>From the Ambergris Today newspaper
Seventeen year veteran fly-fishing captain and tour guide Nesto Gomez, along
with angler Larry Boyd from Grand Junction, Colorado, landed a prized fish
on January 10, 2002 that could have easily qualified as a world record for
San Pedro, Belize. The Tarpon, a premiere fighting fish, caught and released
by Larry on a 16-lb. test leader, measured approximately 74.5 inches in
length, 44.5 inches in girth, and its weight was estimated at a range
between 187-196 pounds.
The world record for Tarpon stands at 202 pounds on a 20 lb. test leader,
and in order to qualify for the prize, anglers have to kill the fish and
submit it for measurement and weight with the proper authorities in charge
of qualifying a world record catch. Since the Tarpon caught by Larry was a
"catch and release" deal, Nesto and his angler could only wonder at the
chance of qualifying for the coveted title of world record holder.
"We started fishing on the lower flats near Cangrejo Caye," Nesto told
Ambergris Today. "At around 9 in the morning, the tarpon hit the line and
started its legendary aggressive fight against Larry." It took almost 2
hours and fifteen minutes to boat the big fish and twice during this time,
the tarpon took off and almost spooled Larry's fly rod. The spooling would
have created a difficult situation since the line would have been taken all
out and the big tarpon would have certainly won the fight against the
angler. But around 11 o'clock in the morning, after making several running
daunts towards the island of Caye Caulker, the big tarpon was boated and
brought in for pictures.
Larry's son, Sean, did the honors of taking the prized pictures with Nesto,
Larry and the tarpon, and soon afterwards, the courageous and strong
fighting fish was let loose into its domain.
"It was one of my greatest fishing experiences as a captain for that certain
pound test," commented Nesto to Ambergris Today. "I think we could have had
the world record, but in order to qualify, we had to kill the fish, and we
decided not to and let it loose to fight another day." To Nesto, as an
experienced tour guide and fly fisherman, it was an honorable and right
thing to do, despite missing the chance of fame with a world record title
Fly-fishing is a growing tourist attraction in Belize and many of the
species sought after for the sport, such as the Bonefish, Tarpon and Permit,
are a protected species in Belize. Still, there are times when laws are
broken and these prized fish are caught on gill nets to be sold on the open
"If we are to continue this great tradition and pass it on to our younger
generation to love and appreciate, we must enforce the conservation laws,"
Nesto told Ambergris Today. "If we decimate the sport fishing species
population then we will no longer be able to attract the sports fishermen
and tourists who flock to Belize year round. This is why we catch and
release here in Belize and this is why conservation should be taken
seriously." There's always a great possibility of many world records in
fishing being attributed to the future generation of captains sport fishing
in Belizean waters.
Nesto works for the El Pescador lodge in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, http://ElPescador.com
interested parties wishing to book him for his fly-fishing expertise can do
so through the hotel.
[This message has been edited by Marty (edited 05-09-2002).]