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Belizeis a mecca for those interested in fishing. An kinds of fishing spin, fly, trolling - can be experienced all year long, and the abundance of game fish guarantees excellent sport.

The estuaries, inlets and mouths to the many rivers are known for their tarpon, snook and jacks. The lagoons and grass flats are known for the bonefish, permit and barracuda. The coral reefs support grouper, snapper, jacks and barracuda while the deeper waters off the drop off are home to sailfish, marlin, bonito and pompano.

Island Guides
Freedom Tours Fishing Unlimited
El Pescador Fishing Resort
Fishing Blues in Belize
Hotel del Rio
Amigos del Mar
San Pedro Holiday Hotel
Tanisha Tours, Daniel Nuñez
Elbert Greer
Portofino Fishing
Hotel del Rio
Reef Adventures
SEAduced by Belize, Elito Arceo
Ocean Adventures Tours
Caye Casa
Belize Sailing Vacations
Creative Tours Belize
Belize Parasail Ltd.
Boat Charters

Fishing is great all along the coast of Belize, from the Port Honduras and Punta Icacos lagoon of Toledo to Rocky Point on Ambergris Caye. Any of the many rivers which empty into the Caribbean along Belize's coasts can guarantee a daily catch. Most of your guides and boatmen speak English so learning where and what to fish will be no problem.

The waters surrounding Ambergris Caye abound with a great variety of saltwater fishing and the island boasts some of the best fishing guides in the country. Most types of fish, including bone fish and tarpon, can be caught year-round. Within 15 minutes of leaving the dock, you can be fishing in tidal flats or in blue water hundreds of feet deep.

Cost for charters depends on the type of fishing (reef, deep sea, or bone and tarpon), the size of the boat, number of anglers, time of year and current bank balance of the captain, but expect to pay around US$100 to $175 per person for a full day's reef and deep sea fishing trip, including bait and tackle, beer, soft drinks and lunch. The International Billfish Tournament is hosted by the Barrier Reef Hotel and Hustler Tours each spring.

FISHING ON AMBERGRIS CAYE has remained one of the Caribbeans best-kept secrets until recently. The extensive flats, a twenty minute boat ride from the lodge, are picture perfect. Shallow (2-6 feet) and with a whiter than normal sand bottom, these tarpon feeding grounds stretch for over fifty miles and provide the dining room for almost unbelievable numbers of tarpon.

Peak periods on the local flats are the months of May through November, though there are fish around 355 days a year, and Winter/Spring months (February, March and April) provide excellent opportunities when the weather cooperates. More importantly, it is uncommon to encounter other anglers once you have left the harbor area. The immense size of these flats, and the lack of fishing pressure has left these tarpon with an very aggressive nature, and they move readily to almost any properly presented fly.

Click Below For Features
Fishing Reports
Fishing Pictures
Fishing Articles
Boats to Use
How to Build A Fish Trap
Bonefish        Permit
Tarpon        Snook
Animals of the Reef
Reef Briefs
Blue Water Tournament
Deep Water Fish
Other Flats Fish
Geography of Fishing
Commercial fishing in Belize
One Man's First Experience
Basic Guide to Saltwater Fly Fishing

You can forget the stories that you have heard about the relatively small size of the Belizean brand of tarpon! One very knowledgeable and experienced flyrodder at the lodge boated fifteen tarpon in three days and "jumped" 16 others. The largest was 178 pounds, and, as always, "you should of seen the one that got away!" Click here for how to cook up that catch!

Regarding fishing from the shore, you'll certainly do better in a boat, but you can also score from the beach. Bonefish and all of the local reef fish are in abundant supply. Ultra-light tackle with small spinners and grubs will catch almost everything. Rattletraps will also catch most of the reef fish, plus barracuda. Bring your gear, and Good Fishing. That said, ALL of the local guides can put you on fish for a VERY reasonable price.

