Permit Perseverance Pays Off

by | Jan 19, 2021 | Belize Permit Club | 2 comments

permit-fishingAs forecasted, our weather today here in Southern Belize was miserable.  It was raining so hard at 5 AM that instead of leaping up to turn on the coffee pot, I rolled over.  And it wasn’t only me, buddy Tim Brune could have flicked the button but he too opted for more sleep.  I’ve never started a permit fishing day so dismally but it was tough to find optimism with the pounding rain.  It wasn’t until 6:30 AM that Wil Flack, Tim and I headed down river to cross the Dangriga channel for the flats.


Fly fishing for permit is entirely done by sight.  This is really why the rain slowed us down.  With rain and clouds it’s hard to find permit.


permit-fliesWhen searching for them you either pole the flats from a skiff or you wade.  You never make a cast until you see a permit.  Sometimes they’re tailing while feeding on bottom in water shallower than the length of their body.  Sometimes you see the actual cruising fish.  When you see them, you try to plop a crab or shrimp pattern about 12” in front of their nose.


My favorite permit rod is my 9-weight Winston Air.  My reel of choice is the Bauer RX5.  The reel holds over 150 yds of 30lb backing and has a smooth drag.  I use either the Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity Salt or the Grand Slam floating lines and about a 12 foot 16lb fluorocarbon tippet leader.


permitWhen we arrived on the flats it was 8 AM.  Lucky for us the rain stopped.  We still could hardly see due to the thick clouds but there were signs of clearing.  Tim took the bow and got a shot at a happy tailing permit right away to get things started.  He made several excellent casts but the permit would have none of it and finally spooked for the deep.


Wil-FlackTim and I switched off about every 30 minutes while Wil poled us along.  Funny thing, every time Tim took the bow we saw permit.  In a few of his turns he got several shots.  Me on the other hand, not to moan, but luck wasn’t on my side.  I had exactly zero chances to Tim’s ten by lunchtime.


Permit fishing is funny though.  By the afternoon the skies began to clear.  And although the wind cranked hard, soon we could see very well and at 2 PM I got the ultimate opportunity.  We found a nice permit mooching disoriented shrimp and crabs that kicked off the back of a stingray stirring up the bottom.


permit-fliesPermit cruising and feeding on their own move fast and usually you only get one quick cast at them before they venture out of range.  Permit enjoying the cafeteria on the back of a stingray often stick around for many casts because the rays don’t move much.  This was exactly the case for this one and luckily so, because despite numerous casts with a variety of crab fly patterns this fish showed little interest.


Currier-PermitBut this permit met his match.  Wil, Tim and I are not ones to give up.  As long as this permit remained greedy enough to stick around, we continued to change flies and cast to him.  Wil suggested a crazy little lobster imitation he had in his box.  And that’s all it took.  After a struggle battling the wind to get the fly there, I managed a good cast and the permit rose and met my fly as it sank.  I saw the mouth open and after one mighty strip set the permit was on!


permit-fishPermit fight as hard and dirty as any saltwater flats fish.  This fish took off like a bandit.  First step is to clear the line from the deck of the boat without it catching on anything.  Then you pray the fiery fish doesn’t shear your leader, fly line or backing on coral (last trip with Wil I lost three!).  But everything went right this time.  And after a ten minute show, Wil planted his pole and tailed my fish.  We had our first permit of the week.


flyfishingAs always after a nice catch, we took a few pictures.  Then I popped a Belikin and kicked back.  Tim took the bow for our last hour of fishing.  He managed to fish to a tailing permit for ten minutes.  Tim was able to change flies a few times but this permit was stubborn.  We finally spooked him to the deep without a bite.


flyfishingWell, just as we thought the weather had broken at the end of the day, a storm crushed us on the long drive back to the Belize Permit Club.  It rained on us the entire way home.  Hopefully its only one last squall before we enjoy nice weather.  For now, I’m grateful we got a short break and were able to land a permit.  Time for dinner and bed.  Stay tuned for another day tomorrow.


A special thanks for this trip to my friend Wil Flack and the Belize Permit Club.

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


  1. Mark S Cooper

    DAMN bro….you all did it under those conditions CONGRASTS!!!!!

  2. Jeff

    Never hurts to carry the “golden horseshoe” Mark!

Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

Contact Jeff

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!