Belize is one of the most magical places a fly fisherman can experience. With this in mind we again hosted a weeklong trip to award winning El Pescador lodge in San Pedro. This is the third year in a row we hosted this trip and again it did not disappoint.
El Pescador Lodge has been our destination for three years running for several important reasons. First, they are an award-winning lodge. Two-time winner of the Orvis International Lodge of the Year. Second, they are right smack dab in the middle of some of the best fishing water in the world. Third the lodging, food, and guides are always great.
The overall fishing this year was hit and miss. This was mostly because of the weather. We had several days of overcast and wind. This is the double whammy for flats fishing. We also had two days of clear blue sky and little wind. On these days we hammered the fish. We hooked Tarpon, permit and bonefish. I personally jumped two tarpon and hooked two permit on one of the nice days. Like all saltwater fishing not every hook up and every day works out. I lost a huge permit at the boat with a busted hook. The hook held for the hour long fight but let go when the guide was tailing the permit. What a heartbreaker. The hook was a production fly purchased in Belize and you can bet I will be tying some of the same pattern on stiffer hooks for my next trip.
We noticed a bunch more permit around this year than in the past. Not sure if it was weather related, if we were looking for them more or if there were just more around. Everyone had several good shots almost daily. Tarpon were hard to spot on the bad weather days but when it turned around we found them everywhere we looked. Spent one day back in the mangroves casting to baby tarpon. This was a blast. Fighting a small tarpon and trying to keep them out of the mangroves where they will tangle you up is about as much fun as a person can have. I am looking forward to trying this again. Bonefish are always plentiful and easily found.
Being the third year of this trip we have gotten to know some of the guides really well. I personally fished with guide Junior and Alex. Junior is the type of guide that will get you into fish or die trying. Just my type of guide. Alex is a little more soft spoken, a great casting instructor who will always take your to the off the beaten path spots. Both are awesome and I recommend them both. In fact all the guides we have fished with at El Pescador are great. They receive regular training, can speak great English and all are centered on making sure your trip is great. One hint if you’re going. Make sure you communicate with your guide if you are looking to land a tarpon or permit. These two fish require more looking and a much lower body count at the end of the day. Make sure they are aware you are OK with the lower catch rate and more technical fishing.
We again stayed in the lodge rooms. These are motel like rooms in the main lodge. Each room comes with a bathroom, walk in shower, air condition, a place to hang your rods and a porch overlooking the ocean. I am not sure what brand of mattress El Pescador uses but it produces some of the best sleep of my life. Food, the three pools and the bar are just steps away. The lodge rooms are perfect for a fishing group or anyone looking to relax. El Pescador also has villas on property. These are more like houses with a common area and lock off rooms. We have never stayed in the villas but looking forward to it one day.
If you’re like me food is an important part of the trip. The El Pescador chef Bella serves up some of the finest food you will ever eat. Her sidekick and pastry gal Aracelli makes deserts that are to die for every night. There is a rotating menu every night with one local fish dish and one meat dish. In three years I have never yet had a bad meal. I personally like the Huavos Rancheros for breakfast and long for the rib night. The best ribs I have ever eaten. The main server Heidy is a breath of fresh air and always on hand to make your meal great.
I managed to catch a large Jack and decided to kill it for the table. The kitchen whipped up a great Jack fingers for appetizer for everyone in the lodge, a real treat. We are on the food plan where breakfast and dinner are at the lodge and there is a lunch on the boat. The boat lunches are just great. You place your order the night before and it is packed and ready for your guide to pick up. I personally love the ceviche and chips and the lime aid is to die for. I dream about these more than the fishing.
The bar is part of the food plan. All your drinks of local Belizean alcohol are included. They have great bar drinks and wonderful local Belkin beer. My favorite is the painkiller. A mix of three local rums and pineapple and coconut juice make this a sure thing at the end of the day. If you are longing for non-Belizean drinks they have those as well for purchase. Mariano in the bar is the mixologist and has become a great friend.
I am not sure how El Pescador does it but they hire some of the best staff I have ever seen. By the end of the first day everyone including the maintenance workers know your name. Your first encounter is at the airport when Ricardo picks you up and transports you by boat to the lodge. There you meet the ever talented Meraseth and Marlin in the office for check in and orientation. The fishing director Isa is on hand each night to fine-tune your casting and the Manager Ken is always present. This team or family as they like to be called is really spectacular and second to none. All of them make any trip to El Pescador special.
Overall the trip was a huge success. We caught fish, learned to cast better, ate till we were full and had a great time. While the weather most of the time was disappointing we did have a great day or two. The reason we book a week is so if the weather is bad we will most certainly have a few good days. El Pescador takes care of everything that is in their control. The lodging, food, bar, guides, staff and amenities are second to none.
We will again be planning another trip in 2019 to Belize and El Pescador Lodge. It’s a great break from winter and sun on your face and flip-flops on your feet sure do beat snow boots. If you’re interested in joining our Belizean fishing adventure or any of our hosted adventures just give us a call.