Belize River Lodge’s held our second annual tagging challenge and it was a huge success! Leading up to the challenge, Chuck fished with Dirk a few days before and had beautiful weather – calm and sunny. They got into bonefish and mainly targeted permit, landing one. While getting a head start on the tagging, they tagged the bones, however, being excited about the permit, right after releasing it, realized it was not tagged – oops.
On Saturday, the day everyone else arrived, the winds picked up. We were a small group this year, with two anglers – Chuck and Craig, Dirk and Dennis (BRL guides) training a new guide, Mike, while fishing, Mick (BTT Board Member) and Mike Larkin (scientist from BTT) were the teams this year. Despite daily high winds of 20+ knots and frequent cloudy skies genetic samples were collected from 8 tarpon and 71 bonefish were tagged. Dirk and Dennis won the most bonefish award. Craig and Chuck won the most tarpon award. The largest bonefish was caught by Craig, and the largest tarpon was caught by Chuck. No permit were landed during the challenge.
Our 2013 Challenge was successful, we have 71 more bonefish tagged than we had before and everyone had a fun and enjoyable time, always the true challenge, to have fun. BRL also made a donation of $1,000.00 to Bonefish and Tarpon Trust for future studies. During the week, Michael Larking, Ph.D. gave a presentation on the findings of Bonefish and Tarpon Trust and how it relates to Belize. We were joined for the evening by George Myvette from Belize Fisheries and Monique Goldson from Belize Coastal Zone.
Our Challenge has been a way to focus fishing on Bonefish, our forgotten species. To be able to study Bonefish in Central Belize, we need to have a minimum of 2000 Bones tagged. With all of the variety that our flats offer, Bonefish tend to be forgotten unless the weather is windy or someone is trying to complete a slam. With the Challenge, we are targeting tagging but the challenge has always been to have as much fun as possible while fishing for your favorite saltwater species – Bonefish, Permit, Tarpon!
We need to tag Bonefish and Permit year round and DNA test tarpon, also. When visiting the Lodge, if you would like to tag, please let us know and we will remind your guides to tag. This is an ongoing study and the more fish tagged means the chance of re-catching a tagged fish increases. We need to recapture and release already tagged bonefish to get the data needed for our study – which include growth rates and areas of habitat.
Pictures from 2013′s Challenge
Please click on pictures for bigger images.