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Saltwater Fly Fishing’s Best Mid-Summer Destinations

Summer means BBQs with friends, mowing the yard, or getting the kids to camp on time. At Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures we’re always focused on fishing travel, and summer is a favorite season for chasing bonefish, tarpon, permit, and other saltwater species at several of our premier saltwater destinations. If it is summertime and the livin’ should be easy, then take our advice and explore some of our favorite mid-summer saltwater destinations.

Belize

Arguably the most diverse saltwater angling destination on the planet, it makes sense that there isn’t one ideal mid-summer angling getaway. Travel to Belize is convenient with daily non-stop flights from several major U.S. cities, making it easy to explore the two regions of this small country.

NORTHERN BELIZE
Informally defined as the area north and east of Belize City, this region is ideal for first-time saltwater anglers or experienced anglers seeking opportunities to target the “big three” of bonefish, tarpon, and permit. From the Turneffe Atoll north to the waters of Ambergris Caye, bonefish, tarpon, permit, snook, snapper, jacks, barracuda, and more swim in these waters.

But, in mid-summer large, migratory tarpon draw anglers in the know to this region and present a strong case to consider missing out on a few baseball games or BBQs.

Yellow Dog is proud to offer the widest selection of destinations in Belize. We proudly work with a great line up of lodges and guides from Ambergris Caye south to the Turneffe Atoll and west to the Belize River. These fisheries offer convenient access, boast a diverse selection of species, and Yellow Dog’s knowledge can help you plan a mid-summer getaway that suits your angling desires or those of your non-angling companions. And, if you only have a day or two to fish, Yellow Dog can arrange day trips throughout the region.

SOUTHERN BELIZE
For permit addicts, or anyone seeking their first permit, southern Belize during the months of June, July, and August must be on your radar. Wind speed and direction of the wind are generally more consistent, which are two of the most important factors when searching for permit. Yellow Dog’s experience with fly fishing in southern Belize can help control the other factors; top tier captains on the platform and easy, direct travel for many anglers searching for a mid-summer permit-focused fix.

Permit, and their finicky habits, are a passion at Yellow Dog and for decades we’ve been fishing these waters. The region from Hopkins south to Punta Gorda is home to a variety of options to suit all tastes. Permit rule here so anglers looking for other species should consider northern Belize, but, if you desire a permit and whether you want a high-end jungle resort or a fish camp with a cabin sitting above the water, our team can make it happen.

Bahamas

Mid-summer is a quiet time in the Bahamas, with most lodges closed until sometime in the fall. But, for the son of the creator of the Crazy Charlie, Benry Smith, mid-summer means it’s time to chase tarpon, permit, and the always reliable bonefish out of his lodge on Andros’ famous west coast.

Red Bay Sunset Lodge
Benry first tied flies for his father, Captain Charlie Smith, and several decades later built the lodge in 2018. Bonefish are the typical focus at Red Bay, but summer brings legitimate opportunities for tarpon and permit. Due to the unique nature of Andros’ famous west side, Red Bay guides are excited for mid-summer and the seasonal window to chase tarpon and permit in an otherwise bonefish-centric location. This is an ideal destination for experienced anglers and the fishing-focused vibe here is not suited for non-angling companions. But, it is suited for anglers who are tired of air-conditioned offices and scorching blacktop commutes and need some double-haul therapy. The maximum capacity is six anglers per week and availability goes fast.

Mexico

It is rare the stars align in saltwater flats fly fishing, but when they do magic can happen. Mexico’s Ascension, Espiritu, and Chetumal Bays provide exceptional mid-summer fishing options for bonefish, permit, and large, migratory tarpon. It also tends to rain quite a bit more during the summer season, forcing snook out of their mangrove haunts onto the flats with the mix of new freshwater. 

No one species dominates here, and that’s why it is an ideal mid-summer destination because regardless of tides, wind, or sun, rarely is there a lack of species to chase. Permit, and some very large ones, are found here. The experienced guides know where the resident tarpon hang. And, the bonefish are plentiful in large schools ensuring anglers new to saltwater flats fishing have a good time. Fishing is a mix of wading the flats or being poled along in a skiff. Guides and anglers will create a fishing plan that best suits the conditions of the day.

A lot of anglers tend to think that traveling to fish in Central America during the summer months will be blazing hot outside. This is simply not true. In fact, many Yucatan lodge owners and guides will tell you that the most overlooked season is mid-summer for fishing in Mexico. Many anglers return to their trout waters during the summer and the flats and fisheries of Mexico receive a rest. In addition, there are also numerous great summer trip specials during the summer season – so better rates and possibly better fishing with consistent temperatures? Sign us up!

+ Listen to this WAYPOINTS Podcast: JESSE COLTEN – The Xcalak Episodes

+ Listen to this WAYPOINTS Podcast: SHAUN LAWSON – The Realities of Fly Fishing in Mexico

Cuba

Mojitos, old cars, “revolution,” un-touched fishing, and the like, make Cuba seem the country of superlatives. And, oftentimes this is true. However, as a saltwater flats destination Cuba doesn’t escape the variables that make a salt trip so exciting—weather, water conditions, and fish behavior—in fact, if you are considering a trip to Cuba ease the stress of those variables by booking with Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures. We know the logistical challenges of travel to, and in, Cuba and pride ourselves in our experiences in this unique country.

The fishing in mid-summer in Cuba is similar to other regions of the Caribbean. Bonefish are plentiful on the right tide, permit are elusive but around, and with experienced guides resident tarpon can be found, and for those anglers wanting to pursue the big tarpon, there are plenty of large silver kings patrolling the lagoons and beaches. The two destinations for mid-summer fishing in Cuba are Isla de la Juventud and Jardines de la Reina.

Jardines de la Reina
Translated in English to Gardens of the Queen, this region of southern Cuba is a marine park larger than the Florida Keys. Tarpon rule the roost here and for anglers desiring long days and shots are tarpon in the 40 to 80-pound range, this is ideal. Permit, jacks, bonefish, barracuda, and other species inhabit this remote and pristine fly fishing saltwater destination. These trips are live-aboard, mothership trips. The live-aboard experience epitomizes the pristine and wild feel of this remote ecosystem.

Isla de la Juventud
This area is home to Cuba’s most consistent tarpon fishing and extends well into summer. Bonefish and permit can be found, but the tarpon fishing here is some of the finest in the Caribbean. Weather dictates the fishing here in the “Island of Youth”. During calm waters and low winds, guides pole the flats and on windy or cloudy days, guides focus on channels and lagoons. With the consistent summer sunshine, guides spend most of the day on the flats, sight fishing for tarpon in the 30 to 80-pound range.

Summer at Yellow Dog’s headquarters in Bozeman, Montana may mean many of us are casting small dry flies to rising trout on the Madison or Yellowstone Rivers, but our passion for saltwater destinations runs deep. We’ve been traveling the world long enough to know that even in mid-summer, there’s always an ocean breeze somewhere.

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