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#387988 - 09/16/10 09:47 PM Fishing inside the reef....  
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 19
Johnny18 Offline
Johnny18  Offline
I plan on visiting Belize within a few months and "checking it out" as a possible destination in which to retire, as I have only 277 days (but who's counting) before retirement. I have read a great deal, on this forum and others, of the flat fishing in Belize and a bit about fishing the reef or outside of it. Not being a fly fisherman, as of yet, my interests lie in the bays and near or outside of the reef. If I elect NOT to reside on one of the cayes, then my fishing for the most part would be limited to rivers and bays due to the extended runs from the mainland to the reef. Naturally, an occasional off shore trip would happen, but on a day to day basis just it wouldn't occur as often as I will fish....wherever I reside.

My saltwater fishing has been almost exclusively in the Gulf of Mexico off of the Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Florida coasts and has been for Amberjack, Cobia (Lemonfish), various Snappers and Groupers, Mackerals (King and Spanish), Drum (Redfish and the occasional Black Drum), Speckled Trout, and some Tuna.

In addition to the Tarpon, Bonefish, Permit, and Snook available inside of the reef, what other species are present in fishable quantities in the bays near Placencia and Corozal? Admittedly, the fishing available will have an influence upon where I visit, and ultimately possibly reside, if all goes as planned. I know that the cayes would offer me probably the best of both worlds, but in all honesty, from what I have been able to discern so far, the affordability of the mainland has it's drawing power too.

Any information that you can share would be GREATLY appreciated...... John

#388020 - 09/17/10 03:10 PM Re: Fishing inside the reef.... [Re: Johnny18]  
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 520
Don Greife Offline
Don Greife  Offline
John, I visit San Pedro several times a year just to fly fish for bones, tarpon and permit on the flats. If you promise to buy a fly rod before moving to the island I promise not to ostracize you in public. There is a great fly shop on main street that can help with any problems you may have with equipment. I've found San Pedro to be very central to most of the prime flats areas. The reef is about a 1/4 mile off shore. There are a number of very good fly fishing guides on the island,some who specialize in a given specie. I have used the same guide for years. My next trip to BZ will probably be during the second week in Oct,,, if the weather permits,,, if not I may go to Houma, La. and fish for reds with Danny Ayo. Just wondering if the oil has been cleaned up down there yet. have you seen them lately?

Don Greife
Honorary CoonAss

I'll be happy to discuss my avatar with anyone who knows what it is.
#388027 - 09/17/10 04:14 PM Re: Fishing inside the reef.... [Re: Johnny18]  
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 592
GwenA Offline
GwenA  Offline
Second week of Oct I will be in Thibodoux for a Wedding and if you are a HCA you know what fun that will be!
But seriously, if you fish and like every kind of fishing, the Cayes are best. At least come visit us. We have several kinds of snappers, barracuda, and the occasional grouper inside the reef. There used to be more so I hope people start conserving more grouper.
Fly fishing isn't the only thing, but according to my husband it is a glorious thing. Sorry, I can't tell you personally about Placencia and Corazol, but we have a friend, who only fished in Placencia...but he was a fly guy.
For the kind of fishing you would probably prefer the Cayes.

#388040 - 09/17/10 08:00 PM Re: Fishing inside the reef.... [Re: Johnny18]  
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 80
Timmy Offline
Timmy  Offline
Placencia has a wide variety of fish. People forget that locals usually fished glovers and Turneffe years ago bfore the population influx onto AC. The mailand /Placencia has much more affordable place to live and a lot less gringos. The variety of fish and fishing styles are awesome. Depends on your desire for a fishin location or tourist playspot.

#388123 - 09/18/10 07:29 PM Re: Fishing inside the reef.... [Re: Don Greife]  
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 19
Johnny18 Offline
Johnny18  Offline
Hey man! Thanks for the info! Unfortunately I haven't been able to get away from work for a bit, but one of the guys I work with went last weekend and said that they caught Reds, (and we're talking Bulls, not Rats) until they just got too tired to fish....all while I was working! I know I'll have to become a fly-fisherman, but I'll never let my spinning or casting reels rust up either!

