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. The lodge operates with both a senior and assistant guide in each boat, which adds another set of eyes to spot fish, helps with line management and allows for chances at chasing fish while wading.
Located within the famed 1.3 million acre Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve World Heritage Site, the Palometa Club operates out of a six-bedroom lodge located on the picturesque ocean beach of the unique lobster fishing village of Punta Allen, Mexico. Non-anglers can enjoy snorkeling, guided eco tours and archeological trips. With standard week long trips running Friday to Friday, shorter trips can often be arranged upon request.
The Palometa Club is located on the northeastern edge of Ascension Bay on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, near the small lobstering village of Punta Allen.
The time in Mexico is one hour later than the US Pacific Time Zone.
Palometa means permit in Spanish, and the Palometa Club is the first fly fishing lodge in the world to focus on permit fishing. That doesn’t mean they ignore the legions of bonefish in Ascension Bay, or the tarpon, snook, barracuda, jack, snapper, etc. that swim in great numbers throughout this amazing fishery. It’s just that Ascension Bay is probably the best place on the planet to catch a permit on a fly and the guides will work hard to give you that chance.
Permit caught in Ascension Bay average 8- to 15-pounds with several fish approaching 30-pounds caught annually. Perhaps the most challenging and coveted saltwater trophy on the fly, like steelhead or Atlantic salmon they can be difficult to catch and one fish to the boat in a week is a real accomplishment. But the opposite can also be true and they have had anglers land as many as three in a day! The great thing about fishing with The Palometa Club in Ascension Bay is the number of shots you can get at permit, often five or ten a day. How you convert those opportunities into hooked fish is up to you and the proverbial fish gods!
When it comes to bonefish, Ascension Bay is once again a premier fishery. The fish here average in the 3-pound range, and there are certainly smaller “schoolie” fish that are very easy to catch – making this the perfect destination for the first time flats fishermen. But lest you experienced salties roll your eyes, there’s also a very established age class of fish that are much larger (6- to 8-pounds) and much more challenging to catch, which patrol the edges of the flats and are often encountered while searching for permit. Ever since a commercial netting ban was enforced, bonefish size in the Bay has been increasing and double digit fish are now caught every season.
Tarpon are also found throughout Ascension Bay and range in size from 10 to 20-pound “babies” found way back in the mangroves to a few migratory fish well over 100 pounds which show up on the flats in the spring. Schools of fish in the 30- to 50-pound range are sometimes encountered while searching for permit and experienced anglers keep a tarpon rod strung at all times.
Because the lodge is so focused on permit and maximizing the multi-species potential of their fishery it’s no surprise that more Grand Slams (permit, bonefish and tarpon all caught in one day) are realized in Ascension Bay than any other saltwater destination in the world. Add a snook to the catch and you’ve successfully completed a Super Slam, perhaps the greatest saltwater angling achievement possible. It’s certainly not easy, but it is doable, as Ascension Bay also supports a very viable snook population, with large numbers of fish averaging 8-12 pounds caught each year.
So, whether you’re a seasoned flats fisherman with experience all over the world or a first-timer to saltwater, Ascension Bay will quickly become on of your favorite places to fish.
Accommodations & Meals:
The Palometa Club is situated right on the working beach in the lobster fishing village of Punta Allen. Colorful fishing boats and lobster traps share the high water line with palm trees and sea plum, and the area bustles with activity early in the morning and again at day’s end. The lodge was built as a brand new structure in the fall of 2005. Its construction is classic Mexican brick and mortar, featuring indigenous tiles and wood and colorfully painted in the local tradition. It is the first fly fishing lodge on Ascension Bay to offer 24-hour electrical power, air conditioning, wireless internet and effective mosquito control.
