Any info on EL Pescador?

DogDocDogDoc Posts: 686 Officer
Any Info on El Pescador?
No specific info on the Tropical Forum, so I thought I'd bump this over...

My youngest son has surprised me with plans for a quick trip to El Pescador in Belize in two weeks...
We'll be on the flats, and I'll hope to be learning more about using the fly rod.
Does anyone who's been there have any tips on what to expect and how to prepare?
Thanks, Bert

Replies

  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,283 Captain
    Bert, since we last communicated in the Keys Forum, I have been to El Pescador's website and also found their general location on Google Earth. I fish in Mexico, just 25 miles to the north of there (Xcalak), so the waters are nearly identical. One tip would be to NOT forget wading shoes. In fact, you would be wise to pack a second pair, just in case you forget the first pair. You will probably do a lot of wading, even though you'll take a boat to the fishing areas. In these areas, you'll be walking on sand but in my mind, you should also check out the vast areas on the other side of the island where you might be able to get to by bicycle and wade on your own....unguided. This is what I do in Xcalak.

    But in those areas, the wading could be quite different....at least it is on the bay side of Xcalak, where I fish. The bottom is the most un-even cap-coral you have ever seen and there are myriad holes and crevices in which to catch a foot....if you could see them....but you can't. This is because there is a layer of very fine sediment covering the uneven bottom. From shore, it looks like the bottom is flat as a pancake, with little or no grass on it. It is not sand. I liken the stuff to diatomaceous earth, it is so fine. But bonefish cruise these areas, looking for (it is guessed) marine worms that burrow into the stuff. Due to lack of pressure, the fish are much less wary than those that get hit on a daily basis where the guides go. In fact, I caught one quite by accident, while trolling my fly and the head of my fly line behind me, while I navigated the bottom, looking for fish in front of me. Any small patches of vegetation are places where the cap-coral sticks up above the sediment and therefore it can grow. If you try this and see what I just described, pay close attention to those areas as you approach them. Often there will be a bonefish floating on or around these dark patches and they are very difficult to see, until it is too late. But naturally, these patches offer shelter for different kinds of prey for the bonefish, so they look them over regularly.

    Always be looking for sting rays. Unlike the Keys, Belizean/Mexican permit regularly follow rays, from being right on top of them, to 15-20 ft. behind them.

    I will tell you now, almost without a doubt that your son is paying almost double what even a guided trip would cost, if you booked a hotel somewhere else on Ambergris Cay and then found a guide on your own. As a former Keys guide, I find it ridiculous that these American/European owned companies, charge an angler the same price or more, for a day's fishing, as in the States. You will be fishing out of a 17 ft. Panga with a 55-70 hp. motor. A rig like this can be had NEW, for about $10,000 US. Compare that to the average $50,000 investment that a Keys guide has. On top of that, I averaged 12 gals. of gas a day, when I guided. I would be surprised if these guides used more than 4 gals. a day. Belize gas is very expensive...much more so than the US or Mexico, but still.....

    Just saying......if you're the adventurous type, take advantage of the complimentary bicycles that the lodge has to offer, and go do some exploring for a possible future trip. OH....and I do not mean to come down only on El Pescador for all this. All the other lodges do the same thing. To be honest, I have not checked recently, but I think that Turneffe Island Lodge is even pricier. But they obviously spend a lot more money on advertising. Like I said before....I had never even heard of El Pescador, before you mentioned it.
    .......Rick
  • sparse greysparse grey Posts: 1,751 Captain
    Wish you well Bert & good luck with the fly. See you again next year.
    Ron Conner Release the fish, keep the memories. Once a Knight is enough.
  • DogDocDogDoc Posts: 686 Officer
    Permit Rat wrote: »
    Bert, since we last communicated in the Keys Forum, I have been to El Pescador's website and also found their general location on Google Earth. I fish in Mexico, just 25 miles to the north of there (Xcalak), so the waters are nearly identical. One tip would be to NOT forget wading shoes. In fact, you would be wise to pack a second pair, just in case you forget the first pair. You will probably do a lot of wading, even though you'll take a boat to the fishing areas. In these areas, you'll be walking on sand but in my mind, you should also check out the vast areas on the other side of the island where you might be able to get to by bicycle and wade on your own....unguided. This is what I do in Xcalak.

