Saturday, February 16, 2013

'Palometa' - Spanish for 'Heartache'

"They call this place 'permit alley,'" John said as we exited the dense Mexican jungle and made our way onto the flat.  Upon scanning the horizon line, it became apparent why.

100 yards to our south was a large black sickle, waving back and forth as if to say, "Hey gringos! Over here."

"Damn," I thought, "I haven't even warmed up with a single cast yet and I have to give the performance of a lifetime." 

I must admit, watching a permit feeding and waving its happy black tail is about as cool as it gets.  I could sit there and watch it for hours.

But I was here to fish, not watch.

My heart was pumping like a plunger and my mouth went dry.  We waded within casting range and it was apparent the fish had no idea we were there.  I let her rip.

The merkin landed about three feet to the right of the permit.  The fish flipped me the bird, then flushed like a toilet.

That's okay, I never expected it to eat anyway.  That would be foolish, right?

My compadre tapped me on the shoulder and handed me my 7-weight.  "Let's go have some fun with bonefish," he said.

I nodded my head and tied on a pink #6 gotcha.  We got into a school on the same flat.  Game on.

Watching a school of bones compete for the right to eat your fly is a nice prescription for anyone suffering from dolor de palometa.

My partner in crime for the day, John Earls, is a former trout and steelhead guide from Oregon who now lives in Tulum.  He offers assisted walk and wade trips in the southern Yucatan via Tulum Fly Fishing.

Although I'd previously fished these flats on my own, I wanted to get some additional local insights this time around to help ensure success.

John's knowledge of the area and local fish proved invaluable.  For a very modest fee, he will spend the day with you - wading the flats, scouting fish and imparting knowledge.  I highly recommend fishing with him when in the area.  He knew exactly where to find fish.

After landing a few bones, we spotted a pair of cruising permit.  We spent about five minutes getting into casting range before I lobbed a crab fly toward their feeding lane along the mangroves.  They were gone before the fly hit the water.

Another dose of humiliation.

Fortunately, there were plenty of bones to save the day and, overall, I was thoroughly impressed with the 'park and play' flats John helped me explore.

Tomorrow, head held high, I will drive south to Punta Allen in search of snook and baby tarpon.

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