Ambergris Caye is conveniently located amidst some of the most productive bonefish, permit and tarpon flats in the Caribbean. The area has long been a favorite of anglers chasing the coveted tropical saltwater grand slam. Although still a difficult feat, even for highly skilled anglers, many would agree that El Pescador is probably home to more grand slams than any other lodge in the Caribbean.
The flats extend for miles, providing ample opportunities and a wide variety of species. The nutrient rich ecosystem provides a tremendous amount of food to the bonefish, permit, tarpon and numerous other fish that inhabit the flats. From extremely large schools of small bonefish to incredible schools of permit and tarpon exceeding 150 pounds, variety is what fly fishing in this part of Belize is all about.
Bonefish are the most numerous game fish available in Northern Belize. Many experienced professional and amateur anglers caught their first bonefish with an El Pescador guide. The fish are plentiful and there are always options available to anglers of all skill levels. The average bonefish weighs in at around 2 pounds but there are larger fish available, and fish over 10 pounds have been landed. Most of the bonefishing around Ambergris Caye is done while casting from the platform of a Mexican style panga flats boat. The elevated position of the angler and guide makes spotting fish easier and oftentimes the boat can get closer to the fish than a wading angler can. There are some flats that are hard bottomed and well suited to wade fishing. However, anglers spend most of their time fishing from the boat.
Permit are a popular attraction for anglers visiting Belize. Although never easy to catch, if you are willing to put in the time and effort, this is one of the best places in the world to connect with this special fish. Permit sizes range from 5 pounds to over 40 pounds with the average fish landed running around 10 pounds.
Tarpon are available year round in smaller numbers and sizes. Resident fish ranging from 10-20 pounds are found in the mangrove creeks, and are a lot of fun on a fly rod whenever they are encountered. Larger resident fish, up to 90 pounds, are often found on the flats, and it is possible to sight fish for tarpon most months. Occasionally it is necessary to prospect the deeper channels with sinking lines, so anglers should be prepared to employ a variety of strategies. In approximately late April through early October the larger migratory tarpon move into the area looking for baitfish schools on their annual migration through the Caribbean. This provides the best opportunity to sight fish for tarpon. It is not unusual to see fish over 100 pounds and larger fish are caught every year. The lodge record was 196 pounds. Although this is one of the best destinations in the world to catch a tarpon on the flats, it is never a sure thing and anglers new to flats fishing should not expect to catch tarpon on their first trip.
All of El Pescador’s guides were born and raised on Ambergris Caye. Many of the guides have been working at El Pescador for over 20 years, and all are expert anglers. The guides have an encyclopedic knowledge of the fishery, coming from a lifetime dedicated to learning where the fish are and how best to catch them on a fly. El Pescador’s guides are happy to help teach you some of their secrets and will work hard to maximize your opportunities for success.
Many of the small inns and resorts on Ambergris Caye offer to arrange day trips with independent guides. However, ask anyone in Belize if they are a fishing guide and you will most likely get a confident “yes”. The same individual may also claim to be an expert carpenter or SCUBA dive instructor. All guides are not created equal, so it is important to choose carefully. If fishing is an important part of your vacation to Ambergris Caye, there is no substitute for the well organized fishing program and friendly professional guides at El Pescador.
Captain Todd Calitri
Todd has led numerous trips and events for Orvis Travel. He is a Federation of Fly Fishers certified casting instructor and spends his summers at Orvis Endorsed Alaska Sportsman’s Lodge as the lodge's General Manager. During the winters, he works as a fly fishing guide on a privately owned 200 foot super yacht fishing tropical destinations around the world. He has fished and guided for permit in The Bahamas, Belize, Mexico, Florida keys as well as Indo Pacific permit in the Seychelles, Maldives, and St. Brandon.
Todd comes from a long line of educators and fly fisherman. Originally from Long Island NY, Todd has worked with his father and brother, both licensed captains guiding light tackle and fly fishing charters off Southern NH, and Montauk, NY. Numerous angling magazines and TV shows have featured Todd for his ability to guide fishermen to extraordinary catches. His friendly personality and willingness to share his knowledge make him a lot of fun to spend time with. His professionalism and management experience make him the perfect trip leader.
- Snorkeling: the waters are crystal clear, there’s a major barrier reef close to the lodge, and a marine park.
- Dive: there’s a dive shop and a full time dive master. They arrange a variety of daily dives, including trips to the World famous Blue Hole.
- Mayan ruins: daytrips to the mainland can be arranged to visit the impressive ruins.
- Birding/kayaking: tours are available along the protected mangrove coast and beach.
- Sailing: daytrips and sunset cruises are available.