Belize Bonefish

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Belize Bonefish
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Belize Bonefish

Patty with her first bonefish of the trip...

Our guide, Jose said with his soft Belizean drawl, "Beeg cuda...twelve o'clock...sixty feet!  I stained to see the motionless gray shape suspended above the mottled tan bottom.  Patty was already taking the reel cover off the nine weight outfit we had rigged with a wire bite tippet for just such an encounter.  She slipped the rod into my hand as the big fish slowly became visible to me under the wave dappled surface.  Seventy feet of line was stripped from the Abel reel, the rod was loaded and the Blood-shot Minnow fly landed ten feet out and beyond the nose of the barracuda.  I

retrieved it by the motionless fish, but it showed no interest. Several more casts produced the same results.  The fly was cut off and replaced with a Mark's Sardina.  The next cast, the cuda showed interest, but didn't attack.  The wind caught following cast and it went wide and landed too far from the fish to get any attention.  The following cast landed the fly ten feet beyond the cuda and I stripped the fly slowly and very erratically to make it look like a minnow that was wounded and extremely vulnerable.  The cuda turned slowly as the fly came even with his

Needed items for great Belizean bonefishing...

San Pedro from the air...

nose and kept turning as the fly passed him.  I quickened the retrieve slightly as if the wounded fish had recognized that the cuda was stalking it.  It was too much for the cuda to resist and like a cat chasing a string, he pounced on the fly.  The next strip of the line brought a wrenching yank and the four foot long fish shot five feet in the air and landed in the water twenty feet away, then took seventy five yards of backing from the screaming reel.  Steady pressure from the rod and constant reeling got most of the line back in a few minutes.  Then the cuda went on another

scorching run.  Again he was brought back near the boat.  The third run took him to the mangrove shoreline.  I applied all of the pressure the leader could take, but after a long struggle the cuda finally got into the barnacle covered mangrove roots, the leader was cut in two and he went free.  Such can be he outcome when you hook big fish on light tackle; sometimes the fish wins.  Barracudas are often found on flats containing bone fish, because barracudas eat bonefish.  Bonefish were what had brought us to

Our room at the Tides...

Our three new amigos: Jeff, Mark and Paul...

Ambergris Caye, Belize this last week. Although Patty and I had spent over 100 fishing days in southern Belize, this was our first trip to the flats in northern Belize.  We had joined a party hosted by Richard French of Belize Flats Fishing Expeditions.  We flew from Portland, Oregon to Houston, Texas to Belize City to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye.  We were then transported by taxi to the Tides beach front hotel, which was home base for the next six days.  The Tides is an older three story wooden colonial structure which is complete with an outdoor bar and pool.  To

me it received high marks for having the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on in Belize. It was very clean, well organized and safe (as a matter of fact all of San Pedro was very safe).  Upon our arrival at the hotel, we were surprised to meet up with one of our long term customers, Terry Luther and his wife Kathy from Madras, OR, who were enjoying their second annual trip with Belize Flats Expeditions.  Also in our group were Mark Whelan, Jeff Herford and Paul Wilson, all from southern California as well as Mike Davis, from Chicago and professional trout guide Tony Reinhardt and his wife from Missoula, MT.  Over the next six days we became very good friends

as well as fishing buddies. We all ate breakfast together at the hotel each morning before going meeting our guides for the days hunt. Then we spent time together exploring San Pedro's many restaurants each evening.. Each morning our guides picked us up at the hotel's private dock.  It was extremely convenient. Ambergris Cays is about 25 miles long. According to legend the Caye was separated from the peninsula on the east side of the huge bay of Chechumel by a four mile long canal which was dug by the Maya Indians over a thousand years ago. There is

Secret shrimp fly catches fish...

Jose is a very good flats guide...

some debate as to whether this channel is natural or man made.  It forms the border between Belize and Mexico.  Because of the irregular coast line, the parameter of Ambergris Caye must be at least a hundred miles long.  The island is surrounded by thousands of acres of shallow water made for fly fishing. There are also extensive lagoons inside the Caye itself.  We got to explore quite a bit of this expansive layout. The first day was fairly calm and Patty and I hammered the bonefish, which averaged 1 1/2 to four pounds.  Some days were windy, which can

be expected in Belize during the winter months. During stormy days, seeing fish and casting accurately to them was more difficult.  Even though one day had extremely strong winds, we were still able to catch fish by going to the down wind side of the island.  Being able to get out of the main  force of the wind is one of the most endearing features of the Ambergris Caye fishery.  Also the fishery is extremely close, so gut wrenching boat rides aren't the norm.  We didn't see many trophy size fish, but there are plentiful numbers

Headquarters pizza party...

