Nov 29th, 2018
The Palometa Club (which translates to the “The Permit Club”) is an exclusive fly fishing lodge located in Punta Allen, Mexico on the northeastern edge of the famed permit and bonefish flats of Ascension Bay. The Palometa Club caters to fly anglers who are serious about stalking permit, bonefish, tarpon and snook. Palometa Club operates with both a senior and assistant guide per boat. Operating with two guides on the boat adds another set of eyes to spot fish, helps with line management and promotes more chances to chase fish while wading.
Aside from expert guides that are passionate about the waters they fish and spend over 300 days per season on, the lodge itself has a clean and home-style feel that is equipped with many amenities. Decorated with unique, original art created by a local of Punta Allen, the cozy downstairs lounge area is adjacent to the spacious kitchen and dining area where you will enjoy breakfasts and dinners during your stay. Upstairs there is a fly tying study and an outdoor patio where you can and enjoy the view. Six bedrooms can sleep up to 12 guests at a time, with each room featuring a private bathroom, two double beds, air conditioning, ceiling fans and plenty of storage for gear. The most iconic feature of The Palometa Club is the outdoor bar where margaritas, appetizers, ice cold beers and cocktails are enjoyed while sharing fishing stories. Plenty of fun and games are also enjoyed in the outdoor seating area in front of lodge and adjacent to the water.
For more information on The Palometa Club call Dylan Rose at 800.552.2729
Expert interview with Fly Water Travel’s Saltwater Destinations Manager Dylan Rose
1. The Palometa Club sits directly on the beach in Punta Allen and is rich in amenities .
2. Ascension Bay offers a plethora of opportunities for multi-species encounters.
3. Guest’s fish with two guides per boat.
4. The Palometa Club’s guides are professional and experienced locals of Punta Allen with a special passion for chasing permit.
Where is the lodge?
The Palometa Club is located 3.5 hours south of Cancun in the Sian Ka’an Bisophere Reserve on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, right in the small town of Punta Allen.
How do I get there?
Guests fly in to Cancun and are transported south to the lodge about 3.5 hours by vehicle and boat.
When should I go?
Peak months are March through May. The summer months can also be very good as pressure on Ascension Bay is minimal. Additionally, anglers might get shots at migratory tarpon in the summer. The fall season can be very productive September – November, although a risk of hurricanes is possible.
Where do they fish?
The expansive flats, lagoons, channels and mangrove estuaries of Ascension Bay. During low wind days, the beaches and reefs of Boca Pila can be fished as well.
Who is best suited for this destination?
Any anglers that are interested in fly fishing Ascension Bay or are keen on exclusively targeting permit. Those who can stand on the bow of a flats boat for long days of fishing and when the time comes, deliver an accurate, long cast to a school of moving fish will have the best opportunities for the highest catch rates. Permit fishing is very challenging and landing one fish in a week is considered a success. Those who understand that they are targeting one of the most challenging species out there will certainly get the most out of this experience.
What are the accommodations and meals like?
Those who are looking for a refined and “home-style” lodge venue with English speaking hosts will appreciate what The Palometa Club has to offer. The accommodations and grounds of The Palometa Club are very clean and well kept. Additionally, the lodge is equipped with 24 hour electric power, wireless internet, air-conditioning and effective mosquito control. Guest rooms are spacious, comfortable and tastefully decorated. Dinners are a delicious selection of authentic Mexican dishes including moja de ajo, pollo con mole, chili rellenos, ceviche and fresh fish.
Can you describe the atmosphere of the lodge?
The style and culture at the lodge is very refined and professional, but also very laid back and charming. The on-site hosts run a tight ship to ensure your time on the water is maximized and your time around the lodge is spent the way you like with a fully belly and drink in hand.
Is the owner on-site? If not, who is the manager or point person?
The owner is not on-site, but the on-site hosts Mike & Maureen Gifford are always available. Mike and Maureen are from Calgary and have been involved with the Palometa Club as customers, hosts and now managers for over a decade now. They are both experienced anglers in Ascension Bay and have proven to be kind, accommodating and helpful.
Is there internet or cell service?
Yes, there is wireless internet available at the lodge. The signal is strongest in the fly tying study upstairs or the lounge downstairs. Connection speeds vary but for sending emails and texts as well as basic browsing, it is good. Cell service is not widely available but you may want check with your service provider for coverage maps.
How do they fish?
Anglers fish two per boat in traditional Mexican Pangas with two guides on every boat. This system is incredibly effective in that it allows for two sets of “guide’s eyes” to be on the water at all times, giving anglers twice the chance to get a shot at the fish of a lifetime. Most often, one guide will be poling the boat while the second guide and angler are stationed on the level casting deck of the panga. The second guide is there at your side to ensure your line is tangle free and also to jump out with you when chasing a school of permit on foot is necessary.
What fish will I catch?
The Palometa Club, at its core, is a permit lodge. The guides want to target permit, and typically the guests that stay here want to spend their week in search of this elusive fish. That being said, bonefish and tarpon are the other primary quarries, with opportunities for barracuda, snook, jacks and triggerfish available as well.
