One day while Duarte and me were lying on the peaceful and beautiful beach of Jaguar Reef, Ian the Operations Manager of the Viva Belize Hotels in Hopkins invited us to go with him and all his family to an unexpected Fishing Tour with Pancho “The Fisherman”. I had never been fishing in my life and I wanted to do this for quite a while. What better place to go fishing than the Caribbean sea!
After lunch we meet at the dock of Almond Beach with Ian, his lovely wife, their two kids Liam and Eli and with Pancho who was going to be our captain and guide. We helped Pancho to arrange all the gear necessary to start our adventure in a small but fully-equipped boat.
Our fishing spot was situated 30 minutes away from the hotel, so Pancho had a great idea! We will stop on the Birds Island, which real name is Man-o-war Caye. This tiny island looks like any other tiny mangrove island but as you get closer to shore the frenzy of activity becomes apparent, with birds soaring in the sky above in every direction. This small caye is a government-monitored bird sanctuary and major nesting site for the magnificent frigate, or man-o-war, Pelicans and Brown Booby Bird. While we were circling the island we could see hundreds of these large seabirds roosting on and hovering above the island.
After this curious and unexpected break at this amazing island full of birds, we finally stopped on our fishing spot close to South Water Caye. Pancho our captain and the official fisherman of Jaguar Reef Restaurant already had everything ready for us to start our fishing afternoon. He explained us some easy tricks to catch fish but my surprise was when after less than one minute with the hook in the water one red snapper started to bite my bait!
With the help of Pancho we started to pull and finally we got that fantastic fish! After some minutes I realize that it was so easy to hook fish because everybody on the boat was enjoying it, even the kids! It is important to know that if the fish that we caught was too small, we threw it again in the water. We only kept the mature and bigger fish that could be cooked.
After a couple of hours full of fun and splashes, we started our trip back to the hotel with the cooler full of red snappers, groupers and even a barracuda! We were relaxing on the boat feeling the fresh air and enjoying the amazing views of the mainland at the sunset when suddenly Pancho shouted: DOLPHINS! We couldn’t believe it! We started following the family of dolphins and in a minute they were playing and jumping next to our boat. It was a fantastic experience that I will never forget and a perfect way to finish an amazing day of fishing!