Last week a friend of mine invited me out to his ranch out in East Texas to do some bass fishing. Although the heat was maxing out at a little over 100 degrees, we opted to try and catch a few fish. It was a bit slow, but it’s always awesome to get out of the city to do some fishing, and of course photography. If you plan on getting out in this heat, all I have to say is drink a ton of water!
I just returned from the Palometa Club in Punta Allen, Mexico on the northeastern end of Ascension Bay. Tailwaters Fly Fishing put together a group of 12 great guys for a week of hardcore permit fishing to end the season for the club. With total of 19 permit caught (many of which were in the 20-25lb range), the trip was a monumental success.
Once again, I traveled as Tailwaters’ staff photographer. After hearing so many wonderful things, I was stoked to finally arrive in Mexico to start shooting and experience what the Palometa Club has become known best for – permit fishing. While fish and underwater photography were a high priorty, I really wanted to capture the prized asset of this operation – the Palometa Club’s guides. These guys are what make the difference and it shows. On Thursday (the last day of the season), the Palometa Club wrapped up the season with a benchmarking 159 permit. Incredible! You might also remember that they hit permit #500 back on April 14 of this year. Such an incredible accomplishment for only it’s 6th (6 month) season.
The Palometa Club’s success is a direct result of their approach to permit fishing and their family like atmosphere at the lodge. Having two sets of trained eyes is always better than one, which is why they use a 1:1 guide/angler ratio. This is not to be confused with one guide serving as a boat driver and the other acting as a “head” guide. Both are professional and are equally skilled. When a permit is spotted, guide #1 will position the boat with his push pole. The other guide and angler will then slowly step out from the boat and begin to position themselves to intercept the fish. While both angler and guide are in the water, guide #1 is continually feeding information to the guide next to you – making sure they are both on the same page. When it’s time to present the fly, your guide is right next to you explaining exactly what to do – all while managing your line so it won’t tangle. It is truly an incredible approach that increases your confidence and chance at landing a permit.
While most anglers visit the Palometa Club to catch a permit, those that seek variety, other species are available to catch. Tarpon, Snook, Bonefish, Cuda, and even shark are all plentiful. That being said, we had three gentlemen Grand Slam (permit, tarpon, and bonefish in one day) this past week. A 40lb lemon shark, and a monster toothy cuda were also landed. Yes – there are permit, bonefish, tarpon, ect. from Ascension Bay down into Belize, but the difference between a good trip and the trip of a life time is the unique operation the Palometa Club has to offer.
To add an extra spin to our trip, the entire group was eagerly anticipating the Mavericks vs. Heat playoff games – games 3, 4 and 5 to be exact. Being that we were in the small town of Punta Allen, our viewing options were limited. For games 3 and 4, we ended up in a small, “hole in the wall” joint. It’s walls were piled high of empty beer boxes, the lights were dimmed, and there was a single 19″ tele to scream and cheer at for hours on end. For game 5, we were a few minutes late and were lucky enough to see the 4th quarter. The only legitimate bar in town – equipped with a 50″ flatscreen, was showing the Mexico vs. Cuba futbol game. Luckily, Mexico was slaughtering Cuba 5-nil, and with a few free rounds of beer the locals granted us access to the tv. I’m now proud to say that the Dallas Mavericks are NBA Champions after an incredible journey. GO MAVS!
It was great to get out on the water this weekend. The weather was incredible and the bass spawn has officially kicked off. Saturday I visited some private water with Tailwaters’ customer Jonathan Allred. We caught a few bass and some nice crappie. My buddies took me out on Lake Fork yesterday and we sight fished to some really nice bass on or around spawing beds. It was nice breaking out the underwater housing yesterday (I wish the water would have been a tad less murky however). Here is a short photo essay to sum up the weekend…
It was recently announced that The Palometa Club will give out a grand prize (read below) to the angler that lands the lodge’s 500th permit. For those of you that aren’t aware, the permit is one of the most difficult species to land on the fly. Only open for it’s sixth season, The Palometa Club to date, has racked up an impressive number of 483 permit. It’s even more impressive that they only run a 6 month out of the year operation. Through our (Tailwaters staff) experience, this is THE place to go catch a permit. The difference is in the guides. Dick and Kay Cameron have employed the most knowledgeable guides in Ascension Bay and they want to do nothing but catch permit.
For the lucky angler that does land the 500th permit, many prizes will be reigned upon him/her. For starters, a fully paid trip back to the club will be given. Gear comes next — a brand new Sage Xi3, Hatch Reel, Patagonia hip-chest pack, Get Some Tail hat & Buff, and Kaenon sunglasses. The time to jump on this promotion is NOW. At the rate they are catching permit, it’s estimated that they will hit the 500 mark within the next three weeks. I would recommend calling or emailing Tailwaters Fly Fishing Co at (888) firstname.lastname@example.org to book your trip. To keep track of the count, visit the Tailwaters Blog.
This past Thursday I flew out to Denver to check out the Greenback’s Surface Film. I had been invited to donate one of my photographs for the show as did 20 other photographers including Brian Grossenbacher, Louis Cahill, Tosh Brown and others. These guys did a great job and it showed — the gallery was pretty much packed the entire night. It was great to see the support these guys got from Denver’s fly fishing community. Tim Romano of The Fly Fish Journal did a great job curating the show as the photos there were awesome! I was so glad to be a part of it.