How many fish will I catch?
Permit fishing is challenging, but that is why it is so rewarding. One permit for the week is good and while multiple permit is a rarity, it does happen. Anytime you land double-digit numbers of bonefish it is a good day. Tarpon in the bay can be difficult at times with the summer months being the best time for them. Finding and hooking several fish of varying species is not uncommon for a week of fishing.
Will we see other anglers?
Yes. In the high season, Ascension Bay can be a popular place. It’s a common occurrence to see other guide boats on the bay and sometimes it’s possible that your first pick of flats may not always be available. During the summer months, the bay is much quieter.
Is there wade fishing?
Yes, some wade fishing is available, although most of the fishing is accomplished from the boat. In Ascension Bay, the bottom is often soft but there are certain areas suitable for wading. It’s important to note that good areas for wading tend to be more pressured which can make fishing difficult in these zones. Furthermore, in some circumstances, the guide on the poling platform may determine that getting out of the boat and chasing the fish on foot leaves you with the best possibility for success, so in these circumstances you will find yourself wading the flats targeting schools of moving fish with the other guide at your side.
How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds?
Runs of 15 – 50 minutes are common.
Do the guides speak English?
Some of the guides speak very good English. Others speak limited English or “fishing English”. They can all certainly communicate with you on fish location, casting distance and other instruction.
What are the guides like?
The guides at The Palometa Club are professional fly fishing guides that are locals of Punta Allen. While the guides are certainly focused on targeting permit, they do their best to accommodate each angler and their specific desires. Sometimes, like at many locations, the guides can be a bit over-passionate so it’s best not to take all of their comments too personally.
Where do we stay?
Guests stay in one of six double occupancy rooms in the lodge.
What is the cost?
$4,350 per person based on shared room/shared boat for a 7 night / 6 day package.
Does this destination combine well with other destinations?
Guests can easily combine a stay at The Palometa Club with a stay at one of the other lodges in the Punta Allen area. These places also have fishing programs that focus on Ascension Bay, but if you wish to sample a few operations, this is easily accomplished. If you wish to combine this location with an additional week somewhere else on the Yucatan, that is certainly possible as well.
Does the lodge provide equipment?
The Palometa Club can provide rods and reels for guests, but advanced notice is required to ensure that equipment will be available. Renting a rod/reel outfit costs $20 per day and can be paid for on-site. There are also some flies available for purchase at the lodge; However, we strongly suggest that guest come prepared with a basic selection of flies and terminal tackle as well as appropriate clothing, polarized glasses and appropriate footwear.
Does the lodge provide flies?
The Palometa Club does have a small selection of flies available for purchase on site. However, it is always more reliable to bring a reasonable selection of flies along with you.
What are your favorite rod/reel outfits for the trip?
Our current favorites when fishing with The Palometa Club are the Sage X 9′ 8 weight for bonefish. For permit and tarpon, our go-to is the Sage SALT HD in either a 9′ 9 weight or 9′ 10 weight. Sage Spectrum MAX reels are the reel of choice in size 7/8 or 9/10. The best weight forward floating lines for Ascension Bay are the Rio Direct Core Flats Pro and Rio Permit Taper.
5 flies I must have?
Raghead Crab, Squimp, Casa Blanca Rag Head, Pearl Gotcha, Puglisi Baitfish.
Are there other activities?
Eco-tours and wildlife tours can be arranged as well as snorkeling excursions and trips to Mayan ruins. The Palometa Club also has an in-house massage therapist available to guests for a fee. All non-angling activities can be discussed and paid for on site with the managers.
What are the physical demands?
Physical demands are generally not an issue although having good balance is a benefit when fishing from the boat.
Are there special skills required?
Anglers who can cast long distances and possess the ability to deal with the wind will always excel in saltwater destinations. In addition, those who can quickly and accurately pickup a misplaced cast and in a matter of one or two false-casts set the fly back down in the correct spot will increase their hookup potential tenfold.
Dangers and annoyances?
Bugs are generally not a big issue; However, there are some mosquitoes present when the wind dies down in the evenings. Bringing long sleeves and pants is a good idea, as well as a some bug repellent. Also, the presence of Sargasso grass has been an ongoing environmental issue on the Yucatan Peninsula. When Sargasso grass washes onshore, it decomposes, emitting a powerful, sulfuric scent that can at times be unpleasant.
Are there any health concerns?
The CDC is currently advising that pregnant women visiting Mexico take extra precautions against Zika by guarding against mosquitoes.
What am I forgetting?
If you’re like me and need a few cups of coffee to get going in the morning, I will often bring a to-go coffee cup, such as a HydroFlask, along with me on trips such as this to fill up before getting on the boat early in the morning.
The Palometa Cub’s “front yard” is perfect for enjoying a drink, playing lawn games and sharing fish stories in the evening.
Rooms are clean, comfortable and air-conditioned.
The Lodge sits right on an active beach in Punta Allen, with stunning views and a 50 foot walk to the boat in the morning.
Ascension Bay is one of the best places in the world to target permit on the fly.
The 1:1 guide to client ratio truly maximizes guest’s opportunities while on the water.