Permit Fishing in the Florida Keys



Fishing for permit in the Florida Keys is hands down my favorite thing to do.  Permit are an extremely worthy opponent.  They are always on point,and, they don’t make mistakes that often.  These fish have the ability to mentally break you down, and will haunt your every thought.  They make most anglers tremble just in their presence, and, can make you look foolish when trying to present a fly or a crab to them.  They have an uncanny ability to sense danger and to just seem to know something is wrong.  More so than any other fish I have ever targeted.   Keep in in mind, a permit is very hard to see for the untrained eye and almost like Houdini on the flats.  One second they are there, then they vanish out of nowhere.  Permit can and will refuse perfectly presented flies and bait, a lot.  So, if you mentally can’t handle that, maybe  another species would fit you better.


Catching a permit on fly is a real accomplishment, and is sought after by many people.  Not many anglers achieve this goal, and nobody does it 100% of the time on every opportunity.  They are said to be the hardest fish in the ocean to catch on a fly, and from my experience, this is very true.  A lot of things need to come together to catch a permit on fly.  The weather, the visibility, your timing, and simply having the right fish swim up to you are just a few of the factors.  They are the ultimate shallow water sport fish and you typically need to put in some time to catch one.  Realistically, an angler who wishes to target permit on fly, should book multiple days to give them a legit shot at catching one.  And of course, you must realize that there is a good chance that it is not going to happen.  That is the game.  It’s not for everyone and I understand that.  But, if you get a chance to make a fly presentation to  a permit, you will never forget it.  Patience is a must for this kind of fishing.  It is not easy, and you have to work hard for your opportunities.


Spin fishing for permit is highly effective and can be deadly. The fish can be targeted from longer distances,and, in the right situation are very eager to eat a live crab or shrimp.  This obviously still requires a great cast and a perfect presentation. They will refuse live baits too when it’s not right, but, when everything goes right, you will be in for a long ride.  The pulling power of a permit is hard to match inshore.  They make long runs and fight hard until the very last minute.  Catching a permit is a thrill of a lifetime, and there is nothing more I like to see than someone catching and releasing their first permit.  I promise to work as hard as I can to make it happen for you.


Recommended Tackle Info


Fly Angler- I recommend 9-10 wt fly rods rigged with weight forward floating lines and plenty of backing.

Spin Anglers- I recommend 7-8′ medium and medium fast, 10-15 lb rods rigged with 10-15# braid.


I tag all of my caught permit for Bonefish and Tarpon Trust.  They are leading the way on studying the life cycles of our major inshore game fish, and trying to protect them for the future of our sport.  Check them out.