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Belize, a love story

Author: Chris Peichel

I had a tarpon eat, two of them to be specific with the same result. I watched the fish turn just under the surface reflecting my failures and inadequacies in its magnificent silver scales. I probably did everything wrong but at least I didn’t trout set, or maybe it’s just that the universe hates me. Tomato potato.

I wishfully thought it had to be 30 pounds at least, but in reality it was more like 15. Realities can be both harsh and enlightening in Belize. Like thinking I didn’t drink too much the night before, yeah just don’t look at the bottle in the morning. Another reality, coffee is always a necessity. Not surprisingly rum also goes good with it. Rum also pairs well with pineapple juice and mango juice and some fruit combo juice from a box and watermelon water and even with just plain ice. Hang in there with me I’m not a writer, i’m more of a, iguana damn that’s a big sucker.

Simple clean local foods taste better, especially when fried. Fry jacks, a bowl of beans, a couple slices of ham or an egg is a glorious breakfast. Oh and the local Belize habanero sauce is perfect and delicious with everything. Although I did not try it with rum, next time, my bad, I’ll let you know. Belikin is my friend, I like my friends. You probably are thinking this dumb ass drank too much and you are probably right but I don’t care. I had a fantastical time.

We went to see the Aztec ruins which was very impressive and an adventure so worth doing. It was a beautiful drive and there was more to see then I could absorb. Eons ago I was fortunate enough to visit Egypt and see the Pyramids, Spinynx etc. which are absolutely crazy huge and amazing, not really any better, just different. However it certainly was awesome to see alien activity in two places so far away from each other. Strangely enough both locations are really really hot. I like the heat though. Huh, I wonder if I should have been an alien anthropologist? Probably not, people already think I’m strange. My parents have told me they think they brought the wrong baby home, a story for another time I guess.

By now the logical part of your brain has you wondering why you are still reading this. This guy is barely fishing and obviously sucks at it. Where’s the fish porn, the tarpon the permit. Well just like my parents you are in for a disappointment. Sometimes it’s not just about the fishing. Sometimes you need to just let the sun, heat and humidity dissolve your obligations and cares and have absolutely no plan and just see what becomes of the day. Everything at home, all the good and all the bad, will be there when you return, but maybe, just maybe not sticking to a plan opens the universe to show you what you need to see or experience. If nothing else, in my case, a friendship was solidified, at least on my side. Did he experience the same, maybe, but this isn’t about him, it is about me and my feels. This is why I love adventures and fly fishing. It’s doing stuff, it’s suffering, it’s laughing, it’s cussing at fish because I suck and I screwed up. These things are all better with someone. After all it’s hard to kick yourself when you’re down so remember kids, buddy up.

Oh, by the way here is some gear I love.

GLoomis Asquith 8wt. If I have a kid out there I sure hope that kids name is Asquith. That would be cool. Do you want to be a lazy caster and still look like you know what you are doing or smurf a cast and still have it go where you wanted it to? Get an Asquith. Oh and they are stupid light and super tough.

GLoomis NRX+ Salt 9wt, not an Asquith but the second best. They are tough and powerful rods and don’t care how hard the wind is blowing.

GLoomis IMX-Pro V2 Salt 6wt, the oddball. This rod is definitely a different one in that it is not super fast and is a 6wt. This 6wt is perfect for the calm days when your arm is tired from casting an 8 or 9wt and your prey is of the smaller variety. It is an absolute gem with a smooth easy and gentle casting stroke. It does have power if you need it but it thrives when you want to slow things down on a calm day and just be chill. I like to be chill.

Tibor Everglades. My favorite for all the reasons that matter to me and might matter to you. Oh yeah and they haven’t changed them forever for a good reason, they are perfect and they sound so good.

Tibor Backcountry. Great lightweight reel for a 6 or 7wt. I just love cork drags especially if they have Tibor engraved on them.

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Grand Slam. These lines sure cast amazing with any size fly. They load quickly and enable you to get a cast off quick. I am very interested in the new Magnitude lines from SA. A friend just gave them a good workout in Florida and had nothing but positive comments about them. They sure look like a good one worth a try. I bet I would have had a tarpon on for a little longer and then peed a little bit bigger circle in my pants with that line. We will see, next time.

Scientific Anglers Amplitude Smooth Bonefish Plus. I used the 6wt. I do prefer the Plus with the small bump in weight as it really helps me get the rod loaded quick. I really appreciate how slick the Amplitude lines are and how well they go through the guides.

I used Umpqua Fluorocarbon leaders and tippet. I was completely satisfied with them. They do what they are supposed to do and do it well and they make 12ft leaders which is nice.

Patagonia sun hoodies.Never got a burn though them and they breathe fantastic in the heat and humidity. Belize really tests clothing and you find out immediately what you should have left at home.

Crocs, true pro level foot wear. I bet Brian O’Keefe would wear them but he is way cooler than me and he has self respect, and is a badass. So then again probably not.

Sun gloves. Don’t burn your hands it sucks. Did that in Xmas island before you were born.

Cool max liner socks cause I’m super white and burnt feet suck. Easier then keeping sunscreen on the lower digits.

Buff. Yeah they are still super cool and awesome and I like them. Makes me feel pro.

Patagonia roll top backpack. Holds all the stuff and keeps it dry and no zippers to wrestle. I’m crazy strong but don’t like to show off.

A few notes to myself:

LAX sucks. Even more if you have to spend the night and the guy vacuuming the carpet takes a break every 5 minutes to watch a show on his phone with the volume turned way up. Oh yeah, he was a horrible whislter too and unfortunately he has a lot of self confidence, not a fan of participation trophies. Contractors were working all night as well and only using the real quiet tools of course. I walked a lot of circles.

Speaking of circles. We worked a bunch. We fished here and there. We explored a bunch, both the lagoons and backwater creeks as well as some of the cayes (pronounced keys for those like me) just offshore. Of course we chose to run out on the windiest day to you know, test the boat and all. You’re reading the rambling so you know we survived. No real surprise there, Pangas are the best. Definitely a perfect name for a second child. Better than Skeletor, well probably not that good but that might be kinda weird seeing how I’m not famous.

And don’t get drunk before getting on the plane. I’m pretty sure the guy that got kicked off the plane won’t get a call back from his now likely ex-girlfriend. Apologies for the grammar and 5th grade vocabulary. It’s always better to aim low.

 

 

Paul Snowbeck
Paul Snowbeck


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