Turneffe Flats Lodge is located on the Turneffe Atoll about 1 1/2 hours by boat from Belize City. I have fished there 3 consecutive years, my last trip was the first week in June, 2007. My first year in early May 2005, I was primarily interested in landing a permit on the fly rod. I also wanted a grand slam. I landed 6 permit that first year. I spent a lot of time blind casting for tarpon and also fished bonefish on the flats. My second year, I concentrated on permit and bonefish. I hooked 4 permit, (one estimated at 25+ lbs) and landed 2. One got eaten by a shark at the back of the boat and the big one broke me off. In 2007, I hooked 10 permit, landed 8 (the largest was 20 lbs).
After seeing a 20 lb fish in hand, I would estimate the fish I lost last year to have been 30+ lbs. I spent a little time chasing tarpon and bonefish.
If you are interested in shots at permit on the fly, I can't imagine a better location than T. Flats Lodge. I am heading back in 08 in early May. I am not too interested at blind casting for tarpon as i have landed several sight casting in Florida. The bonefish are tough as I think they get a lot of pressure. The Bahamas is better for big dumb fish. It helps to be able to cast quickly and accurately for the permit. Most shots are 25-60 feet, not far at all. You just have to be accurate and quick. Listen to your guide, they are excellent at reading fish as well as spotting them.
The lodge is excellent with great meals. We have had great trips all 3 years.
Last edited by yankamolar; 07-24-07 at 09:25 PM.
The whole Turneffe chain gets a lot of pressure, but that's not the reason the fish are small - it's because of the local netters. It was common to see bonefish, tarpon and snook in the markets of Belize City. Today there are fewer fish as a result. Eco tourism has supplanted the fishing industry there and maybe in 10-15 years you will again see the big ones again.
You want BIG BONES - aver 6-7 lbs? Go to Los Roques, VE. With 300 isles, flats and 100 sq miles of water - the angling pressure is minimal and there's no netting - it's all a national park. My largest bone there was 11 lbs. NO BS! It nailed a white/tan Crazy Charlie #6, with 8lb tippet, wrapped me up in a mangrove field for 20 minutes before I hand landed it. It's my fav bonefish location in the Hemisphere. At certain times of the year, permit and even tarpon can be caught there. I'd rather go where there are fish, than waste my money trying to find one big fish.
Capt. George Woodward
aboard the 48m ERINRIE
"If you're not the lead sled dog, your view of the world never changes"
There are still plenty of permit around Turneffe atoll with very large schools (50-100) of juviniles that fall into the 10-20lb class. It is still one of the best places to go to get consistant shots at this elusive fish. There are some larger permit around that travel in smaller schools (1-3).
The bonefish are getting larger in the 7 years I have fished in Belize and saw some nice 5 lb. bones caught this last week out at Turneffe.
Inregards to small Bones vs. big Bones out at Turneffe, I know the size has come up. This week we have had several 24"-27" Bones come to hand. That puts these fish in the 5-8lb. class. I have been all around Turneffe and have yet to see a net? In comparison to other destinations in Belize like San Pedro or even around Belize City, there are alot less flats anglers out on the Turneffe chain. Pressure is not the reason alot of smaller Bones are around as much as it is just a great habitat for juvinile fish. The mangroves, turtle grass and coral falts are excellent places to rear young fish. This doesn't mean that there are not big bones also.
On top of the Bonefish population this is the only location I have consistantly come across large schools of Permit numbering into the 100's. This makes Turneffe a unique place where fishing is still wild enough to have a remote feeling in your daily excursions. Highly recommended!!!