Click for this article I've done well catching bonefish right on the beach right near the rio. During the sunrise of the day i flyfish hitting the areas on the flats bare of turtle grass. Small shrimp imitations, and crazy charlies work out well. Then during the night when the tide is in, many of the reef fish come into near the beach searching for food sources. Light spinning gear and natural bait is more efficient than flies then lures in the darkness. Conch and sardines are deadly. The mula conch or horse conch is wonderful bait, it is smelly and it is tough and hard to get picked off the hook. The wind side of AC is really shallow and you can wade for hundreds of feet up to your waist if you are not really short. The leeside of the caye is filled with mangroves and with a mucky bottom. Basically, the windside is open for wading, but watch out for fast pangas, or fishing skiffs. I use wading shoes, not bare feet due to sea urchins and sharp objects. waders and fly vests are too hot for this climate, i use a fanny-pack stuffed with my gear, and of course a nail clipper on a retractor and a hemastat. Look for the areas without turtle grass, and try the muellas, or the piers. A good guide and a comfortable boat is a pleasure.


Weeks of May 17th - May 23rd, 2016

Weather Conditions: Partly cloudy to begin and end the week, mostly cloudy in the middle of the week.

Winds: The winds were 15–20 mph for most of the week out of the east, finally calming to 10mph by the end of the week.

Air Temperature: Highs were between 83º and 90º with lows in upper 70’s and low 80’s

Water Temperature: Temp: 81 F. degrees

Barometric Pressure: 29.82 - 30.00

Sunrise: 5:16 am Sunset: 6:20 pm

Moonphase: The full moon was on May 21st.


BONEFISH (Macabi): The bonefish Bonanza ended with a bang with hundreds of bonefish caught during the trip, which ended early this week. It was nice to see some returning guests back at the lodge and for those making their 2nd, 3rd, or 20th visit we are very grateful! So many names to list but all the guides were busy this week, and lots of bonefish were landed. There were about 6 guests who had never landed a bonefish and it really didn’t take too long to get them on their first bonefish. The high number for a day was 34, the biggest of the week was about 5 pounds.

PERMIT (Palometta): More than a dozen permit were landed this week, with at least as many hooked but not landed. David, Steve Andy, Rick, Terrell, Vincent with 3 fish to the boat, Richard, Doug, Parker, john and the true star was

TARPON (Sabalo): Tarpon were hard to come by with the cloudy or windy weather but Vince and his son Michael decided to use some bait one day and ended up jumping 11 tarpon with just one to the boat. Epps got a beauty , Doug got one as part of his soft slam. Julie hit a nice pods of fish rolling in some murky water and hooked up a couple , and landed just one.

OTHER SPECIES: Jacks, Snappers, Barracudas, ladyfish

GRAND SLAM: Several people where a tarpon whisker away from grand slam but it just didn’t happen this week. The closet event was Doug who managed to get a slam over the length of his trip.


FOR BONEFISH - Christmas Island Specials, Crazy Charlies, gotcha and various other patterns

FOR PERMIT - Christmas Island Specials, Various crab patterns, small avalons

FOR TARPON - Small white deceiver, black death, tan toad, light natural cockroach

This Week’s Summary:

Orvis’ Spring Bonefish Bonanza finished up early this week with some great weather and some big bonefish totals. A big thanks goes out to Jody and Jake from Orvis for hosting this event. They will be returning in June for another Bonanza ~ so call Orvis travel if you would like to join the fun.

Fish On!
Ed Blank

Fishing photo of the week:

El Pescador El Pescador guest permit

Click here for old fishing reports...

You can fish for bonefish from the flats at the cut just north of San Pedro, from the beaches north of the cut and from the docks and beaches in town and south of town. Caught bonefish just about anytime water conditions were right, any time of day...Water must be calm. Wade fishing with a 7-weight fly-rod, or a light spinning rod is a kick. You can catch more fish off a boat, but wade fishing, or off the end of a pier is relaxing. The area near the cut is pretty good. The various species of fish is pretty good: black snappers, red snappers, bonefish, barracudas, french grunts, and permit. Mr. twister's jigs are awesome.

