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I watch in wonder as if it’s my first time to witness all the glory that is a sunrise over tropical waters. Yes, it’s a daily event, and one I fear many miss out on. I watch the iridescent even glow of the sky fade from a dark glowing blue into an explosion of beautiful hues. These new colors seem to melt together and increase in intensity. All tones of Blues, fiery oranges, hints of reds so powerful it stirs the soul, and hues of pink that I’m afraid the english dictionary lacks the words to describe.

I dip my paddle into the water again, first the right, then left. I barely hear swish and swirling disturbance as I pull the paddle back towards me. Only a faint splash is heard as one blade comes free from the warm tropical water and the other dips in. My attention still focused on the heavens as that bright orange sphere breaks the seal on the horizon and begins to rise in all its beauty. I greet it with a smile, as if I were acknowledging an old friend from afar.

I glance over my shoulder to watch the stern lights of the drop-off skiff now cruising on-step back towards the faint glow of San Pedro. Armed with my water proof map of the days flats I pass between a sandbar and a small point of the tip of this intricate maze of undisturbed flats that are sacred grounds to all that enjoy the hunt of saltwater fly fishing. Occasionally I feel one of the blades of the paddle touch silt or sand. With the increasing light I can see the bottom a mere 5 to 7 inches below me. Gliding further into the opened flats the water deepens and I begin seeing dark patches of turtle grass. I’m now into the first in a series of flats and mangrove fats areas that are linked together by a network of channels that run so shallow they have protected their inhabitants from guides, noisy two strokes, the film of a fuel slick resting atop the water, and constant worries of food turning out to be a fly.

With good light now higher in the sky I lay my paddle across my lap. I observe the beauty of my surroundings and what I consider to be one of God’s best accomplishments next to the “act of” human reproduction. From the corner of my eye I spot the first sign of a disturbance in this otherwise unspoiled paradise. Focusing on the commotion I see the day’s first sign of tailing bones happily feeding. Noses down, attention in the sand searching food. I plot my approach as I study their direction of travel and feeding pattern. I aim the kayak up-wind and glide in like a stealth injection molded torpedo. I quietly engage the scupper levers and deploy the automatic expanding outriggers on this specially designed fishing kayak. I raise the casting bar and pull my self up on my feet. For a moment I contemplate the advancements made in fishing kayaks that enable a secure and stable standing and casting platform from a kayak. I grab my rod and strip off forty to fifty feet of line. I release the fly pinched between my forefinger and thumb. Watching it to the water just in front of me. My target selected, a good-sized bone that’s a few feet to the side of the rest of the school. Drawing back I wait, I wait for the loading of the rod. With a flip f my wrist the line is hurled forward. I haul again as I bring it back and again wait for the feeling. Again I haul and flip my wrist forward. This time 50 feet of line unfurrell in front of me moving on course towards the spot I’ve picked. I lower my rod tip towards the water and watch the fly gingerly touch down on the water and begin sinking. My selected quarry snubs his nose at my fly and proceeds on his hunt for food past my fly.

The first cast wasn’t a success. By the third I was hooked up and the chase was on. The day’s game of wading, stalking, and kayaking these untouched “honey holes” have begun. With the lack of man’s presences and pressure on these flats it has made the fish super aggressive. Through out the day I catch a total of fourteen bones and the largest weighing in around seven pounds. Not only has the lack of pressure provide more productive fishing, it also provides larger fish as well.

What I’ve described is a typical days fishing with a Belize fishing company called BITE ME! Belize Fishing Adventures. The boys at BITE ME! Came up with their unique style of flats fishing in Belize by shear frustration. “We kept running into these flats areas where we couldn’t pole into with the boats. We could wade due to knee-deep silt and mud bottoms. But we could see the fish, Tons of tails splashing about 70, 80, even a mere 100 yards ahead of us.” Says Jim Big “D” Harper one of the owners of BITE ME!.

This was the catalyst that spawned the first kayak fishing service in Belize. “In starting it we found we were catching more and larger fish in areas that once we got into them they opened up to these large flats with limestone and sand bottoms that you could wade.”

