Jack Trout Fly Fishing International
- Flats boots
- Wading booties or sneakers and socks elasticized at the calf
- Hat (s) (long billed, wide brimmed, etc.)
- A good quality pair of Polaroid sunglasses , with straps. Wrap around style gives most complete eye protection.
- Scarf/ Bandanna
- Simms Protective gloves (VERY IMPORTANT)
- Lightweight shirts
- Lightweight long sleeve shirts
- Lightweight shorts
- Lightweight pants
- Tennis shoes
- Rain Jacket
- Bathing suits
- Fishing towel
- Dew Rag
- Face Protection
- Spray Bottle With Water
- Hand Alcohol
- Peets Coffee & Gold Swiss Filter – Non Dairy Creamer
- Hook hone
- Knot-tying tools
- Waterproof camera
- Large Leatherman / long-nosed pliers
- Swiss Army knife
- Small waterproof flashlight
- Waterproof matches
- Fanny pack
- Water purification tablets
- Water bottles
- Aqua-seal (knot coatings)
- Prescription medications
- First-aid kit
- Snscreen High factor
- Deet/ insect repellent
- Skin/hand lotion/ moisturizer
- Mask, snorkel, fins
- Regulator and Buoyancy Compensator
THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU LEAVE:
- Check to see that your passport is valid for up to 3 months past your date of return.
- Advise post office to hold mail.
- Place valuables in safe deposit box.
- Stop delivery of newspapers, milk etc.
- Buy travelers checks in low denominations (bring approximately $20 in $1 and $5 bills to purchase drinks) NOTE: There is a service charge made by most businesses in Belize for cashing checks.
- Put away all yard equipment and furniture.
- Put address labels on all baggage (inside and out).
- For the purpose of fast identification, please print name and address legibly on your baggage tags, last name first in capital letters.
- Leave extra house key and itinerary with relative or friend.
- Arrange for pets.
- Check with doctor about malaria prevention and other health concerns.
BEFORE YOU LOCK THE DOOR. HAVE YOU:
- Turned off all appliances and taps?
- Closed and locked windows and doors?
DO YOU HAVE: (Do not pack in your suitcase)
- Domestic air tickets.
- Name tag so you can be identified at the airport.
- Travelers checks and money.
- Luggage keys.
- Camera, film, flash, extra batteries, silica gel packets and zip-lock bags for keeping camera, lens, film and binoculars dry and fungal free.
- Prescription medicines required while traveling.
ESSENTIAL THINGS TO TAKE:
- Favorite remedies for headache, colds, upset stomach, including Lomotil or Pepto Bismol (for lower intestinal distress), nerves, insect bites, skin irritations, motion sickness, etc.
- Special medicines and prescriptions including malaria prophylactic.
- Insect repellent.
- Binoculars and field guides.
- Lightweight rain poncho.
- Small flashlight.
- Alarm clock.
- Zip-lock baggies (quart size, and plastic trash bags for wet clothes).
- Hat with brim for sun protection.
- Ballpoint pen and pad. Sunscreen lotion and chapstick (a must in tropical sun). Mask, fins, snorkel.
USEFUL EXTRAS TO MAKE TRAVELING EASIER:
Kleenex mini packs. Wash n' Dry pre-moistened towelettes. Towel for supplemental use and between-hotel swims. First aid kit. Postcard address list. Credit cards. Water bottle. Swiss army knife. Field guides and reference materials. Insurance certificates Address and telephone number of whom to contact in case of emergency.
CLOTHING, EQUIPMENT AND IMPORTANT FACTS:
The items on this list represent everything that you will need on your trip. Since space for baggage is often limited in the field, it is important that you do not bring extra items. Your own experience should help you choose individual items, but don't overestimate the predictability of the weather. On many of our trips you should be prepared for showers and hot sun.
CLOTHING - Casual Clothes for travel in cities and airplanes.
- Shirts: Cotton, or light synthetic blend such as those sold by Ex Officio, short-sleeved, or T-shirts; one light long-sleeved NOTE: Many travelers enjoy purchasing T-shirts throughout their trip and, therefore, pack accordingly.
- Trousers: Jeans or light hiking pants. Shorts can be worn in all places except town.
- Underwear: Cotton is comfortable, synthetic blends dry better overnight. Headwear: Light hat with wide brim, including back of neck, for sun protection. Tie under the chin is advisable to prevent possible loss due to wind on boats.
