My name is Stefanie Taylor. I've been fly fishing for about fifteen
years. (Thanks to the Birkholms.) My local fly shop owner, guide, and
friend turned me on to this trip, said, "it would be great!" He himself
hadn't been but he had "a reliable source", and that there were tons of
bone fish, tarpon, permit and cuda. This wasn't my first time on a
tropical fly fishing adventure. I've caught literally hundreds of bone
fish but, my first time to Belize so, I thought I knew what I was in for.
This would be a first for my husband. So, needless to say I was more
excited for him than I was for myself. Bone fishing the flat's is my
very favorite thing and was thrilled to share this with him. Koda, (my
husband) is new to angling so I had been really pumping him up, showing
him pictures and telling him "there's so many fish your arms will fall
off!" I could hardly wait, I was gonna get my "GRAND SLAM!!" I just knew
So we commenced to way over packing our gear bag. You know how it
is. As we were wrapping it up I said, "should we bring some power bars?"
Koda said, "Naaa, they're too heavy!" Seeing as we were pretty much at our
luggage limit, I said okay and didn't think too much about it. Since one
of the things I was excited about was the food. These trips have always
been a culinary delight! Cooking grouper on hot rocks, conch fritters and
exotic fruit. This was going to be great! A trip of a life time!
So, we take our flights - charter, bus and water taxi to arrive at our lodge. Mind
you I'm not new to "off the grid" the further out the better as far as
I'm concerned. As long as I have some super doper bug spray I'm good to go!
Our accommodation's were fine. Little cabins on platforms they were
cute, they were fine. (I'll sleep on a palm leaf if the fishing is
awesome! or, right in the dirt for that matter as long as I have my
super doper bug spray!) Now the rum is really rollin and we are all
stoked! There is six in my party and we all get along really great! The
fly shop owner, guide and friend I mentioned earlier we all have in common
was supposed to come but at the last minute couldn't, (lucky!). But we
all have him in common so we feel like old friends. We pour ourselfs
into the main lodge for dinner after bragging to each other about
all the rods and gorged gear bags we brought.
Dinner, was deep fried fish which I'm sure to them it's really cool
because to them: "deep fried" on a little island in the middle of
nowhere is cool and bless their hearts, they're trying to give us
the food we are unfortunately used to. It was good, greasy, but
good. The next morning I was up at the crack of dawn (a little too
tired) but ready! Off we went to gather our best of the best for
the fishing story's around the dinner table that night. The who's
who! At this point I know it ain't us! We saw some permit, and
did our best to spook the hell out of 'em. This place is supposedly the
permit capital, so I figured I'll have plenty of chances. I say to my
guide "let's get into some bonefish that's really why I'm here." He
just kinda blew me off. Let me tell ya I'm not the kind of little
gal ya blow off! So I start to bitchin to my husband. He patted
my shoulder and gave me some lovin words. That cooled me for about
a minute. Then my guide preceded to tell me a woman had no business
out fishing. I almost clocked him! Koda looked at me like a deer
in the head lights. I let that guide know I was the one who had
been all over the world fly fishing, and it was me who brought
Koda. I could tell he didn't like having a woman on his boat,
and that's just too bad! Just thinking about that guy makes me
pound the key board letters a little harder!
Needless to say I was hot and wanted to switch guides. How it works is
two people to a boat three guides so you get your guide two days then
switch. Well, everyone wants Lincoln, the lodge owner and great guy! We
had him scheduled for the last two days. So I was just gonna have to
stick this one out!
It gets worse!... So we head in after a hard day of brow beating,
and NO fish. Ready to listen to everyones great fishing stories
with smiles. But no one caught a thing! The next day the same
thing, nothing but a bad attitude from my guide. NO fish! The
dinner table was pretty quiet but everyone stayed optimistic.
Then that night I happened! I was sick! Super doper sick! I
spent the night on the potty.
Not good! All I could think was, "hope this passes by morning" I couldn't
go out on the boat in this condition. Morning came and there I was in
the same position I was all night. On the potty! I skipped breakfast and
decided I better stay in and catch up on some sleep. (The one thing I
knew I could catch!) even though - I was sad to see my sweetie head
out alone. I spent my day like my night (on the potty).