It also created an opportunity to allow others who previously couldn’t afford to experience a fishing trip to Belize due to the average cost for a week of fishing in Belize ranging between $2,700 per week to over $4,000 per week, per person as well. Due to the shuttle service by skiff to and from different networks of flats each day and not having a guide. The cost of fishing in Belize for an entire week with BITE ME!  Is $850 per week all-inclusive. After my experience with kayak fishing for bonefish I’ll certainly be heading back down soon. This is truly a remarkable and productive way to experience the joys of fishing in Belize. If you wish to discover more about kayak fishing in Belize visit Big “D” at http://www.BiteMeBelize.com

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Being a fisherman has provided me my fair share of sunrises and sunsets on the water. It’s an experience I’ve never taken for granted. After all I know many people whom miss sunrises and sunsets due to hectic schedules and being confined in the captive walls of an office building. In the past few years I’ve added kayak fishing to my repoitare of fly fishing methods. Like anything I seem to venture into for the first time I often struggle with and initial period of feeling much like a new born deer. Kinda wobbly, unstable, knees knocking and not quite certain of my surroundings or what in the world is going on.

After that learning curve has been concurred the benefits using a kayak to harass the local bonefish, permit, even tarpon here in Belize or any other flats destination is worth the day or two of the proverbial “Fish out of water.” Period of adjustment. For one the stealthy nature of kayak fishing is reason enough for skittish schools of bones or permit. Add to it the recent advancements of outrigger systems that enable one to stand securely and safely on the kayak increase ability to spot fish as well as cast a fly rod with ease.

Another huge benefit that sold me on kayak fishing was the lightweight and portability of the fishing kayaks themselves. With modern thermo plastic and injection molding processes many of these kayaks weigh less than 45 lbs. I admit that I’m a bit of a lazy fisherman and don’t desire to paddle miles upon miles to go fishing. I do still enjoy turning a key, hearing the purr of a finely tuned four stroke as I ease the that hammer forward an motor on towards my favorite fishing spots. However, it’s now a rarity that I leave the dock without a kayak strapped down in the front of my skiff. The kayak has enabled me to explore and discover new flats areas that were previously un-reachable by skiff or wading. These little “honey spots” as I fancy calling them are filled with virgin schools of bones and permit that are super aggressive. Lacking the constant pressure from guides and tourist has kept these spots sacred and more fun than a Crisco covered pig in a kid’s carnival.

As we all know the aggressive fishing and higher catch rate has probably convinced many reading this to give kayak fishing a try or incorporate it into your fishing regimen as well. There is yet one last thing I feel most might be interested to know. Kayak fishing cost significantly less than running a flats skiff all day with a local guide that’s trying to feed the family as well. Most kayak fishing destination such as BITE ME! Kayak Fishing Adventures in Belize charge around a hundred dollars per day which includes breakfast, lunch, and delivery by skiff to and from remote fishing flats that guides and other fishermen can’t travel due to the skinny water entrance or the mud and silt bottom composition that will have you sinking to your knees if one were to attempt wading it. As with most fishing flats once you paddle through these opening which range from fifty yards in to a hundred yards. The flats areas open back up into large mangrove lined private havens averaging 12 to 18 inches of water and a solid limestone bottom that make stalking these little “honey holes” a fisherman’s dream.

So, the next time you find your self feeling stagnate about your fishing spots. Grab a kayak from a local kayak-fishing retailer; they’ll usually have demo or rental kayaks for you to try. Load it on the boat or strap it to a car. Head on over to your local waters and explore and discover new and more productive fishing when you incorporate a kayak into your fishing.

USING A PARASAILING TOUR FOR CHEAP BELIZE FISHING

If you’re on a budget and want to go fly fishing in Belize on Ambergris Caye. Here is a valuable tip for you. I used this when I first moved to Belize and didn’t have my own boat yet. I refused to pay a guide $300.00 US for a day of fishing when only 6 years ago I only paid $75.00 to Fish all day on Ambergris Caye. I opted to take a Belize Parasailing tour on Ambergris Caye with a camera and a telephoto lens.

After I was release off the back of the parasail boat and allowed to drift to the safe line length I started snapping away with my camera. Not only did I get some great  photographs on my little Belize parasailing adventure but I was able to identify great flats fishing areas that I could hike through the bush and fish by my self. It was worth the hour in the sky on the Parasailing adventure on Ambergris Caye to map out the best Flats Fishing areas around the island.

Mike Connor of “Shallow Water Angler” debates and discusses the best practices for setting the hook when saltwater fly fishing. As I’ve discussed before, I was blown away the first time I went saltwater fly fishing. I was fairly adept at fresh water fly fishing and the small little differences that made all the difference from catching and not catching not only humbled me but captured my attention so much that I physically relocated my self to the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye, Belize to permanently pursue this type of fly fishing. This article will have you catching more fish than ever before. Read Saltwater Fly Fishing Hook Setting Practices Here.

