Friday, November 27, 2009

Belize Bonefish Trip '09

Capt. Rick Grassett’s Turneffe Flats Lodge Report for 11/14 through 11/21/2009

I hosted a group at Turneffe Flats Lodge in Belize from Nov. 14-21. This was my second visit to the lodge, which is 30 miles off the coast of Belize City. We had near perfect weather and as a result, fishing was good. Although there was only one permit caught at the lodge while we were there, all of us had shots at permit. Numerous bonefish to 7-pounds were caught and released.

Capt. John Hand and his wife, Leslie, from Ruskin, FL, John and Deb LaManna, from Lakewood Ranch, FL, Les Fulcher, from Longboat Key, Fen and Joann Sartorius, from Santa Fe, NM and Joe Bursel and I from Sarasota all met up at the Tampa Airport on Saturday morning for the flight to Belize City through Miami. Ben and Sue Estes, from SC, flew direct to Belize City from Charlotte and met up with the rest of the group there. My friend, Capt. John Meskauskas, from Stuart, FL, was also at the lodge with a group of 6 anglers, including long time friend Twig Tolle and his wife, Jean.

Turneffe Flats Lodge is a cut above other lodges that I have visited. The guides, staff and accommodations are outstanding; meals are delicious and presented well and there are lots of activities for non anglers. Deb LaManna and Joann Sartorius participated in the Atoll Adventure package and had their own guide, Abel, for daily activities that included shelling, snorkeling, birding and much more. They saw lots of sea life while snorkeling, including a variety stingrays and Moray eels. They collected Mayan pottery and glass bottles discarded by pirates that once roamed the area, including the infamous Blackbeard. They treated us to a slide show one evening that was like a National Geographic special!

Although most bonefish averaged 1 ½ to 2-pounds, there were numerous 3-pounders caught and several in the 6 to 7-pound class. An angler in Capt. John’s group, Rob, caught and released an 8 or 9-pound permit while wading with guide, Elvis, on the last day of the trip. Most anglers had shots at permit ranging from singles and doubles to large schools. Capt. John Hand and his wife, Leslie, fishing with guide, Eddie, had shots at permit every day, landed bonefish of 4 ½ and 6 1/2-pounds and lost an 8-pounder. Ben and Sue Estes, fishing with guide, Michael, caught so many bonefish (to 4 ½-pounds) that they lost count. Joe Bursel also caught and released lots of bonefish (about 100 for the week). He focused on action and had several “double digit” days while fishing with guide, Willie. Joe was also successful with bonefish while wading on his own at the lodge. He even caught one off the sea wall!

Fen Sartorius and I fished together several days with guides, Dubs and Dion. We focused on larger bonefish and permit, staying ready for one species while targeting the other. Fen also scuba dived a couple of days. He hooked up with me and Dion at lunch one day and after a successful dive, he caught 3 nice bonefish in the afternoon! Les Fulcher also had good action with bonefish, including several 3-pounders he caught on his own while wading in front of the lodge. John LaManna had great action with bonefish, landing 7 bones to more than 6-pounds while fishing with guide, Dubs, one day. He was very successful with a fly of his own creation that featured a tuft of rabbit fur as a wing and a small pheasant tail. John and I fished together with Dubs on a rainy day, the only inclement weather day that we had. I caught a “tailer” at the end of the day that was very rewarding given the conditions. The more challenging the conditions the more rewarding the catch!

This is one of the best run fishing lodges that I have visited. I had a chance to visit with the owner of Turneffe Flats, Craig Hayes, while at the lodge. He has done an outstanding job of constantly updating the lodge to make it one of the top destinations not only for fly anglers, but for divers, snorkelers and adventurers. Craig was also instrumental in getting the government of Belize to protect bonefish, permit and tarpon, which is rare in most tropical fishing destinations. This is definitely a place that you can bring your spouse and also experience great fishing!

Tight Lines,

Capt. Rick Grassett
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.

FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
(941) 923-7799
E-mail and

Fen Sartorius, from Santa Fe, NM, with a bonefish he caught and released at Turneffe Flats Lodge in Belize.

Les Fulcher, from Lonboat Key, FL, with a bonefish that he caught and released at Turneffe Flats Lodge in Belize.

Capt. John Hand, from Ruskin, FL, with a nice bonefish caught while wading one of the outer edge (reef) flats out of Turneffe Flats Lodge.

Capt. Rick Grassett with a Turneffe Flats "tailer" caught in the rain at Turneffe Flats Lodge.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good BZ for bone fishing! Have yet to go to Turneffe but after seeing this may be my next stop.

Found more fishing in BZ in this magazine