The two-story lodge features six bedrooms (three on each floor). Each bedroom has two double beds with comfortable pillows and linen. The rooms are large with plenty of space for clothing and gear, and each has its own air conditioner and ceiling fan as well as an operable window to the outside. There is a private bath adjoining each bedroom, featuring an open shower, lavatory and sink. Basic toiletries are provided but guests should be sure to bring their own preferred shampoo, toothpaste, shaving cream, etc.
Also on the first floor is a large dining room, adjacent to an open kitchen and a library/living room. On the second floor there is a fly tying study. There are also several outdoor patio spaces and the wonderful outdoor “Kaye’s Bar.”
A great aspect of Ascension Bay is that you can wade fish and/or cast from the front of the boat; it pretty much depends on your preference and what species you’re after. Bonefish provide a great opportunity to wade the endless hard-packed white sand flats the bay is famous for, while the search for permit usually requires using the boat to set up properly for a good shot. Fishing the flats with The Palometa Club involves fishing two anglers to a boat with two guides. That means two sets of highly skilled eyes looking for fish. The boats are traditional pangas retrofitted with poling platforms and a wide casting deck on the bow. The double-cockpit design is terrific for line management and the overall, larger-than-a-normal-flats-boat, size provides great stability and comfort for traveling across the Bay. And you won’t believe how adept their guides are in poling and positioning the boat. Most experienced anglers consider them some of the best they’ve ever fished with.
The guide corps is made up entirely of local fisherman born in Punta Allen. They each grew up fishing Ascension Bay and know it intimately. They are all members in the local Cooperativa Pescado and own their own boats. From November to June they work exclusively for The Palometa Club in established teams of Guide and Junior Guide. Each of them speak good conversational English and they truly rival the best fly fishing guides anywhere in the world. During the week they rotate anglers and guides to give everyone a chance to fish together. The lodge keeps a white board hung on the patio with each days guest/guide combinations for the following days fishing.
Upon your arrival at The Palometa Club you will be met by your hosts Mike and Maureen Gifford. Mike and Maureen are Calgary, Canada natives who have been friends and guests of The Palometa Club for over a decade. Mike and Maureen have been helping manage the lodge for the past few seasons and have proven to be kind, attentive and organized hosts.
Although the main attraction to the Palometa Club is undoubtedly the world class fly fishing, many non-angling activities and adventures are close at hand. Non-anglers have the opportunity to experience guided snorkel trips, eco-tours, and trips to several ancient 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.
Escaping civilization, relaxing and enjoying the beauty of Ascension bay and its wildlife are a favorite past-time. Birding trips yield chances to see over 300 species including roseate spoonbills, osprey, giant frigate, white ibis, egret, turkeys, parrots, toucans, great curassow, flamingos and herons. Jungle tours may reveal many other spectacular Mexican inhabitants including spider monkeys, white-lipped peccaries, pumas, brocket deer, tapirs and jaguars.
Many times just relaxing, enjoying a massage from the in-house masseuse, sun worshiping or taking a stroll is just what the doctor ordered. Day trips to Punta Allen are also an easy past-time to take advantage of.
The normal week stay at The Palometa Club begins and ends on Friday.
Day 1: Arrive Cancun (on Friday no later than 2:00 pm)
Days 2-7: Full days of guided fishing
Day 8: Depart lodge for Cancun (Friday morning for flights departing Cancun after 1:00 pm)
2020 Rate: $4,350 per person for a 7 night/6 day package
Included: Accommodations and meals at the lodge, round-trip ground transportation between Cancun and the lodge, guided fishing, Happy Hour beverages (margaritas, beer, local rum drinks), non-alcoholic beverages, telephone & wireless internet, taxes
Not Included: Airfare to Cancun, additional alcoholic beverages outside of Happy Hour (BYOB welcome), staff & guide gratuities, fishing tackle & flies, departure taxes, additional activities, laundry service
Note: Please call for non-fishing packages
Species: Bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook, jacks, and barracuda
Season: November - June
Capacity: 12 anglers
Map: Punta Allen, Mexico
Time: One hour later than Pacific Standard Time.