All pictures, Belize it! - Global FlyFisher

GFF logo



   
   Start
Tarpon
Equipment
On your own
Ambergris
Surplus pictures
All pictures
Q&A
 

Nada, Nada! The tarpon win again...


All 98 pictures

 


'cuda
'cuda
A barracuda photographed under water. You can get quite close to these fish diving or snorkeling. They seem calm and docile and until you see them go after a fly and feel them run with your line.
A decent bone
A decent bone
An absolutely decent bonefish struggeling on the sand just prior to its release.
A room with a view
A room with a view
This is another part of the veiw from our hut in the terrible Mayas Katut. The family across from us was large with many kids, and entertained us every night with song a guitar playing through an open door adding some sombre relief from the horrible outdated disco and rock streaming from the bar on the other site of the resort.
A snapper
A snapper
Kristian displays a snapper of the size you see all over the place. Ramon - the guide - seems happy too.
Air!
Air!
Divers need air, and air is plenty on Ambergris Caye - both natural and bottled. The oxygen bottles were lined up by the hundreds, ready for action, behind most of the dive shops on the piers.
Almost off road
Almost off road
Renting a golf cart and going out on your own can be highly recommended. This is a typical road: small but doable dirt road. They often lead to secluded and rarely visited spots.
Arial view
Arial view
This view from the plane between Ambergris Caye and Belize City shows a typical mangrove island: little dry land, lots of central mud flats (potential bones) and extensive deeper flats to the right (potential tarpon).
Arial view: the reef side
Arial view: the reef side
This picture shows the reef (east) side of Ambergris Caye south of San Pedro. The stretch is typical: beach with a few houses, a road running more or less along the coast, nice flats, deeper parts and in the distance the protective reef visible as a white line just under the horizon.
Baby tarpon
Baby tarpon
Baby tarpon moving in the mangrove under the trees in a very small space. Yes, that white stripe and the shadow is a line and a rod!
Baby tarpon
Baby tarpon
If you hook one of these small tarpon in that tight space, just lock your brake and hope for the best!
Backside of town
Backside of town
On the backside facing away from the reef San Pedro is a lot less charming than in the center and along the beach. The channels still hold fish and can offer some nice fishing.
Baitfish
Baitfish
Baitfish gatheren in the shadow under the mangrove trees.
Birgitte
Birgitte
My girlfriend Birgitte in the intense sun. A couple of used men's shirts made a fine sunscreen.
Birgitte in the sun
Birgitte in the sun
My girlfriend Birgitte looking good in the Belizian sun.
Boats on the beach
Boats on the beach
The scene on the beach is very much a scene of piers and boats. People walk along, boats come and go and the piers are central to many businesses and host shops and small restaurants.
Bonefish closeup
Bonefish closeup
A closer look at a decent bonefish. In the right light you see the mirror effect in the scales of the fish. This mirror effect is the reason for the fantastic camouflage of these fish: they simply reflect the color and pattern of the surroundnings!
Bonefish!
Bonefish!
A bonefish on its way back to freedom.
Bounty land
Bounty land
On some stretches the beaches are completely undisturbed and extremely beautiful.
Casting for barracuda
Casting for barracuda
Martin casting from the shallows over a deeper part in pursuit of barracuda. These fearfully fast predators will appear from nowhere and tear a fly up like nothing else.
Channel
Channel
This channel cuts through the island Ambergris Caye just north of San Pedro, and should be able to produce fish. We cast there for half an hour, but felt nothing.
Cool, clear water
Cool, clear water
Well, maybe not that cool, but certainly clear. The water over some of the more sandy bonefish flats on Ambergris Caye ais stunningly clear.
Docking
Docking
The ferry across the canal that separates the southern and northern parts of the island seems extremely fragile and ready to tip over any moment. In spite of this it easily carries three golf carts and a bunch of pedestrians at the same time.
Dog
Dog
There were lots of dogs on Ambergris Caye - both wild and domestic. They were usually no menace. This one sat patiently on our stair and was very nice and calm although not exactly clean.
Dolphins
Dolphins
We saw dolphins on several occasions. This family of three were scared by the motor and the grown ups swam close to protect their offspring.
Don't spook'em
Don't spook'em
You have to be precise and alert to get a bonefish. The Belizian fish were both spooky and selective.
Double vision
Double vision
Our guide, Severro, had a pair of polarized sunglasses that he put over his usual glasses leaving him with a somewhat strange look, but probably a very good vision.
