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I guess most of us were due. Probably overdue for a good weather thumping! On our hugely successful trip to Cuba in April, we had experienced incredibly good weather... and our February trip to the Bahamas was pretty good too. When it's good you get used to it, but when it turns bad, it brings with it disappointment and frustration. In our case, Tropical storm BUD (and who the hell names a storm Bud??) was sucking moisture and wind behind it into Belize, Mexico and the Gulf States. Before we departed for Belize, our contact with the mothership we were using had told us:

"Your timing appears good…….nasty weather system south of Belize and moving north that is supposed to make things ugly through Thursday before it moves north into the Gulf of Mexico.  Hopefully, you’ll be on the heels of this system…….which can be very good."

These words brought hope, a powerful and essential commodity for any angler. But, as we boarded the Rising Tide in Belize City and made the quick trip out to  Hicks Cay, the sky looked... unpromising. That night we optimistically rigged rods for both permit and tarpon. Dawn brought us an even angrier sky and stronger winds. By the afternoon of our first day, it was clear the weather was not going to improve soon. Columns of cumulonimbus paraded to the horizon and high cirrus clouds peaked though the small gaps. High cirrus, a.k.a. mare's tails, almost always predict bad weather. In the early afternoon,  we experienced a strong thunderstorm and by the time the sun set, winds were topping 20 knots.  
It didn't help that we had been told by the same gentleman:

Last week, Dean said he saw more permit than EVER near the Gallows Point Reef.  One of our regulars landed his first ever permit in the same water you will be fishing!!!!

Sure... the old "shoulda been here last week". But we were an experienced and hardy crew so we perservered. We started out looking for tarpon and Jim Woollett did manage to find a big one, but was unbuttoned when the fish went a bit manic in very shallow water. For the rest of us, the tarpon were nonexistent. We all know tarpon are bitchy; they can disappear during low pressure systems. So, after giving the area a good perusal, we decided to switch gears, head south and commit to permit only.

Day One: No More Coffee for Jim Woollett

After and hour and a half run, we anchored in a mangrove jidey-hole. Here, the winds were relatively calm, but we could see the taller mangroves and knew the winds were still brisk.

Over the next few days, we settled into a nice schedule: Up at 5:15 am, grab a quick cup of coffee then stumble into the skiffs at 6:00 am. Fish till 9:30 or so then back to the mothership for a great breakfast prepared in our absence by our cook Radiance. Then, it was back in the boats until 1:30 or 2:00 pm when we again headed back to the mothership for lunch and a quick siesta. At 3:30 pm or so, we met at the stern and shoved off to fish for permit until dark.

Dr. Steve Peskoe does an ad for Belikin Beer... Scene ONE: Steve says, "While in Belize, I enjoy an ice cold Belikin at the end of a long fishless day!
Scene TWO "The beer of Belize. Try it, you'll like it!"

After we arrived back at the mothership in the eveniit was time for cocktails, appetizers, a great dinner, some fussing with gear and sleep!

Next: The search for permit