Now I'm really bummin! I hear the boats coming in and honestly,
I'm jealous I've missed out! But once again...Nothing! No one
has caught a thing! Now I'm super upset. Koda is like a little
kid at the carnival that is too short for all the rides. What
a bummer. All geared up fer nothin!
As for myself, water is literally going right through me. You're
probably thinking it can't get any worse...It does!
The North winds come in and I mean with avenges! I thought
our little cabin was going to end up in OZ, which would be
a blessing, maybe we would catch some fish! So, now it's
freezing. No way you're casting into this, let-a-lone
catching any thing! Every one is still in good spirits and
making light of it all with some good humor. Except for yours
truly here. I'm still on the potty! At this point I'm wondering
what I've done to the fish gods to make them so angry and is
this my personal hell? It's been three days (on the potty) now
and I'm really scared, my lips are super chapped and peeling I
know I'm getting dangerously dehydrated. I tell Koda to go to
the lodge and tell them my situation. I need help. I begged
him for a cracker or a piece of plain bread. I tell him what
would be ideal is a banana. Bananas are great for bad tummies.
He comes back, after what seems like forever, they don't have
any bread or crackers. He hands me a plate of...get this,
greasy fried plantains. I don't even like plantains! That's
when the sobbing starts! I said to him I'm gonna die here! He
went back to the lodge and talked to the owner's wife, she
made me a concoction in a thermos I don't know what it was
but it felt good on my tissue paper tummy. Heal me or kill me.
At this point either would be a blessing. I don't know what it
was but it was helping!
One of the guys on our trip had some prescription diarrheal meds
he shared and a pack of crackers he had in the bottom of his
carry on. The crackers went right through, but I hoped the
pill would stick. (I wish I had talked to him sooner.) So
between the pill and the concoction the misses made me I might
pull through! I did! Thank you God!
So here we are on our last day out. Koda and I have Lincoln
for our guide and I've lost that extra 10 lbs. I'm weak but
more than ready not to go home empty handed! We gave it our
There were plenty of permit, just not to be caught, at least
not by us. I learned then that all the bonefish are gone due
to the last hurricane and there has been a gill virus. As for
the tarpon they were 'off season'. Barracuda, yes, there was
some caught but I'm ashamed to say, by trolling. So that doesn't
All and all six people, seven days and only one fish caught OUCH!
Congratulations Andy Muller on successfully landing your permit.
All these circumstances aren't the lodges fault. (Except the
chauvinistic guide.) It isn't even the guy that set up the trips
fault. Which brings me to the whole point of my story.
RESEARCH people! Research. Look into where you are going no
matter what! Well unless you have been there yourself or the person
that hooked you up with the trip has been recently, ask a lot of
questions. The tides? The weather? What's in season? FOOD? The
guides? Flies? What pound.leader? How much gear period? I strongly
recommenced bringing food to survive a couple of days or supplement
if need be. Oatmeal packets are great (you can always boil water).
Yea, power bars do weigh a ton, but my husband still re-apologizes
for not grabbin a hand full. (Don't be that guy!) As for my next
fishing adventure... Cuba any info? Would be greatly appreciated
Also would like to send some special thanks to people who really
were great! Jim and Deanna Birkholm ("my fly fishing parents,")
first of all, through them I have found the passion of a life time
Bless their hearts for working on setting me up to be blessed with
a gorgeous Temple Fork Outfitters conversion rod which I was
supposed to be writing a review about but never got a chance
to fish it! Sorry about that Rick Pope. I'll get back to ya!
Thanks for the beautiful rod I look so forward to using it!
(look for future story's) Also, big thanks to Brian Chavet
for the beautiful reel. Once again look forward to using it!
Brian took over Elkhorn from Tom a while back. Congratulations
Brian, The industry is lucky to have you! Great guy! And thanks
to the Morning Hatch for doing a super job on getting us geared
up! Also, thanks to Blue Horizon Lodge for trying! And last but
not least, my husband for his patience.
~ Stefanie Taylor - (destination angler)