PERMIT:

Permit, known as the "Holy Grail" of fly fishing, are by far the most difficult, picky and frustrating fish you'll encounter on the flats. They have superb eyesight and a well-developed sense of smell. 

Due to body shape, permit seem to be much more comfortable in deeper water. Although it is fairly common to see a permit with its tail and dorsal fin sticking out of the water, it usually won't remain that way for long. Permit seem to suddenly appear on a flat for a brief feeding spree and then fade back into the safety of the deeper water. They're constantly on the move.

Quick, accurate casting skills (and a lot of luck) are essential. Our experienced guides greatly increase your chance of catching this tricky fish.

Suggested Gear

Rod: 8,9, or 10 wt (Stiff to cast crab patterns in the wind)

Reel: Anodized, corrosion resistant saltwater model. Should be able to hold a full line plus 300 yards of 20 or 30 lb. backing.  A high quality smooth disc drag is essential.

Line: Tropical Floating Line

Leaders: 10 ft. 16lb leaders are standard. Extra spools of 16 and 20 lb. saltwater tippet are nice to have.

Flies:  A large selection of crab and shrimp patterns in a variety of sizes, colors, and weights. Tan, olive and various shades of brown seem to be the most effective colors for most Belizean waters. Be sure to have a variety of different sink rates.

 
 

TARPON:

Tarpon are the largest, strongest and most acrobatic of the grand slam. Even juvenile fish will put angling skills to the test and strain tackle beyond belief. In Belize, tarpon are typically small- to mid-sized specimens (20-70 pounds), although fish over 100 pounds are seen. A large majority of these fish remain in Belize throughout the year. Migratory fish begin to show up around late March and numbers will increase significantly from April through July.

Belize offers the tarpon angler a very unique selection of diversified conditions, ranging from inland river lagoons to shallow-water flats. Tarpon are attracted to Belize because of their affinity for brackish water. 

River and Lagoon Fishing: Fish will be in deep, murky water where sight fishing is difficult. Rolling fish are somewhat common, but blind casting is the general rule.

Flats and Channel Fishing: Fishing will be done from small skiffs in clear, shallow flats (3-5 feet deep) or in the tidal channels which connect the flats.

Suggested Gear

Rod:  12 or 14 wt

Reel: Anodized, corrosion resistant saltwater model. Should be able to hold a fly line plus 350+ yards of 30 (or 45) lb. backing.  A high quality, smooth disc drag is essential.

Line: Tropical floating line. On a spare spool it is recommended to have a heavy sinking line for deep water Tarpon.

Leaders: Pre-tied leaders with a 16 to 20lb class tippet and 80-100 lb. shock tippet.  A Tarpon stretcher is great if you are planning on specifically going for Tarpon.

Flies: A basic selection of Tarpon flies in variety of colors and materials. Sizes 2/0 and 3/0 will cover most Tarpon situations in Belize.

 
 

BONEFISH:

The bonefish is the most abundant of flats species in Southern Belize. Bonefish display a great eagerness to take both flies and lures, but they are best known for their astonishing strength and reel-stressing runs. 

Bonefish inhabit the shallow-water flats for food and protection. Bonefish will blend into their environment more than any other fish on the flats. Their eyesight is exceptionally good and the slightest hint of danger will send them bolting off into the deep blue yonder. 

Larger bonefish are usually found in small, solitary groups away from the larger schools of smaller fish. Concentrate on the edge of the flats where the bottom drops off into deeper water. Big bonefish are less concerned with predators and feel secure in deeper water. They will usually drift onto the flat for short feeding sprees and quickly return to the deep water.

From the angler's perspective (especially the novice), spotting these elusive creatures can be somewhat of a problem. A good pair of polarized sunglasses and a long billed hat (with a dark underside) will be essential for spotting fish. Look for the flash of an exposed tail, "nervous water," or the shadow of a cruising fish.

Evolution has designed bonefish to be exceedingly wary, making delicate presentation a key factor in the success of the angler.

BONEFISH BEHAVIOR:

Bonefish have three basic modes of behavior which are likely to be encountered; the angler's presentation will be determined accordingly.

"Tailing" - While feeding with their snouts buried in the bottom substrate, bonefish will often stick their wavering tails out of the water. As this occurs, the angler can usually throw a fly or lure almost directly on top of them without spooking them. 

"Mudding" - On the deeper parts of the flats, individual or groups of bonefish will often stir up the bottom detritus as they grub for food. This cloud of mud, or "marl," tends to make the bonefish feel quite secure. Often, the angler can catch one bonefish after another without spooking the school.

"Cruising" - Cruising bonefish are generally the most difficult fish to present a fly to because they aren't necessarily interested in feeding. When bonefish are cruising, they are much more aware of their surroundings and extreme care should be taken in presentation. When casting to cruising fish, remember to place your offering well ahead of the fish and let it settle until the fish is right on top of it. If the fly or lure is placed too close to a cruising fish, it will immediately bolt for safer waters.

Suggested Gear

Rods: 8 or 10wt (Stiff enough to cast in windy conditions)

Reel: Anodized, corrosion resistant saltwater mode.  Should be able to hold a full line plus 250 yards of 20 lb. backing.  A high quality smooth disc drag is important.

Line: Tropical Bonefish taper line (WF8 or WF10)

Leaders: 9’, 20 lb. tapered leader. A spool of 10 and 20 lb. saltwater tippet are nice to have. 

Flies: Have a good selection of Bonefish flies in a wide variety of sizes, colors and sink rates.  The standard sizes for Bonefish flies in Belize are #4, #6, and #8 with a general rule being the shallower water, the smaller and lighter the fly.

 

 
 

SNOOK: 

Known for both their explosive topwater strike and their acrobatic, gill rattling fight, snook are generally found along the inland lagoons and mangrove-lined tidal channels which connect Belize's shallow-water flats. During times of strong climatic change, the snook will move out of the mangroves and gather at the mouths of the channel cuts. It is at this time when the snook fishing can become "fast and furious." 

Snook are most often found in small schools, so remember to thoroughly concentrate on an area where a strike or hookup occurs. Snook tend to feed most aggressively during periods of low light; therefore, the best fishing time will be during dawn and dusk. If you choose to fish during periods of bright light, deep running lures or flies should be used. Top water lures and flies should generally be used during low light periods.

Snook often tend to stay close to structure such as mangroves or logs, so an accurate presentation is very important. 

Suggested Gear

Rod: 8 or 10 wt (same rod you would use for Bonefish)

Reel:  Anodized, corrosion resistant saltwater mode.  Should be able to hold a full line plus 250 yards of 20 lb. backing.  A high quality smooth disc drag is important.

Line: Tropical floating line (Same as Bonefish setup)

Leaders: A pre-tied leader similar for those used for Tarpon is the ideal set up for Snook. Use a 16 or 20 lb. class tippet with a 40 or 60 lb. shock on the Snook leaders.

Flies: Selection of bright flies in red, orange, yellow, chartreuse, and white, plus saltwater poppers. Many standard Tarpon patterns will work for Snook.

OTHER GAME FISH:

There is a cornucopia of under-utilized species at Belize which will match the skill of the most sophisticated Fly Fisherman. 

Barracuda, Jacks and Sharks: Lurking at the top of the food chain, these tough flats predators offer some outstanding action on a fly. They will viciously strike anything that darts away from them in an injured manner. When hooked, they are some of the fastest and most powerful fish to be taken on a fly rod.