Palometa Club | Ascension Bay

Tailwaters has been visiting Ascension Bay for twenty years. Whether this is your first saltwater flats experience or you fiftieth dedicated permit mission, we know exactly what gear, tackle, and clothing is required to maximize your comfort level as well as success on the water. Below you will find a wealth of information regarding the primary categories within any Ascension Bay packing list. You will also see recommended assortments of the latest and greatest products we carry in the shop; as well as custom fly selections with flies that your guides will actually use! You can shop below, or give us a call for a private outfitting appointment (by phone or at the shop) and we can assist you in filling your shopping cart.

MANDATORY ITEMS

  • 7-8 wt. rod/reel with floating warm water fly line (bonefish)
  • 9-10 wt. rod/reel with floating line (permit & tarpon)
  • 10-12 wt. rod/reel with floating line (summer tarpon only)
  • Polarized sunglasses and hat
  • Fly selection
  • Leaders and tippet
  • Tropical weight rain jacket
  • Sandals, water shoes or zippit booties (easy on and off for permit fishing)
  • Wading boots and hip/chest pack (if you plan to wade for bonefish)

Custom Fly Selections for Ascension Bay

We have cherry picked the best fly selections for all species on Ascension Bay.  Many of our fly patterns (especially for permit) are custom designed and unavailable anywhere else.  Our flies are also guide favorites and you will not be sold flies you don’t need.  From custom raghead patterns for permit to the go-to bonefish, tarpon, snook, and barracuda flies – we have you covered.  

Fly Rods for Ascension Bay

Ascension Bay is a very diverse fishery with excellent opportunities for bonefish as well as permit, snook and juvenile tarpon year round. Anglers want a 7-8 weight rod with a floating line for bonefish and a 9-10 weight with floating line for permit and tarpon. During the early summer (May - September) you may want to consider bringing an additional 10-12 weight loaded with a floating line for migratory tarpon. Having a dedicated rod and reel outfit for each species allows for tremendous convenience not having to re-rig for multiple applications. Plus, you never know when a big tarpon will float by when you have a permit rod in your hand (without time to get rigged). BONEFISH A nine foot, eight-weight rod is the standard universal bonefish rod used by the vast majority of all anglers worldwide. You want a rod that has enough fortitude to deliver the fly in windy conditions. However, the ideal bonefish rod also has enough feel in the tip section to allow for more delicate and accurate presentations at closer casting ranges. Some experienced anglers will also bring a 7 or even a 6 weight rod in the event the wind lays flat, especially on the Yucatan where the bonefish are generally a bit smaller than fisheries like the Bahamas. PERMIT A nine foot, 10 weight rod is the standard issue permit rod. However, depending on the conditions and the types of flies used, many experienced anglers will opt to go with a sturdy 9 weight. Fishing for permit usually dictates casting heavy, wind resistant flies, and larger specimens can take up to an hour to land. If you decide to go with the 9 weight be sure you choose a fast action model with a lot of backbone. TARPON For summertime migratory fish above eighty pounds, we encourage anglers to use a 10-12 weight. 100+ pound tarpon can take well over an hour to land (much longer if fought improperly); a larger rod is much easier on the angler as well as the fish. Juvenile tarpon, or “babies,” in the 5-50 pound range can be easily handled on a nine or ten weight in most circumstances.

Fly Reels for Ascension Bay

BONEFISH Reels with a superior drag that will accommodate up to 175-200 yards of twenty-pound dacron backing are suggested for your bonefishing outfit. A weight forward floating line is all that is required for all bonefishing. In addition to the standard bonefish and redfish taper lines, there are many new fly lines with tropical tapers by Scientific Anglers and Rio that work well. PERMIT Reels with a superior drag that will accommodate up to 250 yards of thirty-pound Dacron or 30-50 pound gel spun backing are suggested for your permit fishing outfit. A weight forward floating line is all that is required for nearly all permit fishing applications. TARPON Reels with a superior drag that will accommodate up to 300 yards of thirty-pound Dacron or fifty pound gel spun backing are suggested for your tarpon fishing outfit.

