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Fishing Trip Planning Checklist


Local Transfers Arrangements:

As part of your Vacation Package, Machaca Hill Lodge will arrange for your local transfers between the Belize International Airport and Machaca Hill. Upon confirmation of your reservation, please inform us of your international carrier's arrival and departure time to/from Belize City. We will then reserve seats and notify you of your local airline‟s (Tropic Air) flight number and departure time.

To enter the country of Belize, US citizens are required to have a valid passport that does not expire within 90 days of arrival and a return airline ticket. US citizens are allowed to stay for 30 consecutive days. Please note that there is a US $37.50 per person Belize Airport Departure tax payable at your airline counter (some airlines include the departure tax in the cost of the ticket).

Guests fly to Belize International Airport, proceed through Immigrations, collect their bags and continue through Customs. The Customs line to the far right has a green sign that states "No Goods to Declare." You will want to go through this line. After clearing Customs please continue into the Main (and only) Terminal. Go to Tropic Air which is the first counter, on the far left. Tickets will be waiting for you under both "Machaca Hill Lodge" and your last name; the flight to Punta Gorda is 60 minutes. A representative of Machaca Hill Lodge will meet you at the Punta Gorda airstrip and transport you to the lodge, which is a 15-minute drive.

The Belizean currency is the Belize dollar. It is commonly exchanged at the lodge using the rate of $2.00 BZE equals $1.00 US for cash and travelers cheques, $2.07 BZE equals $1.00 for credit cards (Visa and MasterCard only.) You do not need to convert currencies upon arrival. Everyone accepts USD and will give you back BZ$ for your change.

Our bar offers a selection of top shelf liquors, wine and beer.

Cellular Phones:
Cell phones with international service plans will work in Belize. Travelers can also activate local service at the BTL counter in the International Airport.

Tipping is a personal decision based on service. Normally guides and staff are tipped upon departure in accordance to help rendered. Ask the Lodge manager for guidelines.

Belize is a tropical country where the average temperature is 84ºF. Dress is informal at the lodge so bring light comfortable clothing. Consider packing the following:
 Rain Gear is always prudent
 Camera, batteries, plenty of film and lens cleaner
 Light jacket or sweater
 Sunscreen, chapstick and moisturizers (SPF 30+)
 Lightweight long-sleeved shirt and pants (sun protection)
 Insect repellent (we recommend OFF spray with orange cap)
 Lightweight rain gear for tropical showers
 Hand Towel/Rag for fishing use
 Polarized sunglasses for spotting fish (amber or green mirror work best on the flats)
 Wading shoes or boots for stalking flats fish, if desired
 Wide brimmed hat for protection from the sun
 Fisherman‟s pliers, clipper, line cleaner
 Personal Medications
 Optional: binoculars, snorkel gear
 Small waterproof bag for carrying extra gear

Catch or Keep:
Permit, Bonefish and Tarpon are always released; some Snook, Snapper, Barracuda & Grouper is kept for the table.

Fly Fishing

Fly rods in the 6-8 wt. range are the ideal size for Belize bonefish. The lighter rods (6 & 7) are great when there is little or no wind and an 8-weight rod has more than enough muscle to deliver a fly in even the stiffest of gales. Moreover, the 8-weight rod will double as the ideal rod for permit and light tarpon fishing. Many anglers prefer to have the larger rod, 8-10 wt. rigged up and in the boat for the permit and a 6 or 7 weight rod with a floating line in hand for the bonefish that are routine. This also leaves the 8-weight a reserve rod and for extremely windy days. Ten to twelve weight rods are perfect for Central American tarpon fishing.
The choice of rod length is important. Nine or nine-and-a-half foot long rods are optimum. More line can be picked up off the water with the longer rods, with less surface disturbance. Also, for the vast majority of fly anglers, greater distances can be covered and with less effort using the longer fly rods.

