Belize Fishing Guides

Meet Our Fishing TEam

Director Of Fishing

Photo of Mariano - El Pescador's Director of Fishing

Mariano Portillo

El Pescador is proud to announce Mariano Portillo as our Fishing Director. Mariano is a native of Valley of Peace, Belize and has made El Pescador his home for the last fifteen years. Many of our guests know him from his time running the bar and also fishing the lagoon systems on the backside of Ambergris Caye. Mariano brings a passion for fly fishing and people to his new position.

Guest fishing Directors

Will Stephens

Will is an avid fly fisher hailing from New Jersey where he was introduced to the salt at an early age on the Jersey shore hunting for Stripers in Raritan Bay, Sandy Hook and out to Montauk Point on Long Island. Serving in the US Military and 35 years in Corp life always seemed to get in the way of pursuing a fishing passion. Planning for retirement coincided with him publishing a list of species to catch and places to catch them using international job assignments to successfully check them off. Fly fishing for over 25 years and logging thousands of miles in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, the challenge was always finding far flung places untouched by anglers with a focus on the elusive, the largest and hard to catch. Along the way, a natural appreciation for the environment and the cultures of people around the world always factored into finding the next best place to fish. Will currently resides in the South Carolina Low Country where he is co-owner of Southern Drawl Outfitters a vintage fly and tackle shop supplying the communities surrounding Hilton Head Island and where he enjoys teaching and advancing the sport of fly fishing.

John Bilotta

John Bilotta is a Fly Fishers International Certified Master Casting Instructor and Two Handed Casting Instructor based in Connecticut. He teaches lessons and clinics throughout the year and mentors other instructors.  John also hosts destination fly fishing trips to Alaska, Christmas Island, Mexico, and Argentina.

Our Fishing Guides

Founded as one of the first fishing lodges in Belize, El Pescador has three generations of guide staff working full time that know every detail of the flats surrounding Ambergris Caye and beyond. You won't find a more experienced group of full-time professional guides and staff anywhere.

All El Pescador guides are native San Pedranos born and raised on the island and all speak English. We pride ourselves on having some of the most experienced guides in Belize. Many of our guides have been with us for over 30 years. Now our second and third generation of El Pescador guides is in full swing! Most of them have been trained by their fathers and uncles with whom they typically spend a decade learning the craft before becoming a Captain of their own flats boat. Our guides’ encyclopedic knowledge of this fishery comes from a lifetime dedicated to learning where the fish are and how they behave. El Pescador guides are talented casters and will be happy to provide instruction during your fishing day.

Communication is key to success. Communicate with your guide throughout the day. Do you want to bonefish all day? Is there a chance for permit or tarpon? Are you interested in different species? If you would like help or advice, please do not hesitate to ask. Maybe you change your mind during the day and want to see if a different opportunity is available, ask away! If you have been tarpon fishing for 3 hours without a bite and you feel like you need a tug desperately, ask to go catch a bonefish! If you enjoy wading, just ask the guide. The point is that the guide will not know what you are feeling unless you tell him.

All El Pescador guides have obtained a Belize Port Authority Boat Master’s license, are licensed Belize Tourism Board Tour Guides and are First Aid certified. Every guide’s boat has PFDs, a fire extinguisher and a cell phone for emergencies.

El Pescador guides receive continuing education annually on various topics of interest ranging from angler service, to local flora and fauna, to poling, casting instruction and even photography.

Fly Casting Lessons

Complimentary fly-casting lessons are available daily from 3-5 pm on the casting platform of the dock. You will be tired after 8-10 hours on the boat, but please try to spend a few minutes to work on something new. The guides are great teachers, but they tend to focus on finding you fish. On the dock, we can work off some skills that need time to develop, like a double haul or getting rid of a tailing loop. If you would like help with knot tying or fly tying, please do not hesitate to ask.

Trip Advisor 2019 Travelers Choice Winner
Orvis 2017 Endorsed International Destination of the Year Award
Yellow Dog Recognized Destination