We recently hosted the 4th Annual Palometa Club Permit Tournament, April 1-8. The Palometa Club once again teamed up with Hatch Reels as the lead sponsor for the annual event to benefit the Jon Ain Fund at Bonefish Tarpon Trust as well as the schoolchildren of Punta Allen, Mexico. The event again raised over $6000 in charitable proceeds from the entry fees, calcutta, and individual donations!
Many thanks to our sponsors for helping us promote the event as well as provide thousands of dollars worth of prizes and giveaways for the participants and guides. Sponsors included Hatch Outdoors, Patagonia Clothing Company, Tailwaters Fly Fishing Co., Temple Fork Outfitters, Paul Puckett Art, Sage Fly Rods, Yeti Coolers, Flood Tide, Umpqua, Smartshield sunblock, Fishpond, R.L. Winston Rods, and Country Pleasures Fly Shop in Calgary, Alberta. The swag bags and prizes for both anglers and guides were completely over the top this year thanks to our incredible sponsors! Everyone walked away with mountains of swag this year for sure – including the best yet Tourney T-Shirt by Paul Puckett.
The field consisted of eight, 2-man angler teams as well as eight, 2-man guide teams. Anglers rotated among guide teams throughout the course of the week based upon a draw. We had a biggest fish category (single angler award) as well as a team category based on a points-per-inch scoring system; not unlike the famed March Merkin tournament in Key West. The field was made up of many repeat Club faithful, past champions and new Club members as well. Just like last year, we could not have dreamt up a more compatible and fun group of guests originating from Texas, Montana California, New Jersey, South Carolina, Calgary, and even Captain Bruce “The Ringer” Leslie up from Placencia, Belize!
Angler teams were as follows:
Jeff Baker & Scotty Rodgers
Mike Gifford & David Leake
Bill Shaughnessy & Justin Miller
Brendan & Tab Bannigan
Schuyler Marshall & Will Stephens
Ray & Betty Boazman
Wade Yoshii & Bruce Leslie
John Torok & Danny Ashcraft
Also in attendance was Matt Jones from Matt Jones Photography who helped document the trip and tournament through their incredible video and images.
The tourney crew enjoyed a week of stunning conditions. There were tons of fish around and the group managed to land 24 permit for the week including an eleven fish day. Wade Yoshii his 189th, 190th, 191st and 192nd permit to hand. Jeff Baker, Danny Ashcraft, and Bill Shaughnessy each landed their first career permit as well! Like any permit trip, many more close calls were had along with the usual dosage of crushed flies and break-offs. Even the permit ninja, Mike Gifford, managed to farm out a few! Evenings were very jovial as always (especially when Tab had control of the music playlist) and the casting competition and awards ceremony was as sincere and fun as ever. Thanks to our headliner sponsor, 7 lucky anglers/guides won SEVEN new Hatch 7+ Fanatic reels, and the mountain of other prizes ranged from rods, bags, packs, champion belt buckles by City Boy Forge, and a replica painting donated from Paul Puckett – and much much more!
Biggest Permit Category
Angler: Schuyler Marshall (29.4 Pounds)
Guide Team: Jorge & Jonathan
Most Points Team Category Champions
Angler Team: Mike Gifford & David Leake (1135 Points)
Guide Team: Gerardo & Julio (891 Points)
Most Points Category Runner Ups
Angler Team: Brendan Bannigan & Tab Bannigan (574 Points)
Guide Team: Alonso & Fili (872 Points)
1st Place: Rodolfo Runner Up: Justin Miller
Good Guy Award (Selected by his peers): Bill Shaughnessy
FUNDRAISING FOR BONEFISH TARPON TRUST AND SCHOOLCHILDREN IN PUNTA ALLEN
The idea for a tournament on Ascension Bay originated in part thanks to inspiration from the recently deceased, Dr. Jon Ain. Among dozens of other credentials, Jon was a board member at the Bonefish Tarpon Trust, founder and director of the March Merkin Tournament in Key West, and perhaps the greatest permit angler of our time. With over 300 fly-caught permit on his resume, Jon was most notably the permit’s (and their habitat) greatest advocate. He raised tens of thousands of dollars for BTT, and helped launch today’s Project Permit program with BTT, who’s mission is the guide permit research and conservation. Jon was also a lover of Ascension Bay, Punta Allen, and the people and fish who live there. Following his death to cancer in 2013, it was a no brainer to create a charitable benefit associated with the tournament in his honor. Since the first annual tourney is 2013, the Palometa Club Permit Tourney has raised over $14,000 to date for the Jon Ain Fund!
THANKS TO PALOMETA CLUB STAFF AND GUIDES
A sincere shout-out must go to Dick and Kaye Cameron for hosting this circus each and every year. It is a stressful and costly endeavor to house and entertain such a large crew with so many moving parts. They always pull it together gracefully to create a fun and festive atmosphere for all. Rosie, Fina and Maribele produce culinary fireworks with every meal and always have a huge smile on their face. Our ever-reliable driver, Manny, perseveres up and down the road to and from Punta Allen almost daily delivering clients to and fro safely and timely with no sign of fatigue. Carlos and other behind the scenes house staff bust their butts day in day out, and Club Mascot, Digger, keeps the Iguanas at bay. Finally, the guide staff at the Palometa Club personifies professionalism and experience on the water. Their passion for permit fishing shines through with every push of the pole and limitless dedication to present opportunities for us gringos – no matter the challenges. The Camerons, the guides, and the staff at Palometa Club need a glass raised in their honor more often – and we cannot thank them all for doing what you do to make this tournament and the whole season a wonderful experience for all.
The 5th Annual Palometa Club Permit Tournament – March 31-April 7, 2017
Most of the 2016 crew has already signed up for the 5th Annual Tourney, but there will be a few spots open for new teams to sign up for net year. As always, the tourney winners will be invited back to defend their title at the 5th Annual Tourney in 2017! Meantime, enjoy some more images seen below!