April 2nd, 2007

The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .

Going To Belize?
Here's MY story
By Stefanie Taylor, Chico, WA

My name is Stefanie Taylor. I've been fly fishing for about fifteen years. (Thanks to the Birkholms.) My local fly shop owner, guide, and friend turned me on to this trip, said, "it would be great!" He himself hadn't been but he had "a reliable source", and that there were tons of bone fish, tarpon, permit and cuda. This wasn't my first time on a tropical fly fishing adventure. I've caught literally hundreds of bone fish but, my first time to Belize so, I thought I knew what I was in for.

This would be a first for my husband. So, needless to say I was more excited for him than I was for myself. Bone fishing the flat's is my very favorite thing and was thrilled to share this with him. Koda, (my husband) is new to angling so I had been really pumping him up, showing him pictures and telling him "there's so many fish your arms will fall off!" I could hardly wait, I was gonna get my "GRAND SLAM!!" I just knew it.

So we commenced to way over packing our gear bag. You know how it is. As we were wrapping it up I said, "should we bring some power bars?" Koda said, "Naaa, they're too heavy!" Seeing as we were pretty much at our luggage limit, I said okay and didn't think too much about it. Since one of the things I was excited about was the food. These trips have always been a culinary delight! Cooking grouper on hot rocks, conch fritters and exotic fruit. This was going to be great! A trip of a life time!

So, we take our flights - charter, bus and water taxi to arrive at our lodge. Mind you I'm not new to "off the grid" the further out the better as far as I'm concerned. As long as I have some super doper bug spray I'm good to go!

Our accommodation's were fine. Little cabins on platforms they were cute, they were fine. (I'll sleep on a palm leaf if the fishing is awesome! or, right in the dirt for that matter as long as I have my super doper bug spray!) Now the rum is really rollin and we are all stoked! There is six in my party and we all get along really great! The fly shop owner, guide and friend I mentioned earlier we all have in common was supposed to come but at the last minute couldn't, (lucky!). But we all have him in common so we feel like old friends. We pour ourselfs into the main lodge for dinner after bragging to each other about all the rods and gorged gear bags we brought.

Dinner, was deep fried fish which I'm sure to them it's really cool because to them: "deep fried" on a little island in the middle of nowhere is cool and bless their hearts, they're trying to give us the food we are unfortunately used to. It was good, greasy, but good. The next morning I was up at the crack of dawn (a little too tired) but ready! Off we went to gather our best of the best for the fishing story's around the dinner table that night. The who's who! At this point I know it ain't us! We saw some permit, and did our best to spook the hell out of 'em. This place is supposedly the permit capital, so I figured I'll have plenty of chances. I say to my guide "let's get into some bonefish that's really why I'm here." He just kinda blew me off. Let me tell ya I'm not the kind of little gal ya blow off! So I start to bitchin to my husband. He patted my shoulder and gave me some lovin words. That cooled me for about a minute. Then my guide preceded to tell me a woman had no business out fishing. I almost clocked him! Koda looked at me like a deer in the head lights. I let that guide know I was the one who had been all over the world fly fishing, and it was me who brought Koda. I could tell he didn't like having a woman on his boat, and that's just too bad! Just thinking about that guy makes me pound the key board letters a little harder!

Needless to say I was hot and wanted to switch guides. How it works is two people to a boat three guides so you get your guide two days then switch. Well, everyone wants Lincoln, the lodge owner and great guy! We had him scheduled for the last two days. So I was just gonna have to stick this one out!

It gets worse!... So we head in after a hard day of brow beating, and NO fish. Ready to listen to everyones great fishing stories with smiles. But no one caught a thing! The next day the same thing, nothing but a bad attitude from my guide. NO fish! The dinner table was pretty quiet but everyone stayed optimistic. Then that night I happened! I was sick! Super doper sick! I spent the night on the potty.

Not good! All I could think was, "hope this passes by morning" I couldn't go out on the boat in this condition. Morning came and there I was in the same position I was all night. On the potty! I skipped breakfast and decided I better stay in and catch up on some sleep. (The one thing I knew I could catch!) even though - I was sad to see my sweetie head out alone. I spent my day like my night (on the potty).

