Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of a wonderful beach resort as you get all the excitement you can handle from a day spent searching for barracuda. If you need a closer look at the fish, jump in! This episode will bring you up close and personal with the creatures of the sea during a snorkeling trip to Shark/Ray Alley. If you still need more, take a resort scuba course and spend some time swimming with the fishes!


Barracuda are intimidating fish and although we didn't meet a very big one while fishing off Ambergris Caye we still wanted to be up to the challenge. Both Robin and I used 9 foot 8 weight Horizon series rods by Thomas & Thomas. The Horizon series has a relatively stiff, fast action, which is good for many types of casting conditions. However, we relied on these rods more for fighting the powerful barracuda than for casting, as we did quite a bit of trolling through classic feeding areas, as opposed to traditional fly casting. This method may rub some the wrong way, but it is very effective and affords an angler the opportunity to fight and land this amazingly fast fish on a fly rod. What a thrill!

We used a size 8 reel by the J. Ryall Company. Unlike a typical trout reel that may have little or no drag system, when fishing for powerful fish like barracuda it's important to have a good drag. For line, we used a running line with a 25' shooting head. This setup made casting a large fly fairly easy, and barracuda like large flies! It was also an easy line to troll. The thin diameter creates less drag and the weighted shooting head helps keep the fly under the surface. Barracuda have big sharp teeth. Therefore, we used one of Jim Vincent's "Toothy Critter" leaders. They are 7 1/2 feet long with a thin stainless steel tippet built in so the barracuda can't bite through.

A friend of ours from Casper, WY, Don Ordes, owner of Fantasy Flies, designs exotic flies for exotic fish. He came up with the Needlefish Fly we used. It's about 9 inches long and is made out of flex-o-mylar tubing. It's an amazing baby needlefish imitation...

PRIME TIME: mid-Nov through mid-May
GETTING THERE: Belize City to
 San Pedro, Ambergris Cay
LODGING & DINING: hotels, resorts, motels
ACTIVITIES: Mayan ruins, rainforest trails, fly fishing, reef camping trip, Shark Ray Alley
THINGS TO REMEMBER: Passport, casual attire
Belize is a wonderfully diverse country. The history and culture continue to unfold. Excavation and reconstructive work is being carried out at the many Mayan ceremonial sites, revealing an amazing glimpse of the past, while modern cities are growing and expanding. All to the delight of the increasing number of tourists discovering this place.

Getting to Belize is easy, with commercial flights arriving in Belize City several times a day. International travelers will need to bring a passport to get through immigration. From the mainland you can hop over to Ambergris Caye, a quick 25-minute flight, to experience a tropical island getaway. Check out Tropic Air for that breathtaking flight.

Once on the island you'll be struck by the relaxed, friendly atmosphere. The coconut palms lining the beach, the streets of sand, and the tropical breeze are just excuses for going there. The reasons include the variety of things to do. Take a resort scuba course, try windsurfing, swim with the rays and angelfish, hire a guide to explore the mangroves for bonefish or manatees, or just stretch out on a hammock for the afternoon. Make your reservations early. Check the currency exchange, which is currently $1 American to $2 Belizean.

There's a wide range of options for lodging and meals. Choose a beachfront resort to pamper your needs or take a more frugal approach and stay at one of the locally owned motels. If you like fresh seafood, this is the place for you. There are a number of restaurants that will prepare your "catch of the day" if you ask ahead. Enjoy a night out for some great Mexican cuisine, or grab a quick meal from one of the local street vendors. These are all priced accordingly, so there is something for every budget.

Here are a few things to remember while planning your trip to Ambergris Caye. This is not a fancy vacation destination. The islands' motto is "No shirt, No shoes...No Problem!" Feel free to bring your nicest sundress or Bermuda shorts, but be sure to pack plenty of T-shirts and sandals. Also, be aware that they want to preserve their resources. Don't try bringing home any coral or Mayan artifacts, or anything made from a turtle! Leave it in its place...come back and enjoy!

Recommended Lodging:

Ramon's Village Resort
PO Box 4407
Laurel, MS 39441
Phone: 1-800-MAGIC-15
e-mail: info@ramons.com
Ramon's is one of those special places where dreams come true! Whether it's diving along the 2nd largest coral reef in the world, reading a book under a palm tree, angling for world-class fish or enjoying dinner beneath a full moon with the sound of the Caribbean just a few feet away, Ramon's is the place to experience it all.

Recommended Dining:

Ramon's Village (see above)

Elvi's Kitchen
PO Box 3
Pescador Drive
San Pedro
Ambergris Caye, Belize
Phone: 026-2176-2404

Recommended Domestic Airline in Belize

Tropic Air
email: tropicair@btl.net

General Information on Ambergris Caye

This site has a wealth of information!

Recommended Reading

"Belize; Land of the Free by the Carib Sea"
author: Thor "Bushman" Janson
ISBN#: 84-89766-58-4

Things To See And Do

Snorkeling or scuba diving: Belize is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world which draws an endless variety of aquatic life. The water clarity allows a diver to see up to 150 feet, depending on the conditions. No experience is necessary, as there are many local dive shops that offer courses. Jacques Cousteau's famous Blue Hole is a day trip available from Ambergris Caye, an experience you will not soon forget.

World-class fishing for tarpon, bonefish, and permit: There are endless miles of shallow water flats and mangroves along the coast of Belize. It's an anglers' paradise, offering fishing opportunities year 'round. The rivers of mainland Belize are another option for anglers as well.

Maya Ruins: Whether you're a history buff or not, you will enjoy taking one of the Discovery tours of the Maya sites. Watch as the excavation continues, revealing the past before your eyes. Arranging a day trip is easy. Most hotels can make the reservations for you on relatively short notice.