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Fly Fishing Tackle - Turneffe Flats

Recommended fly fishing tackle for productive saltwater fly fishing vacations at Turneffe Flats.


Below are our recommendations for fly fishing at Turneffe.  This equipment is available through most of the  local fly shops that we work with, and if not,  we maintain a good stock of flies, terminal tackle and also have excellent equipment for rent at the lodge.   

Recommended Bonefish Tackle

  • Rods: 7 or 8 weight
  • Reel: Saltwater reel holding at least 200 yards of 20 pound backing
  • Fly Line: Weight forward floating line
  • Leader: 9 - 14 feet - depending upon the fishing situation
  • Tippet: 2X-0X  fluorocarbon offers an advantage
  • Flies: size 6 - 10, with bead chain eyes or no weight 

Recommended Permit Tackle

  • Rods: 9 or 10 weight
  • Reel : Saltwater reel holding a minimum of 200 yards of 20 pound backing
  • Fly Line : Weight Forward Floating
  • Leader : 9 - 12 feet
  • Tippet : 1X - 0X
  • Flies : #4 to 1/0

Recommended Tarpon Tackle

  • Rods: 11 or 12 weight
  • Reel : Saltwater reel holding a minimum of 200 yards of 30 pound backing
  • Fly Line : Intermediate or sink tip
  • Leader : 4 - 6 ft. butt section, 16 - 20 pound class tippet and 60 - 100 pound shock tippet
  • Flies : Size 3/0 to 4/0

Recommended Barracuda Tackle

  • Rod : 8 to 10 weight
  • Reel : Saltwater reel holding a minimum of 200 yards of 20 pound backing
  • Fly Line : WF floating
  • Leader : 20 -  30 pound wire shock tippet (8 to 12 inches in length) 
  • Flies : Size 1/0 to 3/0

rental equipment

We rent top-quality fly rods and reels (Sage rods and Hatch reels) as well as Patagonia Marlwalkers and Simms Flats Sneakers. Although we have a substantial inventory on hand, it is a good idea to confirm rental arrangements prior to leaving to ensure that we have your size.

Fly Fishing Equipment

  • Sage Rods (Sizes 8, 10 and 11)
  • Hatch Reels (both right and left hand)
  • Simms Flats Sneakers (sizes 7-14)
  • Patagonia Marlwalker boots (sizes 7-14)


  • Rental Rates
  • Fly Rod and Reel - $25 per day or $140 per week.
  • Wading boots - $7.50 per day or  $45 per week


Bonefish Flies

A variety of bonefish flies work well at Turneffe, and the best patterns vary somewhat from day to day. Small flies (6's, 8's, and some 10's) work best on our shallow, wadeable flats.

Bonefish flies for the ocean side flats at Turneffe should be unweighted or very lightly weighted. These bonefish are often in a few inches of water and weighted flies hang up too easily.  Some anglers prefer weed guards and they can be useful; however, most of our guides feel that the disadvantages of making it harder to hook fish outweigh the advantages.  

On deeper flats and particularly around the mangrove islands in the center of Turneffe, larger, weighted flies are preferable. Small crab patterns also work well here.  

Some of the better Bonefish patterns for Turneffe are the following:

  • Pops' Bonefish Bitters, #6 and #8 (Olive and Amber)
  • Pops' Egghead Bitters, #6 and #8 (Olive and Amber)
  • To-Dy-For, (a small unweighted shrimp pattern in white and olive)
  • Crazy Charlies - chartreuse, white, pink & brown (unweighted for outer flats)
  • Gotcha, #6 and #8
  • Horror, #6 and #8
  • Baited Breath, #6 and #8
  • Enrico Puglisi's Turneffe Micro Shrimp & Turneffe Micro Crab
  • Various small crab patterns and several other unweighted shrimp patterns

Permit flies

Although Del Brown's Permit Fly, in various modifications, is nearly always "the crab of choice," a wide variety of other crab patterns work well.  Generally, larger, heavier crab patterns (#2 to 1/0) are preferred for the deeper flats and smaller, lighter flies work well on the shallow or wadeable flats. 

Popular permit patterns include:

  • Del Brown's Permit Fly (Merkin), size #2 to 1/0
  • Enrico Puglisi's EP Crab (#2 to 1/0)
  • Craig Mathew's Turneffe Crab
  • Various other Crab patterns (#2 and 1/0)
  • Smaller, lighter variations for the shallow flats

Tarpon Flies

Apte-style tarpon flies in various color combinations. Dark colors tend to be better in the early morning and brighter colors work best when the sun is bright.

  • Deceiver patterns - various colors
  • Abel Anchovy
  • All tarpon flies in sizes 3/0 to 4/0

Barracuda Flies

Various barracuda patterns with 2/0 tandem hooks and wire leaders.

Saltwater Poppers (#2 to 2/0)

Other Flies to Bring

Clouser Minnows #4 to #2

Saltwater Poppers #2 to 1/0

Don't Forget to Bring

  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Cap with dark under bill
  • Rain gear
  • Water bottle for wading
  • Insect repellent
  • Hemostats
  • Nippers
  • Hook sharpener
  • Wading pack
  • Camera, batteries and plenty of film if you don't use digital
  • Snorkeling gear
  • Prescription medications
  • Wading Shoes. These need to be firm soled shoes designed for flats wading with a sole impermeable to sharp pieces of coral. Light tennis shoes or dive booties will not suffice.