Turneffe Flats Permit

Turneffe Flats – Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters

Part 2 – Fishing at Turneffe Flats 

This is the second installment of our blog from my recent trip to Turneffe Flats Resort. You can read the fist part here. We are hosting a Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters trip there on October 24-31, 2020. You can see tahoeflyfishing.com/travel-trips for more trip details or tflats.com for more resort details. 

My saltwater fly fishing to date has been primarily for bonefish in the Bahamas. Our trip to Belize gave us the chance at permit, as well as bones. We were not there during peak tarpon season but there are resident tarpon that reside around the atoll year round so we hoped to also get a few shots at those elusive species. Over the course of 6 days of fishing we were pleasantly surprised at the number of fish we saw within legitimate casting range. 

Picky Permit 

Turneffe Flats is world famous for permit fishing and this was the species we came primarily to target. Permit are notoriously picky eaters and some of the most difficult fish to catch on a fly. Many people can go years before actually catching a permit. Getting a legitimate shot at a permit is half the battle. 

On our first morning of fishing, also my wife’s birthday, we were getting ready to fish when a school of permit appeared in the distance. After some quick coaching, rushing and fumbling to get everything ready, my wife caught her first permit on the third cast. It seemed way too easy – and it was. We had many more shots at permit over the course of the trip, but that ultimately was the only one landed in the boat. The addiction was fueled, however, and that is what keeps us coming back.

Bones on the Brain

As mentioned, we came to Turneffe Flats to target permit. However, the number of bonefish we had shots at, and caught, was surprising. I had always heard that Belize did not have the number of bones that can be found in the Bahamas. From what I saw, I am not sure I agree. 

On our trip, bones were the “consolation prize” for when we couldn’t find (or catch) permit. We did spend part of a day walking a flat targeting bones and caught a ridiculous number of them. However, most of our time was spent poling in a flats boat. When we saw tails, we would switch rods and catch a few bones. 

The other major difference from the Bahamas is in the size of fly we used. The typical bonefish patterns work in Belize, but the flies need to be smaller – primarily size 6 and 8 flies. This does not mean that the bonefish are smaller than in the Bahamas, just more “dainty” eaters.

For someone new to saltwater fly fishing that wants to start with bonefish, Turneffe Flats offers a great opportunity.

Other Species at Turneffe Flats

While permit and bonefish were our focus, there are other species that can be targeted with a fly rod. We got a few shots at resident tarpon. There are also opportunities for snook, barracuda, triggerfish and other species. It really comes down to how you want to spend your day and if the season is prime (especially for tarpon). If you get there and decide to target a different species than planned, Turneffe Flats has gear you can rent, if needed.

The Saltwater Addiction

For those new to saltwater fly fishing, it is more like hunting than fishing. You can spend hours walking flats or poling in a flats boat looking for fish. Once spotted, it can be a mad rush to get organized, cast and hope the fish eats the fly. It can be very frustrating at times, but, once you hook that first saltwater fish, it becomes a full -fledged addiction and you will spend the entire plane ride home planning the next saltwater fly fishing trip. As we found, Turneffe Flats offers expert anglers through beginners an amazing fishing experience. We hope you come join us for our next hosted trip.

 

Turneffe Flats permit on the fly
The birthday permit
Hunting for permit
Saltwater fly fishing is more like hunting – sometimes you spend hours looking for fish.
Turneffe Flats bonefish on a fly
We found plenty of bonefish willing to eat small shrimp patterns.
Bonefish hookup
When it all comes together and your rod is bent it just fuels the addiction further.
Turneffe Flats bonefish
The Silver Ghost.

Turneffe Flats – Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters

Return to Hosted Travel

Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters is currently reinvigorating its hosted travel business. Turneffe Flats in Belize is definitely a trip at the top of the travel list. Over the years, Victor has hosted several trips to Turneffe Flats. After telling me about the great fishing, lodge, staff and food, I had to experience it for myself. 

I booked a trip for myself and my wife this past November to Turneffe Flats for a week of saltwater fly fishing. The trip definitely exceeded our expectations. The fishing and guides were fantastic and the lodge is a first-rate operation. For those wanting to diversify their experience, it also offers several activities other than fly fishing – snorkeling, eco tours, diving and site-seeing in Belize City.

We are excited to share this opportunity with others, by again hosting trips to this destination. We have secured dates for a Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters hosted trip October 24-31st, 2020. 

For those wanting to learn more, I encourage you to continue reading the following multi-part blog. You can learn more about our experience, as well as pick up tips and recommendations for making the most of a trip to Turneffe Flats.  You can also see tahoeflyfishing.com/travel-trips for more trip details or tflats.com for more resort details. 

Part 1 – Getting to Turneffe Flats

Getting there is relatively easy as there are direct flights to Belize City from multiple US cities. One of the key aspects of a trip to Turneffe Flats is that you must be on the ground in Belize City by 3:30pm in order to make the transfer boat from Belize City. Most trips to Turneffe Flats are for 7 nights/6 days and run Saturday to Saturday. They only run one boat on Saturday afternoon so travelers need to be aware of that schedule and plan accordingly. In the event the boat is missed, there is a hotel at the marina and the option to ride the guide boat, or a private water taxi.

Arrival in Belize City

It seems like you can’t have a multi-flight trip these days without a delay at some point. While on our layover in Dallas we watched our flight departure continue to push back. The potential of missing the boat started to look inevitable. Fortunately, we were able to land in Belize City with just enough time. Once we made it through one of the slowest Customs I’ve experienced, a lodge employee promptly met us outside the airport and took us to the marina (a short 30-minute bus ride). For future trips I would seriously consider an earlier arrival. Another option is to stay an extra few days and see some of the additional sites near Belize City (more on that later…..)

Boat Ride to Turneffe Flats

The boat trip to the resort is a 90-minute ride on a 48 foot boat. The boat travels through offshore cayes, the Barrier Reef, open ocean and then through the interior lagoon to the resort. The portion on open ocean can be rough so travelers that are susceptible to sea-sickness should plan accordingly. We did experience some rough water on the way over, but once you are past the reef the seas calmed down and it was very pleasant. As the sun started to set, we passed through various mangrove lined channels in the atoll. As darkness began to cover the sea we came around the final corner to see the lodge ahead.

 Next up: Part 2 – Fishing at Turneffe Flats

Belize Saltwater Fly Fishing Trip

Come join Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters at Turneffe Flats Resort, Belize. We will be hosting a trip March 7-14, 2020 and still have availability for this amazing trip. Turneffe Flats offers some of the best fly fishing for permit, tarpon and bonefish so come join us for a chance at a saltwater grand slam on a fly. The resort also offers other recreational excursions, including diving, snorkeling, eco-tours as well as just relaxing on the beach for any non-anglers who would like to join. Contact myself or Victor Babbitt for more details at (530) 541-8208.