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Bonefish Action at Turneffe Flats Lodge, Belize, 11/15-11/22/08

Capt. Rick Grassett
November 29, 2008
Turneffe Atoll - Saltwater Fishing Report

Early Saturday morning, a group of 5 other anglers and I headed for a week of fishing for bonefish and permit at Turneffe Flats Lodge in Belize. Capt. Frank Rhodes, from Auburndale, FL, Les Fulcher, from Longboat Key, FL, and Sarasota winter resident, Norm Boardman and I departed from Tampa and met up with John Freeman, Jr., from Venice, FL, in Miami. Doug Boardman, from Richmond, VA, met up with us in Belize City. Although I host groups of anglers to various fishing destinations several times a year, this was my first visit to Turneffe Flats Lodge. The lodge was highly recommended by several friends whom have visited Turneffe Flats Lodge multiple times, so I felt very comfortable with the trip.

Turneffe Flats Lodge is one of the nicest fishing lodges that I have ever visited. Our meals were restaurant quality complete with linen napkins. Breakfast featured a special each morning with an option for eggs, bacon or sausage cooked to order. Dinner menu items included beef, fish and lobster with exquisite made from scratch breads and desserts. Lunch orders for the following day were taken at dinner each evening.

Our group stayed in the Garden Villa, which was perfect for a group of 6 (2 anglers per guest room with a living room and kitchenette with satellite TV). A workout room was on the ground floor below us, definitely not the kind of amenities you expect to find in a fishing lodge. The lodge caters not only to fly anglers, but to scuba divers and eco/adventure tourists (kayaking, snorkeling, bird watching, etc) as well. One evening several of us were treated to a crocodile sightseeing tour. We cruised around and spotted several crocs up to 6' or 8' long!

We arrived in beautiful conditions on Saturday evening just in time for dinner. We were awakened before dawn on Sunday morning by a driving rain storm. Unfortunately, weather conditions were poor most of the week. A front or low pressure system sat on top of us causing wind and clouds with occasional rain on and off throughout the week. The sun popped out a few times during the week giving us hope that conditions would improve.

We found the bonefishing challenging, but had some success mostly wading flats on the outer edge of the atoll. Dubs, Dion and Mark were our guides and they worked hard for us all week. On the better days up to 6 or 7 bonefish were caught and released by a couple of anglers in our group. On the slower days, only a couple of fish were caught by our group. We had a few shots at permit, also on the outer flats where we mostly targeted bonefish. Frank had a take from a permit, but missed hooking up. We were not able to fish the lagoon area on the inside of the atoll where large schools of permit roam the flats due to persistent wind and lack of sun. I was surprised that a couple of the permit that I cast to let us take multiple shots at them before they spooked. I had a permit tail up on my bonefish fly while wading a flat on the south end one day, but it didn't eat. I spoke with several other anglers whom had visited Turneffe Flats Lodge multiple times with great success. My guide for most of the week, Dubs, landed 4 permit on his boat the day before we arrived. I know that the weather was our problem and I would certainly return again to try and get my first permit on a fly.

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge Photo

In addition to the fine guide staff, Betty, Martha and Claudia took great care of our group in the dining room. Management staff members Linbert, Lourdes, Jeff and Jake were also on top of everything making sure that our visit was enjoyable. On the first day when it was pouring rain, Jeff hosted a knot tying session following a very detailed fishing orientation. I look forward to visiting Turneffe Flats Lodge again soon.

Tight Lines,

Capt. Rick Grassett

FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor


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Capt. Rick Grassett, owner of Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc., is a full time fishing guide and outdoor writer based in Sarasota, FL. He has been guiding since 1990 and is an Orvis Endorsed Outfitter fly fishing guide at CBs Saltwater Outfitters in Sarasota. Specializing in fishing with flies and lures on light spinning tackle, Capt. Rick fishes the bays, back country and coastal gulf waters from Tampa Bay to Charlotte Harbor in his 18 Action Craft flats boat.

Contact Info:

Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.
2447 Waneta Drive
Sarasota, FL 34231
Phone: 941-923-7799
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