Jamie Howard (of Howard Films?) posted this delectable permit treat compiled from footage shot during the Palometa Club Permit tournament in May of 3013. Wish I’d been there for that. There’s just something about permit that gets under your skin and stays there.
The mission at MOTIV Fishing is simple: Create a new genre of fishing media that is appealing not only to fly fishing and conventional sport fishing enthusiasts, but also inspiring and captivating to general audiences, fishermen and non-fishermen alike.
I really hate these guys.
Things that Suck… & Don’t.
Barjack the Angler Permitatious Flat Indian Ocean June 4, 2011
I am wrecked, this place is gonna be hard to get over when I finally have to leave. Scratch that: impossible to get over. The wind is supposed to drop to 15knot’s tomorrow… PERFECT! I will have the big rod in hand for GT and only swap for milkfish/big bones/or permit… if I am lucky enough to see any of them. But that’s all in the future. Today is Saturday…
Things that suck on a Saturday:
- Up at 0600 hrs expecting to go on a boat charter only to get the dreaded phone call of cancellation: wind is kickin’.
- Too much wind to go on a charter.
- Casting cross body all day as not to hit myself in the head (for a second weekend in a row).
- Seeing a GT and not switching rods fast enough.
- A monster bone eats your fly and you don’t hook up.
Things that don’t suck on a Saturday:
- Catching a nice bonefish that is chilling in no water and tailing!
- Catching a PERMIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…
Okay so I want to see some old water I used to fish and Ben agrees. Initially it’s looking like a bad call; the first hour is intermittent clouds, heavy wind, and low tide. Of course, no fish spotted. Tide starts to roll in, clouds clear and I see a GT! I’ll distill the experience for you: giant trevally + me switching rods = epic fail. I Switch back, start walking again and Ben sees a big bluefin trevally, does the rod swap with style, gets some shots and a follow, but no love. I continue down the flat, and I see a tail in no water, I’m thinking, golden [trevally]? Nope: it’s a big ol’ bone with shoulders on her. I go through the usual bonefish thing and finally land her. I should have got a pic; she sure was pretty. I’ve really taken bonefish for granted the last few months, what with all the golden trevally, bluefins, permit, assorted coral-munchers, snapper, and, of course, the mysterious and coveted GTs.
I keep on walking and see another bluefin, this one with its back out of the water rooting around. I drop a cast near and it turns out to the reef. WTF? Ten feet behind him another tail pops up: PERMIT—and not just any permit. This is the biggest permit I have ever seen! Anywhere. Heart pounding, I start fogging out the glasses and have to pull my buff down. I get the angle, let a cast go, the fish turns the wrong way. Strip back in wait, walk, cloud, sun, there: tail, cast. The permit rushes at something, tails hard and glides off the flat. I just stand there as minutes pass, then there he is riding a wave in. The wave closes out, he tails, and I drop a 50-foot cast that lands perfect! Twitch, he sees it, long slow strip, he’s behind it, let the fly drop, he’s half cocked looking at it… sloooow strip he does that permit-style look at it from the left swim around check it out from the right thing and then he’s right there, two rod-lengths away! I pop it he tips up! I strip but the line won’t move—the leader-fly line connection hit the tip guide! He slowly turns and glides off—doesn’t blow out, just leaves, casually, like he was heading that way anyways. £#¢K! My mind is racing: why didn’t I see that coming? Why didn’t I just hold the line and step back rod point the rod at him? Surely the fish would have spooked and hooked itself. Right?
Luckily I didn’t have time to torture myself long. Less then a hundred yards down the flat I find myself surrounded: permit all around me! I stand there momentarily confused before I snap out of it and shoot a cast to the bigger fish on the outside. Of course, I dodn’t quite see them all so end up lining a few. They spook, circle back, I drop another cast and get a follow. Nothing. Cast again, get an eat; I suck! School spooks. I turn to the smaller inside fish. They’re still tailing so I drop a cast, strip and two start to follow, one on each side. Both fish are amped but won’t commit. I give a slow twitch then a long strip and stop. Both permit do the same damn half-cock up on it, but still won’t eat. Come on you, bastards. Long strip, one tips up, I come tight, and hear the sound of backing clearing the guides! A few minutes later I flag down Ben and he snaps a few.