Fly Lines & Backing for Ascension Bay

BONEFISH A weight forward floating line is all that is required for all bonefishing. In addition to the standard bonefish and redfish taper lines, there are many new fly lines with tropical tapers by Scientific Anglers and Rio that work well. PERMIT A weight forward floating line is all that is required for nearly all permit fishing applications. In addition to the standard bonefish and redfish taper lines, there are many new fly lines with tropical tapers by Scientific Anglers and Rio that work well. TARPON A weight forward floating line is required for the vast majority of the fishing for both juvenile and adult tarpon. We suggest the Tarpon taper lines by Scientific Anglers or Rio as your standard fly line. If your trip is in the summertime and you are interested in targeting adult tarpon, we also recommend bringing an additional spool or reel loaded with a sinking line. Although not mandatory for most situations, an intermediate or full sinking line can have many worthy applications. A full sinking 400 – 500 grain fly line on an 11 or 12 weight can be very useful when fishing (“dredging”) in deeper water for summertime adult tarpon or possibly other species such as dorado, jacks, or cobia.

Leaders & Tippet for Ascension Bay

BONEFISH Leader Recommendations: 9’ or 10’ - 8 - 10lb Tippet Recommendations: (1 Spool of Each - Fluorocarbon) - 8 lb, 10 lb, 12 lb Average Ascension Bay bonefish are not particularly large (2-3 pounds) and can be leader shy at times. Normally 9-10 foot 8 lb tapered leaders work fine. At other times you can get away with 10-12 lb leaders and tippet, so you should have these on hand. Although not mandatory, we always recommend using fluorocarbon tippet material as it is more abrasion resistant. PERMIT Leader Recommendations: 10’ - 12-20lb Fluorocarbon (mostly 16lb) Tippet Recommendations: (1 Spool of Each - Fluorocarbon) - 12lb, 16lb We recommend fishing 10-12 foot 16 pound test tapered leaders most often. There are times when you can get away with 17-20 pound test, while sometimes you will need to downsize to twelve (12) pound. For this reason, you should have additional leaders and tippet material on hand. We also always recommend using fluorocarbon tippet material as it is more abrasion resistant. TARPON Straight Fluorocarbon Recommendations: Juvenile “Baby” Tarpon: 40-50lb Straight Fluorocarbon Adults (May -September): 80lb Straight Fluorocarbon Class Leader Recommendations: Juvenile “Baby” Tarpon: 16lb Class - 40-60lb Shock Adults (May - September) 16-22lb Class - 80lb Shock 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. When fishing for baby tarpon in the backcountry mangroves, you are constantly hanging up in the trees. For this reason, fishing class leaders can be troublesome as you will always be breaking off flies in the mangroves. It is more practical to use class leaders when fishing the flats away from the mangroves if you prefer.

Wading Boots & Footwear for Ascension Bay

Almost all fishing for bones and permit is done wading. Many bonefish wading areas do require proper wading boots. If you are planning on a lot of permit fishing, we recommend simple closed toed sandals, water shoes, or neoprene booties that are easy to get on and off. Permit wading areas don’t require full wading boots and you want footwear that is quick and easy to put on and take off. Experienced permit anglers on Ascension Bay will go barefoot the majority of the time. You just want to have some shoes accessible in case the guides suggest you protect your feet in certain areas. Pulling on and off clunky boots with laces and gravel guards are way too cumbersome and time consuming.

Boat Bags & Packs

Hip packs are great for carrying fly boxes, a camera, leaders and tippet etc. while wading. Consider buying one that can hold an easily accessible water bottle. Fishpond, Patagonia and Simms all make practical packs in different styles, sizes, and price points. Hip packs are really not needed for permit fishing... but do come in handy on extended wading sessions for bonefish. A boat bag is important for carrying your tackle and gear with you on the boat each day. Running in the boats over open water oftentimes sprays saltwater mist into the boat, so you should have some type of waterproof or water resistant bag with you in the boat for storing cameras, lenses, tackle, flies, extra reels, spools, sunscreen, rain jackets, spare reel parts, bottled water, snacks, or anything else you don’t want to carry on you while fishing. Everything stays dry, salt free, and out of the humidity.

