Blue Horizon Trip Report with Schuyler Marshall//Travel

Blue Horizon is a fly fishing operation near Placencia, Belize, in an area known as “Permit Alley.” Decades ago, legendary permit guide Lincoln Westby (now 76 years young) developed the Blue Horizon fishing lodge on a deserted caye in the middle of this gorgeous fishery. Since founding the operation, Westby has been continually grooming a stellar team of guides that put anglers on permit, tarpon, and bonefish, while at the same time treating the flats with utmost care. Blue Horizon enjoyed considerable success for years, until the elements eventually took their toll on the lodge and it became unsuitable for guests. After several years of under-utilization, Westby has teamed up with a company that plans to rebuild the Blue Horizon lodge, and in the meantime offers several other lodging options in the area.

Tailwaters Travel knows Belizean fly fishing intimately, from Ambergris Caye in the north, offshore to Turneffe Atoll, all the way south to Punta Gorda. The operations in those locations offer not only excellent fishing but also great accommodations, easy travel, and dialed-in programs in general. So we were curious — and a little skeptical — as to whether the current iteration of Blue Horizon could match those other destinations. On a week-long R&D trip in August 2017, we were delighted to find Blue Horizon equal to those destinations in most important respects, while offering its own unique qualities that no other fisheries possess.

In terms of overall quality of permit fishing, other destinations such as Ascension Bay and Punta Gorda are on par with Blue Horizon. However, no other permit fishery can boast flats as beautiful as Blue Horizon, or as many tailing permit. The fishery is enormous — over 40 miles north to south — and is dotted with cayes, pancake flats, and reef-style flats over its entire length. The water is crystal clear and almost every flat is surrounded by a stunning and multi-colored variety of coral. Beyond the coral are seemingly sheer walls that drop into unknown depths right off the edge of the flats. The tops of the flats are mostly sand with some turtle grass, and on the correct tidal periods, almost every flat is adorned with schools of tailing permit.

While permit fishing is the main event, there is very reliable bonefish and seasonal tarpon fishing as well. The bonefish are larger than the typical Belizean bonefish — upwards of 10 lbs for anglers lucky enough to make a run offshore to Glover’s Reef in calm conditions. We also encountered both large schools of tarpon in 30 feet of water (that readily ate the fly) and several single tarpon cruising the skinny water flats.

We were blessed to fish two days with Lincoln Westby, who may know more about permit fishing than any guide alive today, and is also a wonderful human being. His ethic towards the flats environment and fish truly sets him apart. For example, he avoids wading to preserve the sensitive coral, turtle grass, and permit food such as immature sea urchins. As soon as permit become jittery he backs off to find other fish. He meticulously rotates flats in order to keep pressure to a minimum. And he has instilled these values in all of the Blue Horizon guides, ensuring healthy flats and happy permit for many years to come. It would truly be worth a trip to Blue Horizon just to fish with Westby.

Another highlight of the trip was watching the newest member of the Tailwaters team, Will Graham, at work capturing imagery. Will has been a professional photographer for years, and is now expanding his expertise into the fly fishing arena. His technical skill and eye for photos really is incredible, as shown by the shots of our trip here and on our Blue Horizon webpage. To top it all off, Will captured some AMAZING drone footage that may be used in a film about Lincoln Westby on next year’s Fly Fishing Film Tour! Even if you do not catch the film, we plan to share the footage in some shorter clips about Blue Horizon on social media and the website. Stay tuned for much more of Will’s work in the coming years. Follow him on Instagram @willgrahamphoto.

Beyond the phenomenal fishing and incredible beauty, Blue Horizon also offers anglers many more lodging options than any other fishing operation we know of. Anglers with families, or those that prefer to stay in town with more nightlife, can stay in one of several attractive resorts in Placencia or Hopkins with swimming pools and a ton of non-angling activities. Those that prefer to be closer to the fish have at least four cayes to choose from where they can find permit tailing right in front of their bungalow. For now, anglers may share these cayes with honeymooners and families on vacation, but the Blue Horizon lodge will represent a dedicated fishing lodge when it is rebuilt in the next couple of years. The cuisine at each of the resorts is delicious, featuring mostly fresh seafood. Perhaps the best part about these lodging options is that it allows anglers on any budget to chase permit on these stunning flats. From an ultra exclusive private island with every conceivable amenity and five star meals, to a caye with basic open-air huts and family style dining, anglers can choose their level of comfort along with the corresponding cost of the trip.

It is also really easy to reach Blue Horizon. Belize City is less than a three hour flight from DFW, Houston, and Atlanta. After landing in Belize City, anglers take a 15 minute flight to Dangriga or a 30 minute flight to Placencia, where they are picked up and transferred to their chosen lodging. The transfer is a few minutes by vehicle if staying on the mainland, and a 30-45 minute boat ride if staying on a caye.

We simply cannot say enough good things about Blue Horizon, and there are so many reasons to visit. It is accessible to anglers on almost any budget — an absolute gift to the angling community considering the beauty of the flats, incredible number of tailing permit, and chance to “fly fish with the Permit Master” Lincoln Westby. We are very excited to add the Blue Horizon properties to the catalog at Tailwaters Travel, and encourage you to check out our webpage along with all the beautiful imagery shot by Will Graham.

Blue Horizon Webpage: CLICK HERE

For more information or to visit with us about booking a trip to Blue Horizon Lodge, please contact Schuyler Marshall:

schuyler@tailwatersflyfishing.com
(512) 680-8003

2018-02-20T16:05:13+00:00

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