Fly Fishing For Permit In The Florida Keys
If I only had one day left on Earth I would spend it fly fishing for permit here in the Florida Keys. No other fish does it for me like the black tailed devil. They are beautiful wary adversaries that I hold in the highest reguard. The sight of a school of permit will make your heart pound and your knees weak, and if it doesn’t go see a doctor, you might be dead.
They can be notoriously shy and picky some days. On others I have seen them race over to a poorly cast fly and inhale it like it was the last supper. Fly fishing the Florida Keys for permit will be something that is etched in your mind until the day you die. Permit can drive people mad. No other fish will keep you up quite like a permit once you have contracted the fever. Jobs have been lost, fortunes squandered and marriages (my own included) have teetered on the brink all due to this amazing, frustrating, beautiful creature called the permit.
If want to catch a big permit on the fly the Florida keys is the only place you should consider doing it. We have more big permit than anywhere else I know of. The permit fishing here in the Keys is great and it continues to get better due to special regulations put in place. The fly fishing for permit in the Keys is solid year round, but you can visit my page Florida Keys fly fishing seasons for peak times.
Tackle for Fly Fishing for Permit
The greatest asset to fly fishermen wanting to chase permit in the Florida Keys is persistence. You must not only learn to accept rejection but learn to enjoy it. There will be days when you make 40 perfect casts and the permit gives you the middle finger. You can do everything right and they are seemingly indifferent to your offerings. Have faith though, the right fish will show up. You will make the right cast and bam it’s on. Afterwards you might wonder aloud “What was so hard about that?” That my friend is what keeps us coming back for more. The hottest chick in the bar does go home with the average Joe from time to time. Once it happens you will never be the same.
To catch a permit on fly in the Florida Keys you need to be an adequate caster. Ideally you need to be able to drop a weighted fly in a Hula Hoop at 40 Feet 7 out of 10 times. If you can do it at 60 feet even better. Before your trip practice casting into the wind and make sure your double haul is solid. Always practice with a weighted fly. Most people fly fish for permit with a 10 weight fly rod. It will help when it’s windy and with a quick delivery. A 9 weight will do as well or you are happy to use one of my rods. I tie my own leaders for permit and I like them long. The shortest I ever go is 10 feet on the windiest of days. Most of the time I prefer 12 or even 15 feet. Every little bit of stealth helps when you are fly fishing for permit in the Florida Keys.
Florida Keys Permit Flies
When it comes to permit flies for the Florida Keys I tend to be tight lipped. Only myself and my permit anglers need to know what flies I throw at the black tailed devil. If I could blindfold them I would. I have spent a lot of years tying and testing permit flies and I have found what works for me. That being said, I will supply the permit flies. You can thank me later!
Tips For Fly Fishing For Permit
When targeting permit on fly in the Keys, there are several things to keep in mind in order to maximize your chance at success. If you practice these before your trip you will be prepared when that permit starts tailing in front of you.
1. PRACTICE your casting as often as possible before your trip to the Keys. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen struggling on the boat when the fishing is great. You don’t want to be that guy. This means practicing with a heavily weighted fly and at least a 10 ft. leader. Decent size lead eyes and 10 -15 ft leaders are the norm. You need to practice when it’s windy and at different angles. Distances of 40 – 60 ft are what you are most likely to encounter.
2. A permit can’t eat what a permit can’t see. Your goal is to drop the fly right on the fishes head 90% of the time. You seldom lead a permit unlike when you are fly fishing for tarpon. Repetition and muscle memory are key here. I like to set paper plates or something similar out around me and practice dropping that weighted fly in there over and over. Try doing this in 2 false cast or less. Speed of delivery makes all the difference on the flats of the Florida Keys.
3. Finally, don’t over think it! Permit are just a fish no matter all the accolades we bestow on them. Confidence is paramount to success in the permit fishing game. Make the cast, and try to hit it in the head. I will talk you through the heart pounding moments to follow. Remember this is supposed to be fun!