Serious permit anglers are a breed of their own. Not thinking twice about spending hours on the flats under the harsh sun, their hope is for that one opportunity to take a shot at a permit. It’s been described as mentally exhausting, demoralizing, and way too fun. If you’re a permit addict or maybe just want to chase the elusive fish and see what it’s all about, then these permit destinations should be in your travel plans for the coming year.
Belize Permit Club – The name says it all. Run by permit guru, Wil Flack, the lodge is ideally located in central Belize just south of Hopkins. The fishing operation chases one fish, and one fish only: permit. This isn’t a hoity-toity lodge with bath oils and scented soaps. Although they’re basic accommodations, it’s a comfortable and quaint lodge that’s perfect for getting on the flats and pursuing the holy grail of saltwater species. If you’re looking to land a permit, BPC has access to the finest permit flats in arguably the entire world. It’s guaranteed once you start stalking tailing fish in skinny water (and hopefully), land a permit – you’ll be figuring out how to get back to Belize Permit Club as quickly as possible.
Garbutt’s Fishing Lodge – Run by the four Garbutt Brothers for the last 15 years, the lodge is located in Southern Belize in the town of Punta Gorda. It was built by anglers, for anglers. This fishing focused operation primarily concentrates on permit, although bonefish and tarpon can be found in the fishery as well. Garbutt’s has spacious, comfortable rooms and after long days on the flats, guests can relax at the lodge’s Grand Slam Bar. With hundreds of flats less than 30 minutes from the lodge, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more convenient location. If you’re serious about permit, then this is the spot. Contact Grey York for more information about Belize.
Espiritu Santo Bay – Finished just April of this year, ESB is truly in the Mexico wilderness. South of the busier Ascension Bay, the lodge sits in the heart of the Sian Ka’an biosphere. Not only is it more remote than most lodges, but with strict regulations imposed by the biosphere, angling numbers are strictly regulated. All this makes the fishery second to none. If you’re chasing permit, then this is the place to be. Channels, lagoons, and flats make up the healthy fishery; there’s never a lack of new places to explore.
Playa Blanca Lodge – This remote lodge is perfectly situated to be chasing permit on the flats. Due to its solitude, the fishery receives very little pressure which is great for anglers who want to poke around in the vast estuary and flats system with few other anglers. The Caribbean waters boast, arguably, the best permit fishing in the world – it’s not unusual for fly fishers to be taking 20 to 50 shots at permit each day! For any permit angler seeing so many sickle-shaped fins piercing the surface is a magical sight. Be sure to make reservations early as this is a popular location.
Grand Slam Lodge – Sian Ka’an biosphere encompasses Ascension Bay and Espiritu Santo Bay over 1.2 million acres and Grand Slam sits at the northern part of the reserve. Although the operation is primarily fishing focused, the lodge does not skimp on accommodations offering spacious and comfortable rooms. With access to countless permit flats, Grand Slam can put anglers in great situations to stalk and land permit. There’s an expanse of permit flats right out the front door comprising of Ascension Bay & Boca Paila. Permit average 10 to 15 pounds with occasional large ones in the 30-pound range. Any lodge that boasts places named “Permit Alley” should be on every serious angler’s list. To find out more about Mexico, contact Shaun Lawson.
Mango Creek – On the Eastern end of Roatan, one of the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras, is Mango Creek Lodge. The small intimate lodge operation is a comfortable place from where to chase permit. The island is surrounded by rich flats of hard sand, turtle grass, coral making a great habit for a healthy number of fish. On the flats, anglers can pursue tailing permit that are feeding in groups. It’s not uncommon for fly fishers to take 10 to 12 shots at permit a day! And those fish are usually in the 5 to 10-pound size range and even some up to 20 pounds. This is an exotic destination where stalking permit on the flats is the name of the game. To find out more information contact Doug McKnight.
Cayo Largo – Named the “Permit Capital of Cuba” the fisheries of Cayo Largo have been mostly untouched for hundreds of years. The picture-perfect setting complete with white sand beaches is something out of dream. The flats of the fishery hold large numbers of fish including tarpon and bonefish. Stalk tailing fish from the bow of the skiff and enjoy mint juleps in the evenings overlooking the crystalline Caribbean waters.
Cayo Romano and Cayo Cruz – The two fisheries make up an extensive system of flats, lagoons, and pristine estuaries. The fishery is protected from commercial fishing, so it has relatively minimal pressure for fly fishers. It’s not uncommon to be the only skiff in 30 square miles on the flats. Since the fishery has only seen anglers over the last four seasons, it’s still largely untouched. Fly fishers can stalk tailing fish on the hard-packed white sand and can expect plenty of shots at permit. This is one of the few locations in the world where you can be chasing tailing bones and permit in the same place. If you’re a hardcore permit fly fisher then you need to check this place out. To find out more about Cuba, contact Kristen Tripp.
Permit are elusive and difficult to catch. It takes time and patience to catch a permit, but sometimes it all comes together, and you land one of the treasured fish.