As to the's much better now but that really depends where you will be fishing. There's so much variation in where it went, you know!

I don't know where you'll be coming from, but if per chance you pass through Baton Rouge, stop by Jerry Lee's and eat some boudain for me....and some of the Hog-head cheese he makes too!

#388282 - 09/21/10 11:35 PM Re: Fishing inside the reef.... [Re: Johnny18]  
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 80
Timmy Offline
Timmy  Offline
Johnny a good contact that you would enjoy in the Placencia area is a blog you will find on this site. "As the Coconuts Drop". Be sure to go for a visit because that whole area has not been inundated and the fishing is excellent. Just takes a little longer to get to than AC.

#388312 - 09/22/10 11:17 AM Re: Fishing inside the reef.... [Re: Timmy]  
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 602
Mike Campbell Offline
Mike Campbell  Offline
The practice of our local guides taking people out to see how many fish they can catch is an extremely damaging practice and cannot be justified. I hear of guides bragging about catching 30-40 fish for a tourist. I look at the catch and it might have a few bigger fish the rest are usually undersize and taking them destroys the population. This a practice that must be stopped and can only be controlled by the guides. We need a per person limit. Don't want to spoil anyones fun but facts are facts.

We have recently passed catch and release laws and next up should be the over fishing by tour guides. I no longer sell reef fishing trips. It ok to catch a few fish to eat and snorkel and depending on the season, dive up some lobster or conch but the all out lets see how many fish we can kill today is very counterproductive.

The tourist and their guides need to understand conservation. They along with complacent guides who will do anything to please their guests will and do seriously affect localized populations. The tourist will wonder why he did not catch the same as those before them and after the populations are depleted the tourist fisherman simply will not return.

It is time we adopted more environmentally sensitive policies in regards to fishing inside the reef.

#388326 - 09/22/10 02:23 PM Re: Fishing inside the reef.... [Re: Johnny18]  
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 592
GwenA Offline
GwenA  Offline
I so totally agree with you, Mike. And, I'm sure Johnny 18 and Don will too. There has been limits on red snapper and redfish where they come from for quite a while, and I can remember catching 4 beautiful red snappers in Gulf Shores, because that was the limit. We from MD did the same thing with stripped bass, and our fishery returned after ten years. I miss catching the grouper we used to, and I wish size and catch limits would be instituted, so we can see them back in strong numbers. Fishing brought us here to AC and I hope it rebounds for everybody.

#388328 - 09/22/10 02:57 PM Re: Fishing inside the reef.... [Re: GwenA]  
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 602
Mike Campbell Offline
Mike Campbell  Offline
I have posted this before but think maybe its worth another read.


In the not to distant past San Pedro was a small fishing village. There were many lobster and plenty of fish of all kinds. Because of the vast amount of fish and lobster San Pedro and the reef were “discovered” and people started to come to San Pedro for the fishing. They stayed here a few nights, went fishing, met the friendly Islanders and returned home to spread the word. This helped San Pedro a lot.

Money was circulating as it had not in the past. The life of a fisherman is hard and except for the lobster it did not really pay well, but it seemed almost everyone benefited in some way from our visitors. As a community it was agreed that we should focus on tourism as the fishing industry appeared to be declining. This started the development of the Island and accelerated the hotel and tourism industry as a whole. As more and more people came the condo industry was started and bars and restaurants flourished, all of course owned by local folk who really appreciated the chance to make a better life for themselves. After all that is what development is all about. The government seeing this, designated Marine Protected Areas and Hol Chan to protect and enhance the fledgeling tourism industry which was based on the snorkelers and divers who came. This was necessary to protect certain areas from the fishermen who seemed intent on its destruction by overfishing.

