A Tale of Three Tails - Secrets of Belize
A few fish always take the glory. Some anglers spend an annual 120 days chasing silver kings, while others spend a lifetime trying to come tight with just a single permit.
But what about the other species? What about the weird ones? I think there’s a fish you’ll thoroughly enjoy, in a place where you might not think to look.
Enter Belize, known for its pristine placement along the Mesoamerican Reef, the second largest reef in the world, only behind Australia’s. When you think of Belize you think of permit on the flats, bones clinging close to mangrove outposts, and water so clear you’ll want to throw at least a 10ft leader. But there is a dark underworld: a side of Belize you don’t see much of.
If a blue water permit is your neighbor's Tesla, the deep dark dungeness brown Tripletail is your clapped-out first gen 4Runner throwing 6 different codes. They’re ugly, aggressive, and wild. Belize is just another odd location they call home.
Floating like trash bags they spend their existence looking straight up to the sky. The first triple tail you see is “not a triple tail”. They leisurely float through life, unbothered by the commotion of the ocean. Sometimes to convince a true freshman you’ll have to get within 5 feet just to confirm these exotic objects.
However, once confirmed, grab your box. They can eat huge flies, and will even hit something like a Black Death if presented correctly. You have to pull the fly across their face, not like a tarpon where you pull it in front of their face; tripletail want the fly on their cheekbone. As they float on their side, they don’t feed like any fish you’ve ever fed before. They ambush prey on top of them. Put the fly where they like it and you're almost guaranteed to get a reaction strike.
Set the hook and you're in for another new experience. Imagine a poorly thrown Frisby, that's about 40 pounds, with a mouth as impenetrable as an adult tarpon. They don't really run, they just flop, splash, and scare you for the entire duration of the fight. If you’ve ever hooked a bird (not on purpose) you’ve got enough experience to handle a stud Tripletail. Get lucky and land one and you can watch them change colors. Like an anole they change from yellow, to silver, to gray, depending on their environment. Just another strange feature of this underappreciated alien.
Ask yourself would you rather have another juve tarpon photo or that of a confusing creepy crustacean-like fish that you were able to trick with a rabbit tail? I hope the answer is clear.
If you want to do this, grab a pair Bales Beach Green Mirror shades and book some dates at the Belize River Lodge right outside of Belize City. You won't regret it. The trip will be fun, and if you’re lucky, the fish will be weird ;).