TROPICAL EVENINGS -
WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN
IN THE TROPICS
….the waters come alive. Stalking tailing permit or
bonefish as the evening sun glints off their fins is a
memorable experience. After the sun dips below the
horizon and daytime inches toward the night, the flats’
possibilities fade with the falling light. At this same
time, a door opens to an entirely different arena of
fly fishing opportunities.
Since 1986, we have been fortunate to experience
many spectacular tropical sunsets while fly fishing
the low light and the following initial period of darkness.
The entire food chain, starting with the smallest micro-
organisms, become active as the sunlight fades.
With the approach of darkness, many species of salt-water
game fish become increasingly active and aggressive.
Using a mothership as our base of operations while fly
fishing Belize’ coastal flats and interspersed channels
has been the key that has opened this tropical evening
door. Rather than being locked into a “drinks and dinner
schedule” at a land-based lodge during this productive hour, the mothership allows us to be on the water throughout the final stages of fading daylight. Meals are prepared around our fishing schedule rather than us adjusting the timing of our fishing to a structured mealtime.
In the mangrove roots, the fall of darkness brings an increased boldness as snook and baby tarpon become more likely to leave their sanctuary to venture into the surrounding shallows.
A thrilling aspect of fishing tropical evenings comes from some eight to fifteen foot deep channels adjoining shallower flats and mangrove islands. Except in instances where fish are found feeding near the surface and can be taken with poppers, this fishing is primarily sink-tip, streamer-type fishing. Snappers, jacks, permit and especially large tarpon can destroy the peacefulness of an eighty-degree evening.
The most productive evening channel fishing takes place during the 30 minutes prior to dark, and the first 15 minutes after the final curtain of darkness has dropped. It’s a very narrow window of opportunity. Usually, even when the bite is very aggressive, the action drops off sharply shortly after the last rays of the sun disappear from the horizon.
Seeing an 80 to 100+ pound tarpon silhouetted against the setting sun as it leaps six feet clear of the water is one of those fly fishing sights that is never forgotten. It’s also a thrill to hear a large tarpon crashing to the surface after repeated jumps when darkness prevents you from seeing anything but a faint glimpse of white spray.
Being on the water with a fly rod in hand during warm Belizean evenings can become a treasured fly fishing adventure.
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Fly Fishing Adventures