Drive
Drive
Navigating the narrow streets of San Pedro in the small golf carts can be everything from highly entertaining to scary.
Early morning bonefish
Early morning bonefish
This fish is about ready to swim off. Notice the long shadow. Bonefishing is very good early morning. The fish are actively tailing and quite easy to see.
Evening coconut rum
Evening coconut rum
We soon adapted a local drink - a mix of the loacl coconut rum and fruit juice. The big problem was first keeping the ice from melting, then keeping it from freezing together with the extremely small freezer in the house. From left it is: Joachim, Kristian, myself (Martin) and Jan.
Fanny pack and water
Fanny pack and water
A fanny pack or chest pack is a great way of carrying the little gear you need for a wading trip for bonefish. the most important item is water - lots of water!
Fanny pack and water
Fanny pack and water
A fanny pack or chest pack is a great way of carrying the little gear you need for a wading trip for bonefish. The most important item is water - lots of water!
Ferry
Ferry
Travelling towards the north of Ambergris Caye means crossing the channel that cuts through the island. This ferry is small, clumsy, seems very unstable and is pulled over by hand. The price is BZ$ 5.- each way for a car of which the ferry can carry four - plus an unaccounted number of pedestrians and bikes.
Fishing the barracks
Fishing the barracks
Fishing can take place in the most unlikely places. Here Jan and I are venturing to some channels in a ghost like housing project right behind our resort. The houses were built as a replacement for homes destroyed by the hurricanes, but were too expensive for people to buy, so now most of them are empty.
Flat by channel
Flat by channel
The east mouth of the channel through Ambergris Caye is located right next to a very nice and large flat, which we all fished for a while.
Flowers
Flowers
Flowers on the beach in front of a flat north of Journey's End, where we spotted a respectable number of decent bones, but were cheated by jacks and shad every time we managed to lay out a decent cast.
For sale
For sale
A storm or one of the hurricanes Mitch or Kieth decided to move this house a bit closer to the water. The owner obviously decided to move it too. Yes, it is for sale...
Frigates
Frigates
Hovering over the small mangrove islands the frigates could hold themselves in the air for ours waiting for an innocent bird to start diving for the large number of baitfish in the shadows. As soon as a predator was succesful, the frigates would do their best to steal the prey from the lucky hunter.
Gear
Gear
For wading you will need the following: a 7-8 wt. 9' rod with a floater and a long leader, very small and light flies, sunglasses, a stripping glove, flats boots or old sneakers and socks.
Goodbye shoes
Goodbye shoes
The ritual dumping of my wading sneakers, which were totally worn down after days of wading. Bring old shoes or special flats boots if you intend to wade fish.
Guide
Guide
Our guide Severo doing what he does a lot and is very good at: poling the boat, scouting for fish.
Happy me
Happy me
I seem more than happy this morning where we managed to hook several nice bones while waiting for the tarpon to appear. The areas closer to the tarpon flats held larger bonefish that were less spooky and more willing to take a fly.
Heavy gear
Heavy gear
A monster of a rod with a monster of a reel. The Sirrus 12 wt. 9 foot that managed to lift sharks from the bottom. Here equipped with a more-than-adequate Waterworks reel as large as they come.
Heavy weather
Heavy weather
The sky is not always blue in the tropics. We saw dramatic cloudes such as these on several occasions, but rarely the rain that they must contain. The biggest problem with the cloudes was that they make it impossible to spot the tarpon.
Hermit crab
Hermit crab
Joachim showing a large hermit crab that has occupied the shell from a large shell.
Heron
Heron
The birdlife in Belize is very rich - even on the small island of Ambergris Caye. The herons are common and come in many sizes and colors. This small heron seemed very aware of its own beauty in the water.
House
House
Some of the houses are quite beautiful with happy colors and nice locations. This one on the north part of the island marks the end of a dump and the beginning of a faily rich and well maintained neighborhood. The muddy lagune to the right held bonefish by the way...
Housebuilding
Housebuilding
Just across the road from our hut - as in many other places on Ambergris Caye - somebody was building a house. With an amazing speed and very little safety people were working all around the clock... except for the hottest midday hours.
Island
Island
The edge of a small idyllic island close to the tarpon flats. This is very typical: the trees grow on the beach and all the way into the water, leaving almost no terra firma for a poor fisherman. Most of these islands would be muddy, waterlogged and impossible to stand or walk on.
Jan's 'cuda, the fight
Jan's 'cuda, the fight
Jan had planned for this to happen as Kristian had several times spoken of a large barracuda in the channels by the barracks. At last he hooked it. He yelled and hollered in joy!
