Photos of the Day: Bonus-Day Tarpon in Belize

Written by: Dan Davala, Orvis Arlington

Just when he thought he’d failed in his quest for a tarpon, a stroke of good fortune came Jim Lampros’s way.
Photo by Dan Davala

Last week, my good friend Jim Lampros (Fishing Manager at Orvis Cleveland) and I had the opportunity to escape the present Ice Age we’re in and fly south to El Pescador in Belize. We decided to spend the majority of our time hunting tarpon, which are available year-round along Ambergris Caye, but of course, we harassed plenty of bonefish and chased some permit in the process. After three days of good hunting, plenty of good shots, and quite a few eats, we had come up short and were unable to get a tarpon to the boat. We were more than content with our “losses” though; after all, we were in Belize, so what did we have to complain about?

That evening, while telling stories and having a few beverages at the open air bar, the fishing director approached to tell us he had a cancellation the next day, the boat was paid for, and if we’d like another shot, it was ours! He twisted our arms pretty hard until we obliged, and just like that, we were back in the game.

Dan Davala celebrates after a successful tarpon hunt.
Photo by Jim Lampros

Early the next morning, on a calm flat, we found some happy tarpon rolling on the surface, and Jimmy stuck one good! This fish literally chased the fly and hit it five times throughout the retrieve until finally the hook found a home. I was able to get the whole thing from the cast to the grab, to all the jumps, and finally the landing and release on video, so hopefully I’ll have an edit for you soon. Here are a couple of pics in the meantime.

Dan Davala is Fishing Manger at Orvis Arlington (VA). For more information on a visit to El Pescador, visit Orvis Travel.

6 thoughts on “Photos of the Day: Bonus-Day Tarpon in Belize”

  1. Jim/Dan:
    Nice snap shots!
    (You guys are killing me; just got in from shoveling 15″ of white material from my front and side decks in north-west CT.)

    1. Hey Peggy,

      Fly selection really depends on your target species. In my experience and based on talks with the guides and fellow anglers, for bonefish Christmas Island Specials and Gotchas are favorites. Weed guards are pretty much a “must.” Other flies definitely work, but those are proven winners.

      Tarpon flies are fairly standard and selection really depends on water and light conditions, but we had the best luck with and kept going back to standard black death and red death patterns. White or flashy baitfish imitations are popular too.

      Rubber legged crab and big shrimp imitations are the choice for permit.

      All of this is pretty standard, but the best advise I can give you is to tie or buy flies of varying weights, to make sure your tarpon flies won’t foul, and to make sure your bonefish flies have weed guards!

      Good luck!

  2. Looks like you guys were with Amir (not so sure how to spell his name) and his son Gordy, that is defiantly why you caught a tarpon.

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