- Foul Weather Gear: Poncho - lightweight but sturdy (with any rain garment make sure the seams are sealed). Small folding umbrella can be useful while walking trails or in boats. Light- weight jacket or wind breaker for nights in the mountains or boat rides. A heavy cotton sweat shirt can be substituted for a windbreaker and feels great on the boat after snorkeling.
- Socks: Cotton, athletic.
- Shoes: Trails are often wet and therefore slippery, so your footwear is important. Walking shoes that grip or two pairs of tennis shoes (in case one pair gets wet and muddy). Flip-flops or shower togs. NOTE: Most landings on islands are wet landings and we recommend always wearing shoes in the field.
- Swimsuit: An extra swimsuit may be helpful.
SNORKELING / DIVING
NOTE: Snorkeling and diving equipment are available for rent. Due to the difficulty in getting a proper fit it is recommended that you bring your own mask and snorkel.
- Mask: Be sure that it fits properly. (Those with mustaches should bring Vaseline.) The best type is the strap-behind-the-heel type worn with dive booties. Flippers should fit properly because blisters can make marine activities very painful. NOTE: Those who are new to snorkeling may wish only to use tennis shoes for standing up on rocks in the shallows.
- Booties: Slip-on rubber dive booties protect from blisters and protect ankles against coral scrapes.
- Snorkel: Many varieties are available. Be sure the mouth piece is comfortable.
- Gloves - Cheap artificial leather or cloth garden gloves. NOTE: IT IS DESTRUCTIVE TO THE REEF TO HANDLE CORAL, SPONGES, ETC. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH!
- Divers:NOTE: You must have your own dive certification card with you.
- Weights and tanks are available for rent.
- Dive light if you are taking a night dive.
- Wet suit jacket or shorty wet suit (optional for those who are cold natured, otherwise use a T-shirt).
- Buoyancy compensator and gauges are required of all divers. Divers should have depth and pressure gauges, watch and knife.
Travel light! One medium-sized suitcase or duffle bag and a carry-on bag per person should be adequate. People who make a habit of traveling "light" report relatively trouble-free journeys uncomplicated by several pieces of luggage. Those of you who are taking collecting equipment need to be even more conservative in your packing. We recommend a duffle bag approximately 14" x 30", made of strong, waterproof duck with full zipper and wrap-around nylon type handles, or army surplus duffle. Duffle bags pack more easily and will protect your gear from dust.
- One plastic water bottle (1 quart rapacity, widemouth -- check for leaks). Water will be provided in the vehicles.
- Personal first aid kit (bandaids, aspirin, personal medications, insect repellent, after-bite stick, etc.)
- Toilet Kit (soap, toothbrush, personal toilet articles).
- Disposable towelettes (Wash n' Dries) are useful for personal hygiene.
- 50+ Sun-blocking lotion, 8-15 level Paba (preferably the type that will not easily wash off).
- Flashlight with spare batteries and bulb.
- Camera: your choice but keep the weight down.
- Bring your cord to transfer pictures to PC, Iphone or tablet.
- Go Pro camera with selfie stick.
- Flash and extra batteries. You will find a lens with macro capabilities most useful.
- Binoculars (new lightweight models are generally excellent).
- Watch (waterproof).
- Reading material, writing material, playing cards.
- Repair kit: needle, thread, buttons, 1/8" nylon cord, ripstop tape, etc.
- Regular sunglasses: spare pair if you wear prescription lenses.
- Stuff bags: various sizes, heavy duty, zip-lock for film, books, and small items; trash bags for wet clothes and dirty shoes.
We recommend that you hand carry on the plane in your daypack or hand luggage, camera, important documents, medicines and other irreplaceable items. Make sure they will fit under the seat of the plane or in the overhead compartment. DON' CHECK BAGS THROUGH to an overseas destination from your hometown -- wait until your final domestic gateway city.)
A valid passport is required. Each U.S. citizen must have one. Passports may be applied for at the Post Office in towns of 35,000 to 40,000 population and above. If you live in a smaller community, call the clerk of the Circuit Court in your county seat. He can tell you where to apply for one. NOTE: Some countries require that your passport be valid for six to twelve months from the day you enter the country. Please contact the embassy for special requirements. Visas for Guatemala (Tikal) are obtained at the Belize/Guatemala border as you cross. If you are going to Honduras (Copan Extension), a tourist visa can be obtained at the airport in Honduras.