    But in those areas, the wading could be quite different....at least it is on the bay side of Xcalak, where I fish. The bottom is the most un-even cap-coral you have ever seen and there are myriad holes and crevices in which to catch a foot....if you could see them....but you can't. This is because there is a layer of very fine sediment covering the uneven bottom. From shore, it looks like the bottom is flat as a pancake, with little or no grass on it. It is not sand. I liken the stuff to diatomaceous earth, it is so fine. But bonefish cruise these areas, looking for (it is guessed) marine worms that burrow into the stuff. Due to lack of pressure, the fish are much less wary than those that get hit on a daily basis where the guides go. In fact, I caught one quite by accident, while trolling my fly and the head of my fly line behind me, while I navigated the bottom, looking for fish in front of me. Any small patches of vegetation are places where the cap-coral sticks up above the sediment and therefore it can grow. If you try this and see what I just described, pay close attention to those areas as you approach them. Often there will be a bonefish floating on or around these dark patches and they are very difficult to see, until it is too late. But naturally, these patches offer shelter for different kinds of prey for the bonefish, so they look them over regularly.

    Always be looking for sting rays. Unlike the Keys, Belizean/Mexican permit regularly follow rays, from being right on top of them, to 15-20 ft. behind them.

    I will tell you now, almost without a doubt that your son is paying almost double what even a guided trip would cost, if you booked a hotel somewhere else on Ambergris Cay and then found a guide on your own. As a former Keys guide, I find it ridiculous that these American/European owned companies, charge an angler the same price or more, for a day's fishing, as in the States. You will be fishing out of a 17 ft. Panga with a 55-70 hp. motor. A rig like this can be had NEW, for about $10,000 US. Compare that to the average $50,000 investment that a Keys guide has. On top of that, I averaged 12 gals. of gas a day, when I guided. I would be surprised if these guides used more than 4 gals. a day. Belize gas is very expensive...much more so than the US or Mexico, but still.....

    Just saying......if you're the adventurous type, take advantage of the complimentary bicycles that the lodge has to offer, and go do some exploring for a possible future trip. OH....and I do not mean to come down only on El Pescador for all this. All the other lodges do the same thing. To be honest, I have not checked recently, but I think that Turneffe Island Lodge is even pricier. But they obviously spend a lot more money on advertising. Like I said before....I had never even heard of El Pescador, before you mentioned it.

    Thanks for your perspectives, Rick. As I have read your posts over the years, I've always respected your experience and remarks. I appreciate the info on the wading options..after the guided day is over, we do plan on continuing to fish later in the afternoons on our own.
    Here's the deal.... as a fisherman who has enjoyed recreational and family fishing in the Keys for 37 years, we've had our share of DIY success and fun. We trailer our boat and stay for several weeks every year. We know some specific water well and make the most of the limited time we have on vacation. I've never even been to the Caribbean or Central America, much less fished there, but, like many recreational anglers, have done my share of reading articles and watching TV shows about the fishing in that area. So, Belize has been on my radar for many years.
    Last week, my son learned that he had to use some vacation days or lose them, (and, ignoring my recommendation to spend his vacation hunting the rut up here), found a 2 for 1 deal at El Pescador, a resort we have heard about for years. It had been featured in many magazine articles and on many popular (at least for us fishing voyeurs) television shows. Although I was well-aware of the reputation and basic opportunities at El Pescador, I did not know personally anyone who had been there; that's why I posed my question on the Forum; first-hand reports on tackle and techniques can really help, especially when traveling to a new destination. My guided trips have included hunting in Scotland, Alberta, and Wyoming, and fishing in Alaska and of course in the Keys. Costs and outcomes and experiences have varied greatly, as have levels of satisfaction. My DIY trips have included many of those same places, as I have used the expertise of professional guides to help me learn local techniques and expectations for my followup trips. ( I have tried very hard not to simply glom onto their spots.)

