We had the pleasure of meeting and fishing with Raul Navarrette over 12 years ago when we visited Belize River Lodge
. Raul was not only the Captain of the "Christina" mothership that we
sailed on but also one of our favorite guides. The group of Elizabeth
and Peter Van Gytenbeek with their daughter Kate who is my wife had
grand adventure with him and the crew. It was a trip where I caught my
first decent Atlantic tarpon and saw schools of permit I had never
imagined. But what I remember vividly was being in the middle of a hot
tarpon bite up a very tea stained river. We were getting takes just
about every cast when Raul suddenly snapped "be very quiet ,
don't move muscle" and then we heard it too. A roaring buzzing
that was getting progressively louder. Then we then saw it coming
around the river bend. A huge swarm of bees following the river track. The sound crescendoed as the swarm pulsated and zoomed over our very
heads while passing by. "Wow what a huge swarm of bees" I said softly
and very calmly Raul replied "Killer Bees, very dangerous".... No shit I
We last saw Raul at a
fishing show at the Belize River Lodge booth he was excited about
getting a FFF casting certification but had a flu from the cold weather.
He was a really nice guy and forgave me for pronouncing his name Rule
in my Aussie tongue but I think he got a laugh from it really.
Another great loss to the fly fishing world. Rest in peace brother.
& Tarpon Trust Board member Mick Kolassa is coordinating efforts to
assure that his family will be taken care of. Anyone wishing
to help in this effort is urged to contact Mick firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read more about Raul here at Raul Navarrette
Six days has passed and it still does not seem real. On Saturday, May 5th, on the morning of the "super moon", Raul's wife, Luisa called to say that they were rushing him to the hospital, it appeared that he had a heart attack. After trying to revive Raul, the doctor's could do no more and with a very sad heart, we have to say that Raul passed away on May 5, 2012.
Raul was one of the good guys! If you know him, fished with him or just heard about him, you will know that Raul was special - always upbeat, always a smile and always willing to learn and try anything. He has worked at Belize River Lodge for 22 years, with the last 20 as a guide. He was very young, only 40, so he started his carrier as a guide early in life. Raul was born and raised in Orange Walk, with little sea coast. He used to tell us that he would go down to the New River as a boy and catch fish to bring home to eat. When Raul started working at the Lodge at the age of 18, he was very interested in the how's and why's of guiding. He spoke with many of the older BRL guides and picked up as much as he could on the "when's" to fish for which species, the flies or lures that are best and so on. With training on boating and marine life and currents, Raul quickly picked up the necessary tools of being a fishing guide and became one of the best in Belize.
Raul leaves behind his wife, Luisa, his 20 year daughter, Odalis, and his 14 year old son, Raul Jr. His mother, brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces, aunts and uncles, friends from all around, and along with all of us at BRL, we will miss him dearly.