Permit Fishing in Punta Gorda, Belize with the Garbutt Brothers
For over fifteen years, the Garbutt Brothers – Scully, Oliver, Dennis, and Eworth – have been guiding the waters from Punta Gorda, east to the Sapodilla Cayes, and north to Placencia. After years spent working for other lodges throughout the region, they finally built a fishing lodge of their own in 2008 – a centrally-located, fishing-focused operation with the best permit fishing in all of Southern Belize. Located on a small point of land on Joe Taylor Creek, the Lodge sits directly in the town of Punta Gorda. You can walk or ride a bike to several bars or restaurants, or you can wander the small fishing village, meeting locals, seeing the sights, and taking in the culture of Southern Belize.
The Main Lodge overlooks Joe Taylor Creek on the backside and the Caribbean Sea to the front. Guests will stay in one of three separate and private cabanas – each built on stilts overlooking both the creek and ocean. The rooms are spacious and clean. Basic-but-comfortable, each cabin features A/C, two beds, a private bath, shower, and plenty of space for your gear and equipment. Each morning and evening, guests will load onto and unload from the boats off the main deck of the Lodge – a walk of only a few feet from the nearest cabin. Every aspect of the lodge – from the location of the dock area to the rooms and the bar – are a testament to the fact that this operation was built BY anglers, FOR anglers.
Food and Beverages
Upstairs in the Main Lodge is the Garbutt’s “Grand Slam Bar” – an eating and drinking area with great character, décor, and photos from the brothers’ years of guiding. Meals are mostly home-cooked and prepared by the Garbutt Family. Breakfast and lunch are usually taken in the boat each day, and dinner is served in the dining area or on the expansive upper deck. The menu is a combination of fresh seafood dishes and traditional Creole cuisine that includes stewed chicken, pork, rice and beans, and fresh vegetables. On some nights, guests will be taken to town to dine at one of several local restaurants. Just like the meals at the lodge, these “in town” meals are included in the package.
Typical Length of Stay
Since there are daily flights to and from Belize City to Punta Gorda, packages of any length can be arranged, and trips can start and end on any day of the week.
Non-Angling Activities and Options
For non-anglers visiting the lodge, the Punta Gorda area and this region of Southern Belize does offer a host of activities such as biking, canoeing, bird watching, kayaking, jungle tours, snorkeling on the outer islands, visiting Mayan ruins throughout the area, reef trips, and manatee watching. The Lodge will be happy to arrange a river trip on the Rio Grande and Moho Rivers, a visit to a local Indian village, or a tour of the Nim Li Punit or Lubaantun Mayan ruins.
Internet / Communications
Wi-Fi is available free of charge for Lodge guests. Please bring your own laptop or PDA to access the internet. Depending on your service plan, some cell phones will also work in the Punta Gorda area.
How To Get There
International flights to Belize City’s Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) go through Miami, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Toronto, Newark, Chicago, and Charlotte. The major airlines that service Belize is American Airlines, Continental/United, US Air, Delta, Aero Mexico, Southwest, Avianca, and Taca.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
It is best to arrive into the Belize City’s Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) before 3:00 PM in order to make your necessary domestic connections and allow ample in-country travel time to Punta Gorda. Your round-trip flights from Belize International Airport to Punta Gorda are NOT included in your trip package, but Yellow Dog will be happy to arrange these for you. On your departure day, you can book a return international flight at any time, as flights from Punta Gorda back to the International Airport begin as early as 7:00 AM each day of the week.
All U.S. citizens are required to have a valid passport that does not expire within six (6) months of trip dates. Please be sure that your passport has at least two blank, unstamped pages remaining in back, and that it is not torn, delaminated, or damaged in any way. Citizens of the U.S., the British Commonwealth, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, and the European Community are NOT required to have Visas.
Minors Traveling To Belize Without Both Parents
If you are planning on traveling with minors, remember that all children 18 years of age or younger entering Belize accompanied by only one parent or legal guardian must have a NOTARIZED letter of consent from the other parent stating the child/children have his/her permission to enter the country. Single parents need a notarized documentation of divorce decree or death certificate of spouse. Minors unaccompanied by either parent require a NOTARIZED letter of consent signed by both parents. Please visit the Embassy of the United States web site for Belize to obtain more information. https://belize.usembassy.gov/information_for_travelers.html
Yellow Dog works directly with and recommends Kanna Travel. They can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact them at 855-739-3139 or [email protected] for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services, and trip insurance.
For those wanting to focus specifically on permit on the fly, the waters of Southern Belize are arguably the finest in the entire world of saltwater fishing. While other species are found throughout the area, it should be understood that the fishing in Punta Gorda is focused almost completely on permit. This means that as a stand-alone trip, this trip may not be for everyone – unless of course, you’re someone who really wants shots at permit on a fly! There are hundreds of prime permit flats in the area, many less than thirty minutes from the Lodge.
The outer reef islands (the Sapodilla Cayes) also offer opportunities for bonefish and can be well worth the hour-long run from the lodge. Relatively untouched and numerous, the bonefish on the outer Cayes average two to three pounds, with four to five-pound bonefish occasionally found. The rivers of the Punta Gorda region can offer seasonal (and somewhat spotty) fishing for snook, large jacks, and tarpon that can run anywhere from 10 to over 100 pounds. Over the years, the Garbutt Brothers have also located numerous flats along the reef where tarpon can be found throughout the year. If you’re serious about wanting to catch permit on the fly, however, this is a great all-around destination.
Boats and Equipment
The Garbutt Brothers fish from 23-foot super pangas, boats that are ideal for both poling the flats and running over open water. All of their boats have poling platforms and are designed for fly fishing, with spacious casting decks and clean interiors. While a limited number of loaner rods are available, it is advised that anglers bring their own tackle, equipment and flies.
Remember that Yellow Dog’s services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge or outfitter. All prices listed below are per person and quoted in US dollars. Trips of any length can be arranged, so please call Yellow Dog for details and custom package pricing.
Double Occupancy (2 Per Boat / 2 Per Room)
3 Nights / 2 Days = $1,340.00
4 Nights / 3 Days = $1,755.00
5 Nights / 4 Days = $2,170.00
6 Nights / 5 Days = $2,585.00
7 Nights / 6 Days = $3,000.00
Single Occupancy (1 Per Boat / 1 Per Room)
3 Nights / 2 Days = $1,895.00
4 Nights / 3 Days = $2,495.00
5 Nights / 4 Days = $3,095.00
6 Nights / 5 Days = $3,695.00
7 Nights / 6 Days = $4,295.00
- The number of nights lodging and days fishing specified in your package
- All guided daily fishing
- 9% hotel tax and 12.5% sales tax
- Three meals per day
- Local Belizean beverages (beer, alcohol, and soda)
- Transfers from Punta Gorda Airstrip to and from the lodge
- Marine park entry fees
What’s Not Included:
- International flight to Belize City
- Round trip air transfers between Belize City and Punta Gorda on Tropic Air
- Belizean fishing license (can be purchased at lodge)
- Gratuities for guides and staff
- Flies, leaders and terminal tackle and equipment