You can use sardines available from at a bait shop immediately side of the airport, there is also a fly shop at El Pescador Resort....

You can fish from the beach and docks in town and on the south side of town beginning about 4:00 PM. We often cooked in the condo and found restaurants very willing to clean and serve my fish for about $5.00 per person. They were especially willing if I had a little extra fish that they could serve to others at full price.

There are many good guides and fishing from a boat is an option. I did it and enjoyed it. You can fish for an hour or more anytime you feel like it with your own gear. By all means, do it!

There's always a certain still in the air on those early mornings in the tropics. Today's still air is accompanied by a fresh cup of coffee and a few exotic fruits, mango slices, pineapple cubes, and fresh papaya. Every trip to the Caribbean offers a unique experience, while often similar in many instances, each presents it's own flare and local diversity.

Looking at my watch and reminiscing on past adventures I turn my attention towards the waters edge a few feet from my beachside breakfast nook. Six thirty two, taking not that my guide and I will be off for an amazing day of fishing on the flats around Ambergris Caye. I've come to Belize once again to embark upon a familiar journey in pursuit of those most worthy of adversaries, the permit, the tarpon, and the bonefish. Drawing me back year after year I once again await yet another day of exploring this plentiful fishery fly rod in hand.

For those whom never experienced the fishing in Belize there are a few things I should make clear. While the fishing is generally rated to be excellent all year long. The months of June through early September usher in a few special events that make fishing in Belize and AMAZING EXPERIENCE. The first event is as old as time its self, the spawning season comes around for the bonefish and permit. Both of these favorite flats species are in record numbers and in greater competition for food in such large schools. And my personal favorite, the gargantuos migrating Tarpon whom decide to linger about in the waters around Ambergris Caye in schools at times numbering over a hundred.

Note from a long-time dive operator on the island:
Spear fishing guns are legal only free diving. No tanks allowed when using spear guns. Big fines and prison terms if caught using with tanks. Also, it is totally ILLEGAL with scuba equipment or any type of fishing equipment within Marine Reserves and punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

While I am stating it is legal with snorkel equipment I would certainly never take a tourist spearfishing and would hope nobody else would.

It would not take long to deplete the fishlife it we marketed spearfishing therefore I think it should be left for the locals who have fed their families for generations using this one of many fishing methods.

Click for this article The guides are very flexible with respect to their schedule, and prefer to begin early or start late depending on the tides. Occasionally that means missing a hot breakfast, or returning at dark for just a quick shower before dinner.

Tarpon remain the primary attraction at in the area, although there all the reef species, barracuda, snook, snapper, grouper, and of course the ever-present bonefish and occasional permit. These are really a sidelight, though, because this is tarpon fishing the way everyone dreams that it should be! The flats are situated only a mile or so from the blue water and they are constantly being replenished with fish from the deep. White sand bottoms with occasional patches of turtle grass provide an unbelievable background to make these fish very visible in the shallow water. Schools of dozens of fish can be seen pushing water like bonefish from hundreds of yards distance.

The common denominator for success at Ambergris Cay is the weather. Generally speaking, the dry season in Belize extends from March through May. Morning breezes are usually from the southeast during these months and directly from the east during the rest of the year. Since the vast tarpon flats that the flyfishermen are concerned with lie on the western shores of the Yucatan, this affords a protected "leeward" side much of the time.

Although the months of May through November are considered the prime time for flats fishing, the fish are present during the entire year and any days that are calm are considered ideal times to be on the water in search for tarpon.

When the wind does raise havoc with the tarpon fishing the protected and always sheltered coves and lagoons offer a safe and almost guaranteed shot at bonefish. Though the bonefish don't often run large here, there are lots of them and they provide plenty of entertainment.

