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10 Caribbean Destinations for the Hardcore Saltwater Angler

The amazing thing about working with Yellow Dog is that you have access to over 190 different lodges and operations. That number can seem overwhelming when deciding on a destination – thankfully, every program director has personally checked out the lodge, accommodations, and fishery at each of those destinations.

With so many destinations Yellow Dog can cater trips exactly to your preferences. Some people enjoy luxury, and some people enjoy a bit of roughing it. The following lodges made the list for the adventuresome angler, someone seeking an experience a little more off the grid.

Belize

1. Garbutt’s Fishing Lodge
This is a no-frills operation located in the “Permit Capital” of Belize – Punta Gorda. The Garbutt brothers have been successfully guiding anglers to permit in southern Belize for over fifteen years. They are well-known in saltwater fly fishing circles as some of the top fly fishing guides in all of the Caribbean. Besides pursuing permit, anglers can also target bonefish in the Sapodilla Cayes and tarpon in the rivers of the Punta Gorda region or near the reef. 

2. Belize Permit Club
If you’re interested in some of the most technical, and rewarding, permit fishing available in the Caribbean, then this is your place. Wil Flack, the owner of Belize Permit Club, is a complete permit nut. This trip is for anglers who are not expecting mint chocolate on their pillow, instead, it’s for those who want to focus and fish hard. Rather than providing excessive luxury, the guides and staff maximize their time on the water. With decades worth of permit fishing knowledge at BPC, even if you leave empty-handed, you will most likely gain an immense amount of insight into hunting and fishing for this spectacular gamefish.

The Bahamas

4. Crooked Island Lodge
This is the most southern lodge Yellow Dog works within the Bahamas. The secluded island is one of the least pressured in the Bahamas, therefore making it one of the most productive fisheries. The flats hold astounding shots at bonefish as well as permit. Often, anglers can find themselves on the white sand flats fishing without another human in sight – you’ll have one of the best fisheries all to yourself. If you’re still yearning for more excitement, be sure to go night fishing on the flats to make some memories you’ll have for a lifetime.

5. Chester’s Bonefish Lodge
Situated on Acklins Island, Chester’s is one of the most southern Bahamian lodges that Yellow Dog books. This is an excellent option for those looking for a DIY fishing vacation. Bonefish are the mainstay of the lodge, and fishing is mostly done by wading on the expanse of flats. Again, this is one of the less frequented lodges in the Bahamas, and it’s not uncommon to be fishing the flats only to find yourself alone and with the fishery to yourself. The fishery is also home to snappers, jacks, mackerel, sharks, and barracudas. For people who would rather choose a guide, the lodge offers guide services, and a few of the guides use skiffs.

6. Soul Fly Lodge
This lodge, located in the Berry Islands above Andros, is gaining a reputation as a legitimate permit location in The Bahamas. The condensed islands that make up the Berry Island chain are surrounded by deep water, which also attracts trophy-sized bonefish to its pure white sand flats. All of the guides run new Lodge Edition Maverick skiffs; however, anglers will do a fair amount of wading on their trip. Due to little landmass, anglers will need to practice their casting to prepare for the wind. An inland lagoon does allow for fishing the leeward side for super windy days.

Cuba

7. Jardines De La Reina
However remote and unpressured, it’s important to remember that it’s not untouched – anglers from Europe and Canada have been fishing Cuba for more than 15 years. But by no means should anglers not be excited. The entirety of Jardines De La Reina is roughly the same size as the Florida Keys, and with strict fishing regulations, it’s not uncommon to only see a dozen other anglers over the course of the week. The most popular species to fish for in these waters are tarpon, but bonefish, permit, snook, jacks, snapper, and barracuda can all be found.

8. Isla de la Juventud
Guests will stay aboard the Avalon Fleet I mothership. Again, this is live-aboard operation is in the thick of the mangrove wilderness of the Canaries Archipelago area. The name of the game in the fishery is tarpon. The fishery holds world-class-sized tarpon as well as large numbers of resident tarpon in the 30 to 80-pound range. Aside from the awesome tarpon fishing, there are large numbers of bonefish, permit, snook, jacks, snapper, and barracuda. 

Mexico

9. Costa de Cocos Lodge / Xflats Lodge
Both of these fly fishing lodges are located in the quaint Mexican coastal town of Xcalak. This part of Mexico is far removed from the crowds around Cancun and Tulum. We think George Strait may have been describing this coastal community in his song “The Seashores of Old Mexico!” Seriously, there isn’t much around; however, these lodges have excellent access to Chetumal Bay and the oceanside flats when the prevailing winds aren’t sending boats to fish the lee. Both lodges offer comfortable, no-frills accommodations, excellent food and service, and top-notch guides. 

10. Espiritu Santo Bay Lodge
Just south of its larger neighbor Ascension Bay, Espiritu Santo Bay is found in the pueblo of Punta Herrero – home to only 95 lobster fishermen. The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is the backdrop to the lodge, and it’s not difficult to feel off the grid in the tropical wilderness. Since it’s not quite as popular as its Ascension Bay counterparts, fishing pressure is minimal with strict angling rules on the number of boats allowed on the bay. Fish your heart out for the numerous juvenile tarpon in the bay, or take some shots at bonefish, permit, snook, and barracuda. 

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