INOCULATIONS AND MEDICATION
There are no inoculations required by the Belizean Government, however, we encourage you to check with the Public Health Department or your physician. Compazine and Lomotil are often recommended. We highly recommend malaria prevention, which usually begins several weeks before departure. Please consult your physician. Also, you should bring a supply of motion sickness remedies if you are prone to sea sickness. The Centers for Disease Control, located in Atlanta, can be reached by dialing (404) 639-1610, (404) 639-3311, or (404) 639-2572.
U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere. Travelers checks are accepted in most places. A service charge is usually made by most businesses for cashing these checks. Visa, Mastercard and American Express credit cards are accepted in major hotels. Some hotels will accept one or two of these three cards. ASK! Smaller shops and hotels often do not accept credit cards. Be sure to save $30 BZE for departure tax when leaving Belize. The Belize currency exchange rate is $1.00 US = $2.00 BZE.
NOTE: We cannot overemphasize how important it is for all participants to carry a generous supply of sun screen.
What To Bring To Belize, Equipment Check List ~ Jack Trout Fly Fishing International – 530-918-8879
Note: Salt water is very corrosive. Use reels made for salt water when possible. Rinse your rods and in fresh water daily after use.
Jumping a permit is one of our specialties in Southern Belize where many have coined it as the zone of Belize where permit actually bite flies. Permit are very migratory and feed on burrowing crabs & minnows. We like to scout, target and jump these prized trophy saltwater fly fishing specie. Use a 9 to 10 wt. fly rods with a floating saltwater line with sink tips that are 10 to 30 feet or full intermediate sinking lines with 16 lb. leaders & tippets. We like to use crabs in size 4 or 6 in tan or olive colors.
Tarpon inhabit coastal waters, estuaries, lagoons and rivers. Tarpon feed almost exclusively on schooling fish and crabs. The hook set is one of the most important factors in landing a tarpon as their mouths are super tough, as hard as concrete some say. They can also throw the hooks commonly on consecutive jumps while fighting so getting a good set right from the start is paramount. Also casting accuracy and distance can be a key, though many are hooked within 30 to 40 feet from casting plat forms, so quickness casting & accuracy is the more important. Many are caught on 10 to 12 wt. fly rods 16 lb. tippets and we like to use Cockroaches in darker shades in black with eyes in size 4 or 2.
BONE FISH –
These taking life easy kind of fish, seem docile when spotted until they get hooked and they explode off the hook, at burst speeds that if we could just hear under water, I’m sure it would be faster than the speed of sound. Bone fish feed on benthic worms, fry, crustaceans and mollusks. They live near ledges, flats, drop-offs and clean healthy sea grass beds that yield an abundant small prey such as shrimp and crabs. Bones like to live in shallow in-shore water, where it moves onto shallow mud flats to feed in their natural habitat with incoming tides. We like to target them both wading and from a shallow-draft boat. We like to use size 8 Crazy Charlie's in pearl or pink.
BARRACUDA, SHARKS, SNAPPERS, JACKS, ETC.
These species are often encountered on the flats while you’re talking bonefish, permit or tarpon. Having a rod rigged and ready to cast will greatly increase your chances of hooking these fish. Many streamers, divers and poppers will take all of these species, as described in the following information.
FLATS FISHING - WHAT TO BRING
BONEFISH & PERMIT
Rod: 8 1/2 – 9 1/2 ft., 7/8/9 weight for bonefish. 9/10 weight for permit or windy conditions.
Reel: Smooth, adjustable drag reel capable of holding 150 – 200 yards of 20 pounds test backing. Carry extra spool/ reel with line.
Line: Weight forward floating fly lines for bonefish and permit on the flats.
Leader: 9’-16’ tapered to 10 pounds test. We recommend clear leader material.
Flies: Bonefish – Sizes 4,6,8 weighted and unweighted. Small bead chain eyes add sufficient weight in 3 feet of water.
- Crazy Charlie – white, pink, gold, brown, apricot (size 2-8)
- Clouser Deep Minow - tan &white, green & white
- Gotcha – Fly
- Brewer’s Amber Shrimp
- Unweighted flies like mini puffs, Bonefish Special, Bunny bones.
- Small-medium sized crab patterns ( Del’s permit fly, the Raghead) for bonefish and permit.
BARRACUDA, SNOOK, SNAPPER AND JACKS
Rod, Reel, Line: A combination of the above equipment is adequate.
Flies: Size 1/0-3/0 blue and white green and white or all white Deceivers, Poppers and Divers.
Leader: A 50/100 pound shock tippet for snook. Monofilament or 30-60 pound wire shock tippet for barracuda.
Barracuda Flies: Barracuda will take streamers, poppers or needlefish patterns retrieved very fast.
