Ascension Bay Fish Species
It is the diversity in species that inhabit Ascension Bay in such prolific numbers that is the main attraction for so many intrepid flats anglers. Boasting of perhaps the best permit fishery found anywhere, Ascension Bay is also a viable resource for all the species that make up the “Grand Slam” or the “Super Slam” – permit, bonefish, tarpon and snook. There are also frequent encounters with less traditional species such as barracuda, jacks, sharks, and much more. Unlike some destinations that are niched into one species, there is always something happening on the Bay no matter the conditions.
For the saltwater angler the ultimate quarry is undoubtedly permit. Permit are rare, spooky, unpredictable, and have a nasty habit of snubbing your fly no matter how good the presentation. That said, permit are actually far more “catchable” than most anglers realize… and The Palometa Club is simply the best place on the planet to get it done. Ascension Bay provides the optimal eco-system for permit to thrive and the population of fish that swim these rich waters is unequaled anywhere else on earth. From schools of pan-sized baby permit to more solitary fish eclipsing 20, 30, and even 40-pounds, Ascension Bay is ground zero for the best permit fishing on earth.
The Palometa Club is just that – a club devoted to fishing for permit. We’re experts at it, we prefer to do it over all other forms of fishing, and we’ll give you the best opportunity possible to claim bragging rights to one of the toughest, most sought after fly fishing trophies. If you’ve always wanted to catch a permit on a fly what are you waiting for? You won’t have a better chance than at The Palometa Club.
Even though permit are the high profile species, it is impossible to ignore the great bonefishing on Ascension Bay. Yucatan bones are typically smaller in nature than bones in the Bahamas or other Atlantic / Caribbean fisheries, however are found in huge numbers year round. The tremendous population of bonefish makes this a great destination to consider for beginner flats anglers looking for some easier reward, and are super for knocking the rust off the casting skills before moving on to a more high profile target. Ascension Bay has extensive, hard sandy flats that are great for wade fishing, and schools of tailing fish in super skinny water is a common occurrence. You can also find hoards of bones on deeper flats better fished from the boat – which also allows for possible encounters with permit or tarpon as well.
Although there are definitely a lot of small “schoolie” bonefish that are easy to catch, there are also frequent encounters with larger bonefish in the 4-6 pound range at times – especially if you go looking for them. A commercial netting ban was put into place thirty years ago and we are seeing larger age class of bonefish in the Bay again.
Tarpon & Snook
Although you should not consider Ascension Bay as a dedicated tarpon destination, there are plenty of juvenile “baby” tarpon in the vast backcountry lagoons in the area. A majority of these fish are residents which remain in the area throughout the year, providing anglers with consistent opportunities for completing the fabled Grand Slam. Adult migratory fish in the 80-150 pound class also begin to show up in the beginning of May and numbers will increase significantly through the summer months. When the weather is right in the summertime, adult tarpon fishing on the Bay can be phenomenal.
Snook are also definitely worth the effort of poling around the mangroves and oftentimes on the flats, with multiple 20+ pound trophies landed each season. Snook fishing can be an absolute blast, and quite reliable when conditions are right. When they are in the mood, Snook will usually eat about anything you chunk at them – making poppers and other surface flies a favorite style of presentation.
There is a wide variety of underrated, under-fished species in Ascension Bay that will match the skill of the most sophisticated anglers. The fishing for triggerfish and jack crevalle is certainly not to be overlooked, and barracuda are also at the top of the list of alternative species. This wonderfully fast species can be caught on the fly or with conventional spinning gear. Don’t forget about several species of sharks, snapper, grouper, cobia, tripletail, and ever some offshore opportunities with the right conditions.