Fly rods in the 7-8 wt. range are the ideal size for Belize bonefish. The lighter rods (7 wt) are great when there is little or no wind and an 8-weight rod has more than enough muscle to deliver a fly in even the stiffest of gales. Moreover, the 8-weight rod will double as the ideal rod for permit and light tarpon fishing. Many anglers prefer to have the larger rod, 8-10 wt. rigged up and in the boat for the permit and a 7 weight rod with a floating line in hand for the bonefish that are routine. This also leaves a heavier rod as a reserve for extremely windy days. Ten to twelve weight rods are perfect for Central American tarpon fishing.
The choice of rod length is important. Nine or nine-and-a-half foot long rods are optimum. More line can be picked up off the water with the longer rods, with less surface disturbance. Also, for the vast majority of fly anglers, greater distances can be covered with less effort using the longer fly rods.
Should be anodized, corrosion-resistant saltwater models that will hold a full fly line, plus approximately 200 yards of 20 lb. backing for bonefish and permit, and 250 yards of 30-50 pound backing for tarpon. Reels equipped with high quality, smooth, drags are essential to prevent break-offs from the blistering runs of a hooked fish.
A weight forward tropical saltwater taper floating line is ideal for most of the sight fishing you will encounter. There may be a few times when an intermediate sinking line is the answer for tarpon and permit fishing. Anglers should also bring along some sort of line cleaner for the lines as well, since saltwater has a way of making them sticky after a few days use.
9 foot straight piece of 40, 60 or 80 lb. Fluorocarbon Tippet Material.
Tapered Leaders 9’-12’ feet long, –ending in 10 or 12 pound.
Tapered Leaders 9’-14 feet long –ending in 16 to 20 pound.
Spin Fishing / Conventional
Rods: Lite – Med Lite
Length: 6.5 ft – 7.5 ft for ¼ – ½ oz. lure
Line Weight: 8-10 lb. mono
Reel: A quality spinning reel that can handle the rigors of saltwater fishing and hold at least 170 yards of 10-pound line.
Example: Shimano Stradic ST4000FH or equivalent.
Leader: 12-15 lb. mono
Rods: Medium Lite – Medium
Length: 6.5 ft – 7.5 ft for 1/4 –5/8 oz. lures
Line Weight: 12-15lb. mono
Reel: A quality spinning reel that can handle the rigors of saltwater fishing and hold at least 170 yards of 12-15-pound line.
Leader: 15-20 lb.
Rods: Medium – Medium
Length: 6.5 ft – 7 ft for 3/8 –1 oz. lures
Line Weight: 15-25lb. mono or braid
Reel: A quality spinning reel that can handle the rigors of saltwater fishing and hold at least 200 yards of 15-25lb. line.
Leader: 60 lb. mono.
Big Tarpon, Grouper etc.
Rods: Medium – Medium/Heavy
Length: 5.5 ft – 7 ft (medium) 5.5. ft – 6.5 ft. (med/heavy)
Line Weight: 50lb. braid
Reel: A quality spinning reel that can handle the rigors of saltwater fishing (BIG FISH) and hold at least 250 yards of 50 lb. braid.
Leader: 80 lb. mono or#50 wire.
Catch and Release
Permit, bonefish and tarpon are always released; other species like snapper & grouper may be kept for the table.