Trip Report Belize Trip. The fishing review diy

I wasn’t sure how to put to word all the thoughts I had on my recent maiden voyage to Belize for my first flats fishing trip. So I am going to break it up into a few different themes reviews.
Fishing....that’s what we were there for. I will say up front. The conditions were tough. We had wind that rarely laid down below 20mph the entire week. And way more cloud cover then I would like. Having said that, we were on fish every day. Bonefish was the main attraction. Wind didn’t allow us to access areas we needed for good shots at baby tarpon or permit although we did see a couple schools of permit.
The bonefishing was really a two part deal for us. Working mud areas in what I would call transition water. Basically the water between channels/bay inlets and the shallow flats. Kinda mid depth water so to speak. This is where we found most of the schools of fish. The bigger the school, the closer to the deeper water escape routes they stayed. These fish were pretty aggressive to a well presented fly. I would say if we made a good cast. In front and to the side of the school by 3-4ft. Let fly reach bottom then start stripping. Then a fish was going to take it almost every time. The wind helped in that they were not as spooky. The wind made it very difficult to put the fly where you wanted. Quickly. And quickly was the key. Bones are always on the move. And very random in their movements
The second part of the equation was moving up into the full shallow flats. This is where the bigger bones seemed to feed. Singles to pods of 3-4 fish usually. Mostly single or doubles. These fish were a lot more challenging. Spooked a lot easier to casts and flies. I hooked a couple of them through the week. Never landed one due to either mangroves or running line tangle.
Bonefish are powerful for their size. It’s really hard to understand. 16” bonefish would push me right out to my backing if room allowed. And I was fishing heavy Tippett and putting the wood to them so to speak. They don’t jerk or bounce around much like a trout. It’s just straight running. Super fast. Super strong. 16” bones put a whooping on me like no trout or steelhead I have caught has ever done. Unreal. And amazingly fun.
We saw lots of bones after learning where to look and how to distinguish between bones and other species such as barracuda. Of which there are millions. Cuda everywhere lol. Weather factors I feel really made fishing tough. Bad sighting conditions and casting conditions. But I caught my share of fish every day except the first day.
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So the gear. I took a 8wt and a 10wt. Then 10wt was sidelined due to wind. Basically we couldn’t get to the areas very easily to fish for permit or baby tarpon. So never even strung it up.
The 8wt is a sage bolt. I’ve caught steelhead and bonefish on it now. This rod is great. Plenty light in hand. Easy to cast. Plenty of power with enough finesse. Very underrated fly rod.
I took two lines. Rio bonefish. This line would have been my go to line if the wind had laid down some. It excelled at 50-70ft casts with great accuracy and laid a fly down gently. And due to the long head tangles in the wind we’re not a issue. I struggled a bit with it in close. Didn’t like to turn over in short while running a long leader. But doable
Second line was a sa grand slam. I loved this line. Would cast a mile. Turned over the leader and fly no problem at any range. Head was long enough that shooting was rarely needed. But it would shoot forever if you wanted. Presentation in the wind was fine. The running line caused me a few issues In the wind but such is life.
I used a Bauer m3 and a Ross canyon big game reel. Both performed flawlessly. I would highly recommend reels as such used if your on a budget instead of dropping more then double price for a hatch/nautilus etc.

Boats- so where we stayed we basically had the use of multiple 1-2 person watercraft at our disposal. We spent the majority of the time fishing off of boteboard sup. This was my first time being on a paddle board of any kind. Honestly, these were amazing. Very stable to stand up on and coast/fight fish on. Easy to row and with the pole easy to pole around. The wind made anchoring and rowing difficult obviously. Especially anchoring. But for a single person craft in the wind nothing could have done better. I loved them. Basically perfect
The other vessel we used was a east cape skiff skanu. Which is basically a mini skiff. Just big enough for two people. My buddy and I were pushing the weight limit on one together. And they did not handle the heavy wind as well. But if I took my fiancé there. Especially if the wind was down this would be my choice. A couple was there for a few days while we were and killed it in one of these. Being able to fish as a team cannot be overstated especially in the wind. Anchoring, then getting rod ready to cast by yourself is a pain in heavy wind.
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So our trip was mostly DIY. We did hire a guide for the second day we were there. It was well worth the price having never been bonefishing before.
We hired Tres Pescados guide service out of San Pedro. They have the only fly shop there. They came recommended by the camp we were staying at.
Hilian Martinez was the name of our guide. He picked us up just before 7am at the place we were staying in his skiff. He was pretty solemn but friendly when he picked us up. The reason being it was completely cloudy. And very windy. Which makes spotting fish extremely difficult, and casting difficult. Which makes his job difficult.
He set the expectations immediately that conditions were very hard, the number of shots were going to be few. Make the most of them lol.
Upon finding out we were newbies he set the ground rules. He will call the shots at fish. He calls them based on a boat clock. 12 is straight off the front. Never cast at 12. If you cast at 12 he will knock out off the bow with his pole. Try to spot the fish when he calls. If you don’t see them cast anyway. Exactly where he says. If you do see them we were aiming for 2ft off the school. 8-12” strip retrieve. He will say when to start stripping and calm the cadence. And don’t trout set. On bones it was 3 months jail and a beer for a trout set

