FISHING in belize
Belizean waters are said to be the perfect spot for anglers and are among the most beautiful places in the world. At the top of the list of reasons for this is the Belize Barrier Reef. This 200-mile part of the Meso-American Reef has one of the largest coral structures anywhere.
Why should a fisherman care? This magnificent reef makes for the perfect home for a wide range of smaller baitfish and crustaceans. These attract the biggest of the game fish world. The barrier reef is home to more than 500 types of fish. It has also helped to build an impressive variety of lagoons and flats. There are also hundreds of islands (“cayes”) located in the territorial waters off of mainland Belize.
Owing to the large volume and size of its flats and lagoons, most visiting anglers seek the Belizean coast for a fly-fishing vacation of a lifetime. The country actually has much to offer to a serious sport angler. The offshore game fish supplies are vast and unspoiled.
TYPES OF FISHING
Reef fishing is the most popular fishing done by anglers visiting Ambergris Caye. The barrier reef runs parallel to the Caye for its entire length. Reef fishing provides a lot of action. Catching fish at, or near, the reef is almost a certainty. Virtually all it is done just inside the reef and in the nearby channels. Most common catches will include snapper, barracuda, grouper and jacks. Reef fishing is best enjoyed with a guide and typically is scheduled as a ½ day or full day excursion. Your guide will arrange to pick you up at the dock where you are staying, or at a nearby one. Fishing guide boats are well equipped with all that you will need. Most boats feature a live well and your guide will typically net sardines for use as bait as the first thing to do once you’re on board. Guides will have rods, spinning reels, trolling rigs, and everything else you’ll need for a successful day.
Deep sea fishing in Belize is also very popular, and as good as any of the hot deep-sea fishing destinations in hemisphere. These waters are home to many fishing tournaments. Once you get past the reef, you can begin trolling right along the drop-off for sailfish. Go out a little further to find tuna and blue marlin. Don’t be surprised to find dorado, king mackerel, and wahoo on your lines. You can also find amberjack, kingfish, tarpon, barracuda, snapper, and grouper closer to the reef.
With over 200 miles of coastline flats, Belize is known for its fly fishing. Bonefish, tarpon, and permits abound. Snook also is a common catch. Most of your fly-fishing will be done via boat because many of the flats in Belize have soft bottoms. Still, if you prefer it, there are plenty of turtle grass flats, sandy and firm, located around Turneffe Atoll and Ambergris Caye.
Fly-fishing in Belize is a country wide opportunity. Some of the more popular locations are as follows:
San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
The western lagoon side of the country’s largest Caye is ideally suited for the fishing enthusiast. Here you’ll find the big three: bonefish, tarpon, and permit.
Same as above, check out the west side lagoons for bonefish and tarpon.
Dangriga and Placencia
Dangriga’s shallower flats are alive with bonefish, with the world famous Tarpon Caye close by . East of Placencia is often called ‘permit alley’.
A quiet spot in southernmost Belize, the flats around PG provide some of your best opportunities at an unforgettable fly-fishing adventure. You will cast for snook and tarpon in the mangroves and on the rivers. You’ll be fishing the flats for permit, or find bonefish in a nearby Caye.
Turneffe Atoll, the largest of three atolls is your fly-fishing nirvana. With many saltwater flats and mangrove islands, tarpon and bonefish action are plentiful.
WHEN TO FISH
Our temperature varies less than ten degrees throughout year. So, we really only have one season not four. Rather, we may experience an occasional cold front in the winter months. Here, in our tropical environment, wind is more a factor. While the trade winds blow gently most days, we do have some days that may be downright windy. Other than the additional tarpon migration in late summer, our waters are always full of an abundant and a diverse marine life. Our weather is so good and, relatively unchanging, month to month. That doesn’t mean that we don’t get an occasional front moving through, but it is difficult to predict. So plan a visit any time of the year without much worry.
fishing regulations & licensing
Although it is not overzealously enforced with tourists, you’ll need a sport fishing license. It sells for US$10 for a week, US$25 for a month, or US$50 if you want to fish Belizean waters all year round. Only the year-round license requires an in-person application. All others can purchase the fishing license here.
As far as specific species are concerned, you must release all bonefish, tarpon and permit that you catch. Although many of the local guides support preservation efforts, they will practice catch and release for almost all species.
BELIZE FISHING guides and charters
There may be more local guides than dive masters in this sea crazy place. Most specialize in one of three types of fishing, described above. Belize fishing charters are typically made in 1/2 day or full day blocks. Half-day can be either morning or afternoon. Equipment, bait, water, and snacks are always included.
Ready to plan your fishing adventure? See charter deals here