Off Belize, a Hunt for Saltwater Fly-Fishing’s Top Prizes

“Look: big school,” my guide, Emir, said. He was pointing to a spot 50 yards in the distance. The surface of the water was churning, black tails poking up like so many miniature sails. “Hop out,” he said.

We slid over the side of our skiff and stood in the knee-deep water. It was the first half-hour of the first day of a three-day fly-fishing excursion to Ambergris Caye, a small spit of land just off the east coast of Belize, and already Emir had led us to a sweet spot. A swath of emerald-green Caribbean lay in front of us. There wasn’t another boat in sight. The early-morning light was like something Hemingway would wax literary about.

Emir nodded toward the group of fish. “It’s actually two schools,” he said, and began walking toward one of them. Saltwater fly-fishing is more like hunting than fishing, really. It’s not about dropping a line in the water and crossing your fingers. The object is to navigate a promising expanse of water until you spot a specific fish or group of fish, the way you would traverse the woods in search of deer or elk. Then, once you have a target, you “sight cast” to that particular fish.

I followed a few feet behind Emir as quietly as I could, but after a few steps, the school apparently sensed us and darted left. When we chased them in that direction, they shifted back to the right. The pattern repeated itself maybe a dozen times, with Emir and me shadowing the wandering mass this way and that way across the flat. Eventually we crept to within about 40 feet of the fish, and Emir issued a gentle command: “What are you waiting for?”

LINK (via: New York Times)

One thought on “Off Belize, a Hunt for Saltwater Fly-Fishing’s Top Prizes

  1. Tried that once… salt water fishing that’s a challenge… first day didn’t spot even one fish =D Luckily had some more experienced saltwater anglers with me 😀

    Thanks for the story 🙂

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