Rising Tide Mothership – Belize Hosted Trip Report: “For those appreciated readers that take the time and energy to pay attention to the WorldCast Anglers’ destination travel program and hosted trips, you are probably more than aware of our enduring passion for fishing the endless options and variety of saltwater flats, lagoons and bays that surround the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula. It is where we first began hosting trips almost two decades ago and for a multitude of reasons, we continue to not only go multiple times every year, but we continue to expand our offerings and seek new operations and destinations within the region. Simply said, it is a very special place with some very special people whom we consider some of our closest friends in the industry and world.
With that being said, there is a not so unknown and in many ways equally amazing fishery, country and culture immediately to the south on that very same peninsula: Belize. We have traveled, fished and hosted many trips to Belize over the years but it seems that so much of our personal and professional attention has been paid to Mexico even with our eagerness to continue to explore more angling options, especially ones that are close to home. As countries such as Mexico and Belize began to open up and provide responsible, safe destination travel fishing opportunities, we were winding down from a successful but correspondingly stressful, time consuming season of operations in the Tetons. So when the opportunity provided itself to travel and fish Belize via a very unique liveaboard operation this past February, it was the easiest decision we’ve ever made as a management team in the history of our company. The trip was proposed and the airline tickets were purchased within minutes, if not seconds.
Mike Dawkins, Tyler Hallquist and myself touched down in Belize in mid February and met up with Mike Dawes who had spent the previous week fishing with Will Flack at the Belize Permit Club in southern Belize. Within 25 minutes of clearing customs and exiting the airport in Belize City, we were paired up in Pangas, 9wt’s rigged up, and Belikins in hand, departing the marina for an evening session on the flats before dinner. The Rising Tide mothership would meet us out there later that evening. It became immediately apparent that this operation LOVED to fish. For the next six days, we spent upwards of 11 hours each day poling flats with an angler on the bow, rod in hand and eyes scanning for any signs of life. In all of our cumulative travels and fishing, we have rarely seen an operation with such dedication to time spent actually fishing.
The Rising Tide’s primary focus is on Permit which we targeted 98% of our time on this trip but they are very capable and willing to adjust their itinerary, locations and program to pursue all the other Super Slam Species that call the waters of Belize home. Something I have learned very quickly in my short career of Permit fishing is that any and all variables that can be controlled and used to your advantage must be taken. The margins between success and failure are too thin. In my mind, this starts with the amount of time spent looking for fish. There are fisheries where the tides and timing determine short windows that you can successfully target these finicky fish but in a location such as Belize, where the tides are more minimal and Permit can in theory be present throughout the tidal cycle, being able to spend sunrise to sunset looking for fish increases your odds immensely. The second biggest controllable is time spent running the boat to the flats and fishing. Spending sunrise to sunset in a flats boat doesn’t mean much if you are still running for 2-3 hours round trip on a daily basis but that is the reality of life for many and most operations. Not the Rising Tide. In the six and half days of fishing, the longest run we ever took was less than 20 minutes and the average was closer to 5 minutes. These long days of fishing are broken up by two short breaks for a hearty breakfast and lunch (30-45minutes each) on the mothership which provide much needed time out of the sun to refuel, rehydrate, adjust rigs and do what permit fishermen do best – complain endlessly about these black tailed devils that for some insane reason we continue to let back into our minds and lives like a persistent ex lover.
Beyond the stellar fishing focused program of the Rising Tide, the trip provides one of the most spectacular daily rituals that we have experienced in our personal fishing careers: breathtaking sunrises and sunsets on the water with a rod in hand. Each morning, your day starts with a cup of coffee to go and a less than 10 minute run to a flat to watch the sun climb over the eastern horizon while looking for tailing fish in the skinny, turtle grass flats that are synonymous with Belize. Likewise, each evening is spent looking for that last little glimpse of hope in the form of a black sickle poking through water’s surface, a cold Belikin within reach and some of the most consistently stunning sunset views in the world – a fiery intense sun globe descending over rolling seas in the foreground that steeply climbs into layers of jungle covered mountains in the background. Some evenings, it was simply impossible to focus on anything else but the views and the unwavering refreshment of a cocktail or beer after a long day of fishing.
Back at the boat each evening, life is the way it should be on a fishing trip. Stories are told, fishing strategies are debated, fly pattern designs and choices are thoroughly examined and many laughs are had. Wholesome, traditional Belizean dinners highlighted by the freshest possible locally caught fish, lobster and conch accompanied with Marie Sharps habanero hot sauce is a marvelous way to end each day. I, for one, thoroughly enjoy the simplicity of life on a liveaboard fishing trip such as this. Cell phones, emails, news, social media and all the other fog that fills our modern lives is pushed to the side and replaced by the simplicity of sport and conversation.
Returning to Belize for the first time in six years was an amazing personal experience in itself. I was quickly reminded of why I loved my previous trips so much – the people have special energy and life, the views are absolutely stunning and there are A LOT of fish around. This was only heightened by spending a week with my colleagues who are great friends and experiencing such a unique, personal and fishing focused operation such as the Rising Tide. I know I will be back and I will make sure that I never have another six year gap again. Be sure to check out our Upcoming Hosted Trip webpage for opportunities to join WCA on the Rising Tide! ”
February 6th – 13th, 2021
Rising Tide Mothership – Belize Hosted Trip Report