Belize on the Fly
Thirty-six miles off the coast of Belize City, Belize, lies a fly fisherman’s dream destination. Cayo Frances Farm and Fly is a small fly fishing camp located on the leeward side of Ambergris Caye that works with some of the best fishing guides on the island and is stacked with paddle boards and skiffs to go explore the surrounding waters. It’s owner, Jeff Spiegel, was gracious enough to house the BOTE team for a couple days and give them a preview of the camp and some epic spots on the Island.
Jeff has not always been in the hospitality business—he started out running a punk rock record label, but after years of the hustle and bustle, decided to move to Belize and teach himself how to be a chef. Now, having lived there for 14 years, Jeff decided it was time to open his own fly fishing camp and expose people to all the island has to offer. “Belize is incredibly unique—it’s a tiny country with a ton of diversity. In a place like Ambergris Caye, the windward side has the beaches, the reef, and is now a bustling tourist town. The leeward side, on the other hand, has nothing. It is completely concentrated on flats fishing—Bonefish, Permit, Tarpon, and Snook—so I decided to make it the type of place that people visiting San Pedro can get away from town and fish with some of the best guides we have,” says Jeff.
Jeff has been building Cayo Frances Farm and Fly now for a year and a half. The farm itself is filled with the native Chaya plant and is situated on land that 1300 years ago, more people lived on than do presently, making it rich in history. “This is pretty much the last developed property until you hit Mexico. This camp is truly one of the most unique spots in the country,” explains Jeff. Not to mention the incredible food that is cooked for you throughout your stay!
Steps away from the campsite is some of the clearest water you will ever see, filled with endless fly fishing possibilities. Depending on how skinny you want to get or how far you want to travel, Jeff has the camp equipped with multiple BOTE boards and skiffs to take out. “Nothing is going to give you more freedom and better access to the waters than paddle boards,” says Jeff. The BOTE team found it efficient for long distance trips, to trail a board behind the skiff, getting you out farther, but enabling you to explore skinnier and more concealed waters. With the help of Jeff’s fishing guides, our team visited some of the best fishing spots Belize had to offer and did not ever leave empty handed. “The fishery here is world class but it is not easy—there are probably few places as rewarding to fish,” explains Jeff.
After spending a week with Jeff, our team was sold on living the small island life and could not wait to visit Belize again. Corey Cooper, BOTE owner and CEO, states, “Although the town of San Pedro is an amazing spot to see, filled with authentic foods, locals, and buildings, nothing compares to the camp, team, and fishing that Jeff has going on at Cayo Frances.”
Cayo Frances Farm and Fly will be opening to guests in Summer 2016! To learn more about Jeff and his camp, please visit: belizeflyfishcamp.com