Coming Soon: The San Pedro Classic Fly Fishing Tournament!

For someone who doesn’t fish, I talk about flyfishing quite a bit. We (ok…Jeff and his crew do 99.5% of the work) run Cayo Frances Farm and Fly and the upcoming Rocky Point Flyfishing Camp. And while the sport of flyfishing may be considered niche by most, it is a HUGE worldwide industry and a significant (and often underestimated) industry on Ambergris Caye.

A HUGE industry, and Belize is recognized as one of the best flyfishing locations in the world. And Ambergris Caye has miles and miles of flats, lagoons, mangrove cayes, and coral reefs. All of which we should be working hard to protect…even just for economic reasons.

Pretty flies
Flies…lots of them

Let me throw out some global numbers—flyfishing apparel and accessories were estimated to be worth $3.25 billion USD in 2023 (BILLION), and the global industry (including trips and guides) is estimated to be worth $10 billion annually.

Summer the time for some of the large migrating tarpon in this area

So, let’s highlight and celebrate flyfishing on Ambergris Caye with a tournament! For locals and visitors alike. The beginning of August—the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd—will bring the three-day San Pedro Classic Flyfishing Tournament to the island. The organizers—Marisela Marin (co-owner of GoFish Belize!), Lori Ann Murphy of Reel Belize and Tina Winkler —want to bring anglers from the community and abroad together for the competition and raise local awareness for the sport. The team wants to highlight the critical importance of conservation, sustainable fishing practices, and maintaining the habitats of our protected fish.

Bacalar Chico mangroves
The mangroved canals at Bacalar Chico

Marisela’s husband Abbie has been a guide on the island for almost 30 years, taught by his father, legendary guide Carlos Marin. He was one of the first San Pedranos to make the jump from commercial fishing to flyfishing in the late 1960s/early 1970s, when tourism was juuuust starting in Belize.

The event will be centered around the Holiday Hotel – the very first hotel opened on the island and where flyfishermen first came to stay “back in the day”. They will celebrate 60 years in 2025.

I love all the history, I love to hear about second —and third-generation flyfishermen, I love it all. It’s such a beautiful sport to watch—I just don’t fish.

Event Schedule for the Tournament

  • 7/31 Captains Meeting 7:00 p.m. at Holiday Hotel
  • 8/1 Fishing Day 1 – 5:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m followed by Distance Fly Casting Contest – 3 p.m. at Holiday Hotel
  • 8/2 Fishing Day 2 – 5:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m followed by Fly Rod Assembly Contest – 3 p.m. at Holiday Hotel
  • 8/3 Fishing Day 3 – 5:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m and Awards Dinner and raffle/silent auction 6:00 p.m. at Holiday Hotel

All proceeds from The San Pedro Classic Fly Fishing Tournament benefit the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Omar Arceo’s Youth Fly Fishing program. How fantastic is that?

Check out the tournament’s website for all the details, including the rules, sponsorship opportunities and sign-up forms, history, fees, and prizes.

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  1. greg urban on June 17th, 2024 at 8:47 am

    You sat about fishing—critical importance of conservation, sustainable fishing practices, and maintaining the habitats of our protected fish.

    Can A person eat the fish or are they only to catch and release. Sounds Cool to do it anyway either way.


    • San Pedro Scoop on June 17th, 2024 at 11:46 am

      The permit, the bonefish and the tarpon are all catch-and-release ONLY in Belize. Those are the fish that flyfisherpeople come to Belize to get. So it’s an inches thing, not pounds and they are released quickly.