Note: Wipe sun creams off hands before handling rods, tippets and flies. Creams act as lubricants and cause slippage, and impart scents to flies deter strikes. Rinse rods and reels in fresh water after use.
FLY FISHING FOR TARPON
The following equipment is suitable for tarpon fishing in Belize and elsewhere in the Caribbean. Use this list as a guide. If you do not have the exact rod length, line weight, etc., the next closest size is fine.
Rod: 9’ –10 for 10,11 or 12- weight line. Preferably a stiff rod with oversized guides, and an extension butt.
Reel: Large capacity reel with adjustable drag. Direct drive or anti-reverse. Extra spool or reel with second line. Minimum of 200 yards of 30 pound test baking.
Fly line: Intermediate sink tip. intermediate sinking or floating for fishing the flats; deep sinking 300-400 grains for deeper rivers and channels.
Leader: Pretied Shock Tippet Tarpon leaders are available from most tackle shops offering saltwater tackle. They come in class tippet strengths from 12-20 pound test. It is not necessary to build your leader to IGFA specifications, but if you do, the following will be helpful.
IGFA leaders from 4-8 feet in length consist of 3 sections:
Butt Section 3’-4’ 0 pounds of 30 test. Join butt for fly line with nail knot. Tie a perfection knot (loop) at the other end.
Class Tippet –2-3 of 15, 16 or 20- pound test (your preference) or, if you are applying for a record, according to IGFA regulations, the class tippet must be at least 15 inches long, know to knot. Tie a Bimini twist on both ends of class tippet to create doubled lines either end. Tie a double surgeon’s loop in one doubled end and join t butt section by interlocking loops with a girth hitch.
Shock Tippet – A maximum of 12” (IGFA) 80-100 pound test, hard mono. Connect the other doubled end of the class tippet to the shock tippet with an Albright Special or a Huffnagle knot. connect fly to shock tippet with Homer Rhodes Loop knot.
For more information about tying leaders refer to books such as “Practical Fishing Knots by Left Kreh and Mark Sosin or “ Fishermen’s Knots” by Tom McNally.
Note: It is advisable to pre-tie leaders so that the class and shock tippet (with the fly attached) cab be joined to butt section quickly. If you carry more than one rod, have it rigged and ready to go. Check leader regularly for nicks, fraying or wind knots. Bring enough leaders to put a new one on at least once a day.
Flies: Size 1/0-4/0 streamer flies on stainless steel, saltwater hooks. Size 3/0 is most common. Patterns such as the Cockroach, splayed Tarpon, bunnyflies, Stu Apte Fly and Deceiver. Productive color combinations include: red and black, red and white, red and yellow, yellow and orange, purple and green and white. Carry a hook sharpening device. It is extremely important to keep hooks sharp.
Note: Wipe sun creams off hands before handling rod and tippets. Creams act as lubricants and cause slippage.
Having the proper equipment can have a significant effect on the success of any fishing trip. We generally try to select the best combination of equipment you already own. Should you need to buy tackle or accessories, Angler Adventures can suggest a supplier for the type of fishing you’re going to do.
TECHNIQUES FOR TARPON
FLY LINE: When fishing shallow flats (3-5 feet deep) a floating line is fine. In 5-8 feet, and intermediate or intermediate sink tip fly is effective getting the fly below the surface within sight of cruising fish. Some anglers prefer the sink tip line (as opposed to a full sink) because it is relatively easy to pick up off the water and cast again. When fishing water 8 feet or deeper it may be necessary to fish a high density sink tip.
SPOTTING FISH: There are several ways to locate tarpon 1) Identify the ripple-like disturbance of tarpon cruising near the surface; 2) Sight a rolling fish: 3) Spot fish beneath the surface frequently in small schools. #1 and #3 are the most common on the flats. #2 is most common in rivers/ creeks where the water is not as clear.
CASTING: There are times the fish will be out of reach. But in most situations it is more important to be accurate than long. To prepare for sighting a tarpon, trip a reasonable amount of line (for you to cast) from the reel. Straighten your fly line by holding the middle of an 8’-10’ section of line on the deck with your foot and pulling equal sections of fly line against your foot with your hands. Repeat this until all sections of the line you stripped out are straight. It is also advisable to straighten your leader by hand. Let the line collect in loose coils on the bow of the boat. Hold the fly in your hand and have enough line outside the rod tip to quickly load the rod. Be careful the line doesn’t knot up or catch on anything while you’re casting or after you’ve struck a fish. Rods with over-sized guides have the advantage of passing a small knot in the fly line.
