The #1 Permit Lodge on Earth
Palometa is Spanish for Permit. And that's exactly what has made this destination stand out from the rest of the crowd in the neighborhood of Ascension Bay - Permit, and lots of em'. Which is not to say that there aren't other fish around (in fact there are plenty of bonefish, tarpon, snook, jack crevalle, sharks, barracuda,... even triggerfish) but at Palometa Club, permit are the main event that attracts the majority of our anglers. The lodge itself has a simple, down to Earth, old school culture that presents purist ideals in its approach to running trips that will make their clients come back year after year. And they do, which tends to mean that space is sometimes limited these days.
There are a lot of things that set The Palometa Club apart from other fishing lodges in the region. But what we hear about more than anything else is the superiority of our guides, and the amazing difference that makes to our clients, especially when coupled with our policy of putting not one but two guides in every boat that goes out on the water. And that's just one of the differences that have made our program what it is. So even if you have fished the saltwater all your life or are already familiar with the other lodges in our area – be prepared to witness an entirely different and vastly more productive style of flats fishing when you come to The Palometa Club.
PERMIT - The Name of the Game
While there are always options to chase any of the great catalog of fish that swim these waters, the reality is that that The Palometa Club became the only true "Permit Lodge" on Earth for good reasons. The Club's team of exceptionally skilled guides is obsessed with these fish, and truly passionate about pursuing them every day. From the exploration of new waters, to the tweaking of fly patterns, to the constant study of how weather and conditions affect these fish, in the mind of a Palometa Club guide it is pretty much all permit, all the time. And the returns for that effort are obvious: more permit landed each year than any other lodge in the world - period.
Our 1:1 Guide Angler Ratio
Permit fishing with a fly rod means using the eyes as a primary tool, and clients who have played this game before usually know how much of a difference there is between the guide's eyes and their own. The Palometa Club simply made the decision long ago to hedge its bets, and up the numbers. One guide for each angler (2 anglers and 2 guides per boat) means twice the eyes, and twice the capacity for searching. This is not to be confused with one real guide and one “apprentice guide” aka inexperienced lackey that drives the boat and helps to set up lunch. At The Palometa Club each angler gets their own member of an exceptionally experienced guide team, dedicated to ensuring no fishing time or opportunities are wasted and that all anglers are guaranteed one-on-one instruction throughout the day. One guide will wade with the angler while the other guide will remain on the poling platform, managing the boat, keeping an eye on the school, and choreographing an approach for the next presentation. There are also scenarios where both anglers and both guides bail out of the boat to chase larger schools, thus getting everyone in on the action at once.
How it's Done:
Ascension Bay is an enormous ecosystem, and The Palometa Club has set up its programs to take full advantage of that expansive environment. Our guides run traditional Mexican Panga boats with comfortable seating, high poling platforms, easily accessible rod storage, and large obstruction free casting decks. Unlike smaller flats skiffs, pangas make the run on choppy days across the bay manageable while still providing shallow draft access the skinniest of flats. Palometa guides are not set on the traditional eight-hours-rigid fishing schedule you may be accustomed to from visiting other lodges. Our boats are still launched each day between 7:30 and 8am, but our guides are not under the gun to make it back at any hour in particular if the fishing is good. While they do generally try and spool it up at a reasonable time (especially if you have a long run back to the house), the only true limited factor is that they have to be on the beach before sunset in accordance with the laws of the Sian Ka’an.
Gear for Palometa Flats:
Ascension Bay is a very diverse fishery with excellent opportunities for bonefish as well as permit, snook and juvenile tarpon year round. Anglers should bring a 7-8 weight rod with a floating line for bonefish and a 9-10 weight with floating line for permit and tarpon. In a perfect world, for convenience, the ideal quiver of three rods is a 7-8 weight (bones), 9 weight (permit) and a ten weight (tarpon and snook). This allows the angler to have a dedicated rod for each species without having to re-rig repeatedly while out on the water chasing fish. During the early summer (May – June) you may want to consider bringing an additional 10-12 weight loaded with a floating line as well as a spare spool with a sinking line for migratory tarpon which tend to run a bit deeper. Almost all fishing for bones and permit is done while wading, so bring high quality wading boots and a good hip/chest pack. If you are planning on fishing for permit exclusively, you can get away with some simple closed toed sandals (Keen, Simms, Teva). Permit wading areas typically don’t require full wading boots. Bonefish wading areas however do require proper wading boots. While we do encourage all anglers to bring their own gear since it is the gear they are most familiar with and probably most apt to cast, we also keep a good stock of loaner rods and reels by Sage, TFO, Winston, Tibor and Hatch which are always available for those anglers who need to arrive without checked baggage.
