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  • The Start of Sport Fishing in Belize

    And where we have come in 2010 .  . .

    In 1960 when Vic Barothy found the location on the Belize Olde River and started the Barothy’s Caribbean Lodge Ltd., he was the first to introduce “serious sport fishing” in Belize.  Mr. Barothy later on opened two other Lodges, one further up river and the other on one of the outer cayes.  He sold both of the other two destinations and kept the river location, as it was the most convenient to fish and offered the most variety.  While the Lodge is on the river, it is only three miles from the sea coast, so the diverse fishing grounds easily accessed are the three rivers, the diverse and abundant Flats and the numerous Mangrove Cayes of Central Belize.  All of these areas offer great fishing for Tarpon of all sizes, Snook, Permit, Bonefish, and many other sport fish.

    When Vic was ready to retire, he sold the Barothy’s Caribbean Lodge Ltd on the Belize Olde River to Fred Keller, who renamed the fishing lodge, Keller Caribbean Sports Ltd (KCS).  Fred sold the KCS in early 1980 and Mike and Marguerite were hired by corporate owners to manage this ideal fishing location for the next two years.  Mike and Marguerite were then offered a position on one of the cayes to manage an island resort, not fishing, but catering to beach going guests.  When KSC came up for sale in 1986, Mike and Marguerite moved back to their passion, fishing and touring, and purchased the Lodge.  As of January of 1987, Mike and Marguerite’s on site management has made Belize River Lodge one of the most personalized lodges in the Caribbean.

    I worked with the BRL during high school and off and on when home on vacation and since 1996, I have worked in the office at Belize River Lodge, which has been extremely enjoyable.  Mike, Mom and I have gotten to speak with and meet many, many fun and interesting people, from agents to guests, to others who are just looking to learn a bit more about Belize, while enjoying spectacular fishing.

    Over the years a few questions keep coming up, which I shudder to answer, because no matter how I answer, the opposite might happen; or the answers don’t seem to be a big deal.

    Question #1 is the hardest to answer, “what is the weather going to be like during _______?”
    Pick a month; in Belize, they can all be sunny, calm and beautiful as some anglers have experienced.  Or the (dreaded) wind, rain, cold front or some other weather factor that affects fishing blows in, usually not for long, but just long enough to mess with fish biting.   Answering what the weather is like during a specific month goes along with when is the best time to fish.  There is never an easy answer!

    As Mike likes to say, “climate is what you expect, weather good or not so good, is what you get”.  At Belize River Lodge, our guides are here every day to take you fishing and to make the most of your fishing day, no matter what the weather conditions.  Ideally, we all like to “sight cast” which is the first choice for both guide and guest and most anglers routinely experience this from BRL.   However, when the weather conditions are not  the best, BRL guides will try all and anything to get you into fish – from trolling to blind casting, from spotting muds to fishing their secret “honey holes” and fishing the rivers.  Long hours and a good attitude, our BRL guides are traditionally some of the best in Belize, if not the best.

    The second question we get asked a lot is: “what new is happening at the Lodge”.  The usual answer is “not much”.  Again, I am not sure if this is good or not so good, because little new of any note happens often.  Of course we are always upgrading the little everyday things, such as fishing equipment, flies and lures, glassware, sheets, towels.  We are always cleaning, painting and keeping everything spotless.  The guides are always talking among themselves on new practices and where they have seen the best fish movement, how best to practice “catch and release”.  Mike, Mom and I are always looking at ways of making life a little easier for everyone, but these are not big, note worthy accomplishments.  If you think about it, these little items keep Belize River Lodge thinking about you, the guest – what makes life a little more comfortable, what makes your stay at Belize River Lodge feel a little more like home?  Our focus is you, the guest, which we are happy to say, has brought some guests back to BRL over 40 times and some back many times a year, for many, many years.  So while big and momentous changes are few, our day to day has worked to keep Belize River Lodge in the game and we hope, a little ahead.  If we have missed anything during any of your trips, we always welcome any feedback on what will make your visit better.

