Sunday, January 21, 2018

THE PALOMETA CLUB - On Getting There & Settling In

I guess that it's a little weird to be finally working through a trip that I took early last year but in a way I like letting something like this simmer on the back burner to bring out the gravy.  Last year was a non-stop blur from the time that I returned from the Palometa Club until the lights went out on 2017.  Now's time for playing catch up before the rush starts all over again.

Each spring for the last few years, artist Paul Puckett has organized a trip to the Palometa Club in Punta Allen, Mexico with a group of friends with a focus on permit and good times.  Most of the group goes year to year but inevitably someone has to sit out and I was able to get in on an open spot.  Tailwaters Fly Fishing Co. organizes reservations for the Palometa Club and really have it dialed in from trip preparations and expectations to all logistics leading up to arrival in Punta Allen.

Most of the group going on this trip were based out of Charleston, South Carolina and we all were able to book the same flights to Cancun, Mexico. An early morning departure meant we were on the ground a few hours later at the Cancun International Airport and after collecting our luggage and getting through customs, we met others with our group at an airport bar.  Manny, our shuttle driver, greeted us there and after a handshakes we were packing loads of gear in two vans to head south to the Palometa Club.

The trip from Cancun to Punta Allen involved a three (or longer) hour drive with a stop at roadside cantina for a late lunch of tacos and drinks and then another stop at the grocery store in Tulum for any last minute needs or provisions for the week.  The drive south took us in and out of the tourist and authentic and it was neat to have the time to take it all in.

After the grocery stop in Tulum the hour long journey to Punta Allen goes down a rutty dirt road through the jungle.  The shuttle drivers certainly have every corner and washout memorized but it's still a bit unnerving to sit in the backseat with the van swaying side to side and palms fronds slapping the windows while drifting corners at speed.  We were sure to come to complete stop at the local "speed bumps" which were sections of large diameter nylon rope laid across the road in front of driveways scattered across the route.  These ropes were surprisingly effective

When the vans pulled beach side to the front of the Palometa Lodge, everyone excitedly piled out to stretch and realign their backs.  We were greeted by acting manager and international permit junkie, Mike Gifford who went a long ways to take care of us through our week in Punta Allen.

As soon as roommates were figured out and luggage sorted, Mike was mixing drinks and putting beers in hands at the bar.  Waves were washing up on the beach, the smells of dinner were in the air and everyone was easing into the week nicely readying fly fishing gear and assembling fly rods and reels for the rack.

I kicked off my flip flops with no plans to put them on again until we were leaving.  This was going to be a pretty sweet week, permit in my hands or not. 

Early morning starts for all of us meant early to bed with a lot of anticipation for the days ahead.  Anglers and guides assignments were posted on the white board, leader knots were checked and double checked, and fly boxes sorted.  It was time for bed.

For more information, please visit The Palometa Club website.  Follow along the latest lodge news (with a heavy dose of permit photos) on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

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