Ceviche, endless flats, permit, golf carts, hammocks, street tacos, and reggae on the beach sound fun? It is fun. Bienvenidos a Belize. Even though English is the first language of Belize, most all the locals on the islands speak Spanish as their first language.
Belize is an amazing place for fly fishers of all levels. Giant schools of easy to catch bonefish (macabi in Spanish) make it a great place to hone your skills on the salt. However, big Tarpon, baby Tarpon, Permit, and Snook that require a cast that can throw a 2/0 streamer in to heavy mangrove foliage makes it as challenging as you want it to be. Variety is the draw to Belize, variety and permit. In a week in northern Belize you will almost certainly have opportunities at tarpon, permit, bonefish, jacks, and barracuda. In sourthern Belize it is a similar story, although the bonefish are not as plentiful, the permit fishing may be the best in the world.
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Line – We have really never needed anything more than a weight forward floating saltwater line that matches the rod well.
Reels – sealed drag reels with strong drags, machined is preferred as they are stronger and hold up during travel.
Leaders – bonefish leaders are generally 9 foot tapered leaders with 8-12 lb test line. Permit leaders are generally 9 foot tapered leaders with 16-20 lb line and usually those are fluorocarbon due to the skepticism of the species. Tarpon and snook leaders are generally 25-30 lb for the mid-section (4-6 feet) with 60-100lb shock tippet (18-24 inches) on the front tied on with a Bimini Twist or just a blood knot.
Flies – For bonefish flies make sure to have a large selection of different sizes and weights but more weighted on the small sizes. We often are using size 8-12 bonefish flies tied with and without eyes. For deeper water it is important to have some with lead eyes as well. The hot flies are always changing so email us for the most in vogue patterns. Of course Gotchas, Crazy Charlies, Shrimp Cocktails, Bunny Gotchas (Bonefish Bugs), Skampis, and Bonefish Bitters are all required. We have also run in to a few situation where a size 10-12 sand flea seems to be all the rage on the bonefish flats. You’ll know because if you are wading you can feel them stinging you, and the bonefish will refuse your shrimp patterns.
For Permit, it is a little more complicated. A variety of large shrimp sizes 2-4 and Crabs in a similar size it what is needed. Permit in northern Belize, at least in our experience seem to be keener on spawning shrimp patterns. So if you are fly fishing for permit in northern Belize a large epoxy shrimp, shrimp cocktail, or EP Spawning shrimp in sizes 2-4 are good to have in your quiver. In southern Belize, in places like Placencia and Punta Gorda the crab is the ticket, not that you shouldn’t have some good crab patterns along in northern Belize but in southern Belize it is a must. Crab patterns for southern Belize include Bauer’s Flats Crab, Del’s Permit Crab, Permit Crab, and EP Crabs of all kinds. Again, new patterns are always showing up so let us know if you want some of the most current trending patterns for your trip and we can help you out.
For tarpon and snook, generally the guides down there are most familiar with the most familiar patterns like the Cockroach, Red Death, different kinds of Tarpon Toads, Gurglers, and even Poppers.
Other Stuff – Other things we would not forget would be neoprene socks and wading boots. The opportunity to wade fish in Belize is awesome but after a few hours you will appreciate having neoprene socks and wading boots. The socks are great too in the boat, you can just take you boots off and fish in your socks and you will stay cool and keep the sun off your feet.