Punta Allen Fishing Club is strategically located in the tiny village of Punta Allen, on the north end of world-renown Ascension Bay, which combined with the nearby mangrove lagoons and inland river system, holds an astounding bounty of sought-after gamefish like permit, bonefish, snook, and tarpon, many of which are resident, small to medium juveniles, while larger, mature silver kings stage a seasonal migration through the area in late spring and early summer.
Although the likely high number of shots at permit is the region’s strongest allure and the guides are used to making palometas (Spanish name for permit) the main target, visiting anglers may opt for chasing after another or various other species. In fact, Ascension Bay and its surrounding waters have yielded impressive numbers of flats slams over the years.
Punta Allen Fishing Club sends two guides on every boat. The more seasoned usually drives the panga and also handles the poling, the other one assists with fish-spotting and also helps anglers with their rigging needs and fly line management to maximize fishing time and increase chances of success.
While you’re likely to do a great deal of the fishing from the forward casting deck of the panga as the guide propels it quietly with a push pole from an elevated platform at the stern, wading is not only a possibility, but actually encouraged in certain spots. It’s quite common, in fact, for the angler and a guide to temporarily ditch the boat together to approach a sighted permit on foot. For that reason, bringing flats-wading footwear is highly recommended to ensure good footing and protection against any sharp coral and rocks.
Each fishing day begins at 8:00 am, shortly after breakfast and a brief 2-minute walk with the guides to a protected mangrove cove where the pangas are kept. The boats return at about 4:00 pm, and there is always a cold beer or cocktail waiting for you at the lodge after your day out on the water.
Punta Allen Fishing Club, like most fishing lodges in the Yucatan, employs 23-foot super pangas, an open-boat design common throughout coastal Mexico and Central America. Those pangas are spacious, seaworthy and fairly lightweight, so they also float pretty shallow and don’t require a large motor to carry the usual load of two anglers and two guides. Plus, they feature a roomy, raised casting deck up front, as well as rod racks on the gunwales and comfortable seats.
The lodge tries to keep a couple of fly outfits to lend guests in the event their gear is misplaced or damaged during the trip, and usually has items like leaders and flies available for purchase. But given the remote location and the difficulty that represents for promptly restocking and repairing or replacing tackle, it’s best to bring you own gear and at least one spare rod and reel, as well as plenty of flies, leaders and other essentials, like a rain jacket, flats-wading footwear and polarized sunglasses.