In our zeal to prosper and develop we are forgetting why we are now in this position and why so many developers wish to participate. First thing we must admit is that the developers are here only to make money. They believe they can do so based on the amount of people coming here and the potential of much more tourism in the future. They are willing to ask for any environmental concessions we will grant. Of course the community does benefit in a large way from the construction and we all welcome it.

Now we are systematically dredging the coastline of San Pedro all the while admitting that it is prime habitat for baby lobster, sport fish and adult and juvenile marine animals of an incredibly diverse nature. We are doing this in the name of progress and development with part of the justification being we are not a fishing village any more, we are a tourist destination and need to allow this to happen to accommodate construction.

The most important factor in converting this construction activity into sustainable development is to understand why people come here. In a word its the FISH! Just as it always has been. People come to either see the fish, catch the fish and/or eat the fish and others come to make money from those who come to see or catch the fish. We speak of the Reef as if it were holy and it is. It is holy because it is habitat to all the fish and marine animals that attract our visitors. Were there no fish the reef would not be very interesting at all and no one would come. It is clearly the fish that make the difference but without the reef there would be no fish or San Pedro for that matter.

Another justification of the dredging along the east coast is the Town Council’s need for sand fill for the roads as they get a percentage of the dredged material. Of course we do need roads and road maintenance in the worst way and the Town Council is willing to sacrifice the environment for this purpose. This rings very hollow.

The San Pedro Town Council and the Minister of Tourism are the darlings of the UDP unquestionably. I do not understand why they do not DEMAND from central government our fair share. We all know that San Pedro pays for many of the bills of the country as a whole and we are glad we play an important role in the economy of our nation. We do however except to get our fair share of the budget. We have no Ministry of Works here, where is our share of that budget? That’s where our roads are supposed to come from, not from grinding up the very thing that has brought us the prosperity of the last twenty years.

There is a published an average of one police for every 300 persons in Belize. That being said we should have 40 officers on the Island all the time. Why don't our elected officials do something about it? We were all very happy when we thought that the power of the Town Council and our Rep could be finally brought to bear for the good of the Town. How wrong we were.

In years gone by what dredging that was permitted on the east coast was required to be no closer than 300 feet and usually farther from the shore. Please remember that when you dredge the shallows you not only grind up the habitat that WE require to survive but you also grind up all the baby lobster and small creatures that get in the way. Then we spread it on our roads where it washes away with the first rain. Dredging in the shallows also produces much more slit and sedimentation that when reaching the reef attaches to the living coral suffocating it damaging that environment as well.

As a Town we are more dependent on the health of our fish and marine life than ever. Without protecting these critical resources they will be destroyed by greedy developers. After the fish are gone the tourists will no longer come. San Pedro is no longer a fishing village living by killing fish. We are a growing Town that has become a major tourist destination with our attraction being the fish and diverse marine life that depend on this habitat to survive. A habitat that we should strive to protect as a nonrenewable and very fragile resource. A responsible developer would not even consider dredging the east coast and certainly not the shallows.

Nationally we have passed a Catch and Release Law aimed at developing our game fish/tourism industry while we systematically destroy the habit of the species we are nationally trying to protect and develop as a renewable resource. Ambergris Caye and its lagoons is the primary bonefish habitat in Belize and is far more valuable than a few yards of sand.

Dredging is not always bad. There are many areas that can be dredged for the benefit of all an example being the river. San Mateo could certainly use the fill and the river needs to be deeper. Using dredging on the west coast of North Ambergris Caye to enhance development of residential areas to take development pressure off San Pedro is another example of responsible use of dredging in a less sensitive area. This is opposed to allowing dredging for rich investor/developers in super sensitive areas that irreversibly destroy the environment that supports us all.

We can all work together to find better solutions to our problems through consultation and cooperation.

Remember: NO FISH = NO TOWN

#388334 - 09/22/10 04:07 PM Re: Fishing inside the reef.... [Re: Johnny18]  
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 592
GwenA Offline
GwenA  Offline
Yea, Mike I read it before. It's well written and I agree with your analysis. I wish more people here wanted to do something to conserve the fish.

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