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Archive for July 20th, 2009

Total Belize

  • By: Jim Klug

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To combat the heat, I sipped a beer in a ramshackle bar next to the Belize City Municipal Airport, watching the blades of a rusty ceiling fan turn while waiting for an already-late flight south to Placencia. Across the room, a surly, bearded gent wearing motorcycle-cop Ray-Bans drank a bottle of Belikin. It wasn’t his first, judging by a line of empties on the table.

After tapping his watch with a bottle, he looked over and asked for the time. Then he finished his beer, stretched and headed out a side door. I ordered another beer and was halfway through it when a skinny Creole kid sporting a Michael Jordan jersey told me the plane to Placencia was loading.

I headed out on the tarmac, climbed through the side door of an old Cessna, and was surprised to see my bearded buddy with the Ray-Bans—strapped in the pilot’s seat, readying the plane for takeoff. It was the mid-1990s and my first trip to Belize. I was single, without children, a wide-eyed saltwater rookie eager to fish new waters, new species and taste true adventure. So, on that day more than a dozen years ago, ignoring the risk of death in flaming wreckage, I nestled into that cramped Cessna and began my great journey.

I fell in love with Belize on that first trip, and over the years I’ve returned to this small Central American country dozens of times. Through all these years, I’m now convinced that the country was founded with fly-fishers in mind; nowhere else in the Caribbean do anglers find so much great fishing jammed into such a small and manageable area.

Read more at http://www.flyrodreel.com/node/12368

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Belizean Fisherman’s GuideWhat a catch!
Today my father’s old fishing pole lives a lonely life just outside of the village of Trujillo on the north coast of Honduras. I miss that old fishing rod and reel, but not enough to go fetch it back from where it spins its days in the country I now refer to as hell on earth.My father taught me how to fish when I was five years old. Until he passed away in 1996 he went fishing each and every year. Besides his deep affection for my mother, his other love was to wade out into the surf and let the ocean pound away at him as he would cast far out across the waters and beyond the continual procession of endless waves.
When I think of my father I do not think about him dying a torturous death from lung cancer and the treatments that the doctors offered in vain, I think only about him smiling and fishing.To this very day that is what I love about fishing, the fact that it made my father forget so easily the hardships of life onshore. I also love the fact that once the hook has lost it’s bait to a curious fish, it’s always rewarding to return to the beach to re-bait my hook and to dig deep into my cooler for an ice cold beverage. Despite those that have taken an art form to an industry, well I still love fishing for what it is, a sport, a means to forget about the challenges of life and a way to put food upon the dinner table.These days, when fly fishing has high jacked the art of the spin reel, many approach fishing for all the right and wrong reasons. It should be about pleasure and not about the bottom line.
Catch and release sport fishing…
Fishing the lagoon flats…
Regardless of my opinion, the pleasure of fishing has become a way for many people to make obscene amounts of money Sunday to Saturday off those that are trying to escape their on personal ball and chain. For it’s no longer simply about room and board and a boat and a guide for the day that baits the hook and takes you to that sweet spot where you can catch a fish, it’s more about bragging rights and trophies and having the name dropper fishing equipment and the old one up-manship. It’s all about checking off your score card, Permit from Belize, Salmon from Alaska, Barramundi from Australia, Giant catfish from Cambodia and Trout from Mongolia.Although world class anglers fuel the Belizean sports fisherman industry that provides a lot of jobs to local fishing guides and resort employees and regardless of the fact that BELIZEmagazine.com is supported by many of the premier outfitters across Belize, the reality is that fishing is big dollars. Not only are anglers arriving in droves to fish the idyllic Belizean waters from the rivers to the lagoons to the open sea with an assortment of gear and equipment that can cost more than the average local family has access annually, more and more they to are feeling the squeeze.A recent survey by BELIZEmagazine.com determined that an angler, after paying for their flights from destinations primarily in the US and Europe, will pay as much as US$595.00 per day to fish. Based upon what we found, a seven night lodging package with six days of fishing for one person in a boat with one guide will cost US$2175.00. This package does not include required air transfers from the international airport ion Belize City, no beer, and no gratuities. Worst yet, the price does not even include lunch during each day of fishing. That’s right, you are stuck on a boat paying over US$362 per day and they do not even provide lunch.Sadly, that was the cheaper of the big three.
The most expensive fishing provider in Belize charges US$4,040 for the same seven nights lodging with six days of fishing. Of course they at least provide the single angler with the previously required air transfers from Goldson International Airport in Belize City as well as all beer, colas, rum and box lunch while chasing down fish.
The best advertised bargain in Belize still will cost the complete angler for that seven nights lodging with meals and the services of a qualified guide, US$2,950.00 per person. And though this particular outfitter also does not include alcohol in the package, I can personally attest to the fact that their hospitality, atmosphere, quality of both the food and more importantly the guide that leads one to the fish, absolutely blew the other big outfitters literally out of the water.
Although you can find an independent guide with his own boat down in Punta Gorda and I know of at least one that will take you to the fish for less than US$150 for a half of day of fishing. But even this guy is often hired out by a local resort that charges an arm and a leg to go to the same fishing hole.All said, consider that I have baited you too in this article, for over the next three editions of BELIZEmagazine.com I will detail my adventures in fishing with the best of the best for fishing in Belize. For myself as well as the editors of BELIZEmagazine.com, well we all hope you stay hooked.

For more related stories and articles, visit http://www.belizemagazine.com/

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