After our two permit day in in Punta Gorda, we woke up on our second to rain and cloud cover. We returned to, and spent the balance of our day in, the inside spot that had given us some great shots and Michael’s second permit the day before. The water was shallow, and we decided that our best bet was to remain with the tailing-depth water there and try to get some fish pushing or waking if it rose too high for the tails to fly.
I was up to start, and had a few shots at fish that weren’t acting right until we found a pair of feeding, happy permit. I tried one fly, and they didn’t enjoy it, so we switched to another that had worked the day before. I put the fly two feet in front of and a foot past the lead fish, and Eworth was so confident that we were going to get a bite that he told Michael (who was busy sliding a second rod out of the rack for a potential double) to “watch this”. Famous last words, and ones that probably cast a spell on us to prevent the fish from eating the fly. With that we watched both fish spook and leave the flat, sliding through a slim mangrove passageway. We followed, and inside the basin behind the mangroves found more fish: I had three or four good shots, Michael had another couple. We were among them. We did not have a bite, and as the water rose we had a final shot at a single fish pushing water (that I totally messed up, sigh….) before we spent another four hours hopping from place to place, looking for more but never finding them.
Our third day ended early, as we had to get back to Placencia before it got dark, and grudgingly put our only blank on the scorecard for the trip.
The next day we left early from Placencia, and headed out to water that was now familiar: We had a few shots at a large school, though couldn’t come tight, and ended up where we had found a large school a few days before. Michael had a shot through the boat and into a stiff wind, and the fly never landed. His redemption came when there was a large school of fish at the same angle about an hour later, when he landed the fly perfectly in them and hooked his third permit of the trip:

I had three more shots before we called it a day, and while the shots were good the fish were not interested and we went home, one more on the board and prepared for our sixth and final day.

It’s hard to know when we knew the last day was going to be as special as it turned out to be. It may have been when I caught a permit out of the first school we saw, getting one of the toughest parts of the slam by 7:20 AM:

It may have been when Michael hooked a permit while I was tarpon fishing, casting from the center of the boat and hooking a fish a mere 15 feet from the boat over white sand, which I landed and let a dog living on the adjacent island take a look at:

But we weren’t sure that it was going to be epic until the last minute (and everything that happened in between), when something pretty cool happened, slowly and in pieces building throughout the day.

Onwards to part FIVE…..


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Nathaniel Linville

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