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Permit Fishing Made Easy
By Allen Walburn

When most anglers think about catching Permit visions of a flats skiff being poled over sun-drenched, salt-water flats come to mind. In Naples, Florida we have perfected techniques to catch permit, away from the flats, in deep water and at all times of the year.

It is true most Permit are caught from a skiff is shallow water, bigger and more easily caught Permit can be taken from offshore towers, ledges and underwater springs. There are several ways to take the fish but the first and most important step is to determine where the fish are. After locating a favorable location it is imperative to anchor your boat up tide from your spot. After getting your boat located properly there are several sure fire and simple ways to catch Permit. One of the most successful techniques is to lightly hook a small, live crab with a 2/0 short shank hook on 12-20 pound line. Remember the lighter the line the easier it is for the bait to swim and harder it is for the fish to see.

Once your bait is hooked, gently flip it out behind the boat and allow it to free swim, usually down and away from you. Keep the line relatively tight but slack enough to allow the bait to move naturally. Never allow the bait to be pulled against the tide as it will produce an unnatural action and result in far fewer strikes.

As you allow your bait to free swim out watch your line closely to detect strikes. When you notice a fish picking up the bait immediately engage your reel and slowly reel in any slack line. When you feel you have the slack out extend your rod toward the fish reel down and set the hook in a swift and upright hook set.

Once the fish is on I like to release my anchor, crank the engine and drive the boat away from the structure, most often diagonally from the current. By getting the boat underway you can, often times, lead the fish away from whatever structure it was holding on. This of course decreases the opportunities for the fish to get hung in the structure and breaking off.

These fish fight long and hard to keep from being caught so patience is important while trying to land these fish. A 40 pounder can take upwards of an hour to land on 12-pound line but the time and energy are well worth it. These fish provide an excellent fight an are as delectable as Pompano on the dinner table.

Next time you are out try our style of Permit fishing and see for yourself how successful it can be!

Allen Walburn has been a U.S. Coast Guard licensed master of power vessels up to 100 tons for 30 years. He has operated A&B Charters from the Naples City Dock since 1977. Recently he has become managing partner for Alaska's Kodiak Island resort.



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