Had to get my picture in here too...

of small to medium size bonefish.  This is a good place for an entry level fly angler because they will get lots of shots. Belize Flats employs a staff of the most professional guides we have encountered in Belize. All of the guides were punctual, pleasant and extremely patient. We also encountered a few permit and small tarpon but no one in our group landed any. One evening during the mid-point of our stay, Doug and Travis the two guys that make the program at Belize Flats operation work at San Pedro had the whole group over to their house for pizza and brews.  It was memorable evening with much laughter and a little Cuban cigar smoke. It was the kind of extra hospitality and attention to detail that everyone would like to get used to.  At the end of our stay, I asked each member of our party if they thought they would come back in the future.  Everyone enthusiastically said they would.  I guess that says it all.

Where we were...

Bermuda Triangle Tapers on the Belize Flats.
We specifically tested several brands of fly lines on our last Belize bonefish trip, and although several other lines had many endearing qualities, one series of lines were superior to the rest; the Royal Wulff Bermuda Triangle Tapers won hands down.  They cast longer, tangle less and are stealthier than any others we tried.  They harmonize with both Winston B2X and Sage Z-Axis Rods.  the coating on these lines is super slick in the guides which helps both in casting and playing fish.  These lines rarely tangle even after lying on an extremely hot boat deck.

Bermuda Triangle... Now with J3 Coating (click for more infor).
Tropic Blue Floating 2-Tone Floating Clear Tip
Bermuda Triangle Taper Saltwater Lines
Line up with Wulff's newest family of fly lines, the Bermuda Triangle Tapers. Built to withstand the wilting heat of tropical flats and blistering decks, this line will continue to cast like a rocket when others have folded up. That's because they build it around a special 16-strand braided monofilament core that stays stiff to deliver blazing casts -- even in blazing heat. The finish is also harder and stickier than Wulff regular saltwater lines, with a slightly bumpy texture that helps facilitate longer casts. And, because it's a Triangle Taper, it features a tip that can be customized. The lighter, Stretching a Bermuda Triangle Taper with the help of a bonefish...
neutral colors "disappear" into the sea and sky for added stealth. Works best at temperatures above 70  degrees Fahrenheit but can be used at lower temperatures.  We first heard about these lines from our old friend Tom White who guides tarpon trips out of Marathon, Florida.  The Bermuda Triangle Taper has quickly become one of the most popular saltwater lines that we sell.   Full floating lines now with J3 Coating.

Sage 890-4 Z-AXIS On The Flats

Bending the 890-4 Z-AXIS with the help of a bonefish...

We got to play with Sage's newest 9-foot 8-weight on a flats trip in Belize.  It repeatedly got bent with double-hauls and bent even more with lots of bonefish.  We can highly recommend this new lightweight, fast action rod for the flats.  We tried several different lines from a couple of the best known manufacturers and it handled them all well enough, but we liked the way this rod worked with Royal Wulff's Bermuda Triangle Taper, although Sage's own Equator Taper was also very a very comfortable match as well as the Rio OutBound.  This rod is comfortable at all ranges from close to the boat, to out near the backing.  What I liked was the controllability which enabled us to throw long casts, but bring the fly down soft.

890-4 Z-AXIS

Length: 9'     Line: 8     Pieces: 4

It's the perfect kind of rod for bonefishing
Rod weight: 4 Ounces
Item
Series
Line Wt
Action Handle Price To Top
890-4 Z-AXIS 8 Fast B $655

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March 9-10, Friday-Saturday, 2007
NORTHWEST FLY TYERS & FLY FISHERS EXPO in Albany, Oregon sponsored by the Oregon Council Federation of Fly Fishers.  The event is designed to promote the art of FLY TYING, FLY CASTING and education through seminars for the total fly fisher.  This event showcases the best talents of the Northwest.  Seminars will be offered for the beginner to advanced fly-fisher.  This is the time to watch, pick up tidbits and meet with the best in the Northwest.
The Fly Fishing Shop will have a huge display and many of their fly fishing professionals at this event.  Please come join us, and support Oregon FFF.


The Fly Fishing Shop HOME. The Fly Fishing Shop, Welches, OR

1(800) 266-3971

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Fish long & prosper,
Mark & Patty


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