Iíve caught bigger fish, but I donít think Iíve ever been more surprised and excited to catch a fish than the permit in the photo.
Surprised, because the 16-pounder took my custom-tied McCrab Pattern on my third cast of the trip!
Permit are considered by many anglers to be among the most difficult saltwater fish to catch on a fly.
And excited, because Iíve never felt a fish pull that much line, that fast, off a 9-weight fly reel.
My first, and only, permit was one of the highlights of a recent week-long, bucket list trip to Casa Blanca Lodge in Mexicoís Ascension Bay with son Kyle.
On day two, a permit snapped Kyleís leader when his backing got tangled. A day later, after nearly getting spooled of 250 yards of backing, Kyle boated a larger permit than mine.
Over the years, weíve both done a few salt day-trips, but not a week totally dedicated to bonefish, permit, tarpon, and other fish.
We booked out trip last September with Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures in Bozeman and, with increasingly heightened anticipation, Kyle and I spent months gathering equipment, watching YouTube videos, and tying flies.
In addition to permit, we caught plenty of bonefish and Pato, our guide who has guided at CBL for over 30 years, gave both of us plenty of opportunities to mess up casting for tarpon!
Jerry Smalleyís Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.