PERMIT FISHING IN KEY WEST, ISLAMORADA AND THE FLORIDA KEYS
The Permit is the least publicized member of the Grand Slam. Most people know or have heard of a tarpon or a bonefish but it is still common to be asked, “What is a Permit?”
The Permit is one of the greatest gamefish available anywhere. As a member of the Jack Family, the permit exhibits many traits found in its cousins while having a personality all it’s own. The Jack family is a group of fish that all fight extremely hard. Generally, the Jacks are a schooling fish that attack viciously and prey on anything smaller than they are.
Permit are equipped with all the hard fighting genes found in other Jacks and they will often school but permit can be solitary, shy and finicky fish which are contrary to many of their cousins. While on the flats in shallow water, permit are difficult to approach and have a discriminating eye towards artificial lures and especially flies.
METHODS OF PERMIT FISHING
Permit are found throughout the Florida Keys, Islamorada and Key West. The Upper Keys hold good populations of fish but the Middle and Lower Keys and specifically Key West are home to the best permit fishing in the entire world. Because permit frequent the flats and are found offshore over structure, Key West and the Lower Keys supply the best habitat for large numbers of permit. The Lower Keys and Key West are littered with large grass flats perfectly suited for permit.
The abundance of food is capable of sustaining incredible populations of fish. Flats fishing for permit has become incredibly popular due to the fish’s hard fights and difficulty in catching. Guides will use trolling motors or pushpoles to slowly and quietly hunt fish in 2-5 feet of clear water. Once spotted, anglers will either toss a live crab or a fly to the fish. Fishing with a live crab is vastly more productive than flyfishing for them; however, the permit has the title of being the toughest fish to catch on fly in the World; the pinnacle of the flyfisherman’s career. This moniker creates mystique around this fish and draws aficionados from across the globe.
Wreck fishing for permit can be divided into 2 categories; fishing for fish that you can see and fishing for fish that are deep and impossible to see. We can target fish on the surface and sight cast to them with live crabs and even flies on shallow wrecks where the fish are clearly visible. On deeper wrecks, the fish will often be deep and a dropped crab on a jig will result in a trophy permit.If you are looking for a destination to either flyfish or spin fish for permit, the Florida Keys is the only destination you need to consider.