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Thread: Nov 09 Belize Report

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    683

    Default Nov 09 Belize Report

    Five of us fished 11 days in Placencia, Belize with guides Bruce Leslie, Benji Eiley, and Arthur Vernon. This was our 4th trip and we mostly focused on tarpon and permit. As in the past, we stayed at the Westwind Hotel with Lisa and George Westby. Lisa is working on a new website and she can put you in touch with the guides or I can. We stay at the Westwind because Lisa and George treat us very well. It is located right on the beach and the sidewalk, the guide pick us up there at 4:30 or 5 am, and it is close to some of the nicest restaurants. Placencia has been very quite due to the world economy and things were just beginning to pickup with more tourists toward the end of our trip. This was my 4th trip and I am already planning the 5th. Here are some trip highlights:
    The weather was pretty bad for a few days early in the trip with torrential rain and heavy winds. I think this was largely due to tropical storm Ida sliding by. We had rain showers off and on most days. Some days it would be hot and sunny and 15 minutes later we were in the rain and soaked. This is to be anticipated in early November but we schedule the trip after our Alaska fall fishing and before the holidays set in. November is an excellent time for most species but I guess there are better times for everything like spring for permit and summer for tarpon. Later is probably better for the weather.
    We missed or jumped approximately 60 to 70 tarpon between the five of us and I think we only landed about 15. The primary reason for this is that we fished one caye where we could wade a gorgeous white sand beach and cast to tarpon herding bait in 2 to 5 feet of water. Sometimes these fish would follow the fly to the rod tip before they hit and then immediately jump. It was very exciting but very difficult to connect and set the hook, especially when the waves were pounding us and lines were all over the place. I am not sure the stripping basket would have worked because sometimes the water and waves were more than waist deep. The thrill of seeing the bait clear little behind the fly and then lots more as a 40 to 50 pound fish follows the fly is pretty amazing. I think we all experienced the open mouth and total lack of ability to do anything but say “holy s***!” I actually had 3 fish bust bait between me and my rod tip while casting to other fish. I was the only one to land one of these fish, a 20 pounder, but we had lots of jumps. This is perhaps some of the most challenging fishing I have ever experienced.
    We did much better on our hookup and landing ratio when fishing the deep water drops offs. This is very different, casting the entire line and letting it sink 20 to 30 seconds and then slow stripping. There is no doubt when the fish connect and you usually have lots more time to clear line, get the fish on the reel and get ready for the jumps.
    We had an what I consider to be an incredible number of shots at permit. I estimate that we cast to between 200 and 250 different fish when the waves, wind, and sun were in alignment. I had 30 shots one afternoon in 3 hours on turtle grass flats and I did not connect. Bruce would see fish and I would see fish on the right. They were everywhere. Mike Scott landed 2 fish, Mack Tigert on his first ever saltwater trip had one, Mike Schoder had numerous fish on, some for 15 minutes, before they found the coral or the hook popped out. An interesting note is that we mostly had commercial crab flies and the number that did not land hook up was pretty scary. We started testing all the flies and discarding those that did not fish properly.
    We caught lots, and lots, and lots of 3 to 4 pound bonefish. I did see some much bigger in the 7 to 8 pound range (according to Bruce) but these were usually when we were sight fishing for tarpon. We also had the usually range of Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, snappers, barracuda, bonito, and jacks. Al got into some 15 pound jacks one morning and we also had some nice horse-eye jacks. I hooked two large cuda when they inhaled jacks I had on and another time, I cast to rolling tarpon, hooked a very small Spanish mackerel, brought it to the boat, and it was promptly inhaled by an amberjack of about 40 pounds. Bruce says that is the first amberjack he has ever seen in shallow water. I lost it when it took out 200 yards of line in 9.7 seconds and wrapped around an anchor line on one of the other boats.
    One day Mike Scott and Mack Tigert were with Bruce, and they each had a slam, starting with 50 pound tarpon, then with 15 pound permit and then the boners. Bruce said that was the first time in 17 years of guiding that he had 2 slams by 2 different anglers on the same day. Mack got his on his birthday and he did not realize just how amazing this was until the end of the trip. Two days later Mike Scott had a super slam fishing with Arthur Vernon. They had the small tarpon and snook by 8am, and the permit by 9, but they did not find the bonefish until noon. I thought this left plenty of time for another super slam but they went to Ranguana Caye for a beer instead.
    Gear- For all tarpon fishing we mostly used 10 weight rods. I think the line of choice for the shallow water is a Rio tarpon line WF F/I. For the deep water several of us were using the Rio deep water 400 grain line. Permit lines were Teeny Bruce Chard lines, Rio bonefish lines and similar. A sad side note is that one of our group fished almost the entire trip for bonefish and permit with an intermediate sink tip line and he could not understand why he was having such a difficult time catching a fish. Flies for tarpon were mostly clousers (large for deep water and small for shallow), bait fish patterns, like the Kiss of Death I have been tying, and a few gummys. I did have two nice fish on black/purple bunny flies. As I mentioned in an earlier post, one afternoon one of us tied on a pink fly and it was like the switch was turned on for tarpon. This is the second year in a row this has happened, so maybe next year we’ll remember to pull the pink out earlier. All of the guides are wearing Haber sunglasses with copper/rose lenses and they say there is nothing better for seeing fish. All of us wear them as well but the guides must have the super secret models since they can see fish long before we can. I also used the Haber with amber lenses early in the morning and on cloudy days and all were left with the guides who were very impressed. After fishing in torrential rain all of us who did not have totally waterproof boat bags ordered them. At the end of two days of rain and spray I had inches of water in my bag.
    It was a real shock to step out of the airport in Anchorage into -10 degree air. I miss Placencia already.

