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It was the perfect getaway! Alberta was in the middle of the 3rd coldest February on record and seven of us were escaping to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye for two weeks to fly fish and soak in the sun, heat and humidity!
We all took the long cut to get there but that was because of booking before West Jet put on a direct flight from Calgary to Belize City! After travelling from Calgary to Toronto and on to Belize City, it was a short hop to San Pedro. After a short golf cart ride, we were at our condo. We quickly settled in, got our golf cart rental sorted out and went grocery shopping. Everything is quite convenient!
The first morning, we were all rigged up and headed out to fly fish. Getting the gear sorted out, getting the casting tuned up and connecting with some bonefish was a great way to start the trip. Our two main guides, Hilian and Omar, did a great job for the two weeks we were on Ambergris Caye. They are experienced guides that are quite enjoyable to be with.
We spent lots of time chasing bonefish, permit and a couple of days trying to connect with a tarpon.
A typical day starts at 5:45 am with coffee and watching the sunrise over the reef that is right out front. The reef is the second longest in the world. It was world class diving all along it although most divers/ snorkelers head to Hol Chan Marine Park, Shark-Ray Alley or Mexican Rocks to dive. Karen and I have visited all three and they are excellent places to snorkel too!
The flats fly fishing starts with a pick up just before 7 am and typically goes to about 3 o'clock! Often we started the day looking for and then casting to permit. Some days that was the focus of the day! Other days, we chased bonefish. Bob targeted tarpon twice. He almost got one too. So close.
Bonefish in Belize on average are not large. Typically you will catch 2 pounders although we did see bonefish as large as 6 or 7 pounds. Permit can be large. Permit can be caught right up into the 30 pound range although catching a 6 to 15 pounder is typical. There are resident tarpon in the area. They are tough to catch although when the tarpon migration is on, you might encounter a 100 plus pounder!
We typically fly fished for bonefish with 7 and 8 weights, used 8 and 9 weights for permit and 10 weights for tarpon.
Because we are so close to the equator, there are trade winds. They are fact of daily life on Ambergris Caye. Yes the wind affects fly fishing but that means you need to be ready to deal with the wind. The guides always had a plan that allowed us the best chance to connect with bonefish and permit! Wind also affected where we fly fished but there always was a place to cast mostly out of the wind but not always!
We ate in but we also went down the beach to eat at the Drive Bar Restaurant! We loved their food and the convenience of walking made it easy to get to. We ate lots of fish. Snapper and grouper were the main fish we ate. Absolutely delicious too! The cost of eating out was quite reasonable too (typically about $25 USD per person).
We did not fly fish every day. There was a snorkelling day, beach days, exploration days, soak up the sun days that were all great therapy for the frigid weather we had experienced back home in Alberta.
There were several highlights to the trip too! Hilian caught some snapper for us to eat, we caught 4 permit, we spent an evening at Hilian's house having a home cooked Belizian meal topped off with coconut pie, Karen did an inservice for the teachers at Isla Bonita School in San Pedro, we brought school supplies for the school that had an empty store room, and the fly fishing made us forget about the cold back home; at least for 14 days!
A very special moment for Bob and Karen was a gift of a hand carved permit from Hilian, his wife Addy and their daughter Joyce!
This is the fourth time Bob and Karen have gone to the San Pedro area! We will be back again next year!
Heading along Ambergris Caye as we approach Belize City!
The last flight is a short puddle jump from Belize City to San Pedro!
Landing in San Pedro and a short golf cart ride to our condo!
Stuart and Fiona
Doug, Karen and Colin
Susan and Colin
Our daily pick up for fly fishing was right out front at the dock at the Landings at Tres Cocos!
Stuart's reward for persistence!
Doug having a great time!
Fish on Fiona!
Doug with a bonefish!
Typical morning sunrise. We loved our morning coffee!
The channel that heads to the west side of Ambergris Caye is a popular swimming spot for the kids.
Doug and Colin connecting with some bonefish!
Hilian heading back to our condo. You can see the reef right out front!
Hilian and Omar
Dolphins are seen quite often while out fly fishing!
These flies were tied by my buddy Rick Miyauchi.
My neighbour, Colin landed two small permit. He was stoked!
Susan came out in the boat and connected with bonefish with a spinning rod. Now that was fun!
Don't forget to strip stike, no trout set mon!
Omar celebrating Bob's success!
World class snorkling at Ho Chan Marine Park and Shark-Ray Alley!
Supper at Hilian and Addy's home. A very special evening!
Celebrating Fiona's birthday at the Dive Bar Restaurant! The plate below has blackened fish, and bacon wrapped shrimp. Yum!
Heading home is always tough to do!