Mexico - Ascension Bay

Mexico - Ascension Bay

Mexico - Ascension Bay

Our Ascension Bay collection of gear, flies, tackle, clothing and accessories is curated by our team of professionals that have spent more time on the water here than anyone in the business. Whether it is in-store, online, or through a virtual outfitting appointment, we would love to lend a hand getting your gear organized for a trip to Ascension Bay.

Ascension Bay is a very diverse fishery with excellent opportunities for bonefish, permit, snook, juvenile tarpon, and numerous other species available year round. The summertime adult tarpon fishing is also something everyone visiting May - September should be prepared for. There are a few key nuances to understand when packing your bags for Ascension Bay including a particular fly selection, decisions about proper footwear, and how to best set up rods, reels, tackle and fly lines for the multitude of species here.

If you booked your trip with our travel department, make sure to become familiar with the benefits of our Travel Incentive Program and get your Private Outfitting Appointment scheduled today!

Fly Fish
Palometa CLub

Head over to our destination page to learn more about our favorite lodge on Ascension Bay.


  • 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
  • Leaders and Tippet
  • Tropical weight rain jacket
  • Tropical weight shorts, shorts, pants
  • Water shoes or zippit booties (permit)
  • Wading boots & hip/chest pack (bonefish)
  • Boat Bag (waterproof)
Custom Fly Selections for Mexico Ascension Bay

Take the guesswork out of which flies you "need" for a trip to Ascension Bay by grabbing one of our custom assortments. If you would like to supplement your existing fly arsenal with a few of the must-have patterns, we would be happy to review your existing flies and make some recommendations, and make sure to review your pre-trip planner & outfitting guide for more details and particulars regarding specific patterns. Also know some of the new hottest flies are available for purchase at the Palometa Club.

Bonefish: As a rule of thumb, Ascension Bay bonefish prefer smaller (size #6 - #8) flies, however it is a good idea to have a few size #4 flies in your box. There is no need to have dozens of different patterns, rather a decent selection of the 8 - 10 top producers in various colors, sizes and weights.

Tarpon: Year round tarpon fishing on Ascension Bay is 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.

Other Species: Snook, Triggerfish, Barracuda, Jacks, Sharks, and a host of other gamefish are also part of the Ascension Bay experience. These species are lightly represented in our custom assortment, but work with your outfitter at the shop if you would like a more in-depth assortment for any of these species.

Permit: Depending upon where you are fishing you will want to have different sizes and weights of crab and shrimp patterns (lead or tungsten eye’s and bead chain eyes) for different depths. 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 any variation of tan and white colored ragheads--- most often in a size #4. Spawning and mantis shrimp patterns are also very important to have. Most of our permit fly patterns are custom tied and not available through traditional commercially tied retailers.  For that reason, stock is often limited and understanding demand is critical.  Placing your order for fly kits or custom permit flies well in advance will ensure you are properly equipped and ready for battle with the right flies.

Fly Rods for Mexico Ascension Bay

We highly recommend multi-piece travel rods in the four and five piece models for all travel with commercial airline carriers.  Fly rods for all saltwater flats applications should be fast action models with fighting butts capable of handling windy conditions and delivering heavier flies.  Nine foot rods are the ideal length for nearly all line weights between six - twelve weights.  We also always recommend bringing a backup rod in case of breakage. For Ascension Bay, anglers should be prepared with a bonefish rod (7 or 8wt), a permit rod (9 or 10wt), and a tarpon rod (10-11wt). If you are equipped with the aforementioned assortment of rods and line weights, you will be covered for all other species such as jacks, sharks, snook, cudas and more. Summertime tarpon fishing can be excellent with frequent chances for adult fish well over 100 pounds.

NOTE: Palometa Club can rent 8,9 and 10 weight rod/reel outfits for $25/day per outfit.

Fly Reels for Mexico Ascension Bay

Reels should be anodized, corrosion-resistant saltwater models that will hold a full fly line plus the appropriate amount backing in accordance with the species you are targeting. Reels equipped with high quality, smooth, drags are essential to prevent break-offs from the blistering runs of a hooked fish. We cannot stress enough the importance of a reel with a high quality drag! Ascension Bay Anglers should come prepared with reels for bonefish (7-8 wt), permit (9-10 wt) and tarpon (10-11 wt).

Fly Lines & Backing for Mexico Ascension Bay

Nearly 100% of all bonefish and permit applications require a standard weight forward floating line, however when fishing for tarpon or other big game species there are sometimes scenarios and conditions that dictate using an intermediate sinking or full sinking line. The guides at Palometa Club are recommending intermediate clear tip lines for the summer tarpon fishing (May - September). Fly lines can easily break on coral or mangroves as well as fall victim to sharks or barracudas, so make sure to bring additional lines as backup. If you come prepared with the following fly lines for bonefish, permit and tarpon you will be equipped for all other species as well.

Bonefish: Reels that will accommodate up to 150-200 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.

