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“It’s my favorite fish! If you haven’t fished for permit I really suggest it.”
I was just down with my friends Captain Steve Rodger and Captain Scott Walker filming Into The Blue. One of the things we did was go out in the Gulf and look for permit in the wrecks. Typically we catch permit in the Florida Keys a lot - the flats fishermen catch them on the flats and also in the channels, there are certain times of there year where they collect out on the reef and then we like to catch them on the wrecks. However, on this particular day we had some rain and it was cloudy which provided a problem because we normally like to be able to see them first and then throw over there. But even with problems like bad weather you can still go get these permit offshore.
1: Flats Outfit
8-17 pound line-rod fast action tip
Daiwa 3000 Saltist or Ballistic
J-Braid 20 pound (depending on how far I have to cast, I will do 15 if I have to cast further)
4/O circle hook with a live crab
2: Offshore Outfit
Some challenges that you face offshore is that the water is deeper and sometimes the permit will takeoff and you will lose them to the wreck. So I like to have just a little more backbone:
7-foot 10-20 action rod St Croix
4000 or 5000 Daiwa reel
20 pound J-Braid at the lightest
fluorocarbon between 25-40 pound
4/O circle hook with a crab (cast to the fist that you see right on the surface)
In the case of this particular day, we couldn’t see anything on the surface because of the weather and sometimes even if you can see the surface the permit aren’t there. One of the ways I like to think about permit is that they are a mid-water-column fish. If the water is 50 feet deep they are going to be holding somewhere about 25 feet deep. So there are some other ways to fish for them if you don’t see them:
3: When You Can’t See The Permit
You can mark them on your electronics and then try to fish for them
If the wind and tide are in a way that you can sit over the top of them, then you can drop a crab with a split-shot or on a jig directly down below you. So if you think its 50 feet deep then you drop down 25 feet deep and kind of leave it there or put it in the rod holder. Often times you will get a permit bite. With a live crab you won’t really get many other bites other than permit (you can get a Cobia or Grouper but most often will be Permit).
You can set up a drift over the top of the wreck and put anything from a 1/4 oz jig to a full 1 oz jig with a crab on it and the same rod. You will drop that in the water as you are drifting and you will pay-out the line (if the water is 60ft deep maybe you pay out 150ft) and at that point you pull it in and drop it in again.
Generally when the schools of permit are over these wrecks and are not showing themselves on the surface then I find that they bite. A well presented crab will generally get a bite. You will have a couple rods with a bare hook, couple with a light jig and a couple with a heavier jig. That way when you roll up to that wreck you are ready for any kind of weather and you can adjust however the permit are acting. We used pink jigs, you can probably use any color but permit really seem to like pink!
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See you on the water,