Written by: Seth Berger, Orvis Fly Fishing Travel
Last week, I returned from my third visit to El Pescador Lodge in northern Belize. Obviously this trip was under different circumstances than my previous ones, so I had to take additional precautions to get there: I was extremely careful for two weeks before, took a COVID test within 72-hours of my arrival in Belize, and took extra care while traveling. The knowledge that a well-rested fishery and eager guides awaited me and my friends made all these preparations worth it.
Other than wearing a mask and frequently using hand sanitizer, the air travel was much like what I’ve experienced in the past. Upon arrival in Belize City, we provided documentation of our negative COVID tests, airport staff took our temperatures, and we cleared customs. As we boarded the Tropic Air flight to fly over to Ambergris Caye, any nerves about travel dissipated, and the excitement for fishing grew. Our eyes were glued to the windows, looking for fish on the flats below.
When we arrived at El Pescador, we were greeted by the smiling faces of the staff, all behind masks of course. After we settled in, we quickly headed out into the lagoon behind the lodge to do some do-it-yourself fishing before dinner. We didn’t have any luck that evening, but we did see some bonefish, which only increased the excitement for the three days to come.
Each of the following three mornings, we started the day by getting our temperature taken. Following that, we grabbed coffee and a breakfast burrito (an El Pescador specialty) and then immediately headed out onto the flats. It was remarkable to see the number of fish around. The flats of northern Belize are always full of bonefish, permit, tarpon, and many other species, but six months of no fishing pressure had clearly resulted in more fish feeding on the flats. Every day we had shots at the three premiere species as well as large snook, barracuda, and tripletails. In addition to seeing more fish, we saw fewer anglers. If you’ve ever wanted to have 400+ square miles of flats to yourself, you’ll want to head to Belize ASAP!
I understand that many people have reservations about traveling right now. I had my own concerns going into the trip, but I can honestly say the process was not that different from “normal” times. The incredible fishing and experience at the lodge were well worth the small hassle of wearing a mask and washing my hands frequently. I can’t wait to go back.
Seth Berger is an Orvis Fly Fishing Travel Specialist. If you have questions about traveling to Belize, give him a call at 800-547-4322.