Day 6 – Fly Fishing for Stubborn Permit

by | Dec 1, 2012 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

November 26, 2012

I opened our room door at 5:30 expecting a whim of cold air like the last few days, but there wasn’t.  A t-shirt would suffice for my first cup of coffee.  More delighting, there were few clouds overhead.  Today we were going permit fishing with Pedro.

For starters we motored right over the rolling tarpon at the mouth of the Belize River.  Then we zoomed by the channel markers where I landed the tripletail.  We skipped the snook holes and skirted south past Belize City and made a 45 minute run to Pedro’s favorite permit grounds. 

Once there I handed Granny my 10-weight RX with a brown crab pattern securely loop knotted to a 16lb leader then I scanned ahead for tails.  “I’m fishing?” she pointed to herself with a look of surprise.  Granny was fishing and she knows how hard permit are on the fly.  She didn’t have the confidence in her cast.  But I convinced her that after yesterday, you never know. 

A wake of small permit came into casting range almost immediately. Mentally Granny wasn’t ready and she hastily made two short casts.  Then ripped her heaped leader and crab out so fast to cast a third time that she spooked the permit badly and they ran for Honduras.  I laughed and reminded her she’s the millionth person to do that on the first try. 

Two minutes later we found three more permit and these were tailing.  These were nice permit, easily 15lbs judging from the width of their flopping black trimmed tails.  They were a good 80ft out and due to calm conditions we couldn’t go any closer for fear of spooking them.  Even with encouragement, Granny wouldn’t attempt the long toss.  Any other fish species in the world and I’d of insisted.  But I go crazy for permit. 

I grabbed the rod and ripped off another 20ft of fly line and quietly perched myself on the bow of our panga.  Then I side armed the crab right in front of the lead fish (A heavy crab lands much softer with a side arm cast.  Then there’s less chance of spooking the fish).  His tail rose and flapped as I pulled ever so slowly.  There’s no doubt he saw my fake but rather than eat the fly he did a quick circle around it.  I bumped it again with several short strips but he refused it again and moved away. 

I stripped in like a mad man and launched another cast right in front of them again.  Now they were near 90ft away.  My crab sank inches in front of all three.  I pulled slowly then added several short strips.  The finicky fish twirled around with interest but moved away again.  I ended up with five good casts to these permit before they finally got suspicious and slipped to deeper water out of sight.  Damn!

That was our best chance at permit all day.  In fact we hardly saw another after that.  That’s permit fishing.  Our biggest enemy today was once again, the weather.  It was so calm that all fish, not just permit, picked up on us as we snuck down every flat.  It’s rare that its calm all day in Belize but it certainly was. 

When fishing the flats you almost always encounter something else cool other than the fishing.  Today we came across a herd of manatees feeding in a bay.  I see a lot of them every time I come to Belize but today was unique in that we got to essentially hang out with them for as long as we wanted.  They are so strange!

Tomorrow is the last day and the forecast is for rain – not good for the flats. 

1 Comment

  1. Erik Moncada

    WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Look at that new MFC Jeff Currier sun mask! Comes in 6 different patterns 🙂

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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!