Get Hooked on Belize: A Fishing Guide
Tuesday, February 12th, 2019
If you love fishing, the adventure never stops in Belize. If you’re looking to experience fishing for the first time, Belize will have you hooked upon your first cast into the turquoise water of the Caribbean Sea. Flush with game fish and graced with a mild climate, a diverse array of saltwater sport-fishing options can be practiced all year long, both inland and all along the 240-mile Belize coast.
Anglers make pilgrimages to Belize in search of catching the “Big Three” – tarpon, bonefish, and permit. These catch-and-release sport fishing species thrive year-round but come out in abundance in the months of May, June, July, August, and early September.
Tarpon, snooks, and jacks thrive in the inland rivers, estuaries, and river mouths. Record tarpon have reached 350 lbs and 8 feet long!
The grass flats along the coasts support barracuda, permit, and bonefish. Sail out into the reefs and islands and you will find snapper, grouper, barracuda, and jacks, while the deep water gives way to marlin, pompano, bonito, and sailfish.
Depending on the season, your location and your mood there are so many glorious options! Clearly, sport-fishing in Belize offers an epic spectrum of species and opportunities for a casual one day experience and plenty of depth to embark on a full blown fishing holiday or retreat. Hopefully you get a chance to reach out and touch one of these beauties!
All anglers between the ages of 16 and 65 must obtain a Sport Fishing License for $20 BZ for a day, or $50 BZ for a week (or $10 USD / $25 USD respectively, as of Feb 2019). Most tour operators will include the license with your fishing excursion or licenses can be purchased online or through your agent.
Sport fishing is catch-and-release. There are species and locations where recreational fishing including the local consumption of certain catch, such as snapper, is permitted.
Types of Fishing Experiences:
From the novice angler to the deadliest catcher, here are some experiences to consider:
Intertidal Zone Fishing
The 450 islands that pepper the coastline offer a smorgasbord of opportunities for fly or spin-cast fishermen. Belize’s inshore inter-tidal zone (aka littoral zone), is the place to go to catch the Big Three: tarpon, bonefish and permit. The inter-tidal zone is a diverse habit on the verge of land and sea and where sea-level and salinity change constantly due to the strong effect of the daily tides. From your guide’s fast-moving skiff you can be fishing through a maze of mangroves, jungle-like river mouths and estuaries, sandbars surrounded by turquoise water, expansive tidal flats, and sheltered bays and inlets all in one day. It makes for an exciting natural journey no matter the catch and is great for those who prefer the calmer waters inshore.
Flats fishing is a type of inter-tidal zone fishing where guides pilot skiffs across crystal blue waters to isolated sandbars, grassy tidal flats, and expansive shallows close to shore. Flats fishing is a wonderful way to experience a sublime natural experience casting deep in warm, soothing Caribbean Sea water. Or angle directly from the skiff. This approach ideal for fly fishing with saltwater gear. Try a flats fishing experience for the Inshore Grand Slam – catching the Big Three all in the same day.
The Belize Barrier Reef runs the entire length of the coast, and its nooks, crannies, and atolls hide treasures for the amateur and expert alike. People who have never caught a fish in their life fill the ice chest with dinner for the whole family after one day on a guided charter boat over the glistening reef. Angle for grouper, snapper, jacks, and barracuda. Grouper and snapper are particularly desirable for an unbeatable fresh catch dinner.
Deep Sea Fishing
If you want the classic big trophy fish, head for the deep water. Marlin, shark, Sailfish, Dorado (also know as Dolphin or Mahi Mahi), Kingfish, and many more come out of the deep blue seas past the reef. Your guide will help you operate the more extensive and complicated equipment needed to pull something big from the deep.
Not everyone finds relaxation in casting and pulling. If you are more interested in a fun boat ride than squaring off against the ocean, trolling combines the best of both worlds. Also usually associated with deep sea fishing, it usually includes using with multiple rods with tackle suspended off the back of a slow moving boat, you can enjoy the ocean air, check here and there for some action on the rods, and still come ashore with a tasty catch.
For a truly unforgettable angling adventure, consider chartering a fishing trip in the balmy Belizean evening. Large fish feed in shallow waters between the hours of 4pm and 8pm, so your chances of hooking a gigantic tarpon, grouper, snapper, or big reef shark while anchored close to the shore are excellent. Bring a sweater or wind-breaker just in case, but the weather is usually fabulous.
Where to fish while in Belize:
Incorporating sport or recreational fishing as a part of your journey to Belize is highly recommended. It can often be a great addition to your snorkeling, scuba, or kayaking adventures. Belize has many beautiful destinations to explore the fisherman’s lifestyle. Here are a few of our favorite spots to begin your excursion:
The largest coral atoll in Belize, located 20 miles (32 km) off the coast from Belize City, was a battle site for infamous pirate Blackbeard and a possible inspiration for Peter Pan’s fictional home of Neverland.
The largest Belizean island is a former ancient Mayan settlement site was once praised for its beauty in song by Madonna, “Isla Bonita”. Home of white sand beaches and brilliant turquoise shallows, it serves as a breathtaking staging ground for any number of fishing adventures. It is also a popular jumping off point for scuba and snorkeling adventures. San Pedro, the island’s most significant town, has a friendly atmosphere with great dining and nightlife.
Embark from the Placencia peninsula on spectacular reef excursions. You can also enjoy some of the best sandy beaches in all of Belize. Experience one of the luxury boutique resorts and make a stop in the vibrant yet laid-back fishing village of Placencia sprinkled with restaurants, bars and art galleries.
Sometimes called the “Cultural Capital of Belize,” this southern coastal village is the heartland of Garifuna culture and a great place to fish rivers and estuaries, shallow sea water, and deep-sea water.
Located off the coast of Dangriga, this partially-submerged coral atoll is a dream destination for flats fishing, reef fishing, and deep-sea fishing.
Belize: World-class Fishing in Paradise
More than 40% of Belize is protected by national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and marine reserves, creating a haven for countless creatures of land, sea and sky. Aside from the breathtaking nature, vividly colorful vistas, the abundant wildlife, and the one of a kind adventure opportunities, the people of Belize and their hospitality will make you feel like you have finally come home. Predominantly English-speaking yet culturally diverse, Belizeans take pride in sharing their culture and country with you.
At Central America Journeys, we make travel dreams a reality by assisting our clients in planning creative and luxury focused travel itineraries that encompass their interests and passion. We want every trip that we book to be crafted with value, imagination, and your direction. From private islands to luxury beach resorts, top-rated excursions and tours, we will design the perfect Belize vacation package that will create memories that will last a lifetime!
If your wanderlust is calling, why not start by filling in our travel enquiry form or give us a call at (877)509-6033. We take the stress out of planning and deliver highly personalized travel packages and concierge service for individuals, families, and groups. Thanks again!
With an adventurous spirit,
Central America Journeys