Jan's 'cuda, the pride
Jan's 'cuda, the pride
The barracuda sure was nice but not nearly as large as they become. Notice the fly, a typical barracuda fly: large and green. Fast retrieve and a strike is highly probable.
Jan's 'cuda, the release
Jan's 'cuda, the release
Barracuda is edible, but we release almost every fish we caught. This one goes back into the channels where it will continue to endanger the lifes of all small, dumb fish.
Joachim
Joachim
Joachim toting a complete wading outfit from the stylish Simms flats wading boots to the not-quite-so-stylish modified socks that he used to protect his hands from sun and line wear.
Joachim with a bonefish
Joachim with a bonefish
Joachim presenting a bonefish before it is released back to the freedom of the Ambergris flats.
Joachim's bone
Joachim's bone
Joachim with a typical small Belizian bonefish. In spite of their size, these fish fight really well.
Kim on the flat
Kim on the flat
Kim Rasmussen stripping for bonefish in a typical shallow, Belizian mud flat.
Kim tying
Kim tying
Kim Rasmussen changing the tarpon fly during a few hectic minutes with tarpon all around the beat. None would take, and in one instance we managed to cast three different flies to the same school of fish.
Kneeling
Kneeling
Kneeling down to prepare for landing a bonefish that has taken its runs. The last minute these fish are tired, and only able to seek to the bottom in the shallow water.
Lagune
Lagune
Many small lagunes contain fish, and bonefish, barracuda and many other species roam these small, easily accessible waters.
Lizard
Lizard
Lizards and iguanas are numerous on the island, and you see them in all sizes from finger size to 1 meter or 3 feet.
Mangrove spruce
Mangrove spruce
The mangrove trees are fascinating, able to not only survive, but also thrive in this strange environment of salt water, sun and coral sand or mud.
Maya's Kaput
Maya's Kaput
We soon babtized the resort we lived in Maya's Kaput. Few things worked, the rooms were really primitive and during our two weeks stay we had no change of towels or bed linnen and no - zero, zilch, none, nada - toilet paper, which we had to buy ourselves. On top of that the owner started talking about charging us for water and electrity! No reason to say that he did not get a dime extra.
Mini mangrove tree
Mini mangrove tree
My fascination with mangrove trees is not over right away. They are indeed amazing survivors, perfectly adapted to a harsh environment.
Mirror, mirror
Mirror, mirror
Mirror, mirror on the flat, who is the fairest in the water? Well, the bonefish is a strong contender with its silvery, ghostlike appearance and perfect body shape.
My feet in the warm water
My feet in the warm water
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.
Night
Night
The view from our room in Mayas Katut was a couple of sheds where a large family lived. very night we would here guitars and chants from the open doors. A relief to the menace of the loud music from the poolside bar in the opposite direction.
Overload
Overload
The golf cart was close to its limit when we left with all our luggage and three people on board. It managed without a glitch.
Palm
Palm
Palm, sea, sail. The essence of the tropical sea.
Paperwork
Paperwork
Want to get rich? Invest in a paper mill and a stapler factory! The amounts of small pieces of paper and the number of staples accumulated on tickets and in your passport is amazing. Dozens of people are busy stapling and stamping and other dozens are equally busy tearing off the same small pieces of paper 30 minutes later after you have waited in yet another line. Bureaucracy and administration seems to be the main line of work in both the US and Central America.
Pelican, flying
Pelican, flying
The pelicans are amazing birds. Their body shape and large beaks indicate clumsiness, but they are nothing but elegance in the air, sweeping so close over the water that their wing tips seem to touch it every instant.
Pelican, swimming
Pelican, swimming
Pelicans are common around Ambergris Caye and can be seen in town on the piers and between the boats. They are not beautiful birds, but certainly extremely elegant flyers as the sweep low over the waves or dive as pointed arrows into a school of baitfish.
Pier
Pier
A large number of piers extend into the water on the east side of Ambergris Caye. In town they are close and large, but further away they are smaller and less visited. Fishing is prohibited on most of those in town, but allowed on many others. The bird is a pelican diving for bait.
Piers
Piers
The piers are central to both social life, business and infrastructure on Ambergris Caye. Here you see the bus stop for the water bus to Belize City on the mainland.
Planes
Planes
The two first planes for our home trip. In front the small Tropical Air one engine 12-or-so person plane that took us from San Pedro to Belize City. In the background the somewhat larger American Airlines jet that eventually would take us to Miami.