Should be anodized, corrosion-resistant saltwater models that will hold a full fly line, plus approximately 200 yards of 20 lb. backing. Reels equipped with high quality, smooth, drags are essential to prevent break-offs from the blistering runs of hooked fish.

A weight forward saltwater taper floating line is ideal for most of the sight fishing you will encounter. There are time when an intermediate sinking line is the answer for tarpon, permit and snook fishing not to mention fresh water opportunities in lagoons and rivers. Anglers should also bring along some sort of line cleaner for the lines as well, since saltwater has a way of making them sticky after a few days use.

Tarpon – Custom Fly Leader – 20lbs – 100, 60-pound shock tippet
Bonefish – Tapered Leaders – 10‟-12‟ long – 8 or 10 pound
Permit – Leaders – 10‟-12‟ long – 10 to 15 pound
Toothy Critter Wire Leaders – 20 and 30 pound

Tarpon – 60-100 pound
Bonefish – 10 pound
Permit – 12-16 pound

Suggested Flies: (Machaca Hill has a small selection of special "local" flies available in their gift shop)


  • Cockroach 1/0 - 3/0
  • Red/White Tarpon 1/0 - 3/0
  • Grizzly Orange Tarpon 1/0 - 3/0
  • Stu Apte Original 1/0 - 3/0
  • Whistlers 1/0 - 3/0
  • Black Death 1/0 - 3/0

Bonefish & Permit

  • Horror 6, 8
  • Chico‟s Bonefish Special 6, 8
  • Raghead Crab – Tan and Olive 6, 8
  • Gotcha 6
  • Crazy Charlie - Tan and Pink 6, 8
  • Spawning Shrimp 6
  • Deep Water Gotcha 4
  • Bonefish Slider – Tan and pink 4
  • Matthew‟s Turneffe Crab - green 6
  • Mangrove Critter 4
  • McCrab 2, 4
  • Merkin – Tan and Olive 4, 6
  • Bonefish Bitter – green 6, 8
  • Bauer Crab – green 2, 4
  • Palometta – green and brown 2, 4
  • Snook and Jack Crevalle
  • Grizzly Deceiver-Green 2/0, 3/0
  • Clouser-Red/White 4, 1, 2/0
  • Big Popper-Blue or Yellow 3/0
  • Grizzly Deceiver-Blue 2/0, 3/0
  • Pencil Popper 2/0
  • Seducer-Red/Yellow 2/0, 3/0
  • Gummy Minnow – Pearl, Blue 2, 4


  • Cuda Fly-Green (double hooked tandem wire) 3/0 Needle Fish-Flourescent Green/Yellow & White 3/0

Conventional Tackle

RODS: Lt.-Med Lt 5.5-7 ft Med Lt-Med 5.5-7 ft Med 5.5-7 ft Med Hvy 5.5-6.5 ft
LINE (lbs): 6,8 or 10 15 15-20 20-25
REEL: 150 yd 250 yd 200 yd 175 yd
    60# 80# or 100#
CUDA LEADERS: 18" to 24" wire, 30 to 50lb test      


Heddon Lucky 13 Red & White, Bull Frog
Rapala CD-11 sink, CD-14 Mag Red & White, Orange
Yo-Zuri 4 ¼ Crystal Minnow Red & White, Blue Mackerel
Cisco Kid 7-9" Fire Tiger
Rebel 3" Pop R‟s 3/8 oz. Green Perch, Silver Shad, Silver Blue
Arbogast Poppers 2 ¼" Frog, Perch, Coach Dog
Slug-Go 6" w/off set hooks, 3/0, 5/0 Rainbow Trout, Alfwie, Arkansas Shiner
Body Jig Heads ½ oz. White or Red Heads
Tube Lures Tandem Hooked Green, Pink
Little Wormy Jigs ¼ oz. Yellow, Tan, Pink
Diamond Jigs 3/16 oz. Tan, Brown
Phillips Wiggle Jigs 1/8 oz. Pink, Brown, Tan, Yellow