    As far as costs, the El Pescador trip is an all-inclusive one; Once we get to Belize City on FF points, we're flown to San Pedro, transferred to the resort, provided 4 nights lodging, all meals and drinks, and 3 days guided fishing for a total of $3290 US ($1645 per person.) If I compare that to a similar trip for two in the Keys, I'd figure $600-800/day for a guided inshore trip, $150-200/night for a hotel room, $75-100/day for food...add all that up and just as you said that's about the same as this all-inclusive trip to Belize. Add-in the excitement of a tropical locale (I know this may be a tame adventure for some) and the expectation of the possibility of a bunch of stupid baby bonefish helping me learn more about flyfishing on the flats, and the price is well-worth it to us. (We wouldn't have chosen the trip if it weren't a two for one deal this time of year.)

    To speak to your recommendation about this location as a DIY to get even more value, it's a great idea and part of our eventual plan, but on this first short trip we hate to spend precious time figuring out what to do and where to go when we've only got three days on the water. We'll get our feet wet, literally and figuratively, on this trip, and if we see the potential for this to be what we want it to be, we'll bring the rest of the family next time.
    Now we're hoping the hurricanes stay away :)
  • Alex from GAAlex from GA Posts: 1,343 Officer
    A few years ago I went to Punta Allen, which is a few miles north, and had my best fishing on pink flys and 8 lb fluorocarbon leader. Have a blast.

    BonefishPuntaAllen5_zpsbcd94477.jpg
  • DogDocDogDoc Posts: 686 Officer
    Great fish and great smile, Alex...we'll have fun, I'm sure!.
  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,283 Captain
    $600-800 for a guided inshore trip
    Wow!!! Is that how much the skiff guides in the Keys are charging these days? My first flats charter in 1978, cost my client $175. Depending on how you do the math, you'll be paying between $660 and $853 for the flats boat and guide. In Mexico where I fish, a guide costs $250. If you book one through the resort where I stay, they charge $350....as of 2 years ago.

    Anyway, you seem to have a great attitude and I am sure you will do fine. You're absolutely right in that the first time will be more costly and one has to "pay his dues" in order to reap the benefits of subsequent trips.

    BTW, I fish with a 6 wt. rod that will also handle a 7 wt. line. When I am wading by myself, I am obviously closer to the shoreline and the wind-blocking effects/benefits of the mangroves, so this rod is perfectly adequate. However, if you get out in the open, I think you'll want a heavier rod.....perhaps a 7 that can also handle an 8 wt. line if necessary. Just my experience to date. Good luck!
    .......Rick
  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,283 Captain
    A few years ago I went to Punta Allen, which is a few miles north, and had my best fishing on pink flys and 8 lb fluorocarbon leader. Have a blast.

    Alex.....ditto on that nice Mexican bonefish. I have a question for you. You say you were fishing on Punta Allen. Did you stay there as well? Or did a guide from one of the Ascension Bay resorts (like Boca Paila) take you there?

    The reason I ask, is that I have heard that some people have been a little disgruntled with the fishing in Ascension Bay recently. It seems they are seeing plenty of bonefish but they will not eat a fly (reminds me of a few areas in the Keys) I'm just curious. I heard that from another lodge owner who I think got it from one or more of his guests who had formerly fished there. Punta Allen, due to its relative inaccessibility, might be a more desirable destination these days, for serious fishermen. Plus I have heard there are some really big permit in that area and that for sure gets MY heart pounding!!!

    Would like to hear a more detailed report of your experience. Thanks.
    .......Rick
  • tarpon41tarpon41 Posts: 215 Deckhand
    DD:
    Flats boots as in Simms or Patagonia not neoprene booties...get them big enough for wading sock...plenty of toe room...they're not Gucci sockless slipons... and break them in wear them on land ...to the office...to the airport in the airport save space in your luggage wear them.

