The Quest for Yellow Permit Begins

by | May 24, 2018 | permit | 1 comment

One of the most prized fly rod fish of the Indian Ocean is the Indo-Pacific permit, best known as the “yellow permit” or in Australia as snubnose dart.  Being that Atlantic permit have been my nemesis fish species to catch I didn’t show much interest in Indo’s until 2014 when Granny and I targeted them on our own from the beaches of Oman.  But in two weeks we only saw ten fish and never caught one.


During trips to the Seychelles I’ve cast to the odd one.  But there’s other fun species to distract me from a full-on permit hunt.  Last year I finally made it here at St Brandon’s Atoll.  When I left home, in my heart it wasn’t a yellow permit trip but rather finally a trip to St. Brandon’s for the giant bonefish and perhaps a lucky yellow permit.  But once here, it hit me, I needed to catch one of these gorgeous flats fish.


I came with two friends Scott Smith and Ben Smith.  Honestly, I’m not sure they knew about the yellow permit.  They certainly didn’t come with me to target them.  Yet a long story short – they each caught one and I didn’t.


I left unfinished business in St. Brandon’s.  While most would write the yellow permit off because of the four days of travel to get here I decided last October to return.  What made this trip especially cool is that I’m back with Gerhard Laubscher (he was here with last year), Ryan Hammond and Tim Babich – good South African friends I don’t get to see often enough AND they own the fishing operation here at St. Brandon’s.


Today I fished with Tim Babich.  I first met Tim on Farquhar in 2015.  We had a blast together on the flats and off the reef there in the Seychelles.  We also fished the last couple years out my backdoor on the Henry’s Fork.  Tim is known as one of the top guides in all the Indian Ocean.


Although techniquely Tim isn’t guiding me this week becuse he’ll be fishing his heart out, he’s running the boat and picking the flats.  He’s also handing me some valuable advice on flies and where to look for the permit.  This week is sort of a reorientation of St. Brandon’s Atoll for him.  He hasn’t been here in four years so he’s getting his feet back on the ground.  Next week he’ll be guiding a group here filling in for one of their guides that had to leave the season early.


We left the lodge at 7 am and the boat ride took 35 minutes.  We arrived on Julies flat.  It’s one of the main flats and extends down the atoll about five miles.  We stopped in the middle and it was bone dry because it was low tide.  But we planned to meet the incoming tide with hopes to find bonefish and permit coming in with the water.


We walked and searched for fish for a couple hours.  It was mostly overcast and visibility wasn’t good.  And the way the wind was blowing we never got the push of fish or water Tim anticipated.  When there’s no fish you move and that’s what we did.


The next flat was small but the sun was coming out and we could see a school of bonefish cruising the edge.  There was also a lone permit with the school.  I knew catching this permit was doubtful but tossed my crab fly.  Sure enough, the bonefish were simply too aggressive.


The permit was long gone after I caught the bonefish but the school stayed.  Tim and I hung out there for 45 minutes and enjoyed catching a bonefish on almost every cast.  It was fun but then the hunt for permit was back on.  We moved from flat to flat for the rest of the afternoon.


We got a few shots at permit and plenty more bonefish.  There was one time when Tim and I were doubled up with bones trying not to tangle when a huge permit showed up and swam literally under our tight lines.  With the bones on securely there was nothing we could do but watch the yellow-glowing fish swim by.


Today reminded me of the toughest hurdle in fly fishing for permit at St. Brandon’s Atoll.  It’s the remarkable bonefishing.  While you hunt permit you are constantly finding big bonefish.  It’s a tough call but the best chance at catching a permit is to NOT cast to the bonefish.  And with bones like this one, NOT casting isn’t and easy thing to do!



If you want to go to St Brandon’s Atoll feel free to contact me or my friends at Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

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Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

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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!