The last day is always sad. Granny and I’ve had such good time down here at Belize River Lodge. This morning we awoke to developing clouds. This would normally deter us from the flats; however the tarpon weren’t rolling at the Belize River mouth either. So off Granny, Pedro and I went to test our eyes in tough flats conditions in hopes to see wakes, nervous water and tails.
We made about a ½ hour run to Hicks Key. Hicks is one of my old favorites and you can find about any species here. The plan was to look for permit tails. When Pedro cut the engine I wasted no time taking the bow. One thing with permit, if you’re not ready they’ll be there. I don’t know how many times I haven’t got a rod out quick enough. Sure enough a school of what looked like permit swooshed from fleeing cormorants. Pedro yelled, “Permit moving right”. I already had them in my radar and was ripping off line. My first cast was short but two more huge line pulls from the reel then a new cast and my crab was sinking in front of the fish. In a split second I felt a vicious thump. Fish on!
At first we thought I had a permit. With the poor light some dorsal fins cutting above the water looked black. But as my fish and his friends got on our right I could see the fins of big jack crevalle. The initial run was all my 10-weight Ross RX could handle. Seriously, the jack crevalle is an underrated gangster of a fish. These guys courageously eat anything and then test your forearms and equipment to the max. If you’re inexperienced, expect to fight a 10lb jack for at least 20 minutes. And if you know what you’re doing, fight him hard but remember, jacks have busted up more fly rods next to the boat than most fish. About eight minutes after hook up I was gripping the tail of a respectable mean looking crevalle.
When done with the jack, it looked like it was about to rain. I noticed a wake in very shallow water. I reached for my 7-weight rigged with an un-weighted pink crazy Charlie and made a short sidearm cast in front of the V. Wham! My hands still reeked of jack and I was hooked to a small bonefish. After I landed him Pedro looked to me and asked, “How about some snappers?”
It was Granny’s turn however she knew how much fun I was having. She’s still celebrating her tarpon. She told me to grab my snapper rig and get read to have fun. For snapper, especially if there are big ones around, you need mono shock tippet. I picked up my 9-weight RX already affixed with 60 pound mono shock and a red and white whistler. I checked the hook and nodded to Pedro. He told me to get line out as he motored to the edge of some mangroves. On the first cast I landed this handsome gray snapper (also known as the mangrove snapper).
A cloudy day fly fishing in Belize couldn’t have gone any better. During the next hours Granny and I boated more snappers, two baby black groupers, a horse-eye jack and some small barracudas. It was a fantastic multispecies day. So what if we couldn’t find the permit and tarpon – what a great way to end a fantastic trip to Belize!