Friday, November 18, 2011

Belize 2011

Once again, it was time to join my buddies in Belize!
It was great to get back to the Westwind Hotel, and once again, Lisa and George had made all the preparations for our stay.
(Yes, beer was already stocked in our little refrigerators!)

What a beautiful place to visit, let alone fly fish!

It is hard to imagine how many islands dot the barrier reef, in Belize.
Coral and grass flats pop up everywhere, and permit are just waiting for the tide, so they can invade the shallows.

Chasing Permit at sunset!

Each morning we would haul our gear out to the beach front and wait for our guides. This happened to be one of the few nice days that greeted us. Wind and rain damped our fishing, and even washed out one day.
Rain...Big Time!

Tobacco Key

Not to be discouraged, we fished on, and the fishing was actually very good. The tarpon that normally migrate into the islands, chasing baitfish, were simply not there. The baitfish had not arrived, and the local tarpon were found deep, on several islands. A T-14 shooting head, and a long count, was necessary to get the fly down 20-30 ft. in order to connect with the tarpon. Fortunately, we all had opportunities to get our flies in front of cruising tarpon, and connect with the Silver King!

Tarpon.....end game!

.......and another!
Most of the tarpon were "junior" tarpon, ranging in size from 40 lbs. to 60 lbs

The Sapadilla Islands

Mike Scott and I had made previous plans to explore more of Belize on this trip, and we spent 2 days around Punta Gorda, fishing the grass flats, lagoons and rivers. Then we headed out to a small island chain-the Sapadilla Islands, and another small island, Ranguana. These islands lay some 30 miles offshore, and are situated on the barrier reef. These beautiful islands were a welcome site, and the bonefish we found there were even more welcome, and a lot of fun for us fly fishers!

Between the Howler monkeys, parrots and manatees, you didn't know what you might find around the next bend in the river!

Lunch was prepared by our guides each day. This lunch consisted of grilled barracuda and lobster salad!

Not be be distracted too much from the great lunches, we all had many shots at permit! Belize is considered the "permit capitol of the world", for good reason!

Even when the weather was windy we could sneak back into the lagoons, near Placencia, and cast to snook chasing bait in the shallow lagoons!

It seems there are always improvements to be made to existing fly patterns. Benji was very curious how I made my Crusty Crab, so we broke out the materials and tied some flies!

This new shrimp pattern was part of the evolution process, to the Shrimp Neutralizer. This fly featured a small foam tab that allowed it to sink at a slow rate, and was weedless. This combination was perfect for the rocky, coral flats, and especially for "traveling" permit, cruising and feeding across the flats.
The Shrimp Neutralizer was still deadly on shallow-feeding bones!

Dinner was always a highlight as we enjoyed a Belikin, One Barrel rum and tonic, ate wonderful food and told tales of our adventures that day. With restaurants like "De-tach", "Cozy Corner" and "Rumfish", how could you go wrong!

The end of a great day and wonderful trip to Placencia, Belize. Many thanks to a great bunch of guys-
Phil, Mike, Vernon, Mack, and Al!