Belize, Day 3: The Needlefish and the Damage Done

Steve Seinberg considers how he is going to release his trophy needlefish, which wasn’t actually hooked.
All photos by Phil Monahan

For our final day of fishing out of El Pescador Resort, I was back in guide Alex’s boat, but this time partnered with Steve Seinberg of Southern Culture on the Fly. (He’s also an accomplished artist.) Since Alex had put Kirk Deeter on a Grand Slam our last time out, I had pretty high hopes. The weather looked a little sketchy, though, so we made sure to pack raingear.

As the morning progressed, the skies grew darker and darker.

Alex motored us all the way across the bay on the backside of Ambergris Caye to the mainland, as a way to get out of the weather skirting the barrier reef. We poled around there for an hour or so and got a single shot at some bonefish and a couple at big snook, but none of them showed much interest in our flies. Steve did manage to hook a trophy needlefish, which got its teeth tangled in the craft fur of his streamer. (Just like gar fishing!) As we fished, we watched the skies darken until they looked downright apocalyptic. That’s when Alex decided that we should head back toward Mosquito Caye.

Soon it looked as if the end was nigh.

It looked as if we were heading right into the hellmouth, but Alex kept us right along the edge of the bad stuff. As soon as we got to Mosquito Caye and I hopped up on the platform, the skies opened up. It wasn’t a particularly hard rain, but there was plenty of it for about ten minutes, as I banged the mangroves with a baitfish pattern, trying to lure a snook out. Then we saw some bones, and they refused to even look at our flies.

Young Alan once again served as official boat boy and guide’s apprentice.

We spent the next four hours on an immense flat, where we had several shots at big permit and tarpon. That is to say, Steve had shots. Every time I got on the platform, the flat looked like a barren wasteland. As soon as I handed things over to Steve, fish would appear. I hate that guy. But again, nothing would eat.

Soon, the sun was downright punishing, sucking the very life force from my soul. I endured this for a few hours before we called it quits and headed back to the lodge. There, we found that most of the other anglers had had similar luck. Perhaps it was the changeable weather. No matter because a crappy day on the flats of Belize is still a pretty damned good day.

Guide Alex Gomez shows off his sweet ink. I wonder if that tarpon would eat?

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