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Monday, April 4, 2016

Permit in Belize!

(click on the pictures to make them larger)

Nestor Murray

Have you ever had a trip's expectations meet in the first three hours of a week long adventure? That happened to Karen and I during our Spring Break escape to Belize with our fly rods in hand. We had lined up Nestor Murray who is a well known guide living in San Pedro on Ambergrise Caye. We were expecting a week of bone fishing. When we met Nestor after many conversations on e-mail, we  immediately knew that we had a great guide. Little did we know that we would only have Nestor for one day because of an un expected accident that put him out of commission for a week. Nestor lined up another guide that was part of his team, Hilian Martinez, and we continued to have a tremendous week of fly fishing on the flats.

We were picked up at a dock only a few hundred meters from our house rental and we headed to the back lagoons. Nestor said that we would try to get the "hard one" out of the way first. Hard one, yep, we were going to look for permit! Neither Karen nor I had ever seen a permit up close but that was about to change! Nestor knew about a pod of permit that he saw a few days back. It took us three hours of searching and finally we saw the flashing of the pod. The chase was on and boy were we excited about an opportunity like this. These permit were not large but they were permit, one of the toughest fish to catch on the fly.

Both Hilian and Nestor were quite particular about how to pursue permit! Poling and searching followed by pursuit on foot. Many other guides motor to look for the permit BUT that just makes them even tougher to catch! We did see large permit and we chased after them. They always seemed to be in a rush. The big boys are tough to sneak up on!

Well we finally got a chance to maybe cast to the permit! Nestor saw them about 300 meters away. We parked the panga and started to get closer. Finally I had a shot. I set up and got a perfect cast in front of the pod. I got a take almost immediately and I was unceremoniously broke off right after the take. Did that just happen? Yep. The pod turned away and headed right towards Karen who was 200 yards away. Nestor yelled to get ready, she saw them, got a great cast just in front of them, pow; permit on! This one stuck and the fight was one. Karen's line ripped away out into the open ocean. Nestor ran over to help and coach her. The permit was not gigantic but who cares, it was indeed a permit! Do you think Karen was excited? It was her first fish of the trip! Wow!

...the story gets even better! (down below)

Nestor and I scanning the ocean for permit!

Hurray up Bob, I see the permit!

In the Blink of an Eye the Permit was 100 yards out!

Can you see the tail of the Permit?

Karen's First Permit! Great Moment!

We wondered if we had a chance at another, so we continued the chase. The permit headed into a bay and we parked the boat and followed on foot. Oh man, that bay had a mud bottom. The going was tough. At times the mud was crotch deep. So what, we might get another shot! We chased them for about a kilometre. Finally I had a shot in the back of a muddy bay. Permit on, I was excited. I managed to land the permit but Karen had the camera a long way away. Nestor took a few pictures of the permit with his phone, which he lost later that day in the accident he had. Luckily Karen was on her way with the camera and I got a second permit on, a bit smaller but nevertheless another permit. Poor Karen hustled through the muddy flat and we finally got a few shots!

What a day. I had a chance at a fourth permit later but no hook up. We chased permit until mid afternoon and called it a day. It was Easter and we wanted Nestor to spend time with his family!

Permit On!

The second one to hand and our camera made it thanks to Karen hot footing it through the mud!

Fantastic Moment!

We were surprised to see a new guide at he dock on the second day. Hilian Martinez was part of Nestor's team that also included the Permit King himself, Omar, a guide that Doug Pullen has used.

Hilian was an outstanding guide, full of energy and passionate about fishing. He too was particular about how to chase permit! ...and that we did.

We found some big ones but they were always in a rush! I hooked into two on the second day and managed to land a small one. That included some excitement because I took a good bath while jumping into what I though was 18 inches of water that turned out to be 4 feet deep. Surprise! I managed to keep the permit on though. I wonder why everybody was laughing?

Looking for and finding a small group of permit!

I hooked a permit that was coming towards the boat.

We all giggled at my unceremonious dunking while the permit was on my line!

Thanks Mr. Permit!

Well day 3 and 4 we continued to spend part of the day chasing permit. We saw a few and I even caught a baby permit that was in a pod of bonefish or was the bonefish in a pod of permit! No matter!

We even headed across some open ocean to Leonardo DeCaprio's private island. We did not see any permit and we even visited Rosary Caye where the big boys hang out but we saw only one on an incredibly windy day!

We did not expect to chase permit! It was a bonus that made our trip special. Nestor and Hilian gave us the chance to catch permit. Thanks guys for a tremendous 4 days on the water! You are both fabulous guides!

Finding permit takes time and a guide who know where to look!

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