Palometa or permit have always been high on my fish bucket list and this was my first saltwater fly fishing experience to try to bring that dream to fruition. To say the least I was nervous would be a major understatement. I was terrified.

I not only wanted to prove to myself that I could do this, but I also wanted to do this for all my fellow female anglers, to remind ourselves that ‘we can’.

Sunglasses on, buff up, rod in hand, casting to the 1,000 shades of aqua waters. Today was going to be the day that I catch my dream fish.

We landed some bonefish, jacks, and tarpon but had not spotted any permit the whole day… until our last hour together, our guide Moises, calmly yet urgently, uttered “Palometa, 12 o’clock.”

My grip tightened instantly around the fly rod and my heart started dancing in my chest. I spotted the tailing permit about 100 feet away from the boat, and I knew this was my last chance of the trip to even cast to a permit. There was no time to doubt myself, no time to waiver, not time to hesitate, I had to get it done.

We anchored up and Moises and I slid into the choppy waters splashing above my belly button, sneaking a little closer to the school of permit.

First cast, full of hope… FLOPS in the wind. My heart sinks. The permit are still there, unaware.

Second cast… about 70 feet away. I need the perfect double haul, about 5 feet past the school of permit to strip though and hopefully get one to take the fly… and I F**KING DID IT!!!

A cast slices through the warm winds, lands a few feet past the school of permit. Strip, strip, boom, SET the hook.

A permit takes my mantis shrimp and runs. And when I say that she ran, I mean I have never had a fish on my line go to the backing so damn fast. Such a graceful, powerful fish.

Tears of pure joy streamed down my face and merged with the salty ocean.

A 45 anxiety-ridden minute fight later, I am holding the most beautiful fish I have ever been blessed to hold, let alone lay my eyes on.

Landing this permit changed my life. I will never forget my first time saltwater fly fishing and my first permit. I am forever grateful and will always be humbled by this experience. I will always remember to believe in myself during challenging situations and to be bold in relying on my own ability.

To my friends:

Moises, mi amigo, muchas gracias desde el fondo de mi corazón, hasta la próxima. Jesse, my friend, thank you for creating such an amazing community at the Xflats Fly Fishing Lodge @the_xflats in Xcalak, Mexico  & for one of the happiest moments of my life.

Article by Kenzie Quinn, give her Instagram account a follow at @womenontherivercollective!

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