TAILWATERS TRAVEL ADDS SEVERAL NEW PERMIT DESTINATIONS TO CATALOGUE – PART 1 HONDURAS
Permit are widely considered the most difficult and most rewarding species to land on the fly. Until recent years, they were thought to be a once-in-a-lifetime fish. While techniques and fly patterns to target these fish have improved, permit are still the holy grail of the fly fishing world. That mystique is based in part on the fact that permit are notoriously selective. However, another big reason is that regular encounters with these fish are rare at all but a handful of fisheries.
Permit are found at many destinations in the Caribbean, Central America, the Bahamas, and even the Indian Ocean. However, at the vast majority of these fisheries, the numbers of permit are such that it is not possible to target permit all day, every day. Typically, anglers focus on another species such as bonefish and hope for a shot or two at permit per day, if not per week.
Fisheries such as Ascension Bay, where most anglers focus almost exclusively on permit, are rare and special. That is why we are so excited to announce the addition of several true permit destinations to our catalogue. This post covers two fisheries in Honduras — Guanaja and the Faraway Cayes. Part 2 will highlight two fisheries in southern Belize.
Fly Fish Guanaja
Guanaja is an island located offshore of Honduras, just east of the island of Roatan. It is completely encircled by gorgeous flats and small cayes that provide an ideal environment for permit and other flats species.
Several years ago Steve Brown (“Brownie”), a guide from the U.S., founded Fly Fish Guanaja (and just recently opened a sister operation at the Faraway Cayes — but more on that below). Brownie is an awesome human being and truly knows how to put together a first-class fishing operation. He is also very active in programs to protect and improve the special habitat of Guanaja, while at the same time improving the lives and giving opportunity to the local people.
The Fly Fish Guanaja lodge used to be an upscale vacation home, and sits on a private cay overlooking some of the best flats on the island. Guanaja is a legit permit fishery, with good sized average fish and some very large ones over 30 lbs. On many days they tail right in front of the lodge.
One thing that sets Guanaja apart is that it also boasts lots of BIG bonefish. Not every angler wants to dedicate an entire trip to a fish that probably will not eat (permit). But at almost every other true permit fishery, there are lots of little bonefish but rarely any over five pounds. Little schoolie bonefish normally do not interest permit fishermen, so it is permit or bust. Not so at Guanaja. The big bonefish of Guanaja provide an awesome alternative to provide a tug if the permit are not cooperating. If you want a great opportunity for permit with a stellar backup plan — lots of bonefish over five lbs and some that reach double digits — Guanaja is for you.
We are more excited about the Faraway Cayes than any other destination on our radar. It is an uninhabited cluster of cayes and flats 160 miles east of Guanaja — in other words, in the middle of nowhere. Brownie/Fly Fish Guanaja has just put together an exclusive program to allow a few lucky anglers to experience what are perhaps the last untouched flats in the Caribbean.
The first season at Faraway Cayes was 2017, and while the reports are almost too good to be true, they are what you would expect for a totally virgin flats fishery in its location. Loads of uneducated permit that actually eat, including some huge permit. Countless bonefish, with many reaching double digits. In other words, the very scenario saltwater fly fishermen dream about.
To reach the Faraway Cayes, anglers fly by helicopter from Guanaja. The program only allows four anglers per week, every other week, four months of the year. Less than fifty fly fishermen have ever set foot on the flats there, and with the limited program that has been implemented and lack of any sort of human development or activity for hundreds of miles in any direction, the fishing should remain out-of-this-world for the foreseeable future.
The word is still not completely out on this destination, but one of the headlining films at the 2018 Fly Fishing Film Tour tells the story of the Faraway Cayes. Therefore, we expect demand for this unbelievable fishery to be sky-high going forward. After its gangbuster first season and with less than 40 spots available each year, 2018 sold out quickly (even though most anglers still have not heard of it). However, due to a late cancellation, Schuyler Marshall is hosting a trip there March 17-24, 2018. We still have a couple of open spots but expect them to book quickly. If you stay awake at night dreaming about what flats fishing was like before Lefty Kreh was born, call us asap.