The rivers, bays, lagoons, and coastline of northern Belize support a rich fishing environment. Many of the largest individuals of countrywide species swim in the northern waterways. Snappers, grouper, cobia, barracuda, rainbow runners, triggerfish, and tarpon frequent the waters of the barrier reef and its outer atolls. The deeper waters beyond the reef sport sailfish, marlin, wahoo, mackerel, bonito, pompano, blue fin, black fin, and albacore tuna. According to the moon and the season, certain fish can be found in greater abundance at certain localities.
Flyfishing at Bacalar Chico
Experienced guides offer bait fishing in the deeper waters or trolling in the shallower reef protected seas for half or full day excursions. Most offshore boats launch during tournament time; however, the private angler does have the option to book a fully equipped boat any time of the year. Prices vary depending on the type of fishing, size of the boat, number of anglers aboard, time of year and port of exit/final destination.
Belize boasts of a strong resident population of tarpon, with the largest members residing in the north. Tarpon average fifty pounds in the winter, while in the summer they fill out to well over a hundred pounds. Bonefish also have a year-round presence and are perhaps the most convenient fish to hunt. Step off the sandy shores of one of the cayes and you’ll find yourself in a bustling fishing flat. Ambergris Caye, north to Rocky Point and the Bacalar Chico channel, are considered two of the best bonefish battlegrounds. Expect an average weight of three pounds, although they have been known to reach eight pounds.
Take advantage of generations of fishing prowess in Sarteneja. While the village is the home of most of Belize’s commercial fishermen, it has just recently gained notoriety as a fishing hot spot. Tarpon, snapper, barracuda have had little exposure to the experienced angler here.
Freshwater fishing has also gained popularity in the north of the country. The lagoons support healthy populations of tarpon, snook, cubera snapper, and the occasional jewfish year-round. Corozal Bay swarms with fish capable of making the saltwater transition. While locals have spearfished in the waterways for centuries, visitors should first inquire about fishing regulations and practices in the nearby towns or with a tour operator before venturing out to one of the many rivers or lagoons.
Much of Belize's marine system, from north to south, is protected, with many areas designated as World Heritage Sites. These areas and their inhabitants cannot be destroyed or harmed in any way and are protected by UN funding and regular monitoring. Most guides enforce catch and release fishing and stress low-impact fishing practices in all areas. Check with your guide to see if the area you are fishing in has particular guidelines or restrictions that may apply to you.
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