We have quite a few guests who ask about the best place to go to catch their first permit on the fly. And seeing as permit are about my favorite fish in the world to chase, I think of myself as fairly well qualified to respond to this question. Because of the highly erratic nature per permit, there is no such thing as a guarantee when targeting this fish, but if I had to only give one destination for this mighty quest, it would be Playa Blanca Lodge, Mexico.

LOCATION Because of its wonderful location, Playa Blanca Lodge guests fish the fabulous Espiritu Santu Bay. This bay is extremely difficult to reach if not staying at Playa Blanca and as such it doesn’t get the same kind of pressure that other fisheries in Mexico do.

BIG PERMIT If you are going to target permit on the fly for the first time, the odds are already stacked against you because this fish is a total bastard. So, you may as well go to a place where there are big fish and good numbers of fish. Playa Blanca fits the bill here and guests always have the opportunity at some very big permit, like the one in this picture. Every year we have anglers land permit at Playa Blanca in the 25-to-30-pound class.

EASY GETTING THERE There are many direct daily flights from all over North America into and out of Cancun, so guests will have lots of choices in terms of getting there and back, which is critical in this day and age when Covid has been responsible for many airlines cutting back the number of flights to many locations we like to fish from. The lodge is located an hour flight south of Cancun and Playa Blanca shares a private airstrip with its siter lodge, Casa Blanca. From there you board a boat for 20 seconds to cross the creek and then get on the truck for the absolutely stunning drive down a private beach road to the lodge.

SPECIES DIVERSITY Even when we meticulously plan, there are times when the weather gods drop the hammer on us and there is not a damn thing we can do about. Playa Blanca Lodge is awesome because it holds excellent numbers of bonefish, snook and juvenile tarpon, which can all be targeted when the weather is not cooperating for focusing on permit. The Tarpon Lagoon and the Santa Rosa Lagoon are both excellent alternatives when the wind is ripping out on the flats.

PALAPA BAR When the fish gods are feeling generous and bestow a first permit to an angler, it is a special milestone that I wish for every saltwater enthusiast. The hard work, hours of inevitable frustration and heartbreak will all melt away and that first well-earned après fishing cocktail, is one of the best elixirs a fly angler will ever have. The lodge at Playa Blanca has a simple and understated Palapa Bar on the beach where afternoon cocktails take place. I know of few better places on the planet to have a celebratory drink or two as you toast the permit you released earlier that day. Just don’t ask about the Scorpion!!!