    Adverting is always a challenge and Belize River Lodge started with our first web page in 1996, yes, a little ahead of the craze.  This web page was one page long and scrolled down, had text and two or three pictures.  It is amazing, how far our website has come and if you have not taken a look in while, please do so at www.belizeriverlodge.com.   We update the “What’s New” and “Fishing Reports” pages a few times a year.  Belize River Lodge has again kept up with the times.  We now have a Facebook, Twitter and Linked in account.   Please become our friend on any or all of the accounts.  Below are the links . . . .

    Facebook *      Twitter *      Linked In

    While we have had these social sites up since June, we have not advertised so our “friends” are low, if you have an account, please find us and be our friend.   This is something else that is new to Belize River Lodge, but not “life altering”.

    And finally, this year Dr. Aaron Adams and Mike Larkin visited BRL in March 2010 with the goal of tagging three tarpon.   We succeeded!   Please visit Aaron’s Bonefish and Tarpon Trust newsletter for more information of their trip and tagging procedures.  The satellite tags were scheduled to remain on these fish for about five months.  The first two tags came off early, due to the fish staying in shallow water for more than 24 hours.  These tags stayed on for about two weeks after landing and releasing these large silver kings.  We retrieved the satellite tags and sent back to Aaron and Mike, and even though the tags came off early, important information was still available.  Such as one tag came off early as this huge tarpon sat in water undneer six feet, the setting for the tag to deploy.  The last tag just came off on August 15th and Mike and John retrieved and have sent back to BTT.  We now await the information stored, where did this large tarpon go (120 lbs) and to what depths, and lots more.  Dr. Aaron Adams will be back at BRL in 2011 to tag a few more of these silver kings and also to tag Bonefish.  If you would like to visit the Lodge during his time there, please contact me for dates.  Or if you would like to help Bonefish and Tarpon Trust (BTT) or become a member, please visit the BTT website.  BTT needs new members and needs help to continue the study of Tarpon, Bonefish and now, Permit.  All three of these species are fished for from Belize River Lodge and all three of these species are found in very good numbers in Central Belize, BRL’s fishing grounds.

    So, while Belize River Lodge does not have any huge news items to report, our day to day is somewhat newsworthy and worth mentioning.  If you like to fish for Tarpon, Bonefish, Permit, Snook and jacks, snappers, ‘cuda’s, tripletail and a lot more, then BRL’s the place for you.  If you would like to be a part of BTT’s tarpon study, then you need to fish with us in March 2011.  If you would like to be a part of the BTT Bonefish study, then you only need to come and fish Bonefish, so the guides can tag your landed bones.  If you enjoy fishing with hardworking, English speaking, licensed and fun guides, then BRL’s guides will round out your fishing day.  All of this takes place while you stay in cozy, clean, and beautiful mahogany rooms and served excellent, tasty meals by a friendly and smiling staff.  If all of this sounds good, then fish Belize River Lodge!

    Note:  The information on Tarpon tag #3 came in.  It seems that tag #3 also came off early, within a few days of the tarpon being tagged, due to the fact that the fish stayed in shallow water for more than 24 hours.  The tag bobbed around Belize for a few days, came ashore on the Manatee Bar and waited until the right date, August 15th to send it’s location.  It seems that the tags were set to come off if the fish did not go below 30 feet – so even by coming off early, we know that these large fish, did not swim below 30’ and that they stayed in shallow water, unlike in other locations, where large Tarpon are only found in deep channels.  Next year’s Tarpon will offer a whole new chapter on information.

    Also, to revisit Raul’s Remarks on fishing the 2011, season, please click on the highlighted link.

    ><((((*>  Catch & Release – Tarpon, Bonefish & Permit  <*))))><
    ><((((*>  Jacks’s, Trippletail, Snappers & more! <*))))><