Flies - the Nitty Gritty:
Permit - The most important foods for Permit on the Yucatan are small crabs and mantis shrimp. Our range is so large though, and the habitats we fish are so diverse, there is some complexity to the menu of offerings we throw even within these crabs. Having a decent selection of flies will ensure you are able to match the appropriate pattern for differing bottom structure, water depth, and fish behavior. The most important flies to have in your permit selection are the “Raghead Crab” and the “Casa Blanca Raghead” — most often in a size #2. Spawning and mantis shrimp patterns are also very important to have. Enrico Puglisi makes the best Spawning Shrimp patterns with several different styles, colors, sizes, and eyes (bead chain and lead). The guides normally prefer 10-12′ leaders with fifteen pound tippets. Sometimes conditions and fish behavior will dictate downsizing to 12 pound or even bumping up to 17 pound tippets, always in fluorocarbon.
Bonefish - Yucatan bonefish tend to prefer smaller #6 – #8 sized flies, while it is also a good idea to have a few #4 flies in your box. The flats of Ascension Bay are a mixture of hard and soft bottom. Some flats are covered in turtle grass or coral rubble, while many are simply white sand or mud. A mixture of patterns tied with both bead chain and lead eyes to fish the varying depths is most effective, including some completely unweighted flies for the shallowest of water. The standard staple bonefish patterns include Gotchas, Charlies, Sillilegs, smaller raghead patterns, puffs, bitters, and other basic shrimp and small crab imitations. Leaders and tippet for bonefish are typically 8-10 pound test and 9-10′ length. Monofilament is normally fine for bones while fluorocarbon is generally stronger and more abrasion resistant.
Tarpon - The vast majority of the tarpon fishing on Ascension Bay is done in the backcountry lagoons and lakes for juvenile “baby” tarpon in the 5-25 pound range. During the late spring and summer months you may also encounter large adult, migratory tarpon on the flats or near the reef on a calm day. Almost any type of baitfish pattern or standard issue tarpon pattern will work well —in accordance to the size of the fish being targeted. Baby tarpon flies should be 1/0 – 2/0 & adult tarpon flies should be as large as 3/0 – 4/0. There is no scientific method to preparing your tarpon box, so just have a nice cross section of our recommendations as well as any of the standard Florida Keys style tarpon patterns you may already have. It is also a good idea to have a few seducers and deceivers in the arsenal as well. Unless you are interested in setting IGFA records, we recommend simply rigging your tarpon leaders with straight fluorocarbon. A 5-6’ section of non-tapered fluoro is super strong and easy to tie with a loop to loop connection onto your fly line.
The Club Lodge is located on a beach in the heart of an active lobster fishing community called Punta Allen. Built in 2005 by owners Dick and Kaye Cameron, the building is a two story design in the classic local style, conceptualized from its very beginnings with the international fly fishing market in mind. Each room has its own private bath, two double beds with comfortable pillows and linens, individual air-conditioning controls plus a ceiling fan, an operable window, and plenty of space with storage for clothing and gear.
Unlike many of the simpler accommodations in the region, The Palometa Club lodge is tastefully decorated and equipped with 24 hour electric power, wireless high speed internet, super cool air conditioning, and effective mosquito control. There are six bedrooms (3 upstairs and 3 downstairs), a fly tying study, library/living room, and a large dining room adjacent to the open kitchen. There are also several outdoor patios and a beautiful outdoor bar. The style and ambiance at the lodge is both refined and professional, but at the same time couldn't be more laid back and informal.
Hardy box lunches are prepared for the fishing boats and typically include sandwiches, fruits, desserts, ice water, cold beer and whatever other beverages clients elect. Lunches are taken on the water or under the shade of palms and mangroves during a mid-day break.
