Wil Flack, Tayler Brothers and I had high hopes heading for the permit flats of Southern Belize at twilight this morning. We hooked three yesterday in harsh conditions. Today conditions were excellent. This was our warmest morning, the clouds were gone, and the wind blew at a 10-15 mph – a mere breeze for this week. But despite everything being textbook, no matter how you look at it, we’re still fly fishing for permit.
The first thing to go wrong happened about 3 ½ minutes into our day. It was no more than 6 am. The sun was a half hour from rising. Wil cut the engine to his tricked out fly fishing panga and began easing us onto the first flat. The only way to spot a fish at this time is to see a protruding tail.
I was dillydallying. A sip of coffee. A stretch. A slow reach for my Winston. I was utterly unready when Wil shouted, “Cast!”
I ripped line off my Bauer Reel and spotted several glistening permit tails. Somehow my short cast was on the money and the nearest permit devoured the fly when it hit the water. I strip set and hooked him but perhaps I lifted my rod too soon. A second later the permit was off and he zipped across the flat taking every other tailing permit with him. A heap of hungry permit gone to start the day. Dreadful.
This immediate hook up was like catching a monster trout at the boat launch in Idaho as you begin a long 12-hour float. It’s a jinx. A way to be sure the rest of your day stinks. And this is exactly what happened.
Perhaps it was the start of the falling tide but after our first cast at 6 am we didn’t get another cast until 11 am. This is when we found a big permit slowly swimming (more like drifting) across a flat. It was as if he was sunning himself while sleeping. We got several good cast and put the fly in his face with absolutely no reaction.
We cast to several fish like this into early afternoon. It wasn’t till late that we started seeing more permit and several schools. We got some follows but no aggression towards the fly whatsoever. We simply had schools of sleepy permit. I think we were the only creature hungry.
4 pm arrived and our fifth day in a row without catching a permit came to an end. Unreal. Today was one of my toughest days of fishing of 2017. I’d have bet the world that today we’d land two permit and instead we could hardly get any to follow the fly.
All you can do is take a deep breath and laugh. Shooting yourself definitely won’t help. At least we finally enjoyed some great weather. I’ll wish for such a day next week when I’m freezing in my house getting ready for show season. Tomorrow is our last day.