Poling
Poling
A job well done: Severro poles the boat in the mangroves over the bonefish flast on the lookout for fish.
Ready to go!
Ready to go!
More than ready to go, Kristian happily signals OK to Joachim while Ramon backs the boat out of the canal behind our resort where we were picked up early every morning.
Reel and fly
Reel and fly
This is a sight the fellow tarpon fisher has to endure a lot: your buddy holding fly and rod in the ready position for tarpon, waiting for that next critical cast.
Release
Release
Kim Rasmussen releases a bonefish into the clear water after a tough fight where the fish managed to tangle the leader totally in a mangrove tree, but still stayed on!
Riffle
Riffle
The clear water slightly riffled by the wind over a very beautiful sandy spot in Ambergris Caye
Rocky coast
Rocky coast
Not all the coast is sand or flats. The water in front of this rocky part held many smaller fish, mainly snappers. The rocks were, by the way, extremely sharp and not to be fooled with.
Rods
Rods
Rods wating for action. You always keep rods ready for whatever might accur. These are two bonefish rods and one for tarpon, but on many occasions a rod rigged for permit would have been welcome too.
Ruby's
Ruby's
Ruby's, or Rubies as it is sometimes referred to, is a very nice little place where you can pick up sandwiches, cakes, coffee and juice. The place is very popular with both locals and tourists. Eat in the busy shop or go around the building and enjoy your meal viewing over the ocean, sheltered from the sun, cooled by the sea breeze.
San Pedro main street
San Pedro main street
San Pedro is a small laid back town with mainly dirt streets. This is a particularly slow
Sharks
Sharks
If you want to swim with sharks, nurse sharks are the right ones to choose. In the chumming frenzy they are definitely most concentrated on the sardines and not on you legs or arms! That can be reassuring...
Sharks gathering
Sharks gathering
Nurse sharks gather in large numbers if you chum with fish. These mostly harmless sharks are very common on and behind the reef.
Something big
Something big
Kristian lifting something big from the bottom of the ocean.
Standing
Standing
As a tarpon fisher you learn to stand steadily on a rolling boat. This position is kept for hours, and you grow to appreciate the effort of the guide, who stands longer and steadier than any of the fishers on board.
Tarpon!
Tarpon!
Kim Rasmussen extremely concentrated, stripping a fly in front of a school of tarpon. The fish are actually visible in the water in front of him behind the first central green patch.
Tarpon.... eh... there!
Tarpon.... eh... there!
These fish can be really difficult to spot, but the dark blobs in the water in the lower left center of the picture are actually tarpon - eight to ten of them forming what is referred to as a daisy chain, where the fish will circle closely.
Thumb, hand, pole
Thumb, hand, pole
Severro's wooden pole is smooth from hours and days of poling fishers around.
Tight
Tight
Using his teeth to hold onto the line, Kim tightens a knot on a tarpon fly, getting ready for a quick next cast to a school that has refused his first offer but is atill close enough for one more cast.
Toes
Toes
Jan and I fishing a flat on the reef side of Ambergris Caye far north of San Pedro. We saw bonefish but hooked none. The toes are Birgitte's.
Trash!
Trash!
Ambergris Caye is far from tropical paradise only. When riding off into the unknown you will often meet sights like this: huge piles of trash just dumped along the road. Be prepared for this as soon as you move away from the traditional tourist destinations or sights.
Tying a knot
Tying a knot
The on tarpon leaders have to be tied very carefully. The fish are extremely strong and a weak knot can mean loosing the only offer you get in a whole day - or week!
Typical setup
Typical setup
The typical tarpon setup: one person fishes (or rather waits to fish), one rests and may help spotting fish and the guide constantly works, spotting, poling and keeping the boat in an optimal position for the fisher.
Us
Us
Birgitte and myself in the remote southern part of the island, where the sense of a tropical paradise is somewhat more present. The beach is right behind us.
Venturing off
Venturing off
Birgitte caught herself in the rear view mirror of the golf cart while we were venturing off outside San Pedro. Most places where the roads stop you can still ride along the beach, which will bring you to places where few other people come.
Wading
Wading
Jan wading a large flat north of the channel outside San Pedro. This area was very shallow and difficult to fish. We saw fish, but managed to snag of turtle grass in almost every cast no matter how light the fly. Bonefish do not like snags!
Waiting
Waiting
We met fairly few other boats, but some of the tarpon flats were well visited, and we could observe other crews doing the same thing that we did: wating for those elusive tarpon.