This week has been a special one at Mango Creek Lodge. Be it the right winds, right tides, or simply hungry fish, the fishing has been exceptional for permit on the fly.
We first turn to Steve Calaway, who finished up his month in Honduras by coming back to Mango Creek to spend the week chasing permit. Day after day, he was spotting and casting to giant schools but simply could not get one to take. Yet Steve was not to be dissuaded. He was constantly adjusting his tactics and retooling his trout-fishing instincts to fit the requirements of a saltwater assassin. And with the right combination of skill and a bit of luck, Steve made his time down here truly count. Here’s Steve’s recounting in his own words:
We stalked a couple of schools of big permit and got a few chases but no bites. Almost dark, time to go in, but we checked out one more spot on the boat ride home, one last chance as the sun threatened to disappear, leaving us to navigate the reef and mangrove system in the dark.
“Perfect cast,” whispered Tie-Tie on my last cast of the sunset. I threw 70 feet of line, dropping the white crab pattern 7 feet in front of a pair. The giant tails moved towards the crab, then it happened, she ate. Tug, Tug, wham, my line screamed out to the sea and I was hooked up–it wasn’t a dream. 20 years of fishing trout doesn’t compare to this beast of the sea. Tie-Tie and I followed her, by boat, as she led us out to sea. Day turned to dusk and the fish pulled on, sometimes giving, mostly taking. Eternal moments in time. She started giving more, and I took until we were one, together under a tropical sky. Laughing, high-fives, hug, yell, “Oh my God,” thank you, . . . thank you.
Steve caught this magnificent fish on a size 16 White Turneffe Crab pattern after literally casting everything else he had in his box at permit that week. He also caught the fish after Tie-Tie recommended making the leader a bit longer and using 12-lb tippet instead of 15-lb.
After getting back to the lodge, Steve was so excited he could barely sit still. He just kept repeating, “In 20 years of fishing, man, that was the best fish I’ve ever caught.”
Not to be outdone, our guide, Perry, set off the following morning with Carlo Gobetti. Carlo was over from Italy and spent a few days of his trip to Roatan dayfishing with us. In similar fashion, Carlo made the right cast at the right time, and luck graced yet another fisherman with a nice permit–the second one to be landed in 24 hours.
Congratulations to both fisherman on two great fish.
One final note: Thankfully, we were hardly touched by vicious Hurricane Dean, which passed about 100 miles north of us early in the morning on Aug. 21. Despite the 160-mph sustained winds and torrential rain near the center of the Category 5 storm, we were hardly shaken down here on Roatan. In fact, we saw little more than gusty winds and above-average tides. Looks like our lucky streak continues!