Fishing in Belize is The Perfect Island Getaway
You can escape from weather or stress along the tropical beaches of Ambergris Caye. If swaying palm trees, warm sand, and clear blue water is what your dreams are made of, Ambergris Caye is the destination for you. This small, enchanted island can be found just twenty-five miles off the coast of mainland Belize.
After hearing about this “off the beaten path” tropical getaway, it sounded too good to be true; great fishing, unparalleled scuba diving (visibility in excess of 150 feet), ancient Mayan ruins to explore, wind surfing, sailing, and just about any other activity you can think of. To top it off, Belize is an English Speaking country, in fact it is the only country in Central America where English is the official language, so communicating with the friendly locals is no problem.
Planning Your Trip
Belize is one of those rare places where the whole year can be considered prime time. However, you can’t go wrong from mid-November through mid-May when temperatures range from the mid- 60s at night to the mid- 90s during the day.
Travel Tips for Flights to Ambergris Caye Belize
Getting to Belize is easy, with commercial flights arriving in Belize City several times a day. Then it’s a hop, skip, and a jump to fishing in Ambergris Caye. You can take one of the local airline flights to Ambergris Caye Belize, such as Tropic Air, from the mainland to San Pedro airport, or a water taxi – a 30-foot boat with three 250hp motors. Either way, you’ll be flying!
Budget Friendly Amenities
Once on the island there are a number of nice hotels, motels and small resorts, offering a wide variety of amenities depending on your budget. Some things obviously missing from the scene are the high-rise chain hotels that line the beaches of more well-known seaside destinations. Ambergris is still relatively undiscovered. Therefore, the general atmosphere of the resorts and hotels is quiet and secluded. Dining options range from street vendors to fine restaurants. The food is a flavorful mix of fresh seafood, Mexican cuisine, and American fare, and is reasonably priced.
Laid Back Atmosphere
Here are a few things to remember when you are planning your trip to Belize. Upon arrival all international visitors need to clear immigration and customs, and a passport is a must. We found the people on Ambergris Caye to be very friendly and enjoyed the local dress code, which is described as “laid-back casual.” A commonly posted sign summarizes the attitude…”No shirt, no shoes, no problem!”
Getting Around the Island
There are few automobiles on the island. The common mode of transportation is by golf cart or bicycle. Of course, walking will get you nearly anywhere you want to go.
No doubt these are on everyone’s packing list, but don’t forget sunscreen, a good pair of polarized sunglasses, a camera, and lots of film!
Let’s Talk Ambergris Caye Fishing in Belize
Coral Reef Fishing Trips
Ambergris Caye, as well as the entire coast of Belize, is protected by the second- largest coral reef in the world. Whether spin fishing or fly fishing in Belize, you’ll find a variety of exciting opportunities to catch fish. Inside the reef there are endless miles of flats offering unsurpassed sight fishing for the classic tropical Grand Slam– tarpon, permit, and bonefish, not to mention big barracuda.
The reef is home to game fish too numerous to mention by name, most of which can be taken with conventional or fly fishing gear. For anglers who enjoy blue-water trolling for large game fish, there are charter boats available for billfish, tuna, dorado, etc.
Fly Fishing Ambergris Caye
While fly-fishing for bone fish off Ambergris Caye, Robin and I used 9-foot 8-weight Horizon series rods by Thomas & Thomas. The Horizon series has a very fast action, which helps a great deal when making long casts in windy conditions. Keep in mind that anywhere you find good bonefish you will most likely find windy conditions. So make sure you’re prepared with the right fishing equipment!
Bonefish Reels for Fly Fishing Ambergris Caye
The reels we chose were size 8 J. Ryalls. Because bonefish tend to make long, fast runs, it’s important to have a reel with a smooth drag while fishing in Belize for this tropical species.
For line, a Monocore Bonefish line designed by Jim Vincent’s Rio Company did the trick. This line has a medium-length front taper which helps turn your fly over, and a slightly longer back taper to smooth out your casting loop. Taking into account 3 major factors– windy conditions, clear, shallow water, and very spooky bonefish, it was a good choice for line to make a delicate, precise presentation while fishing in Ambergris Caye.
Our leader was longer than normal, averaging 12 to 15 feet. The longer leader helped us outwit the wily bonefish but required a slight adjustment in casting technique.
Though we came armed with dozens of flies, the one that seemed to be working best was the old reliable Crazy Charlie, in a size 8.
If spin fishing is more your style, we recommend a medium-weight rod (rated for 10 to 18 pound test line) 8 to 10 feet long, and a good quality reel with a smooth drag. The local guides or tackle shops can provide you with the right bait depending on the time of year and species you’re after.
Other Island Recreations
If you’re traveling with a non-fishing partner or just want to take a break from the action provided by fishing in Ambergris Caye, the island and mainland offer more exciting outdoor activities than most mortals can handle during the course of a week-long vacation, which is why we’ve been to Belize twice and are planning to go back this coming spring.
Most resorts on Ambergris can arrange for all the activities mentioned at the outset. A few offer scuba trips as well as lessons for beginners, providing all the gear if you don’t have your own. We found hiking through the rainforest and exploring Mayan ruins to be an incredible thrill. An amazing boat ride up the New river– home to hawks, egrets, flocks of wild parrots and, of course crocodiles– added to the overall experience. In short, fishing in Belize is a must-do!
Original Article By Gary & Robin Edwards
About The Authors
Gary and Robin Edwards have been sharing their experiences in the outdoors for the last 25 years. Together they have traveled and fished across the country and around the world. Their fishing exploits have been featured in Sports Afield, Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Fly Fisherman, and numerous regional publications, as well as on ESPN and PBS. The Edwards offer hosted trips to Mexico, the Bahamas, Argentina, Belize, Wyoming, Montana, and more through their business Vacations on the Fly. www.vacationsonthefly.com