Permit: Finicky Meets Power

The Permit’s genus and species name is Trachinotus falcatus or “back armed with scythes”.   Permit are a wily and bruising inhabitant of the flats, channels and wrecks of the Florida Keys, and have been described by accomplished anglers as “The Most Difficult Flats Fish to Catch on Fly.”   That being said, the key as in with much angling often lies in presentation.  Though perhaps the most challenging of our shallow water species, by taking advantage of the right conditions and techniques anyone can catch Permit with regularity.

Permit can range in size from a few pounds to more than fifty pounds.  Excellent vision, extreme wariness when in shallow water, intelligence and a body built for power and speed make permit legendary among flats anglers.  They can detect the slightest sign of anything unnatural in their environment when in shallow water, and will let you know it.  Precision in angling is more often a goal with permit than with any other flats species.

Still, they are fish that must feed.  Often the right presentation will result in an aggressive reaction from a fish, and an angler fishing either fly tackle or spinning must anticipate this and be ready.  Once on the line, their speed can be compared to a bonefish.  Plus, their larger potential size along with a different body shape gives them more leverage in a fight making them one of the most powerful fish in Keys’ waters.  Pursuing these fish, you must prepare for the most challenging as well as rewarding of flats fish.  As either a spin or fly angler, the sense of accomplishment you will find through shallow water permit fishing is unmatched and unforgettable.