Over this past Christmas break I had the great opportunity to visit the country of Belize. I went with my mom and sister for family time, but I could not pass up a couple days of chasing bones on fly. I reserved the last two days for fly-fishing. We stayed at Hamanasi Resort which was fantastic. The resort is a very small, with very personal services and amenities. The weather had been perfect the first four days of vacation, so I could not think that anything would be wrong for my days of fishing. With my luck, I woke up at 6 a.m. the first fishing day to a light rain, dark overhead clouds, and a breeze that gusted upwards of 35knots. The local guide and I talked it out and decided we would brave the elements in his 20 foot boat with a 40hp outboard. We went over a reef for a while with no luck; I was just hoping it would calm down enough to throw the fly around. The wind died to around 20 knots holding steady, so we decided it’s now or never.

We spend over three hours searching for any signs of bones or permit, but the clouds and wind were making it near impossible. If you have not thrown a fly rod for three straight hours in 20 knot wind, I suggest you try it and see if you can lift your drink that evening. We were not able to catch fish that day. I know that I gave it a good shot, so I couldn’t be too upset. I ended the day with some local beer, with hopes the weather would be better in the morning.

I woke up the next morning to find the same, poor weather. We decided to wait out the morning, and only do an afternoon trip due to the strong winds. We headed into the 5-6 foot whitecaps and 25 knot wind. We went straight for bones because we only had the afternoon. We spent a half an hour just cruising looking for silver against the white sand, but with no sun, and a slight rain, it was just impossible. I would blind cast randomly in places we had seen them the previous day but with no luck. Finally the rain stopped and the sun didn’t quite come out but it seemed as if the clouds thinned and we could barely see impressions the waves made in the sand. We spent another hour or more searching until I hear: “11 o clock! 40ft! Fast!” The guide, Noel, had spotted a single pair tailing by a lone tree branch sticking out. I was too far left with the first cast, but the second was just over them, I let it sink and stripped it twice right in front of them, at this point my heart was beating so loud I thought it would spook them. Strike! Miss! My heart stopped beating for a second. I though the day was done, there was another rain shower on the way and this one was not looking like a light drizzle. Noel, seeing my disappointment asked if I would like to try again. I laughed, then he laughed and got the push pole back out.

Another 45 or 50 minutes of straining our eyes we finally got lucky. A school of ten or so bones swam right under the boat, right under the boat! They were cruising and I had to be quick, I threw behind them the first time but just kept getting line out. I let it sit for maybe 15 seconds on the bottom and just twitched it, twitched it, twi-Strike! Set! I started yelling before I was sure I had fish on. I laughed the entire time I brought it in; I am pretty sure Noel thinks I’m crazy. Maybe I am, but that was one of the best experiences of my life. I always heard people had trouble catching bones because they spook so easily, and are hard to hook up. I recommend giving it a try. It gave me a whole other level of appreciation for the ghosts of the flats.