Turneffe Tails: Fishing Belize's Fabled Atoll

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Belize is known for several things in the world of outdoor recreation—Mayan ruins and jungle wildlife being two popular venues with eco-tourists—but it is the saltwater fishing that draws the most fanatical crowd.

Of this fishing, Turneffe Atoll remains one of the tiny country's prime destinations.

Here's why:

One of only four atolls in the hemisphere (the others are Belize's Glover's and Lighthouse Reefs, and Mexico's Banco Chinchorro), Turneffe lies about 30 miles off the coast, about an hour's boat ride out of Belize City.

The atoll is made up of myriad cayes (pronounced "keys") set like emeralds amid creeks, flats, sloughs, holes, and cuts holding innumerable hues of royal blue, azure, and aquamarine.

Lurking in these crystalline waters are more game fish than you can shake a fly rod at, and they are there just waiting for anglers to exploit. Bonefish, permit, snappers, tarpon, jacks, barracuda, wahoo, mackrel, dorado, billfish, and kingfish all ply these rich waters.

Winter is best for warm but comfortable weather, but it tends to be windy. Spring through fall is hotter, but the wind lies down more often. Hurricane season runs from June into November.

Once you decide when you want to go, the only problem is deciding what kind of game to pursue.


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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