Tarpon: Reels that will accommodate up to 250-300 yards of thirty-pound dacron or fifty pound gel spun backing are suggested for your tarpon fishing outfit. A weight forward floating line is required for the vast majority of the fishing for juvenile 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 clear tip intermediate sinking line.

Permit: Reels that will accommodate up to 250 yards of thirty-pound Dacron or fifty pound gel spun backing are suggested for your permit fishing outfit. A weight forward floating line is typically all that is required for nearly all permit fishing applications, however some anglers are having success on the clear tip floating lines for permit.

Leaders & Tippet for Mexico Ascension Bay

Anglers want an assortment of leaders and tippet ranging from 8-10lb test for bonefish, 12-16lb test for permit, and 50-80lb test for tarpon and snook. Wire leaders are a must for barracuda and sharks as well.

Bonefish: Average Ascension Bay bonefish are not particularly large (2-4 pounds) and can be leader shy at times. Normally 9-10' 8 lb tapered leaders work fine.  At other times you can get away with 10-12lb leaders and tippet, so you should have these on hand.

Permit: We recommend fishing 10-12' 16 pound test tapered leaders most often. There are times when you can get away with 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: 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.

  • Juvenile Tarpon: 50-60lb Fluorocarbon
  • Adult Tarpon (May-September): 80-100lb Fluorocarbon
  • Class Leaders: 16-22lb Class - 60-80lb Shock
Wading Boots & Footwear for Mexico Ascension Bay

Almost all fishing for bones and permit is done wading, so bring high quality wading boots. 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.

Bonefish Wading Boots: If you are planning on doing much dedicated bonefishing, you will need high quality and durable wading shoes or boots for maximum foot and ankle protection. While wading the flats anglers will encounter various types of footing and ground surfaces including sand, rock, coral rubble, sharp shells…not to mention encounters with urchins, crabs, and sting rays. For extensive wading, gravel guards will help keep sand and coral from getting inside your boots.  Simms also makes a product called a Guard Sock that simulates the comfortable neoprene boots found with Gore-Tex waders, as well as provides the same protection from debris as traditional gravel guards.

Permit Fishing Footwear: Many 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. Simms' new Pursuit Shoe is our new favorite.

Packs & Boat Bags for Mexico Ascension Bay

Boat Bags: A waterproof 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. Patagonia makes a wonderful 99% waterproof bag called the Great Divider. It is also the exact dimensions of the under seat storage area on an airplane. We often use the Great Divider as our carry on luggage. Simms and Fishpond make very comparable product in several sizes as well. Everything stays dry, salt free, and out of the humidity.

Hip / Chest 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.

Rain Jackets for Mexico Ascension Bay

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

Apparel for Mexico Ascension Bay

The lower 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 & Hoodies: 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, Poncho 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 and pants should also be made of a synthetic quick dry material. We suggest shorts and pants with pockets and belt loops for accommodating pliers. Howler Brothers, Patagonia and Simms make excellent models. 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.

Sun & Bug Protection for Mexico 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. 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.

Hats: Bring two hats or caps for sun protection. If you are sensitive to the sun, make sure to bring a hat that covers your head as thoroughly as possible. Hats that have dark colors underneath the brim help to reduce glare from the water aiding in spotting fish.

Sungloves / Finger-Guards: Sun gloves made by Black Strap, Patagonia, BUFF or Simms are great for protecting your hands from the sun. We also recommend finger guards for protecting your fingers if you are not keen to wearing gloves.

Bug Repellent: Mosquitoes and other biting flies may be a problem anywhere in the tropics — especially if the wind dies down. If you are particularly bothered by bugs, we recommend bringing a product with a large Deet component. We carry a number of different and effective bug repellent products at the shop. Wearing lightweight wading pants and long-sleeved shirts will also discourage biting insects and sea lice.

Sunglasses for Mexico 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 green 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. Smith makes 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.  We have recommended a few popular frames / lenses below, but you can shop our full Smith Optics assortment.

Tools & Gadgets for Mexico Ascension Bay

Items like pliers, nippers, hemostats, and hook hones are necessities in every fishing pack. Most tools can be kept on a retractor or on a lanyard.

Pliers & Belt: 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. Pliers by Van Staal, Abel, Hatch or Ross 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 Mexico 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 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.

Rod Carriers: For anglers who prefer to carry on rods, you should strongly consider investing in multi-piece rods (4-piece) that will fit in a quality rod carrier. This makes it simple to consolidate all of your rods into one case and is less alarming to airport security. Our favorite is the Fishpond 4-piece carrier called the Dakota Bag. It holds numerous rods as well as room for reels and other carry-on approved tackle. We have several other quality cases in the shop as well.

Accessories for Mexico Ascension Bay

There are always a few loose ends on the packing list for any trip that should not be forgotten. Turtlebox for boat tunes, toilet / medicine kit, lens clothes, packing cubes, headlamp, water bottle, measuring tape, camera, etc.