Permit are frequently spotted in these lagoons also, as well as cruising along the inside coast of the Yucatan and on the tarpon flats themselves. It is a good idea for flyrodders to have a spare rod always set up with their favorite permit pattern and an intermediate line in case they get a shot at one of fly fishing's most elusive gamefish!

Barracuda are a common sight in all the water surrounding Ambergris Caye. They are difficult, but not impossible to take on a fly. Six or seven-inch long fish-hair flies with trailer hooks cast across and stripped back as rapidly as possible in front of the fish is the most successful way to latch on to these toothy monsters. For the spin fisherman armed with a fluorescent yellow tube lure, a strike and battle are guaranteed!

Fishing Licenses for Belize

If you’re going fishing, you need a license. Even if you’re going to be in a boat with someone who is fishing, but you’re not fishing yourself, you still need a license. Even if you’ll be fishing from shore, you need a license. You need a license to catch a fish. Period.

The law is supposed to be in the process of being re-written to eliminate from the licensing requirements fishing from shore, children under a certain age or senior citizens over a certain age, and the requirement that everybody in a boat on which fishing gear is located needs a license. (Right now, the way the law is written if 6 snorkelers go out on a boat and the guide brings along fishing gear to catch fish for lunch, all 6 snorkelers should have a fishing license.)

Even if they eliminate some silly things in the law, you’ll still always need a license for sportfishing, particularly for catch and release.

Get your sport fishing license online at, or call the CZMA at 223-0719/ 5739.

Belize Fishing Regulations

You can make a difference. Supply and Demand. If the consumer knows the proper seasons for seafood in Belize they are better equipped to make decisions at the restaurant or on their fishing trip. BY ensuring your local guides and restaurants comply with Belize’s Fishery Laws you are helping to protect commercial seafood species for generations to come. While we are making strides in mariculture options they can never replace natural stocks which still need more protection now and forever.

Complete Ban – Coral – All Parrotfish – Blue Tang – Surgeon Fish – Permit – Tarpon – Bone Fish – Marine Turtle (all species) -Whale Shark – All Marine Mamals – Diced Conch – Diced Lobster

Closed Seasons – Conch July 1st to Sept 30th – Lobster February 15th to June 14th – Nassau Grouper – December 1st to March 31 Wild Shrimp (trawler sources; farm shrimp is legal all year around) July 14 – March 14th – Hickatee May 1st to May 31st

Catch & size limits – Conch Shell Length > 7 inches Market Clean > 2.5oz – Lobster Cape Length > 3 inches Tail Weight 2.75 oz – Nassau Grouper Must be 20 – 30 inches only. Must be landed whole (no fillet)

Special Laws and Permits – All fishermen must have a valid license. You must be a Belizean Citizen or permanent resident in order to obtain a fisheries permit. Sea Cucumber requires a special permit. Fish Fillet must have skin patch left on 2 inch by 1 inch. No fishing while using artificial breathing devices (scuba gear or hookah) In Marine Protected areas several restrictions on fishing gear apply: no nets, no longlines, no traps. Chapter 2105

Click here for a poster covering Belize Fishing Regulations

Catch and release is not nonsense, it’s essential to protect a very lucrative sport fishing industry that provides a very good living to many Belizeans – and not just guides, but also people in the hotel, restaurant, transportation, agriculture, communications and other industries.

Nor are fishing licenses or the rewriting of the Fisheries Act nonsense. Our fisheries are being seriously depleted and we have to do something about that or we won’t have any fish – just like Jamaica and Japan, and much of the rest of the world.

Our Fisheries Act was originally written in 1948, with one minor revision in 1989. It doesn’t address the many complex issues that have arisen in the last 63 years, which, if not addressed, will leave us unable to protect our fisheries. Some of those issues are international ones, such as restrictions on fishing in our economic zone, which stretches 200 miles beyond the Reef, and which is being eyed by many countries as a potential source of food for them, not us. Other issues include straddling stocks (relevant in the Belize/Honduras/Guatemala area), harvesting of marine resources such as sea slugs/cucumbers (which was certainly never thought of 1948), protection of mangroves, seagrass and other marine habitat, etc.

