Belize trip

Upton O

Blind hog fisherman
The wife and I just returned from Ambergris Caye today where we stayed at the El Pescadore lodge. The lodge, staff, guides and area were absolutely excellent. Terri Anne is the fishing manager at the lodge and she was so helpful with complimentary casting instruction and orientation to fly fishing for bonefish. We had a great time and I'm sure we'll make it a yearly thing if the economy doesn't tank again.

As for fishing, I focused on bonefish since tarpon and permit were pretty much no shows. Since I'm new at this fly fishing, the first day the guide (Carlos) took me to the "beginner's pond" which was a school of bones weighing about a pound that were gathered in four feet of water. He took my rod, made one cast, hooked up a bone, landed it and handed me the rod. The message was clear: there are a lot of fish, cast right, strip-set the hook, play them out and let them go. It took me three casts before I hooked up and landed my first bone on a fly. We fished the school for about half an hour and when I had apparently passed the "minimum acceptable skills test" Carlos took me out on the flats for classic bonefish stalking. I ended the day with 15 or so fish weighing up to near four pounds. The flats fish were real hard running, stripping me well into the backing everytime. It was great easing along in the skiff, watching for fish which the guide ALWAYS saw first. Then the challenge of making the cast, stripping the fly, strip setting at the take, and enjoying the great fight.

The next two days I fished the weather was cool, very windy, and overcast. It was virtually impossible to find fish on the flats so we found a school of bonefish mixed in with ladyfish in four feet of water. The lady fish were probably upwards of three or four pounds and they were an absolute blast. I've caught ladyfish using bait or jigs in Georgia but those fish were small. The ladyfish in Ambergris were big and tough: taking line well into my backing, making many jumps and either tossing the fly or breaking me off.

We saw one small pod of tarpon and I had one chance to make the right cast. I made the cast, much to my amazement but the tarpon didn't take. I never did see a permit. I would estimate I landed in excess of 35 bones and 10-12 ladyfish in three days of fishing.

I'll see if I can post pics of my first bone and some of the others that were considerably larger. Also pictured is one of the ladyfish.

I started fly fishing in earnest last May. At that time I hoped I could catch a SRC that exceeded 14" and maybe a salmon. Nine months later I'm in Belize fishing for bonefish. Go figure. This fly fishing thing is wild.


Sculpin Enterprises
Nice report Karl. I had some fun chasing ladyfish in Florida; they can be eager. It sounds that you had a great introduction to the unique charms of flyfishing the tropics.

Great report!! That's a good sized bone- it's amazing how those fish at any size can kick your butt. What's that fly that's in that bone's mouth? It looks more meaty that your run of the mill bonefish fly.
Thanks for the report Karl, good read.

Important lesson about destination fishing is that you go there with a game plan, and when the weather chases away your target fish you chase what's available instead. Sounds like you had a blast with plan "B". Ladyfish are a lot of fun once you get past their effeminate name; lots of aerials and vicious takes.

It looks like you're fishing an LL Bean rod and reel. What do you think of the product? I hear very little about them on the west coast.

Nice report. Now the addiction is started. All you will think about is how to get enough time off and money to do the next trip. We are headed down in a couple weeks. We plan on heading out farther to the outer islands. Should be interesting. I will post a report when we get back. The goal is the super slam. I probably just jinxed myself.