Turneffe Fly Fishing

A real Caribbean treasure awaits you 25 miles off the coast of Belize City.

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The Turneffe atoll has a mysterious draw to it.
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Fly in hand, the writer waits for the bonefish school to appear.
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In no time flat, we spotted one of the largest schools of tailing bonefish I had ever seen.
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Craig Hayes, of Turneffe Atoll, is trust founder and Turneffe Flats Lodge owner.
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Game Fish Habitat: Sport fishing for bonefish, permit and tarpon pumps roughly $25 million directly into the Belizian economy. That coupled with $31 million in value-added expenditures accounts for approximately 6 percent of Belize’s tourist economy.
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Turneffe offers angling opportunities around every corner but permit remain the main draw.
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If you can’t find happy permit, bonefish around Turneffe are an extremely reliable target.
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While finding big numbers of tarpon is somewhat seasonal, fish can be found year-round.
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The run to the fishing grounds is both short and picturesque.
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Mangrove pockets are a perfect place to make a few blind casts for resident tarpon.
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Some flats around the atoll are so big, it feels as though you are on another planet.
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As the sun comes up and you take your first shot of the day, it’s hard not to think that a grand slam could be a realistic possibility.
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There’s no denying how productive the flats of Belize are, but throwing Clousers around structure or drop-offs is a great way to find mixed-bag action.
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Permit can be found on shallow flats, but the deeper water in the surrounding lagoons undoubtedly increases your odds of finding a willing eater.
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Rugged flats boots are a necessity on the coral atoll, though there are definite grass flats too.
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Flats Boots: A good percentage of the fishing around Turneffe is done on foot, and because much of the bottom around the atoll is coral, a quality pair of boots is a must.
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Belizian Suds: Cap off a day on the flats with an ice-cold Belikin. It comes in a light, premium lager and a stout variety. Delicious as it may be, watch out for the stout. It’ll get ya!
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Turneffe Flats started as a bare bones fly-fishing base camp but over the years has morphed into a stylish, very comfortable operation that hasn’t lost the classic lodge feel. The property is conveniently located on the northeastern side of the atoll, which by the way has a wadeable bonefish flat right outside the front door of guests’ beachfront cabana.
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After a long day on the water, and before the dinner service, guests can relax on the porch or take a dip in a refreshing infinity pool, both of which overlook the ocean.
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Or, if you’re the type that doesn’t like to sit still for too long, feel free to explore the grounds. Should you go this route, make sure to always bring a rigged and ready fly rod; there are all kinds of jacks, snappers and more to be caught simply by walking along the water’s edge.
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Learn more about Turneffe Flats Lodge and the Turneffe Atoll Trust by visiting www.tflats.com and www.turneffeatoll.org.