Belize’s Tres Pescados Slam Tournament Returns After 3 Years

by Dion Vansen

After almost three years, the annual Tres Pescados Slam Tournament returns in 2022 as the largest fly-fishing tournament in the country. According to organizers at the Tres Pescados Fly Shop, unlike previous years when it was usually held in August, the tournament will be hosted July 21-23, 2022, in the 3-day tournament’s birthplace of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye. The fly-fishing competition emphasizes the protection of three fish species—tarpon, bonefish, and permit—while offering anglers the opportunity to win fabulous prizes while chasing a grand slam in Belizean waters. If you love fly fishing, this is one to keep your eye on this summer.

Tournament details

Tournament briefing for the Tres Pescados Slam. Ph: Will Phelps / Bryan Gregson Photography

All participants require a Belize Tourism Board certified guide for fly-fishing, which can be booked here. Like most tournaments, anglers meet the night before in a briefing, where at least one team member must attend to receive any updates and additional information about the tournament.

Fish ain’t the only thing sustaining fly-fishers. Ph: Will Phelps / Bryan Gregson Photography

The tournament is a non-profit catch and release event lasting for three days. Anglers typically head towards the fishing grounds on the western coast of Ambergris, where the flats provide a natural habitat for Belize’s big three sportfish. Each day begins as early as 5:00 am with breakfast, followed by the start of fishing at 5:30 am; then at 2:00 pm, its lines out of the water.

Hunting tail on the flats. Ph: Will Phelps / Bryan Gregson Photography

Check-in takes place for the day by 3:00 pm for points to be tallied. Points are then accumulated based on the size and species of fish caught, with every boat having a ruler to themselves to help document in photos for fair judging. During the tournament, the fish must be properly handled to ensure their survival. Landing the three species of fish involved in this tournament in one day is known as the Grand Slam, in accordance with the fishing rules of the International Game Fish Association (IGFA)! 

Competing for a good cause

Can you spot the boat? Ph: Will Phelps / Bryan Gregson Photography

At the end of the tournament, winners go home with cash prizes and fishing equipment after a fun time in support of a great cause. Not to mention, the competition supports preservation efforts for Belize’s marine ecosystem by also raising funds for local conservation organizations. During the 10th Annual Tres Pescados Slam Tournament in 2019, a total of $15,000 was raised for the Coalition for Sustainable Fisheries, supporting the ban of gillnets in Belizean water.

The three species of fish giving life to the tournament are all protected under the laws of Belize, and tournament organizers try to remind the public of this fact every year the event is held. These species also support the multi-million-dollar fly-fishing industry, where hundreds of islanders work as guides. 

Days start early for fishermen in San Pedro. Ph: Will Phelps / Bryan Gregson Photography

The Tres Pescados Slam Tournament has been happening since 2009. The event welcomed new anglers over the past years giving fishers from around the globe the opportunity to support local projects while they have fun. If this is something you are considering, we encourage you to sign up for the 2022 Tres Pescados Slam Tournament. Registration is open. Take the opportunity to be part of promoting sustainable sport fishing, education and the raise awareness for the protection of fisheries habitats.

The application process to participate is easy and visitors wanting to find out more and be part of this adventurous competition can visit to register.

All images via Tres Pescados (Facebook and Website).

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