The shallow flats of Mexico, Belize and the Florida Keys are well known for world-class permit fishing. Less known is that each spring spawning permit of gigantic proportions mass around our wrecks and reefs that are often within site of land.
Location, location, location.
Finding structures that hold these fish is a matter of trial and error. However, once located, the same structures will seasonally produce fish year after year. Search structures in 20 to 40 feet of water with 10 to 15 feet of relief. On occasion, the school of fish can be seen as a purple mass “tailing” over the structure, but more often than not, the fish stay deep and out of sight.
A permit’s diet is primarily crustaceans and they are particularly fond of small “dollar” blue crabs or portunid “pass” crabs. Anchor uptide of the structure. Attach a ¼ ounce forged jig head to 18 inches of 40lb. fluorocarbon and use 50lb braid as your main line. Begin a chum line with frozen block chum and “sweeten” the slurry with small pieces of fresh shrimp. Hook the crab through the point of the carapace and allow your bait to “freeline” in the tide. If present, be ready for something just short of a rocket-propelled torpedo on your line and the crème de la crème of seafood on the table.
Capt Robert McCue can be contacted at (800) 833-0489 or through his website, www.GiantTarpon.com