    Most KW/Keys experienced flats guides booked direct are now 600 to 650 full day the boat one or two in it and I use that term experienced as the qualifier since it's the rate for the inexperienced and experienced( likewise booked direct Bahamas 400-500). An experienced Keys flats guide at 600 is like an experienced trial lawyer at 600 an hour the former puts you on fish and suggests( I mean suggests not screaming rants) ways to improve your skills; the latter walks you from a felony DUI or puts an extra 100 thou in your pocket when Suzie Sweet rearend's you whilst texting and eyebrows. Neither just got his boat and pole nor just passed the bar...

    My lodge experience is very limited because I learnt good the first time(see Attached pic 35 years ago)...if 10% of the anglers catch 90% of the fish...the same is true of lodge guides 1 out of 10 is experienced and good...on the casting deck or wading...The guide is everything the accommodation is nothing...and in my experience the boat is nothing...biggest bonefish out of a canoe...first permit out of a chopped/broken down 13 Whaler, ocean flat Big Wood Cay and a 15 OMC on one cylinder
    001.jpg 80.8K
  • flycasterflycaster Posts: 47 Greenhorn
    Been to El Pescador and Ambergris Cay a few times. My experience has been that the guides are not too interested in doing bones, but they are nuts about tarpon. Never waded while there and only went after bones when desperate for fish. I'd suggest that you gear up for tarpon, with bones secondary. The tarpon can go from small to big, whereas the bones are small. Good luck and have fun.
  • DogDocDogDoc Posts: 686 Officer
    Thanks for the comments
    Fun is definitely on the agenda; hopefully a few fish and at least some horizon-broadening as well.
  • SnookflySnookfly Posts: 26 Greenhorn
    I've also been to Ambergris Caye several times, and while I haven't stayed at El Pescador, I have stayed next door at Captain Morgan's. My fly fishing experience there has been geared exclusively toward bonefish by the guides. I only fished out of the boat (pangas), mostly at the flats South of the Caye, and it didn't seem suitable for wading. The fish were typical Belizean bonefish averaging 2-4 pounds and plentiful. Flies mostly 6's and 8's. I even had a few shots at smaller permit. I've had a great time fly fishing there each time I have gone, and I have great memories of fishing there as it's where I caught my first bonefish. You may even want to try to catch the small bonefish that can be found around the dock if you have some small weighted flies, just keep them away from the barracudas that hang around there. Enjoy your trip!
  • DogDocDogDoc Posts: 686 Officer
    Thanks again...learning some and catching a few is just what we need.
  • okee74okee74 Posts: 48 Deckhand
    I fished Ambergris Cay for A few days with A guide in 2013.Used 8 wt. for Bonefish and 9wt. for Permit.Best flies were gotchas and christmas island special in size 4 and 6 for Bonefish.Used Avalon fly and mantis shrimp size 1 and 2 for Permit.We never fished for Tarpon as winds were too bad to go to Tarpon spots.We fished for Permit in small schools from the boat and waded for Bonefish on shallow flats.Bring wading boots and flourocarbon tippet size 12,15,and 20.Bring flies of varying weights in case you fish deeper water for schooling bonefish.I did not stay at El Pescador,but I talked to several anglers at the airport that enjoyed their stay at the lodge.There is plenty of info on their website including fishing reports and suggested flies.
  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,283 Captain
    X 2 for the gotchas for the bonefish. I used a bunny gotcha (quite by accident) my first trip to Xcalak. It was my third trip before I had my first legitimate refusal to that pattern. They also work well on the dinnerplate permit, so no need to change patterns if they show up while you're bonefishing. It seems that in Mexico/Belize that orange is a key color for all the fish species there. Many fly patterns have orange in them and even the plugs that the guides have for spin fishermen have some orange to them.
    .......Rick
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