APRIL 25, 2011
The BIG MIGRATORY TARPON have been in our area since early February. As usual these big fish are living up to their reputation of being one of the most challenging and exciting game fish on the planet. Those fortunate anglers who have jumped, hooked and caught Big Tarpon at BRL know and will always remember this excitement. From the first sighting to the final release of these hard fighting beauties there are not many experiences quite as exciting as battling BIG TARPON.
The ratio of landings to strikes has been a little lower in recent months, now running about one for six. These fish are tough to land, even when well hooked. It is unusual to bring a 100 pound Belize tarpon up to the boat in less than 45 minutes on an 11 or 12 weight fly rod, no matter how experienced the angler. One recent exception to this was the 105 pound Tarpon landed in 35 minutes by Mike N., a very experienced tarpon angler. Not only was this a great catch but Dr. Aaron Adams of Bonefish & Tarpon Trust was nearby to attach a satellite tag, #172. We’ll follow this tarpon and report its travels as soon as data becomes available. Mike also landed a 95 and a 125 pound tarpon in the same week.
Two experienced anglers from another destination booked BRL for a single day to fish for Big Tarpon. One angler was rewarded with a fish, estimated to be about 100 pounds for an hour before the tarpon threw the hook.
An angler stopping in Belize by cruise ship who had pre-booked a day’s fishing at BRL also landed a 143 pound Tarpon; undoubtedly, the highlight of his cruise.
Despite many days of very windy conditions other big tarpon landed during this period were: 1-80, 4-85, 1-90, 1-95, 1-98, 1-100, 1-105, 3-120, 1-143 pounds. Tarpon weights are calculated by measuring the girth and length, then applying the measurements to the BTT tarpon weight card. Results are +/- 3%. BRL guides carry a flexible measuring tape and measurements are made while the fish is in the water prior to release.
Jim and Nelle returned to BRL after fishing around the world for the last few years. Nelle landed another 90 pound Tarpon using a Rat-L-Trap on her spinning gear. It is a common belief that fish feed at night on the full moon, but our experience here at BRL consistently shows that fish also feed well in the daytime of the full moon, this past full moon was no exception.
On the Full Moon of April 17 John Irwin landed a Grand Slam which included an 8 pound Permit, several Bones and a 98 pound Tarpon.
On the same day, Craig landed a Grand Slam that included a 25 pound Permit. I recall the old guides saying: “Big Moon, Big Fish”. So don’t avoid the full moon when planning a fishing trip; besides, the weather is usually very nice on the full moon.
Big Tarpon was not the only targeted and landed species here at BRL. Lots of baby tarpon were also caught in the mangrove cayes, flats and in our two rivers. One boat landed 14 tarpon one day, ranging from 8- 25 pounds.
Snook were also targeted and many landed in the mangrove cayes, mostly by sight fishing in clear waters. The average size snook was about 7 pounds, a few around 12 pounds and one weighed a full 24-1/2 pounds.
A particularly thrilling experience for several anglers was seeing schools of permit surfing in on the waves off the reef. After what seemed to be really rough crashing rides some of these fish actually jumped onto well placed crab patterns. But just a few were actually hooked and caught.
All Tarpon, Permit and Bonefish were successfully released. A few hundred Bonefish have been successfully tagged and released, as BRL is working with BTT to tag 2000 Bonefish in the Central Belize area. Tripletails, Cudas, Ladyfish, Jacks, Jewfish, Grouper and even a few Needlefish again rounded out the variety of species regularly caught at Belize River Lodge.
Some expressions often repeated in the evenings by guests:
Absolutely fabulous day, What an exciting experience, Awesome day, Great variety of action, Awesome food and service, We shall return.
Belize River Lodge is easy to get to:
American Airlines from Dallas and Miami, Continental Airlines from Houston, Delta from Atlanta, US Air from Charlotte, TACA from San Francisco and Los Angeles via El Salvador.
Now three great options of fishing with Belize River Lodge. The main Lodge, Long Caye Outpost & M.V. Blue Yonder all offer the same great friendly service, excellent knowledgeable guides and tasty BRL food.
><((*> Catch and Release – Tarpon, Bonefish & Permit <*))><
* ><((*> Preserve * Snook <*))>< *