Some people in Belize still have a romantic image of the caye boys in their dories fishing for food for their families and making a little extra money for clothing, housing and education. That was great when life was much simpler and fish were much more plentiful. (I’ve seen a HUGE drop in fish size and quantity in just the 13 years I’ve been here.) That romantic image is great if we honor it, but don’t try to still live by it. Because if we do, it won’t be an image much longer, it – and us – and the Sea – will be ghosts.

Click here for information on the lobster season and fishing for lobsters.

Belize Fishing Calendar

Belize fishing averages good to great. Here are the best months by species we target.

We are a neo-tropical climate, our temperature varies less than 10 degrees F year round. So rather than seasons, we have micro climate changes, where we are subject to the occasional cold front in the winter months. Wind is part of our tropical environment; some days are windy, some are not. We are semi-arid and get less than 25 inches of rain annually.

Belize Fishing Cal

Our fish reside here 12 months of the year, plus the addition of a major tarpon migration in late summer. Any day of the year you can be assured that the fishery is diverse and abundant.

Months tend to blend into one another. If our "best" month is a 10, then our "worst" month is an 8 1/2 or a 9. Again, it's the vagary of a passing front that has more impact than the time of year. These fronts possess two common characteristics: they are unpredictable and they tend to be short-lived.

So practice your casting and come visit us and one of the world's premier saltwater destinations.

On calm days you should see as many as 50-75 tarpon, 20-90 pound range. Generally bone and tarpon fishing are good; reef fishing good to excellent on calm days.

Fish are plentiful on the flats if the wind isn't too strong. Tarpon in the 20-90 pound range. Bones, Permit and tarpon fishing are good, but weather-dependent. Reef fishing is excellent.

Plenty of 20-90 pound tarpon on the calmer days. Plenty of bonefish. Tarpon in lagoons. Reef fishing good to excellent. Permit schooled up in good numbers.

Lots of tarpon, 40-100 pounds, and they are more aggressive. Migrating tarpon start coming onto the reef. It's a good month for permit too. Usually large schools of small permit, and plenty of bones. Reef fishing excellent.

Generally our hottest month, with calm-to-light breezes. It's not uncommon to see huge schools of 200-300 bones. Tarpon on both flats and the reef. Reef fishing is good to excellent.

Bone fishing is excellent as it always is from April through October. Tarpon on both the flats and reef. Reef fishing good to excellent.

July, August, and September
Usually calm and warm. Great fishing. Lots of bones, lots of tarpon to well over 100 pounds. We consider this the best tarpon season of the year. The most and the largest tarpon have been caught in August and September. We also find some of the largest permit of the year during tarpon migration.

Lots of tarpon, large and aggressive. Bones are larger and more aggressive too. Big schools of jack crevelle are also on the flats now and it is a good month for the larger permit. Reef fishing fair to good. If there is a lot of rainfall on the mainland, snook arrive on the flats in large numbers. The lodge record for the most tarpon landed in a single day was had in October by Dick Smith with 7 tarpon landed and another 5 jumped.

There are plenty of 60-100 pound tarpon on the flats. Jack crevelle and bone fishing are also good. Reef fishing good to excellent.

If the sun stays out there are plenty of barracuda, bones, and tarpon (40-80 pounds) on the flats. Jacks and ladyfish too. Full moon brings grouper and snappers to the reef to spawn. Reef fishing good to excellent.

