I am not a master permit fisherman. I think that’s exactly the thing I enjoy about it.
I like the challenge and if you’re looking for a challenge, permit have one for you. While I don’t consider myself an expert on the subject, I am learning and that puts me in a great position to share what I learn. Even if I am learning from my mistakes.
I had a great shot at a permit the other day and I totally screwed it up. Here’s what happened.
I was fishing with friends Joel Dickey and Rob Kramarz, both experienced flats guides. I was on the bow and we were fishing the early part of a falling tide. At twelve o’clock to the boat there was a cut in a small key and we anticipated that permit might be coming out with the tide.
As we poled slowly toward the mouth of the cut, I caught movement in my peripheral vision and turned to find a fish coming straight for the boat at two o’clock. It was an odd looking fish. Too light in color to be a permit and too dark to be a bonefish. As I struggled to identify it, the fish closed on the boat.
“It’s a bonnet head,” my buddies told me, but the fish’s head didn’t look like a bonnet head shark. I went ahead and made a cast. The fish, now less than forty feet from the boat, picked up the fly and tracked it.
“It’s a bonnet head, you’re gonna lose that fly,” my friends repeated, so I took the fly away from the fish as it charged. Spooked by the sudden motion, the fish made a sharp left hand turn showing us the distinctive profile of a permit. It was very light in color, but a permit nonetheless. Talk about heartbreaking.
So here are the three things I learned from botching a perfectly good shot that should have ended with hooking a permit.
1) Don’t hold on to preconceived ideas.
Just because you expect fish to be coming from a logical location doesn’t mean that’s what’s going to happen. Fish are not logical. If I had been scanning the water more thoroughly I might have seen that fish earlier and hade more time to analyze the situation.
2) Be Decisive
Don’t wast valuable time second guessing. Better to land a jack than miss a permit. If you’re not sure what kind of fish you’re looking at, cast to it. I’ve seen a lot of cuddas turn into big bonefish. There’s plenty of time to identify fish after they’re hooked, but only precious seconds to take a shot at a closing fish. When in doubt, cast it out.
Don’t let doubt cause you to take a half-hearted shot. Once you start the process, trust your instincts and commit to that shot. Play it out and see where it goes. If I had taken this advice I’d likely have landed that permit.
Try to remember these lessons next time you’re on the bow and maybe you will catch a fish that makes your trip. Maybe you’ll just break off a bonnet head shark but at least you won’t feel like the dumb ass that took his fly away from a charging permit.
Trust me, that sucks!Gink & Gasoline www.ginkandgasoline.com firstname.lastname@example.org Sign Up For Our Weekly Newsletter!