There is no off season for the flats

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There is no off season for the flats

If you’re a Norte Americano, you obviously have a pretty good sense for the seasons. You know, that whole spring, summer, fall, winter thing? And months that have long days and short nights and vice versa? If you happen to live on the coast, you also know those seasonal changes can produce some big tides. 

But if you’ve spent little or no time near the equator, it may escape you that things don’t change as dramatically when you get into relatively close proximity to Ol’ Zero Parallel. The days are about the same length year round, tides aren’t dramatic, and the weather doesn’t typically go from Arctic to Arizona from one season to the next. Outside of hurricane season, weather is often same ol', same ol'. 

So why does this matter to the traveling angler? Because while we might love a winter getaway to escape a dreary winter in Norte Americano, it’s not the only time there’s great fishing on the flats, or other tropical waters. If you want to join the hordes of pasty-white Americanos on a winter quest to prove that the sun still shines and warms the earth, that’s cool. Go for it. 

But simple truth, there is no off season for flats fishing, and summer isn’t a bad time to fish there. Before you have fever dreams of heat stroke, here’s a reality check. According to, average high temperature in Belize City for July and August is 89 degrees (low 77). Hardly unbearable, and to put that in perspective, here are ciudads del Norte Americano that can top those average high temps for those months: 

Phoenix, Ariz.: 106/104

Sacramento, Calif: 94/93

Houston, Texas: 91/91

Kansas City, Kansas: 92/90

Atlanta, Georgia: 92/90

Also consider that as you get closer to the equator, the length of daylight doesn't change much between seasons. You’re looking at about 13 or so hours of daylight during summer in the tropics, so those mid-day highs don’t last long. Throw in the ocean breeze and cool water, and summer days are not only bearable, they’re downright enjoyable. 

So the next obvious question is whether the fish are there. Short answer is yes. Some fish are seasonal, but the flats are never barren of fish, and some species may be more plentiful during summer (tarpon come to mind). Each place is a little different, but with a little homework, you will know what fish are likely to be there during summer. 

So weather and quantity of fish aren’t the issue. Are there any advantages to fishing the tropics during summer? 

Glad you asked (even if you didn’t). I’ve found lodging can be cheaper, availability of rooms typically isn’t an issue, so you can make an impromptu trip if the mood strikes you. Ditto for guides, but check in advance if you go that route. 

You also have the opportunity for solitude, and I’ve found I get a better chance to enjoy the hospitality and culture of a place when it’s not packed with touristas. 

Not trying to twist your arm here, and from a selfish standpoint, I want it all to myself. But on the other hand, if you want to hit the tropics during summer, I am pretty sure there’s room for both of us, and the fish are waiting.