Hook a Permit and you have yourself a tug of war on the Waters of the Florida keys

The Permit is one of the greatest flats fishing challenges here in the Florida Keys. With this in mind, it would be a good idea to hire a professional Flats or Backcounty Guide to help you tackle this one. They’re more difficult to catch and see than a Bonefish, a Tarpon or a Redfish.

Permit’s feed on crab, clams, shells and other crustaceans. This is why their jaws have a crushing power of 3,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. So keep your fingers away from their mouth.

They can be spotted feeding on the flats near the mangrove islands. They root around on the bottom for their food. Some have been seen with their faces rubbed raw from rooting so hard after the crab and clams. Sometimes you can see the black on his tail sticking out of the water as he feeds. These fish prefer bright sunny days. They like the water hot.

Flats back country Florida Keys

Crabs are the bait of choice for fishing Permit here in the Florida Keys. You can buy these at most any Bait and Tackle Store. This is a difficult fish to catch. Their spooky and picky about taking the bait. As soon as you hook one of these fish you’ll think you have a locomotive. They peel off lots of line in seconds. They try to get to deeper water. They’ll bang their heads on the bottom and brush their mouths against the sand trying to get the hook out. They try to cut the line by running around coral and sponges.

If you manage to stay with the fish, you’re going to have lots of line to reel in to get the fish to the boat. It’s probably going to take you half an hour or so fighting this fish to get him in.

I consider the Permit to be a great fish to eat. Don’t let the guides know I told you that. I bet they’ll tell you it’s not a good fish to eat.

Back country fishing Guide Florida Keys

I’ve never tried to catch Permit on the flats. I’ve caught them on the wrecks out back in the Gulf. As soon as you hook up on one they head for the bottom. They’re trying to cut the line on the structure. The wrecks are loaded with them.

I hook the crab through the side of his shell. Then I let him swim out as we get in position up current of the wreck. As we drift across the wreck, the crab is trying to get to the bottom. The fish sees the crab and hits him on the run. Now the battle is on. I get an adrenalin rush every time I hook one up.

The last Permit I caught here in the Florida Keys weighed 32 pounds. The average weight of these fish caught here is 20 to 30 pounds. I didn’t have a camera with me to get a picture of him. Believe me, he was a pretty fish.

Return from Permit to Florida Keys Fishing

Return from Permit to N The Florida Keys