Yarbrough, giving Puckett his fly back.

Better to be good than lucky

I'd never been to Guanaja, Honduras, but I did my research and learned that we'd have our own little island surrounded by permit flats. I was even told of permit before breakfast—almost as great as waking up in that special way.

A group from Houston joined us, and four beers later, we'd taken care of enough man-bonding to call ourselves friends. Day one was tough wading, as promised. We found tailing permit, but the fishery is primarily hard-coral and marl, testing my long-diminished agility. Life was easier back at the lodge, where a ping pong table and comfy chairs beckoned.

One of the guests had a mobile pharmacy, so we all made our selections. My buddy D.P. took a mystery pill, and 20 minutes later two of the lodge guides were dragging his seemingly lifeless body across the sandy yard, his feet dragging behind him. Which was convenient, since I used the marks left by his limbs to track my way back to our room later.

On day two, I fished with a great wildlife artist named Chance Yarbrough, from Victoria, Texas. I had the bow first, as our guide Edwin poled us with his 16-foot bamboo push-pole. We started on a small flat just south of the island, and Edwin soon spotted about a dozen tailing permit—one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen. I made a cast right into the middle of them, and the eat came with such ease and simplicity, that it felt more like bream fishing (sorry). The line came tight, and as the buttoned-up fish led the school past the boat, it didn't seem to know or care that it was even hooked.

"Give him some heat," Edwin shouted. I did, and I repeated the heat-giving three more times. Then, click... nothing. Shit… No!! At that moment, I didn't have time to be mad or even feel sorry for myself—I was too mesmerized by the little piggy tail on the end of my leader.

About 10 yards from where they were originally tailing, the permit popped up again, and Chance quickly stripped out line, made maybe a 30-foot cast into the middle of the school, and immediately came tight.

This made all of us feel better, because Edwin was still yelling about my terrible knot and how I had blown my shot. The fight only lasted about 10 minutes, and as we got into the water to take a few photos, Edwin raised the fish and I froze in disbelief.

One person out of a thousand looks good with a lip ring, but the piercing on this permit was as beautiful as it was improbable. This damn fish had eaten two flies within about 30 seconds, destroying every ounce of permit mythology in the process. I thanked Chance for getting my Doug McKnight-tied fly back. I was lucky and he was good.

Comments powered by CComment