Belize a Fishing Paradise
We love fishing in Belize. We’ve tried fresh water river fishing, fly fished outer reefs, gone deep sea fishing, fished the flats and of course trolled through brackish water. It was all awesome. After fishing so much in Belize we do have some opinions about fishing in Belize. First, we don’t love the fishing up north. Too many people/boats and not enough action. Sure, there are islands and areas that we haven’t tried up north that are probably still good. But, as of yet, anything around Ambergris Caye(often referred to as San Pedro) didn’t impress us. We greatly enjoyed fishing in the Placencia and Punta Gorda areas. Monkey river, Mango Creek(Independence) and Hopkins would also be great because they fish the same waters, but we’ve never gone out with a charter from one of those places. One of the great things about fishing in Belize is the different types of fishing that can be accessed relatively quickly. We’re gonna go over each type we’ve done in greater detail.
Deep Sea Fishing
Deep Sea fishing in Belize is all about options. So many types of fish can be targeted. I’ve personally see wahoo, queen snapper, barracuda, kingfish, grouper, yellow jack, jack crevalle, horse eye jack, mutton snapper, queen triggerfish and even shark caught on charter boats I’ve personally been fishing on. I’ve known people who have gone on trips with the same guides/charters and they’ve caught dorado, marlin, amberjack and blackfin tuna.
To get to deep water you have to run 30-35 miles off shore depending on where you launch. This takes an hour or so usually. There are charter trips where you can stay on an island at the edge of the reef and only be a few minutes from the drop though.
Inner Reef or Flats fishing
Flats fishing or inner reef fishing is fishing inside the reef, usually around islands where the water is flatter due to the protection from the barrier reef. Most guides prefer to catch sardines with a cast net and then troll live bait. This type of trolling tends to attract barracudas, mackerel, various jacks, snappers and such. You can also cast around reefs or islands with good results. When you fish around the reefs you tend to catch more snappers(schoolmaster, lane, yellowtail and mutton are the most common) and reef fish such as trigger fish, trunk fish and grunts.
Like most places, fly fishing in Belize gets loads of attention. And while I’m not one who thinks that fly fishing is the only “reel” type of fishing, it is pretty awesome in Belize. The big three fish we target on flies in Belize are permit, tarpon and bonefish. All three are protected species and must be released back into the water after being caught. The best place to do this in my opinion is on the outer reef’s edge particularly in the Sapodilla Cayes preserve. The waters around Lime Caye, Hunting Caye andTom Owens Caye to name a few are clear and gorgeous. You can sight fish for permit and bonefish. Tarpon fishing is more seasonal as they are migratory. April-October is usually best. Tarpon can be caught in different areas but the rivers are often best.
Fishing Brackish Water
Anyone who fishes salt water much knows that the changing of the tide is a big deal when fishing in the ocean. One of our favorite places to fish in Belize is the mouth of rivers when the tide is coming in or out. Snook, barracuda and jack crevalle are the most common caught fish for us when fishing brackish water. Usually we troll a husky jerk or cut bait such as mullet when doing this.
While many people go to Belize with the intent to ocean fish, few realize how good the fishing can be in the rivers. Monkey River, the Moho, Golden Stream, Middle River, and Deepwater are all great fisheries. Machaca, snook, mangrove snapper, various catfish, tarpon, various jacks and cubera snappers can all be caught in rivers in Belize. Our family lived on the Moho river for a couple years and we’d often sit on the dock in the evening fishing for catfish using shrimp for bait.