Blue Horizon Lodge, Placencia Belize
If you pass the permit test you’ll ink your name on Blue Horizon’s “Beam of Fame.”
By Greg Thomas

If you’re looking for a quick winter escape, with permit fishing written all over it, you would be hard pressed to find a better option than Blue Horizon Lodge in southern Belize.

This is not an option for those who want to splash and giggle, nor is it a good choice for those who prefer to swim with whale sharks or pat dolphins on the nose—you stay at Blue Horizon to fish hard, all day long, and then talk fishing with like-minded brethren over hors devours, cocktails and dinner. If you’re skilled or just plain lucky, you’ll ink your name on a support beam where guests memorialize their catch.

GFFI visited Blue Horizon in December and, after a few days of diligent fishing, we were able to record another permit landing on the “beam of fame.”

Blue Horizon Lodge sits off the Belizean coast about nine miles from Placencia. This location gives lodge guests quick access to the prime flats. And, if other lodge boats show up, BH guests will have already hit the prime water.

It wasn’t easy, and the wind always seemed to blow hardest when a permit was in our sights, but the 10-pounder we landed was about as perfect as they come. And it wasn’t like we didn’t have other shots—each day we spotted fish on numerous reefs and, in all honesty, what likely held us back was operator error. A cast that landed on a fish’s head. A cast blown by the wind that landed on a fish’s tail. Times when the angler couldn’t locate a fish even when a guide was calling, “Right there. Ten o’ clock. Thirty feet.” You make the cast, the guides says, “Drop it. Good shot,” and then the fish just disappears. “You see him?” the guide asks again, and all hands on deck say, “No.” Then the guides says, “Must be gone.”

When Mr. Westby speaks, people listen. This man offers a lifetime of salt knowledge when asked a simple question. If you want to rapidly increase your permit IQ, Blue Horizon is the place to be.

During three days of fishing we must have gone through that scenario 30 times, with it all coming together on one fortunate cast. Thirty shots at permit in three days is a pretty good tally and, truth be told, if the angler had some previous experience with permit, they might have landed a fish or two each day. But you live and you learn and learning at Blue Horizon is what it’s all about.

The guide team are pupils of Lincoln Westby, a legendary permit guide who has fished those mood-wreckers his entire life. Today, he guides and holds court with his team each morning and evening, before and after mixing with clients and answering all the questions they might have on the mysteries of la palometa. This really is an ideal location for beginners and experts; patient guides pole hard for you all day long, and you get as many good shots at permit “per capita” as you would almost anywhere else in the world.

February is a very good month to fish at Blue Horizon. As is March. And the fishing keeps up relatively steady through the year. If winter isn’t in the cards for you, think July and August. Obviously, it’s hot in Belize during those months, but the permit are happy when they are warm, and big, migratory tarpon are also in play. Think hundred-plus- pounders If you look closely at the “beam of fame,” you can quickly deduce when a good portion of permit are landed each year.

But again, what not to like about getting out of the cold, northern climes in February and March? If you want to get your first or 50th permit our motto is “Head south whenever you can.” And if we’re headed south, Blue Horizon is in the mix.

Cuisine at Blue Horizon follows traditional Belizean dishes. Seafood stews, such as this version with a chunk of wahoo in the middle, and organic produce are staples.