I am not big on fly fishing tournaments. As someone who wants the fly fishing world to adopt sort of a soul surfer approach to our sports, I sympathize with Ted Williams, who once stated, “I object to fishing tournaments less for what they do to fish than what they do to fishermen.”
That said, I am still proudly supporting the Annual Palometa Club Permit Tourney in Ascension Bay, Mexico, and I’m looking forward to venturing down there in April to chase permit but also support the event.
So why is this different? First, the spirit of competition is a bit different. The good time vibe trumps any egotistical ambition, and the goal of the tournament has fun with everyone else outweighing beating everyone else. While I, like anyone else, would love to win a permit tournament (perhaps the toughest tourney of them all) and get to defend the crown next year, even this honor comes with a spirit of collegiality rather than superiority. (And trust me, I am not a superior angler with this crew.)
The true reason for this different tourney vibe and the greatest reason I am supporting the event is for the causes it supports. The Yucatan Peninsula is an ecological wonder, and is even home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The flats are rich with saltwater fish species, that draw anglers from every corner of the globe. Unfortunately, however, this does not mean the ecological riches haven’t been threatened, and as Ascension Bay hosts what is in many ways a thriving aquatic ecosystem, it is critical now to support research and conservation groups such as the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust. In addition to supporting education programs for local children, the tournament benefits the Jon Ain Memorial Trust for the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.
The event takes place in April, and as I’ve supported the event in the past but not witnessed any of it, I am quite excited. It’s been seven years since I’ve been to the Palometa Club, and a return is long overdue. This time it’s time to get a permit! But more than anything else, I’m looking forward to hanging out with some great anglers for some important causes.