    Wading for tarpon


    Fishing in the rain


    Flyboy Connects


    Horse Eye Jack


    Phil, Burce Leslie and tarpon


    Phil and beach Poon


    Typical Belize Bonefish


    Mike with permit 1


    Pemit 2


    Sunset casting at Tobacco Caye


    Jacks for dinner


    Mack with his 1st permit

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Sacramento
    Posts
    7,700

    Thumbs up Placenciaaaaa....

    WOW!!!! What a great place to fish. I gotta look into this.
    "America is a country which produces citizens who will cross the ocean to fight for democracy but won't cross the street to vote."

    Author unknown

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Sebastian, FL, USA, Earth
    Posts
    21,958

    Default

    Thanks for the great report with wonderful pictures Phil.

    We use to take groups to Placencia, Belize and some fo us have a soft spot in our hearts for that area and it's people.

    Mike Michalak, The Fly Shop, was down there before anyone working with Eddy and Charles Leslie of Ranguana Lodge.

    Charles Leslie's fish camp on 'Tarpum' Cay:

    http://www.tarponcayelodge.com/belize-fly-fishing.html

    Lincoln Wesby's fish camp out of Dangriga:

    http://www.bluehorizonbelize.com/

    We will have to get down there again some day.

    Bruce Leslie was one of our favorite Placencia guides too.

    The guides always told us that April/May was the best months for Permit but they also admited they had caught them in every month of the year.

    They also told us to come in the fall, Sept/Oct/Nov, was best for Tarpon during the southern bait migaration.

    We fished Belize for over 30 years fishing out of almost every lodge, city and cay with cottages.

    I also loved going up those jungle rivers and snorkeling too.

    It is a wonderful place to go........even without fishing.

    Placencia has a very long history of fly fishing with many top guides.

