We hope that you are doing well. Mike and Marguerite are fine and are at BRL for their 24th year. 2011 will be their 25th year! While we have many new anglers looking to BRL for their first saltwater trip; time tells and we have a father and son who fished this year for their 23rd year and one gentleman took his 34th trip this year. Raul, Jose, Pedro, John and Dirk are all well and still guiding and keeping our guests happy and into fish. It has been a few years since our last newsletter; however, please do not feel that we have nothing to report, there is always news, sometimes just not enough time to report it all.
One of the major changes at BRL is the interests of the anglers. This has occurred many times over the years. In the 80’s, fishermen wanted tarpon, cubera snapper and snook. When Mike and Marguerite first took over the Lodge in 1986, most anglers were spin/bait fishermen, who mainly fished the rivers looking for tarpon and fished deep for cubera snappers. While we are fairly certain, that the cubera are still in the rivers on the bottom, today’s anglers do not like to dredge their flies and lures looking for them. Today’s angler like to cast to fish that they see – in the rivers, rolling or gulping fish and on the Flats, tails. It is all very exciting!
In the 1990’s, anglers went to almost all strictly flyfishing and fished for bonefish, snook and tarpon. Permit and large tarpon started to become popular at BRL in the mid-late 90’s and early 2000’s. At the start of the new millennium, again tastes changed and fly-fishermen started to bring along a spinning rod for when the wind blew or to fish a bit more “relaxed” during the day. The other major change since the late 90’s is that bonefish has almost become the “poor cousin” at BRL. Most anglers mainly target Tarpon (large and small) and Permit. They talk about the thrill of seeing the acrobatics of smaller tarpon and the huge “buckets” as a large Tarpon takes a fly. They enjoy stalking the Permit on a flat, almost having to sneak up and then praying and hoping that the permit will be feeding and will take their fly. After Tarpon and Permit, anglers seek Snook, looking and casting under the mangrove shoots to lure the snook into taking the bait – today’s anglers seem to enjoy the challenge of the cast and seeing the black line of the snooks as it runs out of the mangroves. But the poor bonefish are sought out only when weather is inclement for all other species, when the tides are off for the other species, when the bonefish steals the fly or lure away from a feeding Permit or finally when the bonefish is needed to complete a slam or super slam. We seem to have forgotten the thrill and excitement that the “zinging” of the reel brings when a bonefish takes your fly/lure and zips across the flat. The delight of fighting this saltwater fish even though they are small – remember that bones are the strongest fish pound per pound.
So, our quest in 2011 at BRL, is to remind anglers that large tarpon, Permit and Snook are exciting and thrilling, but please let’s not forget the bonefish. Though the fight is over quickly, they are still lots of fun to sneak up on, cast to tails or muds, fight the hooked fish and finally to land your catch! Please remember that we are trying to tag 2000 bones by the end of 2011 for the BTT study and we need help.
Also, while remembering Bonefish in your daily fishing, please also keep in the mind that the best thing about Belize River Lodge is the variety that it offers to you the angler. Along with Tarpon, Permit, Bonefish and Snook, there are many other species of fish that are a “kick” to have at the end of your line – so lets not forget the jacks, barracuda, tripletail and ladyfish. Even though they do not have the “glory” attached to their names, they give a great fight and keep your line tight throughout the day!
We look forward to hearing from you and visiting with you when you have a chance to visit Belize River Lodge again.
Below are a few photos taken in 2011.