Most Turneffe guests target bonefish at least part of the time—and there are some great options to be had. The seaward side of Turneffe Atoll sees large schools of bonefish that offer beginning anglers plenty of shots while they learn the saltwater game. For experienced anglers, large singles and doubles averaging 6 to 8 pounds—with some eclipsing the 10-pound mark—can be found on the seaside reef flats.
Hard-core permit anglers know that Belize is the permit capital of the world and that Turneffe Atoll might be its epicenter. Anglers mostly cast to singles and doubles on the numerous flats and bars, but large schools of permit can also be found tailing in shallow water. In either case, anglers fish most often from poled skiffs, although wade fishing options may be available on the oceanside flats.
Migratory tarpon arrive at Turneffe in May and remain through September. These are mature, beastly fish that range between 60 and 200 pounds. Tarpon inhabit Turneffe’s creeks, channels, and lagoons ready to pounce on large baitfish imitations. To handle these bad boys you’ll need a 10- to 12-weight rod and no fear—jumping a 100- to 200-pound tarpon is one of fly fishing’s greatest thrills and an awe-inspiring experience.
While the “big three” demand the most angling effort, other species are worth pursuing while visiting Turneffe Flats. Barracuda are abundant, and the interior of the atoll offers snook, snappers, and jacks, all of which are incredibly hard-fighting fish. One of the most rewarding experiences at Turneffe is wade fishing the home flat in front of the lodge, blind casting Clousers and poppers, never knowing what might eat the fly. Pure, simple fly fishing fun for novice and experts alike.
Turneffe’s schedule is quite flexible depending on which species is your primary target and how long you want to be on the water. Standard days run about eight hours, beginning after breakfast and ending around 5 p.m. Adjustments can be made to take advantage of prime tides and other factors. Tarpon anglers may start their days before breakfast and take advantage of prime dawn hours. Packed lunches are available or anglers can choose to return to the lodge to refuel, reset, and hit the flats in the afternoon.
Boats and Equipment
Anglers fish from 16-foot Dolphin Super Skiffs custom built in the U.S.A. These are comfortable boats that cut the chop when running and pole well in skinny water. They have large casting decks and six rod holders. All skiffs are equipped with VHF radios and safety gear. Lean bars are available on request.