    For help contact Mary Toy:

    www.destinationsbelize.com
    Bill Kiene (Boca Grande)

    567 Barber Street
    Sebastian, Florida 32958

    Fly Fishing Travel Consultant
    Certified FFF Casting Instructor

    Email: billkiene63@gmail.com
    Cell: 530/753-5267
    Web: www.billkiene.com

    Contact me for any reason........
    ______________________________________

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    683

    Default

    Hey Bill, that's great info for anyone thinking of going down to Placencia. We do go in Nov because we want to target tarpon but the weather has been an issue in 2 of 4 trips. I would not go in Sept or Oct due to hurricane potential and even early Nov is iffy. This year we had a real scare when Ida went by the coast and early on it was projected to come closer. On another trip in April we had no weather problems. We fish a lot around Blue Horizon and Tarpon Caye. We also went as far north as Tobacco Caye and as far south as Deep River and Ycaccos Lagoon. Where ever you go there are plenty of fish but the guide is critcal to finding them. There are some great guides there. There are also some I have spoken with and observed in action who I would not fish with if they paid me. I am sure you know who they are. Mary Toy is a great person to help get people set up and she is a real fighter for environmental protection in Belize. I understand many of the lodges have great 2 for one deals now.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Big Island Hawaii
    Posts
    1,092

    Default belize

    Aloha Phil, looks like another awesome trip. I think Steve will like the pictures. One of these days I will have to plan a trip with you. Glad you got into some good action, Don.
    Don Memmer

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    683

    Default

    Don, why don't you plan a trip to Alaska next summer and we'll start you out on something small like a 10 pound rainbow trout? I will be in Kona in March. We should hook up for one day if the commander in chief gives me the go ahead. Phil

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    27

    Default

    Man! I bummed! I'm taking a Royal Caribbean Cruise in February and one our ports of call is Belize City. We're probably only anchored/docked for 8 hours. It just doesn't seem possible to find a decent guide that can get me back to the boat on time. The Cruise Line doesn't offer flyfishing as an excursion!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    683

    Default

    Jeff, I bet you could find something if you do some research now and set it up. There is no fishing at Belize City that I am aware of but it is very close to San Pedro and Ambergris Caye, the main attraction in the north. Some good lodges up that way and good fishing for bonefish and permit for sure and probably small tarpon. Ambergis is right on the reef and deep water is not far. Life is short- DO IT! (and report back)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    683

    Default Attn: Jeff Morrison

    Someone told me that Belize River Lodge offers day trips for cruise ship passengers and they have a good reputation.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Sebastian, FL, USA, Earth
    Posts
    21,958

    Default

    Yes, I too did hear that the Belize River Lodge was specializing in taking cruise ship people out for flats fishing.

    http://www.belizeriverlodge.com/

    Belize River Lodge specializes in sight fishing the many saltwater FLATS. Fishing is from comfortable panga style skiffs, usually two anglers to a skiff, with an English speaking, experienced licensed guide. Our diverse fishing areas include the Flats, Cayes, Barrier Reef, mangroves, channels, many rivers & the creeks in between. Fishing is for a variety of game fish species. On most fishing days, you will have a good opportunity to fish for Bonefish, Snook, Tarpon and Barracuda. If the weather is right, Permit is another great option to fish for. Other possibilities to fish for are Cubera Snapper, Jacks, Grouper & others. Belize River Lodge is primarily known for its variety in fish species & diverse fishing areas.

    Cost of Day fishing: US$494.00 (1 or 2 people)

    Bze Taxes: US$36.60

    Day Rate Includes: guided fishing, skiff, fuel, lunch, soda & drinking water, 2 rods (either fly or spin), miscellaneous tackle & GST tax.

    Rate does not include alcoholic beverages & tip to guide.

    Reservations Policy: A per person deposit is required: 50% of package price, to be paid within 14 days after reservation has been made, in order to secure reservation. Deposit can be paid by check or by credit card, with proper form filled out.


    Cancellations: Deposits/Payment is refundable, less a US$25.00 cancellation fee, only if we are notified within 24 hours of your day fishing trip.

    Final Payment: Due at the Lodge 15 days prior to guests arrival in Belize.
    Bill Kiene (Boca Grande)

    567 Barber Street
    Sebastian, Florida 32958

    Fly Fishing Travel Consultant
    Certified FFF Casting Instructor

    Email: billkiene63@gmail.com
    Cell: 530/753-5267
    Web: www.billkiene.com

    Contact me for any reason........
    ______________________________________

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