Barracuda, grouper, jacks, snapper, mackerel and tarpon are some of the more prized fish we catch with spin-casting gear or simple bait-trolling rigs. Fly-fishing for bonefish is best at Glovers Reef. It is catch and release only and you will need to bring your own gear.
The type of tackle that you bring with you will depend on what type of fish you want to catch and how serious you are about fishing. With many hundreds of miles of fishing grounds, Belize is a superb sport-fishing destination. In Belize, bonefish, tarpon, barracuda, jacks and king mackerel are most common. Permit are also a prime catch but can be very difficult to find.
If you are bringing your own equipment the following list of items may be useful:
- Small spin-casting rod and reel (6-12 1b test)
- 100 yds of 20-50lb test fishing line for hand- line fishing
- 5-10 wire leaders
- A small assortment of single hooks and a very large hook for trolling bait
- Silver/pink/green trolling and casting spoons, large Rapalas, or Tomic plug.
- A variety of weights
The best fishing is done right from where we stay, particularly if there are accessible sand flats, mangroves or abrupt drop-offs. When paddling or sailing your kayak you can troll a weight forward or sinking line. This is a good way to catch barracuda, grouper or snapper.
For bonefish you want to have a 7, 8 or 9 weight rod, nine foot or slightly longer depending on the size of the fish and the flies you are using. A 5 or 6 weight stream fishing rod will do for smaller bonefish and can be great fun, but you will wish you had heavier gear if you hook into a 3 or 4 pound fish. Effective bonefish flies are Crazy Charlies #4, #6, #8 in gold, tan & pink; Horror's # 4, 6, 8 in orange, and Snapping Shrimp # 4, 6 in tan. A heavier tippet of 10-12 lb will hold up well in the shallow coral and rubble strewn waters. The heavier rod weights will work for jacks and barracuda as well. If you plan to fish for tarpon we suggest 10, 11 or 12 weight rods.
Apart from matching the right reel to the type of fish you are going after, the most important thing is a reel that can handle the harsh saltwater conditions. You need to be religious about washing your reel in fresh water each day, particularly if you are using the reel you bought for trout fishing at home. Many of the fish you will hook are fast and unbelievably strong, therefore your reel should hold a minimum of 150 yards of backing, and 20 to 30 pounds test or more for tarpon. A weight-forward tapered floating line is good for bonefish - you will want a sinking line as well for tarpon. If you are serious about your fly-fishing you should bring an extra line with you. Nine to twelve foot leaders are fine - heavier and shorter leaders are easier to use within the difficult, windy conditions that are often encountered on the Belize reef. 2X & 4X for calm conditions in shallow waters and 1X, 0X, or 02X are also okay.