19 Permit. Los Mavs. A New Partnership
June 4-10, 2011
We recently returned from another epic week at The Palometa Club on Ascension Bay. Eleven of us shut down the 2011 season at The Club with one of the most memorable hosted trips I have ever experienced.
After a quick and uneventful flight from Dallas Love to Cancun we were greeted by lodge co-owner / operator, Dick Cameron. Once the handshakes and greeting formalities have been overcome, the first questions about fishing conditions began to surface. As with any flats trip (especially one with permit as the focus) one of the first that arises is always, “How is the weather?”. Dick’s cautious and honest one word response…. “Squirrelly”. Nonetheless, we loaded up the pickups and the van and headed south down the Mayan Riviera bound for the coastal lobster fishing village of Punta Allen – and the world famous fishing grounds of Ascension Bay.
The ominous weather forecast did nothing to extinguish the group’s enthusiasm – nor the interest in ensuring the bar was properly stocked. Our only pit stop was at the Sam’s Club in Playa del Carmen for libations. Rain or shine we were not going to run out of booze.
Anyone who has made this journey down from Tulum to Punta Allen knows all about “the road”. The Mexican government does a poor job of maintaining it and rain storms can wash it out. It is often a bumpy affair, but part of the adventure and romance of visiting perhaps the planet’s greatest permit fishery. The road sucks, but the locals will tell you Ascension Bay would be ruined with tourists and condos if not for this minor deterrent. The road is not always in poor shape, but when it is (which it was) the drill is to hop in the guide’s pangas at a designated meeting point not long after exiting the blacktop from Tulum. This is a smooth running alternative to the land based route for some folks – and is slated to become standard operating procedure for the 2012 campaign at TPC.
Our first day of fishing started out with gray skies that eventually turned to a full-on rain storm. You would think this would shut down any hope of sight casting, right? Not so much with the guides at The Palometa Club. We managed to find tailing permit on the flats during a real downpour. Never seen anything like it, and Bob Burlingame and Kyle Shatzer each landed a permit in the lousy conditions. Incredible.
The weather improved the following day and we enjoyed perfect conditions for the 4 remaining days we had on Ascension Bay. Using the word “epic” is kind of lame, but the group collectively landed 19 permit, a few dozen tarpon and snook, loads of bonefish, as well as the odd shark and barracuda. There is not a finer group of guides in the Caribbean, and the model instated by the Camerons has proven to be a total home run. By hiring only local, English speaking, independent contractors to do their guiding, The Palometa Club has built a loyal guide staff that pridefully run their own boats/equipment, tie their own flies, and are fabulous casters and professional, patient instructors. I would take Charlie and Koreano, Rafael and Julio, Jorge and Jonathan or any of the rest of the guide teams over the most seasoned Captains in the Florida Keys. They are the real equity in the Club – and the proof is in the numbers of their success… 159 permit landed from January – June 2011. Totally unheard of.
NBA Champion Mavericks
Another highlight of the week was the fact that the Mavericks / Heat NBA Finals series was happening during our trip. Watching the games at the local cantina in Punta Allen with a group of rowdy Texans was very entertaining. Greg Almond’s Dirk Nowitski impression, “Take Dat Wid You” still makes me chuckle thinking about it.
End of Season Fiesta
We also closed the lodge for the year with a monster end of season party with the entire lodge and guide staff along with their families. More than 100 people and their small children overwhelmed the lodge with a huge buffet and no less than 12 marine coolers of cold beer and margaritas. The owners of the lodge, Dick and Kaye Cameron, gave Abel pliers to the guide staff as an end of season gift, and Kaye emotionally and publically thanked the house staff for another season of dutiful hard work keeping guests of the Club happy, comfortable, and well fed. I have not seen such a sincere showing of love and teamwork at a fishing lodge before.
Exclusive Booking Relationship & New TPC Web Site
On a business note, Tailwaters Travel formalized agreements with the Palometa Club to represent them as their exclusive sales and marketing office in the USA. Check out the new web site we just launched for the Palometa Club: www.palometaclub.com We look forward to exposing you further to this wonderful fishery and first-class operation – and welcome your inquiries for the 2012 campaign!
To learn more about the Palometa Club, please visit the Palometa Club web site: www.palometaclub.com or check out our digital brochure by clicking below.