The Palometa Club Lives Up to its Reputation.
Most of us have come to realize that a good day on the water doesn’t always translate to the number of fish landed. However, it certainly helps — especially when you are talking about one of the most notoriously hard to catch species in the world. When permit are the target, success is often measured in follows rather than eats and any permit angler will tell you, epic days on the water are all about being in the right place at the right time. On a recent trip to the Palometa Club on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the stars aligned just right for Rance Rathie of Patagonia River Guides and Jason Miller of Miller Recreational Development. While taking a break from Argentina, the two permit junkies experienced not one, but two of the best permit days of their lives.
In July of this year, Rance Rathie, owner of Patagonia River Guides in Argentina was looking for a change of scenery. Being a permit junkie, Rance contacted David Leake of Tailwaters Fly Fishing Company to arrange a trip to the Palometa Club on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. If you’ve ever fished the Yucatan, you know there are plenty of great lodges in the area that provide excellent accommodations and skilled guides. What sets the Palometa Club apart is their dedication to permit. They run two guides per boat, one to pole and the other to spot fish. Once a fish is spotted, the typical tactic is to jump out of the boat and stalk the fish on foot.
Rance got his first taste of permit fishing about 15 years ago and ever since, he’s chased them in just about ever locale they live. For his winter break from Argentina, he invited his good friend, Jason Miller, who like Rance, also has an addiction to permit. In total, Rance and Jason had five days to fish. The first three were typical. “During the first part of the trip, we had plenty of pretty good shots, but they were typical permit. You’d think they were going to eat, tail down on it but freak out at the last second.” says Rance.
On their fourth day of fishing, guides Aaron Ascencio and Christian Cardenas decided to check a different spot out in hopes of finding clean water. When the flat was in sight, the water was clear and immediately after coming off plane, they began searching for black tails. It didn’t take long for the first fish to appear. “Just like the previous days, the fish were there, the only difference was these fish ate.” says Rance. “We were using a white crab pattern called the tortilla and by the end of the day, Jason and I landed four.” Landing four permit is about as good a day as you could ask for on the permit flats. Needless to say, Jason and Rance were stoked but neither one of them had any idea what they had in store the following day.
With high spirits from an outstanding previous day, the same crew set out to the same area for the fifth day of fishing. Once again, the guides found the fish early and again, the fish were uncharacteristically willing. At the end of the day, Rance and Jason tallied a total of 10 fish landed. Of the 10, six were double hookups. “One of the coolest moments was a point where we came up on two tailing permit. It was my shot. I made a cast, the fish ate and the other one just kind of lingered around. Jason immediately jumped out of the boat, made one cast, hooked the fish and somehow we both managed to land them. It was truly a moment I’ll never forget.” says Rance.
Once again, success in permit fishing should never be measured by the number of fish caught. Get one to follow and you are doing good, get one to eat, you are doing great. The next time you find yourself on a permit flat and become frustrated after witnessing numerous perfectly placed presentations get refused, remember Jason and Rance’s unbelievable two days — things can change in an instant and in permit fishing, it only takes one to forget about all the stubborn ones.