Practiced our double hauls in the wind. Bought head-to-toe sun gear. Spent mounds of money of flies, fancy leaders, warm water fly lines. We planned our trip 9 months in advance, and couldn't wait to get there. Eight hours a day on the water, for five days in a row, all your lines re-tied before bed, boats leave at 6am. It was to be a trip of a lifetime. And it most certainly was...

So much so that it inspired me to write a story about it. I'm not a writer by trade nor by hobby. But the experience was so mind blowing, I had difficulty answering people when they asked me "So how was Belize?" Thus, I sat down and wrote down what kept running in my head. An attempt to capture the visceral intensity of the trip. The result is here, the first entry in my blog, potentially my last, but I had to put it somewhere. It's not your typical essay, its more of a narrative that puts you on the bow of the boat. Hope you enjoy it.


For those planning a similar trip to the Caribbean for the first time, I'm happy to share how I would have prepared differently. There were many assumptions that I made that were way off, and things I'd do differently. It's worth noting, the intensity of our trip was by design. The guides will tailor your experience to your goals and temperament. You want to catch fish hand over fist? No prob. You want to go after fish bigger than you, get ready to rumble. We wanted to see what it was like to play with the big boys. It was amazing, frustrating, incredible and humbling. Can't wait to go back.
F'n fantastic! One of the best stories I've read in a long time! I've never done it, but I felt stressed like I was right there with you. Don't stop writing man, that was great.


Active Member
The feeling that you let down the entire boat when you miss the shot is so true and unique to the usual solo craft of fishing


Purveyor of fine hackle, wine & cigars!
Nicely done! I still want to see pic's from your guys trip though! Felt like I was right there with you, Maz and Jay!


Cool story. Permit are the scientists of the fish world. They'll swim up to your fly, look at it closely, inspect your thread wraps, come in for a little sniff, look at your head cement, inspect the eyes..... Nope, don't like it. They don't even have the respect to swim up to the boat, look you in the eye, and say "not even close".

Bones on the other hand, "ya, I'll eat that".


The wanted posters say Tim Hartman
You have a talent for writing, Ybsong! Reading that narrative made me feel as if I was reading an article in "Outside"!!!

Upton O

Blind hog fisherman
Goin' back, huh? Been to El Pescadore three times, tons of great fish, excellent lodging, guides fish you at whatever level you want to fish.

Well done.
Thanks for checking it out, and the positive feedback. Having gotten that off my chest, I can now answer the question "How was Belize?" with a simple "It was a great trip" and a big smile.

It was amazing to stretch our limits like that. To learn something I thought I knew, in such an extreme environment. Trying as hard as you absolutely can, and being faced with true frustration. I realized that doesn't happen very often in this day and age. It went so fast. We didn't go swimming until the end of the trip!

One of the proudest fish in my life was a bone I landed, crap cast and all, all by myself on a lagoon beach accessible by kayak near the resort. I hooped and hollered just like the first time I caught a trout with a fly. There are things down there that are so National Geographic. Like the spooked Needlefish that fly out of the water and hydroplane on the backs of their tails. My buddy caught a blowfish off the dock while were screwing around catching little Shad off the pilings. Watching schools of Jacks explode out of the water chasing a bass popper we decided tie on because we couldn't keep them off our bait fish patterns.

I had a Tarpon's 10 feet away, it's entire head out of the water, with my fly inside clearly visible inside giant gaping mouth. I simply could not strip fast enough to hook him. Then I ran out of room and my leader stripped into my guides and... wait for it... I tried to trout set. Which is the absolute worst thing I could have possibly done in that situation. He would have hooked himself if I simply did nothing. In fact, after I yanked the fly out of his mouth, he turned around, looking for the fly, wondering what the hell happened before bugging out.

Of course, all of this excitement was surrounded by hours of nerve racking, joint numbing, wind rattling seek and destroy recon. But all of that was damn cool too. I loved it all. For all the ways it's so