After the day’s fishing guests enjoy cocktail hour at the outdoor beach lounge while telling stories of their adventures out on the water. Fresh caught ceviche and empanadas are also part of every happy hour.
Dinners at the Palometa Club are not at all typical “fishing lodge” cuisine. Instead local foods are served family style, featuring delicious Caribbean and Mexican dishes like moja de ajo, pollo con mole, and chili rellenos, followed by scrumptious locally inspired desserts.
Purified water is used for all drinking, cooking, and ice.
Trips to The Palometa Club generally begin with arrival at Cancún International Airport (CUN). Most of the major airlines in the United States offer flights to Cancún, with a variety of scheduling options.
Guests of The Palometa Club must plan flight reservations to arrive in Cancun on Friday no later than 2:00 P.M. and schedule the return flight the following Friday no earlier than 1:00 P.M. in order to make comfortable connections via ground transfer.
Once in Cancun, guests are met by lodge representatives and transferred south to Punta Allen in a comfortable air conditioned van. The entire drive takes approximately 3.5 hours under normal conditions. The last 40+ kilometers of the road from Tulum to Punta Allen however are often in some state of disrepair depending on recent weather patterns and the frequency (or infrequency) of maintenance. If the road is in poor shape, the Club will offer a water based transfer from the top of the Boca Paila lagoon down to the lodge. This is a huge time saver and a comfortable, smooth alternative to the bumpy road. Additionally, for those who might be interested, we have sourced a very reliable helicopter transfer option from Cancun straight to the soccer field which sits right next to the Club. Flight time is about one hour in a new Bell Jet Ranger chopper that will accommodate four passengers. Rates are approximately $5600 (US$) one-way unless we can coordinate outgoing guests to split the cost and avoid a “deadhead” flight back to Cancun. Inquire for details if interested.
Our services are provided absolutely free; booking a trip through Hemispheres Unlimited WILL NEVER COST YOU A SINGLE PENNY MORE than booking it directly with the lodge or outfitter, but does reap the benefits of our extensive experience with that destination, as well as our ongoing support services available to you at any time prior to, during, or even after your trip.
2016 Palometa Club Rates:
7 Nights / 6 Days Fishing (Fri – Fri)
$4050 per person (shared room / boat)
Non Angler Rate:
$2000 per person / week (shared room)
Shorter Week Itineraries:
(Space Available Basis Only)
6 Nights / 5 Days = $3600 per person
5 Nights / 4 Days = $3050 per person
4 Nights / 3 Days = $2500 per person
SINGLE ANGLER SUPPLEMENTS:
(Space Available Basis Only)
Additional $100 per night for private room
Additional $200 per day for private boat (shared room)
Example: 7 Nights / 6 Days (based on private room and boat) = $5950
*Note on Shorter Week Itineraries:
Stays of less than a week or arrival/departure on days other than Friday will often incur an additional transportation charge of $350 each way for vehicle. We encourage short week guests to arrive or depart on Friday to minimize any additional transfer costs.
7 Nights accommodations; 6 Full days of guided fishing; All Meals; Ground transportation to lodge; Happy hour beverages (Margaritas, Beer, Local Rum Drinks); Non-alcoholic beverages; Telephone Calls & Wireless Internet; Mexican VAT tax
What’s Not Included:
Commercial air to Cancun, Mexico; Additional alcoholic beverages outside of Happy Hour (BYOB welcome); Guide and staff gratuities; Fishing Tackle & Flies; Organized eco-tours; Laundry Service; Departure Taxes
Terms and Conditions:
A fifty percent deposit is required at the time of booking in order to confirm all reservations. Final balance is due sixty days prior to the trip. All deposits and/or final payments are non-refundable. Refunds or credits cannot be issued for fishing time lost due to inclement weather. Receipt of deposit and/or final payment is acknowledgment that registrant has read and accepts the cancellation, refund and responsibility clauses. Travel insurance is highly recommended.
Contact us today for available dates and details, and get started on your way for this dream-trip of a lifetime to see how The Palometa Club became the most sought after Permit destination in the world!