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Top Belize Fly Fishing Destinations


Fly Fishing in Belize

Since it first showed up on the sportfishing map in the ‘70s, the reputation of Belize just kept growing. Nowadays, this Caribbean country is known as the saltwater fly fishing capital of the 21st century, the only one with the characteristic Tarpon flats outside of Florida. With realistic chances of catching Bonefish and Permit along with the Silver King on the same day, it’s no wonder that Belize fly fishing tops the bucket list of all fly fanatics.  
 

What to Catch 

 
Many locals and anglers visiting the area would agree that the best fishing in Belize begins and ends on the extensive flats. Whether going after a Grand Slam (catching Tarpon, Bonefish, and Permit on the same trip) or focusing on particular species, fly fishing is the way to go. 
 
The Bone fishing Belize has to offer can be very exciting and productive – both wading or fishing from a boat. They're not the biggest of Bones (2–5 pounds), but they're abundant and always hungry for a fly. When it comes to Tarpon, Belize has a resident population of fish averaging 100 pounds, with even bigger migratory Silver Kings coming to these waters in late summer. Permit are considered to be the most elusive fish to catch on the fly and are found in Bonefish and Tarpon flats in large schools, ranging from 4–30 pounds. 
 
In addition to this "Holy Trinity" of flats, Belize fly fishing trips will also give you a chance to land Barracuda, Snook, and Jacks. 
 

Where to Go 

 
Belize fly fishing lodges are scattered throughout the country, providing anglers with both great accommodation and experienced guides. With extensive flats and lagoons exploding with A-listers throughout the area, it's hard to decide which location holds the best fly fishing in Belize.
 

Ambergris Caye

 
Fishing in Ambergris Caye is at the top of the list of many fly anglers visiting the country. Located around 40 miles northeast of Belize City, the largest island of Belize is a true fly fishing paradise. These extensive turquoise flats with white sandy bottoms expand for over 50 miles and are reachable in less than 20 minutes from any lodge. These shallow waters (2–6 feet) are known as Tarpon feeding territories, and they also hold schools of Permit and Bonefish. In addition to these sandy flats, you can also explore limestone mud and turtle grass flats from a boat or by wading. Ambergris Caye fly fishing guides will help you navigate and show you their favorite secret spots teeming with trophies. 
 

Caye Caulker 

 
Some anglers consider the flats of Caye Caulker lagoons to be one of the best locations for fly fishing in Belize, if not the entire region. Located less than 20 miles south of Ambergris Caye, this island will also give you a chance to land the Grand Slam. Bones are the most popular target, and they average 2–8 pounds with 10-pounders also pretty common. You'll need only 10 minutes to reach these Bonefish flats after leaving the dock. Permit can be targeted both in shallow and deeper flats, easily accessible from poled skiffs. They're usually found swimming alone or in smaller schools. When it comes to the Silver King, you'll find them in the lagoons and creeks of Caye Caulker, some of them even bigger than 150 pounds. 
 

Turneffe Atoll

 
Located 20 miles east of Belize City and south of Ambergris and Caye Caulker, the flats of this coral atoll are a favorite among many sight fishing enthusiasts. The extensive Bonefish flats on the seaward part hold large schools of Bones, while you can catch specimens over 10 pounds in the skinniest of waters on the ocean side of Turneffe. You can fish for Permit on the bars, flats, and shallows, while Tarpon can be found in the lagoons, creeks, and channels throughout the atoll. The inland lagoons, mangrove bays, and creeks are home to Snook, Barracuda, and Jack Crevalle, also amazing to catch on a fly. 
 

Placencia

 
This small village located 115 miles from Belize City is the top fly fishing destination in southern Belize. Permit here average 10 pounds, and they're also very abundant – Belize Permit Alley stretches from Dangriga to Gladden Caye and is right at Placencia's doorstep. You can also catch Permit in mangrove lagoons of nearby Punta Ycacos. Placencia Lagoon and Monkey River are particularly rich with Bonefish, Tarpon, and Snook. Placencia waters all about catch and release fishing from locally-built pangas. 
 

How to Fish 

 
  • Tarpon are caught using 10–12 wt rods, intermediate and floating sink tip lines, and a variety of 1/0–3/0 flies, usually without any weights. The most popular fly patterns are Black Death, Tarpon Toad, Tarpon Bunnies, Cockroach, and EP Peanut Butter in various colors. Bright colors work best on sunny days, while darker colors are better early in the morning.  
 
  • If you're after Bones, go for 7–8 wt rods with floating/saltwater taper lines and fluorocarbon leaders. When it comes to Bonefish flies, Belize captains recommend #2 to #8 sizes, and the most efficient patterns include Pops' Bonefish and Egghead Bitters, Puff Shrimp, Bonefish Bitters, Crazy Charlies, Gotchas, and several small crab patterns. Smaller unweighted or lightly weighted flies are preferable for skinny waters, while larger weighted flies are better in deeper waters, especially around mangroves. 
 
  • Permit are most commonly caught using 8–10 wt rods with Bonefish/Permit tapers, floating saltwater lines, and fluorocarbon leaders. For successful Permit fishing in Belize, fly fishing flies should be weighted (sizes 2–6) and shrimp/crab patterns are known to work the best. Some of the most popular patterns include Raghead Crab, Merkin Crab, Grand Slam Crab, Spawning Shrimp, Mantis Shrimp, Gotchas, and Crazy Charlies.
 
  • Use an 8–10 wt rod with floating lines and 1/0–3/0 size flies when fly fishing for Barracuda. Saltwater Poppers and Clouser Minnows are among the most efficient patterns. 
 

When to Go 

 
Every season is fly fishing season in Belize. If you want to maximize your chances of success, book your stay at a Belize fishing lodge between May and November. Winter and spring fishing can be excellent as well if the winds aren't too strong. March and May are usually a safe bet since they normally mark the dry season in Belize. In addition to a significant population of resident fish, late summer brings large migratory Tarpon to these waters. 
 
Don't miss the Tres Pescados Slam, a multiday catch and release fly-fishing tournament held annually in August in San Pedro. Whether you're after setting a new record or just trying something new and exotic, Belize fly fishing will be a life-changing experience.
 

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Top Fly Fishing Charters in Belize

Top Targeted Fly Fishing Species in Belize

Barracuda (Great)

Bonefish

Permit

Tarpon

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