Belize is located on the northeastern coast of Central America and is considered a Caribbean country. It is bordered on the east by the Caribbean Sea and on the northwest by Mexico. It is said that the waters of Belize are the perfect spot for anglers. It is also one of the most beautiful places in the world and one reason is the Belize Barrier Reef. One of the largest coral structures anywhere can be found in the 200 mile part of the Meso-American Reef. The reef is the perfect home for many crustaceans and smaller baitfish, which attracts some of the biggest game fish in the world. Five hundred types of fish call the barrier reef home.
In the territorial waters off the mainland of Belize, there are hundreds of islands, referred to as cayes.
Where to Fish in Belize
In Belize, the best fishing is along the coast, from Port Honduras to Ambergris Caye. Many of the rivers there empty into the Caribbean so anywhere you fish along the coast, you are sure to get your daily catch. Around the Ambergris Caye, there is a great variety of saltwater fishing. Within 15 minutes of leaving the dock there, you can be fishing in hundreds of feet of water or the tidal flats. Although there is shore fishing, the best fishing is done on a boat. There is no place on Belize that has bad fishing so where to fish depends on what type of fishing you want to engage in and the type of fish that you want to catch. There are too many places to name them all. Talk to the locals and they will help you find the perfect spot to fish in Belize.
Saltwater Sportsman discusses more about the great fishing available in Belize.
Types of Fishing in Belize
When going to Belize, due to its large size and volume of its lagoons and flats, most seek out Belizean coast for fly-fishing but there are also other types of fishing. Belize has much to offer to the serious sport angler with the game fish supplies vast and unspoiled.
At Ambergris Caye, this is the most popular way to fish. For the entire length of this Caye, the barrier reef runs parallel and provides the angler with a lot of action. Virtually all the fishing done here is in the nearby channels and just inside the reef. Most of the common catches here include snapper, jacks, grouper, rainbow runners, triggerfish, tarpon, mackerel, and barracuda. This type of fishing is best enjoyed with a guide. You can do a half-day or full-day excursion.
Belize is one of the hot spots in that hemisphere for deep-sea fishing. Here they also hold many fishing tournaments. After you get past the reef, along the drop-off, you can start to troll for sailfish. Blue marlin and tuna can be found out a little farther out to sea. You can also find kingfish, amberjack, barracuda, tarpon, grouper, and snapper closer to the reef.
Belize has over 200 miles of coastline flat, which helps to make it a famous place for fly-fishing. The common catch is tarpon, permits, and bonefish along with snook. Because the flats in Belize have soft bottoms, most of the fishing is done via boat. If you prefer to fly-fish on land, there are turtle grass flats that are firm and sandy. If you can land one of each of the above fish, you have what the guides there call a super slam. Belize is one of the best places to go fly-fishing.
Types of Fish in Belize
This is one of the most challenging game fish you can fish for in Belize. It is a reef-dwelling inshore fish and is at the top of a saltwater fly-fishing angler to catch. This is the fish that will prevent many fishermen from completing the Inshore Grand Slam. This fish is found in Belize year-round due to the miles of healthy reef system and saltwater flats. The permit can be found in the waters all the time but they tend to be more predictable in the spring, summer, and winter when the prevailing winds are more consistent. If the weather is not affected by the cold front, you can find some of them during winter time.
The permit is the prime objective of many saltwater fishermen. As a result, Belize has become known as the Permit Capital of the World. Most are found in small groups or as singles. The fishing for permits is done many times from a poled skiff but some are found on the wadeable ocean-side flats.
This is another fish that most inshore and fly fishermen like to fish for. The Silver King Tarpon is the strongest and biggest inshore species you will find in Belize. It is also the most acrobatic when you hook it. They are found in lagoons and around the flats. Once you have hooked a tarpon, the fish will show off their leaping ability in order to get rid of the hook. Tarpon is a migratory species so it is somewhat seasonal. The number of Tarpons increases in April and May and then in September or October, they start to drop off. The best months are June-August.
Throughout the year, you will find bonefish and there is no preferable season to fish for them. The allowed season for catching them is April-October. They inhabit the flats on the interior of the Belize Atolls and the mangrove-lined lagoons. They are usually larger and will require more flies than the fish on the ocean side. Since they seem to be always on the move, it makes casting accuracy more critical.
Fishing Regulations in Belize
You do need a sport fishing license when fishing in Belize. If you are caught fishing without one, you could face a fine or time in jail so make sure you have one so your vacation is not ruined. The fishing license costs $10 for a day, $25 for one month, or $50 if you want to fish all year in Belize in US dollars. If you want a year-round fishing license you will have to apply for it in person.
All tarpon, permits, and bonefish are catch-and-release. You cannot catch those fish and have them mounted to take home to impress your friends and family. The reason is that there is a dwindling number of these fish. Most of the local guides support preservation efforts so for most species, they will practice catch-and-release.
Bait, Lures, and Tackle for Fishing in Belize
What bait, lure, and tackle you would use would depend on the fish you are looking to hook and type of fishing. For a tarpon, you can catch them with live bait, flies, trolling lures, and jigs. Most of the fish can be caught with ultra-light tackle with grubs and small spinners. To catch reef fish and barracuda you can use rattletraps.
Fishing Charters in Belize
When renting a charter boat, it is generally for a half or full-day excursion. Most will arrange to pick you up at the dock where you are staying or at a dock near-by. Most of the charter boats will have a live well for your catch and the guide will have net sardines as bait. Most of the charter guides will have everything you need to have a successful day of fishing, including trolling rigs, spinning reels, and rods. Before you hire a charter boat, you need to find out what they specialize in; reef fishing, fly-fishing, or deep-sea fishing. This will ensure you will get the right guide and charter for the type of fishing you want to experience.
Although most fishermen and fly-fishermen have known about Belize’s great sports fishing, some do not. This is why some call Belize Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secret when it comes to some of the best fishing in the world. Belize offers over 400 Cayes and 200 miles of Caribbean Coastline to fish so there is something for everyone. When going there on vacation, you can arrange beforehand, the perfect fishing vacation with the many charters in Belize.
Although you can enjoy fishing in Belize year-round, the ideal months for fishing are May-July. This is a period when the cold fronts have stopped passing through the local waters. The sun is also out for long hours, making the water ideal for the fish that inhabit these waters. In Belize, they have a grand slam season, which runs May-early September. A gram slam is when you can catch a tarpon, permit, and bonefish. Many fishermen come to Belize to see if they can become a grand slam winner.
Book your trip now for the ultimate fishing trip of a lifetime, especially fishing off the reefs or deep-sea fishing, and find out what all the buzz is about Belize being the next best fishing spot in the world. As most are catch and release species, you can take your picture with your catch for memories and release the fish for the next fishermen to catch.
You may also like to check out our Ultimate Guide for Fishing in Scotland.