Now I'm really bummin! I hear the boats coming in and honestly, I'm jealous I've missed out! But once again...Nothing! No one has caught a thing! Now I'm super upset. Koda is like a little kid at the carnival that is too short for all the rides. What a bummer. All geared up fer nothin!

As for myself, water is literally going right through me. You're probably thinking it can't get any worse...It does!

The North winds come in and I mean with avenges! I thought our little cabin was going to end up in OZ, which would be a blessing, maybe we would catch some fish! So, now it's freezing. No way you're casting into this, let-a-lone catching any thing! Every one is still in good spirits and making light of it all with some good humor. Except for yours truly here. I'm still on the potty! At this point I'm wondering what I've done to the fish gods to make them so angry and is this my personal hell? It's been three days (on the potty) now and I'm really scared, my lips are super chapped and peeling I know I'm getting dangerously dehydrated. I tell Koda to go to the lodge and tell them my situation. I need help. I begged him for a cracker or a piece of plain bread. I tell him what would be ideal is a banana. Bananas are great for bad tummies. He comes back, after what seems like forever, they don't have any bread or crackers. He hands me a plate of...get this, greasy fried plantains. I don't even like plantains! That's when the sobbing starts! I said to him I'm gonna die here! He went back to the lodge and talked to the owner's wife, she made me a concoction in a thermos I don't know what it was but it felt good on my tissue paper tummy. Heal me or kill me. At this point either would be a blessing. I don't know what it was but it was helping!

One of the guys on our trip had some prescription diarrheal meds he shared and a pack of crackers he had in the bottom of his carry on. The crackers went right through, but I hoped the pill would stick. (I wish I had talked to him sooner.) So between the pill and the concoction the misses made me I might pull through! I did! Thank you God!

So here we are on our last day out. Koda and I have Lincoln for our guide and I've lost that extra 10 lbs. I'm weak but more than ready not to go home empty handed! We gave it our best shot.

There were plenty of permit, just not to be caught, at least not by us. I learned then that all the bonefish are gone due to the last hurricane and there has been a gill virus. As for the tarpon they were 'off season'. Barracuda, yes, there was some caught but I'm ashamed to say, by trolling. So that doesn't really count.

All and all six people, seven days and only one fish caught OUCH! Congratulations Andy Muller on successfully landing your permit. All these circumstances aren't the lodges fault. (Except the chauvinistic guide.) It isn't even the guy that set up the trips fault. Which brings me to the whole point of my story.

RESEARCH people! Research. Look into where you are going no matter what! Well unless you have been there yourself or the person that hooked you up with the trip has been recently, ask a lot of questions. The tides? The weather? What's in season? FOOD? The guides? Flies? What pound.leader? How much gear period? I strongly recommenced bringing food to survive a couple of days or supplement if need be. Oatmeal packets are great (you can always boil water). Yea, power bars do weigh a ton, but my husband still re-apologizes for not grabbin a hand full. (Don't be that guy!) As for my next fishing adventure... Cuba any info? Would be greatly appreciated swift@donobi.net

Also would like to send some special thanks to people who really were great! Jim and Deanna Birkholm ("my fly fishing parents,") first of all, through them I have found the passion of a life time 'fly fishing.'

Bless their hearts for working on setting me up to be blessed with a gorgeous Temple Fork Outfitters conversion rod which I was supposed to be writing a review about but never got a chance to fish it! Sorry about that Rick Pope. I'll get back to ya! Thanks for the beautiful rod I look so forward to using it! (look for future story's) Also, big thanks to Brian Chavet for the beautiful reel. Once again look forward to using it! Brian took over Elkhorn from Tom a while back. Congratulations Brian, The industry is lucky to have you! Great guy! And thanks to the Morning Hatch for doing a super job on getting us geared up! Also, thanks to Blue Horizon Lodge for trying! And last but not least, my husband for his patience. ~ Stefanie Taylor - (destination angler)

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