A fishing story from Belize

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Ybsong, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. Ybsong Member

    Posts: 47
    Seattle, wa
    Ratings: +42 / 0
    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.
  2. rotato Active Member

    Posts: 600
    Ratings: +66 / 0
    Great writing
    You captured it
    mr. bad example likes this.
  3. Dipnet aka Tim Hartman

    Posts: 901
    Silverdale, WA
    Ratings: +370 / 0
    That was flippin' awesome! Thanks!
  4. Steve Knapp Beach Bum

    Posts: 682
    Maple Valley
    Ratings: +258 / 3
    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.
  5. rotato Active Member

    Posts: 600
    Ratings: +66 / 0
    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
  6. Jmills81 The Dude Abides

    Posts: 1,894
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +138 / 0
    i know that feeling. great read
  7. flybill 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!
  8. Bagman Active Member

    Posts: 353
    Poulsbo WA
    Ratings: +81 / 0
    All I can say is WOW. You nailed it I felt like I was right there. Great read thinks.
  9. Randall Clark Active Member

    Posts: 673
    Ratings: +185 / 0
    great write-up...I think my heart rate went up a bit just reading it!
  10. PT Physhicist

    Posts: 3,548
    Edmonds, WA
    Ratings: +719 / 2
    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".
    flybill likes this.
  11. stilly stalker Tuna sniffer

    Posts: 1,568
    Carlsbad, CA
    Ratings: +301 / 0
    amazing. I will be in Ambergris cay at the end of May!!! I cant wait!
  12. weiliwen Active Member

    Posts: 209
    Chicago Illinois
    Ratings: +86 / 0
    Great narrative. I can tell you right now, I don't want that much stress when I'm fly fishing. I fly fish to relieve stress.
  13. Dipnet aka Tim Hartman

    Posts: 901
    Silverdale, WA
    Ratings: +370 / 0
    You have a talent for writing, Ybsong! Reading that narrative made me feel as if I was reading an article in "Outside"!!!
  14. Upton O Blind hog fisherman

    Posts: 2,158
    out of state now
    Ratings: +211 / 0
    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.
  15. Ybsong Member

    Posts: 47
    Seattle, wa
    Ratings: +42 / 0
    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

  16. PT Physhicist

    Posts: 3,548
    Edmonds, WA
    Ratings: +719 / 2
    I've been there a few times. Friend's mom used to live just South of town. Favorite (other than guided) was riding my bike North of the cut, down to the water, and riding along the beach with my 5wt strapped to the bike looking for tailing fish. To me, the 5wt was more than adequate for Belizean bones. Tough fishing as the bottom isn't wade friendly in most places but some of the turtle grass flats were ok. You could ride for miles along the beach. Fun times. Breakfast usually consisted of a couple bloody marys and a few shots of Cuervo in the palapa bar. There are some monster crocs on the west side of the island in those little lagoons. Locals thought I was crazy to be on that side fishing.
    flybill and Ybsong like this.
  17. Chucker Member

    Posts: 48
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    Nice story.

    The downside of it is that next time you go, you won't be quite so bad at it as you were, and it won't be quite as exciting.

    Though you will catch more fish!
  18. salt dog card shark

    Posts: 2,306
    Edmonds WA / Mazama
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    Good read ybsong. You had a very kind guide. All of my mistakes on my first trip out on the Bahamian flats, which included much the same as yours, included repeated snarls from my guide that "ya bloody well buggered that one up mate." Ya, competition between the guides gets fierce, and if they do their job and put you on fish, they expect you to connect.
  19. Jslo Active Member

    Posts: 181
    Ratings: +80 / 0
    Nice work! I do believe you've captured it. Really good man. I've been there, and it's awesome...problem is it's kinda like growing up in the east or midwest and then skiing the Rockies for the first time...it gets in your blood!

    I'll be in the Caymans and then in Mexico over the next 6 weeks...can't wait.
    flybill likes this.
  20. Ybsong Member

    Posts: 47
    Seattle, wa
    Ratings: +42 / 0
    Jslo, I like your analogy. Although I'd add "...then heli-skiing the Rockies for the first time..." I'm jealous of your trip. Can't get those monsters out of my mind.
    Jslo likes this.