Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

The jacks have saved us

The fact that the jacks have been obligingly hitting the flies have saved us big time - there is nothing you can do when you get the kind of weather we have been getting out here in Belize, but you might as well go and nail a few hard fighting jacks when the tarpon and permit are keeping their heads down. It has been that (comparatively) cold here today that any self-respecting flats fish has long run for deeper water.

The weather we have been getting out here sounds like nothing when compared to all the snow and cold I keep reading about back home, but for a place like this it has been pretty extreme. Wednesday was really bright, perfect for photography, but the wind was literally hurtling down the coast and causing the flats to go all milky and cold. Tarpon, bones and permit hate this !! We tried really hard but could not find the fish, so on the way back to the lodge we stopped to smash a few jacks - they were somewhat obliging. Nothing huge, but a blast. I even picked up a fly rod and (very badly) cast a Clouser Minnow out and nailed a few fish. James and I had a competition to see who could give the least amount of line to a hooked fish, and I am proud to say that I won - not one jack took a single millimetre of line off me. Very silly, but great fun.

The wind was pumping even harder this morning, so our guide elected to run us miles south to try and find clearer water and the fish, but by the time we got there the rain was lashing down in a huge way - not great for flats fishing !! In fact I have never felt so cold in the tropics, and although that might be hard to believe, put a howling wind and lashing rain together and it was feeling more like fishing back at home. Granted, there was no snow, but with our luck I would not have been that surprised if James and I had got a dumping of the first ever snow they have had here !! This place chucks up some seriously good fish, but we have just been dealt a bum hand with the weather. In the bar there is a photo of a 197lb tarpon taken on the fly in 2002 - that is how good it can be here, and when the weather behaves, anglers get multiple shots at tarpon, permit and bonefish. I will be coming back to nail this stuff properly on camera......

James and I are flying back to the UK tomorrow and if all goes to plan we should be landing at Heathrow just after 9am on Saturday morning. I am really hoping that the adverse weather at home does not prevent me getting back home to see my girls and of course make the 3pm kick-off for England v Italy in the opening match of the Six Nations rugby. With Saturday being my birthday, surely a good result might be on the cards ?

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