All of a sudden it’s over—tide ripping in, waves beating me, fish gone. Sadness sweeps over me with each wave. I hate the end of the day, especially when it comes at three in the afternoon. Why is there no high tide spot to fish?
No worries. Tomorrow’s Sunday and we got a pass to go to the Plantation. Plan is to drive out there with bikes, (way too many) fly rods, (not enough) water and food at 0730 hours. We’ll park, ride the bikes for an hour and 40 or so minutes, drop them hike another 40 minutes to get to the famed Barton Point. ETA 1030am, Low Tide 1104am, gate closes at 1730. Should be epic.
Pre-hydrating and signing off,
BarJack the Angler
The Good, the Bad, & the Sunburned.
Barjack the Angler Bonefish Bay Indian Ocean March 27, 2011
No amount of alcohol can undo what happened today, but I’ll try….Cheers!
Day 30-odd (and counting):
So I’ll skip to the highlight: I’m fishing along and hook a little bluefin trevally and next thing I know two Volkswagen Beatles are storming the beach, at first I thought they were sharks (had two close encounters today). Nope: two monster GT’s! I clamp down on my reel and am pulling like hell to break this fish off—figures, the one time I tie a decent leader. Eventually I snap him off, switch rods and strip out line just in time to drop the popper out in front of one of these monsters. I start stripping and the lead fish turns and follows as fast as I can strip. He glides up behind it, follows till the leader hit my tip, and explodes in a turn…………without my fly!?!? Next second I’m standing there out of breath, heart racing, one rod hanging off my back with the line wrapped every-which-way around it and me watching the fish of a lifetime swimming away.
It would have been interesting if he would have eaten since the reef was only 150 yards from the beach. Something would have broken, and I’m betting it wouldn’t have been his will.
A few minutes earlier: two fish come screaming in trying to eat some kind of blue coral-muncher fish that were in a huge school. Giant Trevally! One pushes so shallow he’s swimming on his side with his peck fin in the air! Surreal… I think I have to take a nice little sit down in the shade.
Even earlier: PERMIT! How many casts does it take to catch a permit? I went zero for 200 this weekend! I thought I saw a lot of permit yesterday. HA! Today I saw schools of 10-30, one after another, and the best I could do was get two follows. I tried small crabs, large crabs, light crabs, heavy ones, shrimp flies, clousers…. I think I came up with some new combinations for cursing. And some of them were pushing no less than 20 pounds. I want to say bigger, but they look to be narrower across the shoulders than some of the Caribbean variety.
Back at the bungalow: I have come to the conclusion wading ocean-side is gonna pay off eventually, and yes, there will pictures and the glory.
For now I must fold laundry, shower, eat, and replay today in my head a thousand times and try to figure out the deal with those permit. I know the answer for GT’s: streamers. I’ll be ready tomorrow!
P.S. The bones are always the day saver. Got one 6ish and saw bigger but was happy with him.Also got plenty in the 4 to 5 range. It’s funny: if it would have been two weeks ago I would have cast to every school I saw, today I would just walk through schools of 2-3 pounders.
Wading through bonefish,
Barjack the Angler
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March 21, 2011
Tide: Low, rising.
Wind: ENE, 8-10 knots.
Long day, longer with the piss-poor fishing, the worst we’ve had here, ever. In our memories we could project ourselves back to that magical land where we found flats dotted with schools of tailing bones; today we don’t recognize the place. Even the North Coast was no help. A belligerent nor’easter turned it muddy and fishless, mostly. We’d bagged it for a bad job and were just about to jump in the truck when I did spot a cruising pair. I managed to feed both, but missed the hookups due to over-eagerness .
That’s the trouble with being able to see fish in almost any conditions, you end up fishing regardless of whether you should or not. Sometimes you learn that you can actually fish in a gale. Sometimes you learn that the weather isn’t the problem.
Most of our day is spent traveling, and it’s hard to decide which is worse: the dusty drives in the truck—it’s dry season here and exposed inland swamp produces a smell like a slow-cooked dockside dumpster—or the listless walks up and down empty beaches. Even The Point—our old standby—nearly let us down, grudgingly granting a single bonefish. The fact that it was Rachael’s first made it a celebratory occasion instead of the consolation prize it would have been under normal conditions . However, after the high-fives and hugs, the rest of us were no closer to putting fish on our lines.
