With a stunning coastline bordered by the second largest barrier reef in the world, fishing in Belize is both productive and unforgettable. The varied and reef-covered shoreline combined with over 200 islands, which are called cayes (pronounced “keys”) in Belize, make this a legendary fishing destination on their own, but the country also has rivers flowing through lush jungles in its interior, so river fishing in Belize is also a huge sport.
Something for everyone
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All levels of experience do well in this tiny English-speaking Central American country. There are guides and daily equipment rentals in the resort areas for people who just want to give it a go on their relaxing Caribbean vacation, as well as full-blown fishing lodges for longtime enthusiasts of the sport. There are also live-aboard fishing charter boats for people wanting to go after different species over different waters over the course of a few days.
- Fly-fishing – The mangrove forests along the coasts of both Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye offer some excellent fly-fishing. Bonefish are very plentiful in the easily accessible shallow areas and permits are also common in the slightly deeper waters. The common bonefish average 2 to 4 pounds with some as large as 8 pounds, but the area also has tarpon in the deeper lagoons and inlets, and those run from 5 all the way up to 200 pounds.
- Reef and offshore fishing – Renting a boat or joining a scheduled departure will get fisherman into a whole new territory. Mangrove, mutton, gray, and yellowtail snapper are abundant in the shallow offshore waters within the famous reef area, while yellowtail, grouper, and barracuda are among the larger species found in the deeper waters just beyond the reef. Expeditions and boat rentals are available from small operators on Caye Caulker, Ambergris Caye, as well as along the Placencia Peninsula in the southern part of the country. The offshore and reef fishing are good all year round, but April and May are the peak months for hardcore fisherman.
- River fishing – There are almost a dozen major fishing rivers in Belize, as well as countless streams running through the jungles. Tarpon, cubera snapper, snook, and jacks can be found in most of the major rivers. And just because these are river fish it doesn’t mean they are snack size. Groupers reach up to 100 pounds in these waters, while cubera snappers of up to 60 pounds are not uncommon. The Belize City area is famous for tarpons that are up to 150 pounds.
Serious fisherman will want to bring their own gear and will know exactly what they’ll be going for. Part of the fun of a fishing vacation in Belize is going after a different species in a different location every day or two. But even beginners are well taken care of in Belize as the relative ease of success and affordable equipment rental options make even a single day enjoyable and productive.