Permit Fishing

Permit Fishing

 Permit Fishing Introduction

fishing for permit


The Permit is a game fish of the western Atlantic ocean and perhaps the best shallow-water sportfish around. Adults feed on crabs, shrimp, and smaller fish. Permit are silvery in color as a whole, with a bluish-green tint on the upper part of the body and an underbelly or breast showing gold in color when found on grassy bottoms. They have laterally compressed bodies with nearly matching sickle-shaped dorsal and anal fins, a wide V-shaped tail and a short, round snout with large nostrils above the lower jaw.

Permit provide a powerful fight once hooked with steady fast runs and many quick changes of direction. Pound for pound their fight is as good as it gets. When planning your next Permit fishing trip visit our fishing charter directory, fishing guide, and charter page to link up with the right professional fishing charter to help you with a memorable experience you will not soon forget. 

Permit Fishing Locations

This elusive species is usually found in shallow, tropical waters such as flats, channels, and muddy bottoms. Permit are usually seen as individuals or in small schools. Although they are found close to shore and even in some brackish areas, they spawn offshore. Young fish are usually found in the surf zone where there are plenty of small invertebrates for them to feed on. Globally, Permit are found in the western Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Brazil, including most of Central America and the Caribbean islands. Some of the best places for Permit fishing in the world include Placencia and Turneffe Flats in Belize, Ascención Bay, Mexico and Key West in Florida, USA.

A very similar species is also found In the Indo-Pacific part of the world, with Australia becoming another hot Permit destination for many fly anglers in recent years. As always, hiring a fishing guide or fishing charter service can be the best way to get out and enjoy outstanding Permit fishing.

permit fishing trips

Permit Fishing Guides

Permit Fishing Techniques

Permit on the fly is like reaching another level of fly fishing, like hitting a hole in one in golf or pitching a no-hitter in a baseball game. Make it real and make it happen. These fish will work you and your fishing guide or fishing charter captain into a Permit fishing frenzy, an intense game of cat and mouse. Working hard to search for food, the Permit will not slow down to wait for you.

Spinning gear should include a 7′ medium action rod and reel with 6# -12 # test line. Surfcasting gear should include an 8′ to 14′ surf rod and reel capable of heaving 6 to 8-ounce sinkers with 20# to 30# line. Fly Fishing gear should include an 8-1/2′ to 9′ long 7- 8 weight rod with a reel holding 100 or more yards of 20# backing. They are commonly found in the 20 – 30 lb range. The all-tackle Permit world record is 60 lbs (27.2 kg) set in 2002 in Brazil.

Permit Fish flavor and cooking

Permit Fishing

Permit Cooking And Eating

A Permit is essentially a big ol’ Florida pompano and like its little cousin, you are not likely to find it at your local fish market – if you want to eat Permit, you’ll have to catch your own. True, they’re different species, but size is the main difference since the Permit grows several times as large. In fact, when they are as small as a few pounds, distinguishing them from pompano can be difficult.

And if you know anything about Tasty Fish or just enjoy trying new fish recipes, you’ll want to know that Pompano has long been considered one of the most succulent of fishes for the table. Given that Permit are basically just large pompano, you might assume that Permit are also delicious . You’d be right. Don’t let anyone tell you they aren’t good to eat. The Permit fish is best eaten when it is on the small side; larger ones should be released. You can expect firm, fleshy white fillets from these tasty fish – just perfect for the grill!

 Parting Permit Fishing Tips

Saltwater anglers are well aware of the Permit’s mythical status, as well as its reputation for being the most difficult of the “Big Three”, which includes Bonefish and Tarpon, to catch. The large eyes of the Permit give this gamester excellent vision. Anglers will sight Permit either in the cruising mode or by “tailing” if the water is shallow enough for their caudal fin to break the surface as they tip down to feed on the bottom. Although anglers mystify Permit sightings, in actuality they are fairly easy to see swimming. Often, they manifest themselves as a dark-backed silhouette that swims with a wagging tail beat.

2 thoughts on “Permit Fishing

  1. Harland

    Will be in Marathon the first week in March. Normally, I fish fresh water in the state of Missouri and sometimes get to Ontario. Canada. Question being. What should I fish for when in Marathon in March? Staying at a rental at Vaca Cut, closed to the Gulf. Don’t have a boat, but have a dock to fish off.

    1. Dorado

      Hey Harland! Fishing in the Florida Keys is a year-round activity, but by March/early spring things really begin to heat up. Marathon is no exception. Right from your dock there on Vaca Cut you can expect to catch mangrove snapper, small species of grouper, hard-fighting jack crevalle and, perhaps, the most challenging of all – tarpon! Another great option for boatless fishing while in Marathon is the Vaca Cut bridge. Take your chair and a cooler and head down beneath the bridge and cast around the pilings on the incoming tide…you won’t be disappointed.

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