Belize 2012

Upton O

Blind hog fisherman
#1
Just returned from a week at El Pescadore Lodge in Belize, had a great time. Day one was really windy, water was like skim milk in color, no fish caught. Day two winds had subsided somewhat, water was clearing up so permit, tarpon and bonefish were available. Tarpon had lockjaw the entire trip, even for the folks fishing bait. The permit were finicky, a few were caught by others, I had one hookup but it was really short in duration (seconds). Bonefish were fun, as always.

On the third day we targeted tarpon, saw a good many in the 10-20 lb range but, as I stated, no one was catching them. There were a few schools of crevalle jacks moving through the area, too, but they were really on the move and we couldn't catch up them. The guide said he wanted one for a family dinner so we kept an eye out for them. A couple of fish came by very slowly just as some clouds moved in and we could just vaguely see their shapes about 50 ft out. The guide said they were tarpon, I made the cast, got half a strip before the train left the station. I'm trying to control-feed line out through the guides so a knot won't strip the rod bare, there is no jumping fish at 30, 40, 50 yards so I know this ain't a tarpon. It's hard trying to control line moving out that fast especially when you smell the skin burning.


Guide confirms it with "Ah, jack...".

I'm using a 9wt, the reel spool is emptying pretty fast so he fires up the Yamaha and we give chase. We chased that fish for an hour, had him to maybe 50 yards of the boat and off he goes on another blistering run. That was when I noticed the 6ft shark come to investigate. The jack left the building, the shark headed in the opposite direction, giving up on a lost cause. I fight the fish for another 15 minutes, we get it to 15 ft of the boat. I'm getting tired (right hand crank on the reel, I'm right handed...left arm is really tired and starting to cramp). I apply the pressure to get the fish closer to the boat...snap...broken rod at the first ferrule. I finish the battle handlining it to the boat where the guide nets it. Weighed it at 20 lbs. I've caught a lot of jacks on gear rods, none this large. NO MORE JACKS for me. The guide got his dinner, though.


The last day started with the comment from yesterday "NO MORE JACKS", the guide laughs and said that was the second largest he has had landed on a fly in his boat. The day's fishing had good numbers of big permit (20 lbs) but they wouldn't eat. Played with the tailing bonefish which I think are now my favorite fly fish.

Good trip, great guide and the folks at El Pescador are just wonderful. This is our third trip with them and we'll be back again next year.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#2
Thanks for the report Upton! My wife and I are heading down there in April. Hoping the wind lays down then. Interesting about the jacks. I hooked a small jack that couldn't have been 5 pounds last March in Mexico. Amazingly strong fish and took way longer to land than I expected. I musta' taken most of his energy out of him though. After releasing him a 'cuda almost 4 feet long raced over and nailed him. Felt bad about that.

I know what you mean about fast fish. We were on some tarpon in the 10-15# range, and I burned my stripping finger before I could drop the line. It happens so dang fast! Got some special tape for this trip.

Sg
 

Upton O

Blind hog fisherman
#5
Salmo,
I'm not sure if you been there before, if not, well, lots and lots of bonefish, permit, and small tarpon. The big tarpon show up in the summer and they get big ffrom what I've been told. It truly is a great place to get a good shot at a grand slam, the tarpon are probably the hardest part of that this time of year. Send me a PM if you need any other info.

Jim,
It's funny, the older I get the less brawl I need from a fish. Right now 15-20 minutes is plenty. Like Salmo said, the strike and the run are so damn fast it was impossible to avoid the line burn. Great time.

And Terry, no more jacks...
 
#10
I agree- I remember fishing for some small barracuda last year in a canal/mangrove and while we were moving between spots I trolled a small bait fish pattern behind our skiff. The rod was almost yanked from my hand by a fish and the fight was on. We were only using 5wts as the barracuda are small juvies and when I got the fish in, it was no bigger than my outstretched hand. Probably only 1lb or so but when I was playing it I was thinking "What the hell kind of fish is this". They are super tough and feisty for their size- lots of fun!
 

Upton O

Blind hog fisherman
#13
Thanks for the comments and compliments. It's a great place, lots of fish and my wife and I really enjoy the lodge. If you don't plan to stay at the lodge I've also got some phone numbers of some guides in the area.
 
#14
Thanks for the comments and compliments. It's a great place, lots of fish and my wife and I really enjoy the lodge. If you don't plan to stay at the lodge I've also got some phone numbers of some guides in the area.[/quote nice trip report......i'm thinkin that a 10 wt. would be my minimum size for something as muscular as any decent size jack, having lost number of expensive flylines to coral heads while trying to stop them........and why would anyone eat a jack crevalle ?
 

Upton O

Blind hog fisherman
#15
A 9wt is right for the tarpon, bones and permit we targeted on the flats, no coral heads within 10 miles. If I had known what lay in store , I would have had a freakin' 12 wt. As for eating a crevalle jack, the guide said he wanted it to eat, they aren't my type of eating fish. In Vietnam I was invited to dine on duck eggs, which wouldn't have been bad except they were incubated to within a few days of hatching when they were cooked. Didn't eat them, either. Different lands, different tastes I guess.