Recently, we returned to one of our favorite destinations and my home away from home for the Thanksgiving break. Travelled to Belize with my wife, Tracy, and this time, we brought along our friends Scott and Susan George, and one of Tracy’s colleagues, Lea. With the exception of our arrival day, the weather cooperated beautifully. The twenty-five minute flight on the private plane from Belize City to the island was pretty eventfully in very stormy conditions and made the approach to the island’s very small and very narrow runway extremely tricky. Needless to say, a few One Barrels were polished off at the house.

My friend Scott and I quickly unpacked our arsenal of rods, reels and tackle already waiting for us and we were off in search of bonefish, permit, tarpon and snook on the shallow Belizean flats of Chetumal and Savannah as well as the surrounding lagoons containing cenotes. Scott is an experienced bass angler and was really looking forward to the fantastic shallow water angling in Central America. When we’re in Belize and being flats boatless at the moment down there, we fish with the best of the best, George Bradley. During our stay, George guided us to countless bonefish, permit, tarpon and a few snook and did so in ways that were extremely challenging and in some ways that were much less challenging. All fish were taken on artificial baits including small tan/brown bucktails and Gulp! 5” Jerkshads. We used Penn Conquers in 2000 and 4000 Series with All-Star ASR Redfish 7’ rods with 4-6# Spiderwire Ultracast InvisiBraid for the bonefish and permit, and 15# InvisiBraid for the tarpon. All leader material was 10-12# Stren Tinted in Coral Mist for the bones/permit and 30-50# Stren Tinted in Tannic for the tarpon/snook. We even encouraged George to hit some difficult bones and permits with the fly rod and we really got to experience a master at work. It was a great several days of fishing with daily numbers of 15-25 bonefish in the 2.5-4# range, 6-12 permit in the 3-8# range, some great 20-50# tarpon with lots of jumped off fish and some snook.

During the days we weren’t fishing, we travelled to the mainland for some cave-tubing, some spa action and the Mayan ruins of Altun Ha. We also did some snorkeling and diving on Belize’s barrier reef around Ho Chan, Shark/Ray Alley, Coral Gardens and Manatee Rocks. In the afternoons we cruised on bikes for some bar hopping and food sampling. For Thanksgiving, we hired a 60’ private sailboat with crew and spend the day sailing to Caye Caulker, snorkeling and hunting lobster, conch and yellowtail for our awesome Thanksgiving dinner. Our final night, we had dinner reservations at Mambo at the fabulous Matachica Resort and the dinner was insane.

A great trip all-around with great friends, superb fishing and one of the best Thanksgiving weeks ever. Great to be home and already trying to catch up on Redfish University trips with some instructional and regular guided trips slated this week through next. Getting out tomorrow to make certain the redfish and trout are where they should be! Thanks again, Eric Holstman

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