December arrived and the first two weeks continued mostly sunny, followed by clouds and a few rain showers and then sunshine again. The winds continued 5-15 mph and tides were normal staying at about two inches above the dock.
A lively group of 4, Dave, Cole, Isaiah and Billy arrived. They were excited about their trip from the first day and had a fantastic and positive attitude to the weather pattern of rain and sunshine and rain. This did not phase them one bit which resulted in them landing 17 Snook and saw many more, jumped and landed 33 Tarpon, mostly small ones, and boated 21 Bones. They also caught Snappers, Jacks, Cudas and got many shots and hookups of Permit but landed none. Each night as they came in they felt that this was the best fishing trip they have ever experienced. Later on they even went as much as to express that including or adding to the fishing the food and the friendly service they received made this the best fishing trip in their life ever. These guys were so friendly that when Brian and Phillip arrived they immediately became part of their group. They landed 1 Permit, 9 Bones, 12 Tarpon, 8 Snook, a few Snappers and a big Jack, Wow! Brian and Phillip also got hooked on the food.
As this great fishing trend is happening Simon and Angela, a couple fishing at BRL’s Long Caye Outpost, caught 16 Bones, 5 Tarpon in the 20-30 pound size, 1 Snook, Jacks and Snappers. They also had shots at Permit but even though they didn’t land any they were honored to have experienced a Moon Bow (rainbow at night).
Greg and Cooper woke up to see one of our very unusual foggy early mornings on the Belize Olde River. The sun came out and burnt the fog off and so they proceeded to land 2 Tarpon, 6 Snook, 8 Bones, had a hit from a Cobia
Nick fished BRL for a second time this year. He landed 15 Tarpon ranging in size from ten to thirty pounds and jumped a few in the 80-120 pound size. He mentioned jumping over 70 Tarpon during the week. He landed 33 Bones, a few Snook and Mackerels, and a 20 pound Jack. Nick enjoyed the great fishing as much as he did the wildlife (Howler Monkeys, Crocodiles, Iguanas and the Birds) of Black Creek.
Nick shared his fishing time with Ken, Bob and Sue, who were here at the lodge fishing at the same time. While here exchanging experiences they became great friends. Sue even stayed in and gave up a fishing day to help the girls in the kitchen making and decorating Christmas cookies. By this time the Christmas tree at the lodge was up and so they were able to sample some BRL Christmas cookies, isn’t this what Christmas is all about?
Quote from Nick B:
“Belize River Lodge is an experience like no other. Upon arrival at Belize Airport you are greeted by lodge personnel and the experience starts. Whether fishing for a few days or a week you will feel like you are at home. The lodge reminds me of a vintage Key West home with the natural woods, plant life, multiple species of tropical birds and even the occasional monkey. Located within a very short distance of the airport and then a short boat ride to the lodge, owners Mike and Marguerite will welcome you into their home/lodge with open arms and refreshments. The Belizean cuisine prepared fresh daily will give you an actual taste of what it is like to be a Central American and the Key Lime pie is to die for. The staff and guides are so kind that you actually feel like you are part of the family. Now let’s talk fishing, whether you are targeting Bonefish, Tarpon, or Snook there are plenty of fish to target along with the occasional school of Jacks, Mackerel and Angel Fish. After visiting Belize River Lodge on several occasions I know there are more return trips in my future.”
November threw us at BRL a curve ball as Hurricane Lisa arrived in Belize on November 2, 2022, a very late season hurricane; and as quickly as Lisa stomped into Belize and with a flash of anger she was gone. Lisa left behind winds that were mostly from the East and Northeast at 5-15 mph. Some days with light to heavy rain, then some sun, then some rain, then the SUN would come out and then some rain again. However in November, thank goodness, there were no severe “Northers”. Tides were not unusually high nor unusually low and mostly favorable for Snook, Tarpon and Bonefish.
Due to Hurricane Lisa some guests postponed their trip but those who travelled to Belize, a few weeks later, were very happy as most guests caught a fair share of Snook, Tarpon, Bones, Barracudas, Jacks, and Snappers. Tripletails were still around until very late this year and quite a few were caught and released. One even jumped into the boat hitting the guide in the chest. Everyone was okay! Including the Tripletail, which was released. When Tripletail are around it’s a sign that Tarpon also are around.
Our late November guests were able to enjoy Tarpon of all sizes from little ones at 5-10 pounds to big ones at 160 pounds were seen, cast to and many landed. They were found in singles, small schools and many little ones in big schools of 50 to 100 fish in the rivers, creeks, bays and coastline.
Mick, returned to his Ladyville home at BRL for Thanksgiving. Mick, who usually fishes the spring and summer months, enjoyed the tarpon fishing and mentioned that the “tarpon were more golden in color – more than I’d ever seen. It may have been the water but they definitely weren’t very silver. As for size, we saw a few that easily went 150 pounds, although most were in the 80 pound range” (Mick normally enjoys BRL’s spring tarpon migration and is used to seeing the big tarpon quite silvery as the migratory tarpon tend to be very silvery.)
Many big Tarpon were found almost daily in the lower Belize River as Kevin jumped 26 Tarpon and landed 6, what a wonderful experience. Several anglers who were here fishing saltwater for the very first time missed hooking Tarpon and Snook because of using the trout set instead of bowing to Tarpon. Later on they landed their very first Tarpon, Snook and Bonefish on flies. Here are the results, Brian and John landed 17 Bones, 3 Snappers, 1 Jack, 4 Snook, 8 Tarpon, 2 Cudas; “trout set” and lost a 20 pound Tarpon.
Bonefish in Central Belize now being caught and released, seem to be a little bigger than in the past years perhaps due to gill nets having been banned.
While Kevin was landing his Tarpon Mick and John, the guide, jumped several big Tarpon from 80 to 140 pounds, got 11 Bones, 4 Snook, one 18 pound Tripletail and got a fantastic picture of a very big hooked Tarpon jumping in front of the backdrop of a colorful sunset.
Josh and Chris landed a 70 pound Tarpon, 10 small Tarpon up to about 20 pounds, two Snook and a Bay Snook.
We asked Mick for a good story from his Thanksgiving trip and what a story, fish tales are always the best, even when a fish wasn’t landed.
Mick: “My story is that I caught my first pelican! It took a Puglisi finger mullet. Not much of a fight, he was as surprised as I was! John didn’t want to grab it to get the fly back so we brought it in close and cut the leader near the mouth – so it now has a very hip lip ring, like all the cool kids!”
What a tackle box of memories everyone took home with them!
~ Mike Heusner