Permit Fishing in Florida
Permit inhabits the western Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Brazil, including the Caribbean, and they are members of the genus Trachinotus of the Carangidae family. They are found in tropical mud flats, grass flats, channels and muddy bottoms. They congregate in either small schools or prefer to be solitary. They are nervous of people when alone but will readily attack if they are in a group and deliver some nasty bites. Although they are found close to shore, even in brackish areas, they spawn offshore and find comfort in structures such as coral reefs and wrecks. The Florida Keys are known for its beautiful underwater habitats where Permit thrives in large numbers.
Permits are easy to distinguish. They have elongated dorsal fins that are shaped like a scythe and their long anal fins are distinctively forked. When viewed from the front, the fish appears tall and thin because their bodies are compressed laterally. There are six or seven dorsal fins with between eighteen and twenty one soft rays. Two or three spines can be found on the anal fin with sixteen or eighteen soft rays. Dark, anterior lobes are prominent on both dorsal and anal fins. A large orange-yellow patch is evident on their bellies in front of their anal fins. Their pectoral fins are dark and these magnificent fish can grow into large beasts, weighing as much as 79lbs and measuring up to 48in in length.
Not many people are aware of just how thrilling it is to catch a Permit. In fact, few even know what it is. These fish are one of the greatest game fish found anywhere in the world. Exceptionally powerful fighters with a ferocious personality, Permits will attack viciously and eat anything smaller than they are. However, they are extremely challenging to catch. When on the flats or in shallow water, they are very difficult to approach and they are immensely wary of artificial lures – especially flies, making them the hardest fish to catch by fly fishermen anywhere in the world. If you catch one on fly fishing gear, then consider it the pinnacle of your fishing career. This is the reason for their mysterious reputation and this appeal attracts enthusiasts from all over the planet.
The Florida Keys, Islamorada and Key West have nice populations of Permit. The Upper Keys have great fish but the Middle and Lower Keys are home to the best Permit fishing in the world. Due to the fact that they frequent the flats and can be found offshore over structure, this provides them with the best habitat for large numbers. Although difficult to catch, these fish can be caught. Here is some information to help you when Permit fishing in Florida:
Techniques for Permit Fishing
- Flats fishing is definitely the most popular method for catching Permit, because they are incredibly challenging and they fight extremely hard. Anglers use trolling motors or push poles to quietly and stealthily approach them in clear, shallow waters. Once a Permit is seen, anglers will throw them a live crab or a fly. Flies are far less productive and live crabs produce the best results.
- Wreck fishing for Permit can be done two ways. If the fish can be seen clearly in shallow waters then a live crab is tossed to them. Flies can also be used but are not nearly as successful. If they are in deeper wrecks and cannot be seen, anglers simply drop crab on a jig. This often results in a trophy Permit.
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