Apparel for Ascension Bay

The Yucatan Peninsula is almost always hot and humid regardless of the season or time of year. When packing, keep in mind that the lodge dress code is extremely casual. Clean and dry fishing clothing is always acceptable at the dinner table. Other than your fishing related clothing, a couple of tee-shirts, and a pair of casual shorts or pants, we recommend only one set of street clothes for travel days. Pack lightly! The key to staying comfortable on the flats is to remain cool while protecting yourself from the sun. Lightweight clothing with plenty of ventilation is recommended. Odds are you will continually get wet all day long while wading, running in the boat, or during a rain shower. You want your fishing clothing to shed water and dry quickly. SHIRTS Fishing shirts should be cool and dry quickly, have breathable flaps that allow air to circulate through, and should be easy to pack and maintenance-free. Howler Brothers, Patagonia, Free-Fly, Flood Tide Co and Simms make several different models and styles both in short and long sleeves. If you are bothered by the sun, we recommend the long sleeved versions, especially in late Spring and early Summer. Proper fishing shirts also should be equipped with chest pockets for storing small items like tippet material or a cleaning cloth for sunglasses and camera lenses. SHORTS & PANTS Fishing shorts should also be made of a synthetic quick dry material. We suggest shorts with pockets and belt loops for accommodating pliers. Sun protection, rather than warmth, is the primary function of long pants when fishing in the tropics. Biting sea lice can also be deterred by wearing pants while wading. They will protect you from the sun, are wind resistant, and dry quickly. Some pants have removable pant legs that zip off to become shorts. Howler Brothers, Patagonia, Free Fly, and Simms make excellent models.

Rain Jackets for Ascension Bay

A high quality, lightweight rain jacket is another essential piece of clothing while on the flats. Howler Bros, Patagonia and Simms make great lightweight jackets that will keep you dry during tropical rainstorms or while crossing choppy water on a lengthy boat run.

Sunglasses for Ascension Bay

This is your most important piece of equipment for flats fishing, which is primarily sight- fishing. Without the ability to see the fish you are stalking, you put yourself at a great disadvantage. Copper, brown, and Igniter lenses are the best choice for this type of fishing. Yellow lenses are great for mornings, late afternoons, and cloudy conditions. Always bring two pair of polarized sunglasses in case you lose or break a pair. Smiths make a variety of stylish frames to choose from. We can special order bifocal or trifocal lenses for many of these frames with enough advanced notice. A lanyard or “croakie” is also invaluable in order to keep from dropping or losing your glasses.

Sun Protection for Ascension Bay

The tropical sun is very intense even on cloudy days. Pack some sun block and lip balm with a minimum of 30SPF. We carry a number of great sunscreen products at the shop. Make sure to check out our selection of Tailwaters branded hats. Head and neck tubes by BUFF or Black Strap are a comfortable, lightweight, and breathable garment that functions similar to a bandanna and will keep UV rays off of your head, neck, and ears. We carry several models and styles. Sun gloves are also a must have for many anglers on the flats.

Tools & Gadgets for Ascension Bay

Items like nippers, hemostats, and hook hones are necessities in every fishing pack. The tools can be kept on a retractor or on a lanyard. Although your guide should be equipped with pliers, we recommend a quality pair of corrosion resistant pliers as an essential tool when fishing the saltwater... especially for big game. Quality pliers aid in hook removal, cutting heavy monofilament, and tying big game knots. All pliers should be kept in a sheath and have a check-cord to avoid dropping them overboard. Don’t forget to bring a synthetic belt to be worn in order to accommodate your pliers’ sheath.

Luggage for Ascension Bay

We recommend roller style, soft-sided duffel bags for nearly all our travels. Ideally you have a bag that adheres to airline size restrictions but it still large enough to fit a couple of rod tubes, tackle, boots and other gear. If you have a particularly large bag, we advise you to communicate with your commercial carrier as well as the TSA regarding any baggage weight restrictions that might be applicable. We carry many excellent sets of luggage by Patagonia, Simms, Sage and Fishpond. These bags are the ideal size, bulletproof, and are equipped with efficient roller systems. Some models also have separate compartments for storing wet boots and/or waders or even rod tubes. Don’t forget to mark your luggage with appropriate personal identification bag tags.

Accessories for Ascension Bay

There are multiple accessories often overlooked when planning any angling adventure. Items like a headlamp, lens cloth, first aid, packing cubes, stripping guards, insect repellant, water bottles and measuring tapes are just a few.