San Pedro, Belize, is where the magic happens. This iconic tourist destination is the only city on Ambergris Caye, the inspiration for Madonna’s hit song "La Isla Bonita," and home to protected areas such as Shark Ray Alley, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Bacalarchico, and the Belize Barrier Reef. San Pedro fishing is no less magical than the place itself.
This city is a true mecca for anglers of all skill levels and preferences, a never-ending source of fishing opportunities. Fishing is an essential part of San Pedrano heritage. It’s said that you are not a real local if you don’t know how to fish – just book a trip with one of the local captains and let them share a lifetime of knowledge with you.
San Pedro’s most precious jewel is the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest reef on the globe after the Great Barrier Reef. Only 10% of the reef has been researched, so that leaves you with a whole universe to discover on your own.
But the Belize Barrier Reef is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to San Pedro fishing spots. Just 15 minutes after leaving the dock, you could be exploring legendary flats or deep sea fishing thanks to the huge drop off close to the shore. This means catching anything from Bonefish, Permit, Tarpon, Snapper, and Grouper to Marlin, Tuna, Sailfish, and Mahi Mahi, all within a single day. And the best part? Most of these amazing fish can be caught year-round!
For many of the passionate anglers visiting this breathtaking island, fishing in San Pedro starts and ends with flats fishing – and for good reason. Permit, Tarpon, and Bonefish are the superstars of the bays, estuaries, creeks, and river mouths. This inshore Grand Slam is something you shouldn't miss, especially if you're into fly fishing
. Snook and Jacks can also be found in abundance, while the grass flats are home to Barracuda, as well as Permit and Bonefish. If you want the best of the best flats fishing experience, visit the area between May and November.
The highlight of San Pedro fishing for many anglers is Tarpon fishing in shallow waters (2–6 feet deep), the feeding grounds of schools and schools of these elusive fish. June through the beginning of September is perfect for targeting migrating Tarpon, which can be found in these waters in record-breaking numbers and size. This is also the spawning season of Permit and Bonefish.
When booking a trip with any San Pedro fishing charter, fishing the Belize Barrier Reef is a must! Some of the delicious prime targets there are Snapper, Grouper, Barracuda, and Wahoo. Jack Crevalle and Amberjack are also on the menu.
Apart from the Barrier Reef, the area also features three atolls – Glover's Reef, Turneffe Atoll, and Lighthouse Reef, home of the famous Great Blue Hole.
Belize Barrier Reef is also world-famous for snorkeling and scuba diving, so many local charters will have these activities included in their offer as well. Depending on the season, reef trips may also include Conch and Lobster hunting.
Just a couple of miles from the coast, beyond the reef's offshore edge, the seabed drops from 600 feet to 2,000 feet. That means catching big game species without spending too much time traveling to the hottest fisheries. San Pedro fishing boats can take you to these rich offshore hot spots in less than 20 minutes.
You'll get a chance to go trolling for the offshore Grand Slam in pursuit of the monster Sailfish, White and Blue Marlin, and many other brag-worthy fish, such as Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, and Tuna. Even the shorter trips to these waters can be highly rewarding – but keep in mind that you'll need as much time on the water as possible for the best results, especially if you want to catch the monster of a lifetime. Battling these hard-fighting pelagics is something you'll remember for years to come.
Need to Know
San Pedranos take their fishing and love of nature seriously, which is well reflected in their regulations. A fishing license is a must, whether you’re fishing from a boat or from shore. Luckily, many San Pedro fishing charters include licenses, and if not, they can be easily purchased from Belize’s Coastal Zone Management Authority (CZMA).
Catch and release is a big part of the San Pedro fishing culture and is mandatory for Bonefish, Permit, and Tarpon. Please note that tanks are not allowed when spearfishing – only free diving is legal when using spearfishing guns.
Belize is a pioneer when it comes to marine ecology. San Pedranos deeply love and respect their waters and have banned all kinds of bottom trawling.
Full day flats and reef fishing trips will cost you roughly $400–$700, depending on the size of your party. Full day offshore trips range from $550 to $900.
If you're more interested in half-days, expect to pay around $250–$400 for reef and flats fishing, as well as $400–$500 for an offshore trip. Want to combine fishing with some snorkeling and beach BBQ? These eventful trips cost $350–$700, depending on the duration and the offer.
Ambergris Caye is accessible by plane from Belize City – it has an airstrip serviced by Maya Island Air and Tropic Air. The latter has flights from both Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport and Belize City municipal airport, and the flight usually takes about 20 minutes. There are also ferries going from Belize City throughout the day, and the trip usually lasts 75–90 minutes. Ferries from Chetumal, Mexico are a good option, too.
And when you get to San Pedro, make sure to rent a golf cart and scope out your fishing spots from shore. After (or if possible, during) an incredible day of angling in San Pedro, make sure to try some snorkeling – you'll have a chance to see manatees, turtles, Nurse Sharks, green moray eels, spotted eagle rays, and who knows what else. Just book a trip to San Pedro and get ready for an “unbelizable” experience!