Fishing calendar for Belize

Belize is proud to announce that the protection of bonefish, tarpon and permit as catch and release species has been passed by the Cabinet of Belize.  According to the legislation:  
No person or establishment shall have in possession any bonefish, permit or tarpon or any product form, save and except in the act of catch and release.
A study entitled "Economic Impact of Recreational Fishing for Bonefish, Permit and Tarpon in Belize for 2007" prepared by Anthony J. Fedler, Ph.D. says that:  
with adequate management, it is quite realistic to suggest that sport fishing for bonefish, permit and tarpon will generate an economic impact of roughly $600 million for Belize over the upcoming decade.  
Belize has long been known as a world-class destination for saltwater flats fishing.  Tourism is a "National Priority" of the small, English speaking country of Belize, which is located in Central America on the Caribbean Sea.  The sustainability of its tourism product is fundamental to its future success.  Recognizing this fact, the Government of Belize, is proud to be a leader in this global protection effort.  

Along with the protection of the three species, and equally important, is the institution of a fishing license.  The proceeds from which should provide the necessary funding for enforcement of this landmark legislation.   

Many people worked tirelessly to enact this legislation including Ali Gentry Flota of El Pescador Lodge, Craig Hayes of Turneffe Flats Lodge and Mike Huesner of Belize River Lodge, along with countless independent guides and anglers and friends of Belize.   

This is the most all encompassing legislation of its kind.  It is great news for Belizeans, anglers, tourists and conservationists alike.   

For more information please contact Alissa Gentry Flota, El Pescador Lodge. or + 501-226-2398

Seafood Guide to Belize: Closed seasons, banned catches, size and catch limits, Special laws and permits.

The Environmental Conditions which make Belize an Angler's Paradise: Belize has a unique combination of environmental factors which create the ideal habitat for a myriad of saltwater game fish. Its most outstanding attribute is the Belizean Barrier Reef, which is second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef in northeastern Australia. Ten to forty miles off the coast, an intricate chain of submerged islands and little cays provide the ideal habitat for a shallow-water coral -ecosystem. Shallow- water coral species demand a strict set of environmental criteria in order to flourish. If undeviating variables- including precise water temperature and specific water depth- are not present, the formation of a reef is impossible. This is why large barrier reefs are fairly uncommon.

From the air, you can see the reef as an unbroken chain of white surf that stretches north along the eastern shore. Inside the reef the water is shallow with a blue tinge; outside the reef the water is deep and from the air is a dark royal blue. On very clear days, the reef appears as a narrow strip of yellow dividing the two shades of blue. Only near Ambergris Caye does the reef run anywhere near a populated coast. Offshore it is almost a solid wall of magnificent coral formations broken only by narrow channels called "quebradas". The reef is more than just decoration. Without it the island would not exist; as it serves as a breakwater protecting the beach from erosion and shelters the caye and its inhabitants. On the eastern side depths drop off rapidly to thousands of feet.

The complicated ecosystem of the reef supplies food and shelter to a huge variety of baitfish and small crustaceans that, in turn, attract larger predators. The reef also protects the shore-side protects the shore-sidefishery from the unmerciful wrath of the ocean. The-coral heads absorb the brunt of the pounding waves, which creates a tranquil setting in the flats even if the outside ocean is being pummeled by a storm.

Belize's second virtue is its series of fresh-water rivers and brackish estuaries. Tarpon, snook, snapper, jacks and other species utilize these fertile waters for feeding and spawning purposes. The nutrient-rich rivers also dump a wealth of biomass into the ocean which is utilized by zooplankton, crustaceans and baitfish, providing a veritable smorgasbord for game fish.

The reef and river/estuary system make an unbeatable combination.

CLICK HERE for more information on fishing in Belize and San Pedro, including a list of local guides.

CLICK HERE for a list of articles on fishing in Belize and off Ambergris Caye from magazines and sent in by our readers. They are full of excellent information, photographs, and tips.

Coastal Marine habitats

2010 Tarpon distribution in Belize

2010 Bonefish distribution in Belize

2010 Permit distribution in Belize


Related Links:

Fishing in San Pedro & Belize

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