The first couple hrs were a bit tense. Finding fish was hard. And if you’ve never done it, trying to land a fly in a exact spot, when your being told where the spot is but can’t see it yourself while guide is animatedly getting on you is not easy lol.
Couple blown shots at first. But luckily the sun started to come out. And we began to spot the schools with his instruction. Once things started dialing in it was game on. Everyone relaxed. And his worries about putting us on fish went away. I doubt we stood on the bow longer then 10 minutes before fish were spotted once the sun came out.
I caught more then my fair share of bonefish and learned a ton about the game from hilian which translates into a lot of success for the rest of the week. The guy is pretty dang funny too once he warmed up. Just the right kind of sarcastic banter for me to enjoy the day.
I highly recommend. If anyone wants more detailed info let me knowDFB529A2-DFB9-47A8-8AE5-4DC6315D41C4.jpeg7C178475-1DBC-4B06-B83C-AB86AB19211E.jpeg9C83271A-BBDA-43CE-9EC2-F9DAFA7D7E61.jpeg
 

Mems

Active Member
Thanks for the report. Glad you had fun, bonefish and flats fishing can become very addictive. I think the key for success is a numbers game. You need a lot of shots to become proficient. They are amazing fish, and their size is greatly exaggerated because of their strength. Glad you got to experience a guide, and then DIY. It is very rewarding to get one on your own. Now once you get one over 5lbs it becomes a whole different fish. Mems.
 
So, I could probably go on forever about where we stayed. Trips like this is for the fishing. But lodging makes a big difference in how the trip goes imho
We stayed at a “fish camp” called Cayo Frances farm and fly. It’s around 9 miles north of San Pedro on the leeward side of the island. Accessible only by about a 30 minute boat ride from San Pedro.
The owner Jeff markets his place as a diy fly fishing camp. And I think that’s a completely accurate way of looking at the place. It sits in a fairly large lagoon. Does not have any big beaches although their are some nearby. Accommodations are simple yet clean and functional. Basically a few bungalows with a pair of single beds and a couple night stands in each one. Two community bathrooms with full plumbing and showers. He has WiFi too. It’s a great place to chill out after a day of fishing.
The owner has two employees there with him. They take a max of 6 guests at one time. It’s quiet there. Peaceful. And they provide 5 star service at all times. Jeff used to own a restaurant. The food they serve is all fresh and amazing food. I’ve never eaten so well on a fishing trip. Period. Simply amazing. There is a stocked liquor cabinet. Beer and coke on hand at all times.
They serve 3 meals a day. You can choose to either have lunch at the camp or they will pack you a lunch if your planning to be out all day fishing.
They know the waters in their area very well. And there is more Productive water then you could ever fish nearby. They shuttle you to different areas everyday. Will come and pick you up and move you if your not finding fish etc. from there you either wade fish or fish off sup, mini skiffs or kayaks.
Jeff answers emails quickly, picks you up at the airport or water taxi place in San Pedro and basically takes care of everything for you. They will also take you into San Pedro if you want to check it out for the day.
For the price we paid, I could not imagine a better deal for the diy fly fisherman. Oh yeah book a guide and they will pick you up right in camp
I very highly recommend this place. I can’t overstate it. I will go back for sure.
If anyone wants more detailed information or has questions about my trip feel free to ask

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MDK

Active Member
Nice, I have fished all over C. America and found Belize to be best for DIY angling. I generally go to Glovers Island, another good DIY location( a couple old post of mine are on this site).
 

Chucker

Chucking a dead parrot on a piece of string!
Sounds like a good trip, despite the weather. When are you going back?
 

Finny76

Member
I read that article as it was posted in a few fishing groups... Such a tragedy.. I don't think Belize is safe in that sense.
 
yeah I did see that also. I am not sure exactly what to think about it honestly. I don't think that it would persuade me from going back again for a fishing trip. I would be careful about where I stayed and who I was out and about with. some of the stuff I read and from a few people I met down there that I reached out to indicated that the guide got involved somehow with the drug gangs down there and that most likely lead to the incident.
I will say that I felt pretty safe in the san pedro area. but honestly we spent almost zero time around any of the towns. only for traveling and that's it. I do know from talking with the people where we stayed that they felt like san pedro was pretty reasonably safe. Belize city and the "interior" of the country not so much.

Drug trafficking and trade and gangs are a very real part of the world down there in all the countries.
 

MDK

Active Member
Ive traveled all over Belize and the only place I felt wasn't safe was Belize City at night.
 

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