Mixed Bag on Ascension Bay

Palometa Club, Mexico

On The Fly Saltwater

Article and photos by Corey Hunt.

The Palometa Club may be a laid back fishing lodge, but the fishing there is unparalleled. The club is located on the northeastern edge of the permit and bonefish flats of Ascension Bay, Mexico on the Yucatán Peninsula. The Palometa Club is approximately 35 miles south of the city of Tulum in the small town of Punta Allen. This location makes it ideal for those anglers seeking some of the best permit flats in the area.

The club’s namesake fish, smallest of the members of the permit family.


Fishing at the Palometa Club is diverse. Depending on the time of year, fly anglers have chances at permit, bonefish, and tarpon to complete a grand slam of species. There are also opportunities for snook, barracuda, and jack crevalle.

Most of the angling is done from pangas.

Fishing is booked through the lodge, and done in 23-foot Mexican pangas. There are two anglers and two experienced guides per boat. This setup is ideal for those new to permit fishing because it is an extra set of hands to assist with not only spotting the elusive fish, but also helping with line management. Another perk of having two guides is that anglers can target different species on the same day or wade fish separately, each with a guide.

Our group of anglers traveled down the first week of May 2023 to try our hand at permit fishing. Although the weather was clear that week, the wind was gusting upwards of 30 miles per hour, which is unusual for Ascension Bay. The tides were also exceptionally low, which caused the already picky permit to be even more wary. However, five permit were caught over six days of fishing, as well as four 30- to 40-pound tarpon, several snook, and countless bonefish.

30- to 40-pouns tarpon cruise just offshore.

The fishing day at the Palometa Club begins by boarding the boats at 8 a.m., right outside the lodge. We usually began our day targeting permit in various locations, depending on the tides and water clarity. After being demoralized by picky permit in the morning, most fishing pairs opted for easy to entice bonefish on the flats after lunch or casting to schooling tarpon. The fishing day concluded around 4:30 p.m, back at the lodge with appetizers and refreshments waiting.

When fishing in May in Ascension Bay, multiple weight rods are essential. Most anglers carried 8- or 9- and 10- or 11-weight rods in the boat to target different species of fish throughout the day. The permit were selective as usual, and most were caught on brown Rag Head Crabs in tan, size 4 or smaller. The large schools of permit were elusive during the beginning of May, and the few permit that were caught were either cruising with 1 or 2 others or in smaller schools of 10 to 15 fish.

Permit are the prize catches at the Palometa Club.

The juvenile tarpon were in schools right off the shore, a stone’s throw from the Palometa Club in rose colored water. The tarpon were caught on Millhouse Tarpon Toads in purple and black, Tarpon toads in black and red, and various streamers in black and purple.

The bonefish in Ascension Bay were not picky and did not spook easily. Most anglers had multiple opportunities to cast to willing bonefish with different size shrimp and spawning shrimp patterns.

The Lodge

The Palometa Club was established in 2005 and underwent a complete renovation in 2022. The lodge has six guest rooms that can accommodate up to 12 anglers, assuming double occupancy. Each room has two double beds, a private bath, and individual in-room air conditioning units. The lodge serves hot coffee with breakfast, packs box lunches for the boats, and has family-style dinners each night that feature the locally caught seafood, including lobster. Guests will not go hungry while staying at the Palometa Club. Booking a room at the club can be done through Tailwaters Fly Fishing Company based in Dallas, Texas.

The meals are delicous and the rooms comfortable at the Palometa Club.

Anglers looking for a diverse fishery should consider Ascension Bay.  Although the Palometa Club is a little off the beaten path, the fishing opportunities available more than make up for the difficulty getting to the lodge. The lodge also prides itself on employing the most experienced fly-fishing guides in the region. The guides at the lodge are easy to fish with, and are experienced permit anglers themselves. If you are looking for a diverse fishery, consider the Palometa Club.

Getting There

Getting to the lobster fishing village of Punta Allen, Mexico is not for the faint of heart. After flying into Cancun, anglers will meet their driver right outside of the airport and buckle in for an hour and a half drive to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Once the van reaches the reserve, hunker down for another thirty-minute drive down a dirt road that leads to the Boca Paila Bridge. There you will board a Mexican panga for the last leg of the trip, a 45 minute boat ride to the Palometa Club. Once you arrive at the lodge, appetizers and margaritas await weary travelers.

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