Test your Hook Setting abilities on a BELIZE FISHING trip

When I first began to take trips to Tropical destinations with crystal clear flats waters and no cover around for miles. I spent much time not catching fish but watching, learning and practicing what the guys who were catching fish were doing. Even after I had my “Double Haul” down pat and could cast a line 90 feet or further I still had troubles spooking the fish with improper presentation and false casting too much, resulting in me whipping the fly over head of a tailing group of Bonefish, or Permit. And sure as now fish likes to be chased by a fly, they certainly don’t like to be chased by one in the air over their heads. With one quick dart, the only thing left was a small cloudy patch in the water where they churned up the silty sandy bottom in their hasty retreat.

When fishing here in Belize I often tell anglers that you get three chances – TOPS! If you can have 70 – 80 feet of line out and letting that fly sink a foot in front of that Bonefish or Permit, well then, It’s over. They’ll move off and continue on their search for more food. I’ll continue to poll into position to get in position for working an area that the fish are feeding in. But I can’t stress enough the importance of excellent presentation and expert placement. Chico Fernandez has written a great article pertaining to this subject and highly worth a read. Read more about proper placement in Saltwater Fly Fishing by Chico Fernandez

You can book your Ideal Fishing Vacation in BelizeBook It Belize – can provide you with more detailed information about what gear to bring when fishing in Belize, to CHEAP Belize fishing packages that range form all-inclusive, even extremely affordable Belize kayak fishing tours that can only cost $1,000 per person for an entire week of fishing on Ambergris Caye.

by J. M. Chico Fernández
Not all line-to-leader knots are created equal. It pays to know which one to use for the line on your reel.
Fly Fishing Knots and Leader Connections

The author prepares to release a hefty bonefish taken on 6-weight tackle, where the proper line-to-leader knot is essential to holding and landing your quarry.

Chico Fernandez photo

ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR I conduct part of my fly-fishing school out on the flats, where my students and I can spread out to hunt for bonefish. During these sessions, I see all kinds of fly-rod and fly-line combinations, along with a great variety of rigging methods, leader constructions, and knots. Some are very good; some not very good at all.

On one particular day during an incoming tide, several large schools of bonefish roamed around the “classroom.” A few anglers were hooked up, but I noticed one guy who had been fighting the same bonefish for a while. He had the fish in close, but the bone always managed to remain a few yards out of reach. Walking toward the guy, I spotted his problem from 20 yards away: The knot joining the fly line to the butt section of the leader was too big to pass through the rod’s tip top, and the length of the leader allowed the fish to swim out of reach. Read More…

If you’re planning or thinking of planning a fishing trip to Belize make certain you have your double haul down pat. One of the first things most notice when Fly Fishing in the tropics of Belize is that your game has to ellevate to catch fish. Not only are the fish a thousand times fore skittish then fishing some mountain stream with ripples in the water and structures such as rocks and large overhanging trees and brush. But the fish are typically 70 feet and out to reach them. Add on top of all that a prevailing trade wind that averages 12 to 16 knots from sun-up to sun-down and you have no choice but ensure your casting and presentation skills are top-notch.

I can’t recall how many times friends have come to visit for a week excited about a.) fishing for Tarpon, Permit, and Bonefish here in my home off Ambergris Caye in Belize. And almost as important b.) they get to stay at my house for free thus reducing the costs of paying for lodging and the 200 to 300 per day charged by the majority of Belize fly fishing guides. (as you can imagine – this makes a Belize fishing adventure very affordable. Just food, gas for my boat, and airfare). Yet with all this stacked in their favor they still find themselves riddled with frustration and angst by the end of day three. The reason; they didn’t come prepared and have no had to be forced into using their valuable fishing time as real-life practice time. I’ve seen it take anywhere from 3 to 5 days before they catch a fish. At that moment they forget about the days of hell that have just pasted. But I guarantee they would have preferred to be catching fish those days prior to the first one.

So what can you do about? Well, I suggest finding a rather open stretch of water – preferably one with a stiff breeze blowing across the surface and practice various casting techniques such as the Belgium cast. Not to mention that you should make absolutely certain you have your Double Haul cast down. I’ve had great success by turning friends onto a DVD aptly named Joan Wulff’s Dynamics of Fly Casting. This woman has had more experience as a professional WINNING Fly Caster than probably anyone I’ve ever met. Watching the grace and rhythm of which she carefully guides her fly line will inspire anyone. I’m including a little video clip about her below, along with a link to Amazon where you can pick up her Dynamics of Fly Casting DVD for an extremely reasonable price of about 20.00 bucks. And trust me, $20.00 is the best investment you’ll make prior to coming down to Belize to fish the flats.

Fly Casting with Joan Wulff

BUY JOAN WULFF’S DYNAMICS OF FLY CASTING from Amazon.com for $21.00: CLICK HERE

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