Permits: Giants of The Deep

The Trachinotus falcatus, or the permit as it’s more commonly known, is a large species of fish found in the Western Atlantic ocean. The permit is silvery gray in color, and is distinguished by its forked fins and blunt snout.

Image source: panoramio.comImage source: panoramio.com

The permit can grow as long as 48 inches and as heavy as 79 lbs and is a favorite sport fish in the waters surrounding the Florida Keys. Because of its relatively flat body, it can quickly turn sideways and swim away, even in shallow waters. It is known to be wary of flies and easily spooked by sudden movements. As a result, the permit fish is notoriously difficult to catch on the fly.

In 2003, Brian Eliason of Northern Fisheries traveled to Belize for the purpose of catching his first permit, but failed to catch any. Disappointed, he headed to the Florida Keys to try his luck there. On his third trip to the Keys, Eliason attempted to hook a permit with his Merkin fly with no success. He switched to a Raghead Crab fly and caught a massive 51 pound permit, placing him, and his catch, in the saltwater record books of the International Game Fish Association (IGFA.)

18177Image source: flyofthemonthclub.com

Eliason used a Raghead Crab fly to hook his catch. The fly is patterned after a common crab, one of the permit’s natural prey.

The permit, while edible, is considered a game fish and is usually released after being weighed and photographed, as was the case with his prize-winning catch.

For more articles on the sport of fly fishing, subscribe to this Brian Eliason blog.

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