Permit Fishing Belize


Belize is recognized by fly anglers around the globe as the permit capital of the world. At Turneffe Flats we are fortunate to enjoy some of the best permit water in Belize.  Permit are  the primary target of many Turneffe Flats anglers and we are pleased to say that many have landed their first permit with us.

Turneffe offers approximately 250 square miles of fishing area and most of our permit fishing is done on the shallow bars and flats inside Turneffe's Central Lagoon or on the wadeable ocean-side flats. These fantastic permit flats are generally 1 to 3 feet deep and the bottom is a combination  of turtle grass, hard coral and sand depending upon the location. Both areas offer great opportunities to sight fish to tailing permit actively feeding on the flats.

Serious permit anglers realize that the game is as much about hunting as it is fishing. Permit fishing requires a substantial committment of time and energy but the long periods looking for permit are rapidly forgotten when you spot a feeding permit with his tail in the air.

Permit at Turneffe  average 15 to 18 pounds but large permit exceeding 40 pounds are regularly seen. A couple of permit in the 40 -45 pound range have been landed by Turneffe Flats' anglers and are certain that there are some 50 pounders around.

We primarily fish  from the bow of our Dolphin Superskiffs which pole quietly and are perfect for moving around the atoll. 

In addition to traditional hunting for permit, Turneffe offers the opportunity to fish to large schools of tailing fish.  These permit are usually found cruising a lengthy mangrove shore and schools can contain 100 or more fish.  When a school is located our guide poles into position above the school and this often results in multiple opportunities to cast to tailing permit.  This is a great option for those anglers not fully devoted to hunting for permit.

For permit, we recommend a 9 or 10 weight rod with at least 200 yards of backing.  Larger crab patters seem to work best with Enrico Puglisi's "EP Merkin" in either tan or olive being our number one choice.  Other good patterns include  the "Bauer Crab" developed by Will Bauer and the "Turneffe Crab" originated by Craig Mathews.  A weight forward floating line is desirable as more often than not it is necessary to be able to pick up and cast a second time. We prefer stiff leaders able to turn over large, wind-resistant flies and hand-tied knotted leaders are generally preferable.  We have developed our own leader formula that addresses our conditions well. 15 to 18 pound tippet is advisable and we believe that flourocarbon does offer an advantage.