Nada, Nada! The tarpon win again...
Tarpon and bonefish plus a host of other species can be caught in Belize
As I enter the water I am again surprised how extremely hot it is. Not only body temperature, but probably well beyond. The feeling is quite different, not least because I am wearing shoes, socks and long legged trousers. Strange but actually very comfortable.
I have seen fish right in front of me -- a school of shadows moving over the light coral sand and mud. Definitely bonefish. The distance is probably less than 15 meters or about 45 feet, but still I have to be extremely cautious. These fish are spooky like nothing else.
Story by Martin Joergensen
Good angle, bad distance
I prepare for a cast working out line in a couple quick blind casts, estimating the distance, shooting line and letting go. The fish are travelling from left to right and while my angle is great, my distance is not. The fly falls more than a meter or almost four feet short of the fishes' projected path. Surprisingly they are not spooked, but continue their travel towards deeper water. I carefully retrieve and make another cast.
This time I am right on! The fly is light and sinks slowly towards the bottom about 30 centimeters or 1 foot down. One fish turns. Then two. Then a last one. I strip carefully and they increase their pace, obviously competing for this snack that literally dropped from heaven in front of them.
I take three or four short, rapid strips and let the fly sink again. I cannot see the fly, but see the first fish stopping and feel the contact. I slowly raise my rod. Now the fish obviously feels it too. My line is on the water, but only for a few seconds. Once again the force and speed surprises and thrills me. All my casting line is gone in seconds. Not much later the rest of the fly line is gone, and I hear the knot clicking through the guides as the backing starts leaving the reel. The discrete sound of my Waldron reel is soothing to the ears. And the fish still keeps on...
Bonefish are turbo charged! They burst into speed and steadily accelerate into an amazing jolt of power and velocity. It is equally pleasing every time, and I keep on finding myself wishing for such fish in my home waters. Carp maybe, mullet perhaps, but bonefish definitely!
The fish stops about 40-50 meters away. That is close to 150 feet for the non-metric audience. And this is a small fish! I gain some line, get it on the fly line and into about half of that before it takes a typical second run for freedom. Not as long, but still frightfully strong and fast.
I gain line again. This time I get almost to the leader before the fish makes a few quick bucks, each time pulling off a bit of line. It is wearing itself out. Within a minute I have it in my hand.
Ghost of the flats it is, the bonefish.
A slender, silver, soft-mouthed creature of great beauty. I tuck the rod under my arm, unhook it and hold it for a few seconds before it slowly swims off to join its brethren in the deeper water beyond.
The only substantial evidence left is the slime on my stripping glove. No one was around to see or photograph me. I am alone in what seems to be a tropical paradise.
Ambergris Caye, Belize
I have been here for about a week, and can look forward to one more week. The past days have been spent fishing from a boat for tarpon and bonefish, but today we have chartered a boat to bring us to a small peninsula close to the town San Pedro, and have been wadefishing all day. The temperature is steadily rising, and now - around 1 in the afternoon - it is as warm as it gets. If I look down, all I see is the shadow of my Global FlyFisher cap.
Opposite most of the area and the locations where we have fished bonefish the latest days, this place is wadable, which feels great after having been limited to the narrow space of a boat for days.
The peninsula is a part of Ambergris Caye and island behind the barrier reef in Central American Belize. Ambergris Caye is a paradise for those who want to enjoy diving and fishing, and even though the tourism has definitely marked the island and its only town, San Pedro, the ambience is still very Caribbean and laid back. We were there in May, which is off season regarding general tourism, but in the high season for fishing. The weather is agreeable, sunny but not extremely warm and usually fairly calm.