WEATHER “Climate is what your expect, weather is what you get, good or bad”. So said a very experienced round the world angler many years ago, and so true. This past year the weather surely did not follow the historic climate patterns we normally would expect. The rainy season was relatively dry and the dry season was much rainier than normal. The normally windy months were quite calm and the normally calm months were far more windy than usual. Flowering trees on the river were a bit off schedule; in fact the Mayflower actually bloomed three separate times this year, in March, April and May rather just in April. The mango crop was very poor and a late crop is still green. So what does all this have to do with fishing? Probably not very much, except that wind and clear skies are major factors, especially for fly fishing and no matter how well you try to plan for that perfect fishing vacation, weather is what you get, calm or windy, clear or cloudy. Fortunately, experienced fishermen understand this and because all fishermen are true optimists they still go fishing and hope the Aeolean gods will smile on them. In the end the best time to go fishing is when you make the time to go fishing. Despite a good percentage of “bad weather” during this past May and so far this month, fishing at Belize River Lodge has been better than usual. Again we were sometimes very happy to have the Belize and Sibun rivers as alternatives to the sea and flats.
GRAND SLAM What does an angler do for more excitement after he gets a grand slam on the very first day of a six day fishing trip at BRL? He takes the opportunity to specialize on one or more species or to get a bigger one than he got before. Mark G. decided on the second day to fish for snook, the one he lost the day before to miss his Super Slam, and he caught three; then he fished for bigger tarpon and landed his 100 pounder; then more bones and a permit.
BIG TARPON in the 75 to 125 pound category were the main target of most anglers at BRL during this time. They were found mostly within a half-hour?s run from the lodge in the bays just outside the mouth of the Belize River, sometimes just inside the river itself and also around the cayes and the flats just a bit farther out. Some days these big fish were downright finicky and would not touch anything put in front of them. Other days they were aggressive and chased just about any fly or plug they saw.
Only the very windiest of days made sight fishing and casting a bit more difficult but the thigh brace on the bow made it possible for most anglers to stand and cast from the bow platform even in choppy conditions.
Several anglers got their first big tarpon during this period here at BRL after years of fishing many different tarpon “hot spots” around the world. One boat jumped and hooked 18 big tarpon for the week, each time in full view of other BRL boats. Ronald B. returned again to fight and land his second 100-pound tarpon in a year and this he did on the very first morning of this last trip.
Big and medium tarpon were also landed from the mother-ships, M.V. BLUEYONDER and M.V. CRISTINA. One lady landed six very nice tarpon for the week while fishing from one of these vessels.
Some notes from the Sherwood couple on another M.V. BLUE YONDER trip in June. Despite high winds throughout their trip, fishing was still pretty good. On the first cast on the first morning of their trip; a 20 pound permit was hooked but lost. During the trip, one tarpon was landed about four inches longer than the lady angler?s height, while 8 other tarpon were jumped and three of them were landed on plugs and a 20 lb’er was landed on a fly rod. The group lost three tarpon in the 100-pound class on plugs and lost two more tarpon in the 100-pound class while fishing flies. Also hooked and landed was a forty pound cobia. While sight fishing the flats, nine bonefish in very shallow water were landed. There were opportunities to make several casts to two schools of very small permit about 3-4 pound in size, each school with about 50 permit each, but no takers. Large schools of Permit in the nursery stage are a good sign for the future.
Many beautiful SNOOK and SMALL TARPON up to 40 pounds were caught around the cayes, flats, channels and in the Belize and Sibun Rivers.
PERMIT of all sizes were landed, many more were cast to, hooked and lost. Some anglers landed their very first permit ever. Zav was one of those who got his first permit and had many more exciting opportunities. He has promised to return before year?s end.
BONEFISH, snappers, jacks, cudas, tripletails, and small sharks rounded out the variety usually enjoyed at BRL.
FLIES used successfully included 4/0 Black Death, Tarpon Snake, and Cockroach for big tarpon. Deceivers and the Bendback Half and Half, in 2/0 green/white, blue/white, red/white all worked well for snook and small tarpon. Gotchas, Crazy Charlies and many shrimp patterns were dependably good on bones.
The most productive LURES for bonefish were Mike?s Wiggle Jigs. BRL?s tube lures caught lots of barracudas. 65M11 Mirrolures, Gold Rattle Traps, and Magnum Rapalas were best for tarpon.
C. Eberle returned to fish at BRL for his 29th time, this after being away for the past 12 years. Five tarpon in the 100-pound class, jumped but not caught, brought back memories of past fishing trips. He was very complimentary of the guide, fishing skiffs, engines, grounds and food. Not what it was 25 years ago, but maybe even better, great memories not withstanding.
The migratory big tarpon are still here and we expect them to be around for another month or two until they head out to the deep again. There are however always some resident big fish that can be found all year round. All other species can be caught every month of the year from BRL, despite the occasional tough weather conditions.
After 44 years of continuous operation, fishing from the lodge and our mother-ships is still a great experience for first timers or repeaters. This fishing report is strictly from the Central Belize area traditionally fished by Belize River Lodge.
Despite printed comments to the contrary by a famous fishing scribe the Central Belize area has not been fished out by commercial fisherman.
Belize River Lodge – always dependable.