It was a sunny day on the flats of Belize yesterday but the wind was savage. The forecast for today was promising. More sun and finally a drop in the wind to a more workable 10 to 20 mph. But the prediction was wrong. We had cruel conditions of thick clouds, 55° temps, 25 mph wind and rogue rolling waves over the flats from our departure at 4:30 AM till our return at 6.
Just to make things worse, the crud I picked up is miserable. There’s aches, fever, cough, running nose and the list goes on. I was dying. But permit fishing is a team effort. The boys picked me up. Wil Flack poled his butt off despite the brutal polling conditions and Taylor Brothers, who I’ll remind you is here to film promotional stuff for Wil and his new, Belize Permit Club, stayed on point with his camera.
I did my best, watching for permit while clutching my Winston from the front of the boat. I had more clothes on than ever before on a flats fishing trip. Remarkably we cast to three tailing permit in the first hour. Two of these I fed nicely but they refused. The third I landed my crab fly on his head and he spooked. We didn’t see another permit for five hours and we lost sight of him before getting a chance. Frustrating.
At the end of the day I got my best shot of the trip. Wil spotted a huge permit over 20lbs cruising over a sand flat. The big round fish was speeding and my only shot was a long now or never cast. The wind was behind me so I was able to cast 80 feet. The fly landed ahead the massive fish by about 5ft. Normally not close enough but because this fish was moving it was perfect.
Wil had me fishing a shrimp pattern and I stripped immediately. The permit turned and followed. My heart dropped and Wil began instruction on how to strip, “Strip it. Strip it. Long. Stop. Strip it. Stop. Let it sink. Strip it”. Its intense – believe me!
There were at least a couple times when it looked as if this permit was eating my fly. His lips couldn’t have been more than inches away. But I never felt anything. Thrillingly, the permit followed all the way to the boat then saw us and spooked. Invigorating, but not a happy ending to the day.
Permit fishing can be torturous at times – most of the time in fact. The weather is hurting us bad. Being sick as a dog makes this more of a struggle. At least I’m with friends and the three of us are determined to make this happen. It was a long ride home over rough seas. Too rough to even enjoy a Belikin Beer during the ride!