A Flyfisher’s Paradise
By Jaiem Fleishmann
For some time, I had wanted to take a trip to a far away exotic fishing spot. Visions of tarpon, bonefish, jacks, ‘cudas and the rest had been enticing me for years. I finally got my wish when I joined a group lead by Joe Keegan from Ramsey Outdoor Sports on a trip to Turnireffe Flats Lodge in Belize. What an adventure it was!
The lodge was located on the Turnereffe Islands atoll, approximately 20 miles east of the Belize mainland. Situated on a series of mangrove and coral islands are several places to stay with Turnireffe Flats Lodge located in the northeast section. Accommodations are comfortable and the food is great.
While tarpon and permit are available, Turnireffe is best known for its bonefishing. Most fish are around 4 to 5 pounds, but the quantity is awesome! In many other tropical places, you’re lucky to see 3 or 4 bones together at a time. In Turnireffe, schools of 30 or 40 fish are common on the flats! Of course, seeing that many and getting a hook-up are two different matters.
Fishing for bonefish was mostly done by wading the flats (bring a good, solid pair of wading boots!) while tarpon and permit fishing was done from a flats boat. The guides were very helpful when it came to rigging our lines for the local species and getting us close to the fish.
There is a great variety of fish available at Turnireffe. In my weeklong stay, in addition to bonefish, I caught lots of jacks and Spanish mackerel, ‘cuda, yellow tail snappers, a nice mutton snapper, hooked a nice permit, and jumped my first tarpon. Not bad for just 5 days fishing!
If you go to Turnireffe, bring along an 8- or 9-weight outfit for the bonefish and at least a 10-weight for the tarpon.
The sun is powerful in that region of the world. A wide brimmed flats style hat and good polarized glasses are a must. Also I suggest wearing white long sleeved shirts and long-legged pants to block the sun (don’t just rely on sunscreen!). And above all remember to bring your camera with lots of film.