TECHNIQUE: Cast the fly several feet ahead of the fish in the direction it is moving. Allow the fly t sink to within view of the fish, then strip it back with a slow, steady retrieve. If that retrieve does note excite the fish try an occasional longer strip or an erratic retrieve. When the fish takes the fly, allow it to turn and run a short distance before setting the hook. To set the hook, point the rod tip at the fish and pull the fly line toward you with two or three sharp tugs. When the fish jumps, “bow to the fish”, that is, drop your rod tip to slacken the line and leader. An airborne fish can snap a taught leader.
HOOK AND LEADER: It is said that out of every six tarpon hooked or “jumped”, only one is landed. The primary cause of lost fish is a poor hook-up. Another culprit is a broken leader. To increase your percentage of fish landed, keep hooks sharp and check the leader for frays after every hook-up.
If you are not used to casting 10-12 weight rods and 3/0 flies, we suggest you begin a conditioning program two months before your trip. The best conditioning is practice, use the rod, reel, line and flies ( cut the hook off at the bend) you’ll be casting on your trip, be that a 7/8 weight bonefish outfit, or a 10 12 weight tarpon outfit, and practice the following:
- 1. Accuracy: Place objects at distances 30-feet and beyond, strip the majority of your fly line off the reel and practice quick deliveries to objects with a minimum of false casts.
- 2. Distance: Start at a comfortable range and gradually add distance. Distance is not as important as accuracy, but it will enable you to reach more fish. For casting distances 30-60 feet and longer, it is most efficient to double-haul. If necessary, seek out the help of an instructor.
- 3. Wind: It is rare to fish in salt water and not encounter windy conditions. The only way to prepare for the frustrations for casting into the wind is to practice under those conditions.
If you are not able to practice outside, or to strengthen wrists and arms in combination with casting, we recommend an exercise program. The following exercises are designed to build endurance. Keep the weight levels light (5-10 pounds) so that you can increase the number of repetitions; from 25 in beginning to 50 or more as you progress.
- Do regular curls.
- Hands at side, elbows locked, palms facing legs, raise arms laterally to 90 degrees, i.e., parallel with floor.
- Hands at side, elbows locked, palms facing behind you, raise arms in front of you to 90 degrees.
- Lay on your back on floor, arms stretched to either side, cocked at elbows in L-shape. Grab weights with palm facing up. Keep shoulders and elbows fixed to floor, with forearms lift weights to a 90 degree position overhead.
- From a standing position, put arms behind your head, keeping forearm parallel to ground. Lift weights to 90 degree position over head.
- Using a 2- foot stick, or a road butt section, tie a 1-2 pound weight to the end, reach back over head ( as in #5) and move forearm through 45 degree motion, using thumb for leverage.
- Squeeze a tennis ball or rubber grips.
SPIN – FISHING
We recommend rods made of graphite, boron/graphite or fiberglass.
Rod: 6 1/2 – 7 medium weight
Reel: Open faced reel with alt least 200 yard capacity
Line: 20 pound test.Extra spool of 15 pound test.
Lures: Tarpon- Mirror- Lures (52M, 65M); Tarpon Sliders; HD Bombers, Rapalas, Rebels, Creek Chub darters, Yo- Zuri (4 1/4” Crystal Minnow), Slug-go
Bait: Live sardines, Eagle claw CM1080 G Hook. Size 6/0.
Colors: Blue, yellow/orange, red/white, green.
Tackle: Same as above.
Leader: 30-60 pound wire or 60-100 monofilament.
Lures: Green, red and orange tube lures (8” – 12” surgical tubing)
BONESFISH AND PERMIT
Rod: 61/2 – 7’ light or ultra-light. ( Heavier for permit and large bonefish)
Reel: Open faced reel with 200-yard capacity.
Line: 8-10 pound test (A light line is necessary to cast small bonefish jigs.) Extra spool of 10-12 pound test for permit and large bonefish.
Lures: 1/8 – 1/4 oz. Up-ridding Phillips Wiggle jigs, Millies jigs or Bills jigs.
Colors: Pink, tan, yellow, white.
REEF OR BAIT CASTING – for Larger Species.
Rod: 6’ Medium to stiff action ( for deep jigging, use a stiff rod)
Reel: With smooth drag and capacity for 200 yards, 12-20 pound test.
Jigs: 1 1/2 –4 oz. white jigs,add a 7-9” curly tail worm in yellow, orange or green.