So, back on the southern flat now—the tips of four flats boots and a pair of Chuck Taylors in the water—we survey the empty flat, and I mean empty. The tide is out, and if it weren’t for the smoldering swamp upwind, you’d be able to smell baking shellfish from the road. Our hope is that the water should be rising now: a good tide to find bones and, if the fishing gods are merciful, permit. That is, after all, what we’re really here for, my dad and I. Bonefish are fine, but permit, well, they’re the stuff obsession is made of.
Far down the beach I think I see a disturbance. After a day of fruitless searching, on the right tide, there is only one response: you run. You run trying to avoid half-buried rocks, keeping your eyes locked on the nervous water you hope is a fish; you run because you’ve been waiting all day for this and you never know just how long (or short) their feeding time will be.
I arrive at the spot breathless and adrenalized, trying not to blink as I scan for another sign. There! A beautiful black tail cleanly breaks the surface and disappears. Permit! I toss my pack and 6-weight on the beach and wade out, pulling line from my big rod on the way. I’m high-stepping, trying for that impossible combination of speed and stealth, pointing my toes on each forward step so my foot slides into the water with as little disturbance as possible. The intense feeding posture of the fish gives me enough confidence to rush it a little, but I’m still too late. I get one shot, maybe two, and the fish is gone.
I always question myself when this happens: did I wade to quickly, cast too close, splash my back-cast? Or, did the fish simply feed for as long as it was going to feed, regardless of my presence? By this time Dad and Rachael have caught up and I explain what happened. The fish are here, let’s keep our eyes peeled. Anybody not actually casting, grab the camera and roll. They’re tailing; this could be it.
The next fish tails 200 yards back the other way. This time it’s a huge disturbance and within seconds I’m running again. The thrashing tail gets more violent the closer I get: a monster permit feeding in only a few feet of water. I can only run so fast, dodging rocks and driftwood—a twisted ankle now would spell the end of my fishing—but the huge tail prompts me to reckless speeds. Again, I’m too late. I’m almost out to the fish, line off and ready to go, when the permit gives one last thrash and departs.
This time I’m sure the fish was unaware of me, but it’s hard not to read a little contempt in that last tail flick. My companions finally join me:
Ok. Why are we running?
Well, because of exactly what just happened. We spotted that fish from, what, 200 yards away, and even with running my ass off the fish was gone before I could get a cast off. That’s why we run.
That fish looked to be heading upwind, so I reel in and start walking. Sometimes if you match the pace of these fish you’ll find them again. The bottom out there is uneven, a series of troughs and peaks. They could very well still be feeding, but in water too deep to tail. But when they hit the next shallow spot you’ll spot them… if you’re in the right place. Amazingly this logic pays off and we soon spot another dark tail breaking the surface. It’s a smaller fish, but feeding intently.
I feel guilty, having taken all the “shots” so far this evening, but Dad is way down the beach and Rachael insists I go ahead. She’s already got the camera out. This fish allows several shots, some incredibly close. The sun has already set and night is falling fast, so spotting the tail is getting harder and harder. I also imagine my little crab fly is near impossible to see out there in the gloom, amongst all the turtle grass. I’ve got to get my fly in the fish’s face without spooking it, so I cast aggressively, right on the fish. Again and again I cast, stripping slack as soon as the fly hits, feeling for the inevitable take, but it never comes.
I don’t know how long this lasts, a couple minutes, maybe, but the fish seems to disappear for agonizingly long periods, only to tail again further upwind. I’m backing up, trying to face the fish and keep ahead of it at the same time. Emboldened by the permit’s intent feeding, I place my fly as close to its head as I can. Then, between casts and for no apparent reason, the fish explodes! I clearly see its flashing progress as it shimmers sideways off the flat, leaving a series of smooth boils pointing toward deeper water. I stand dumbstruck, wondering what I did wrong. At times the flashing tail was barely 25 feet away, and I’d back up to put space between us. Did the fish hear me, see me?
Rachael keeps rolling, capturing my confusion and exasperation. I mean, it’s ok when you know what you did wrong—you line a fish or bean it with the fly or cast too far and it bumps your leader. You can live with that. But when a fish spooks for no (apparent) reason, you kind of want a do-over. You realize that particular chance is gone, irretrievably vanished into the past, and (as much as you’d like to) you can never retake the last cast of the day.
1 Yes, I see the irony there. [back]
2 That, after all, is the nature of one’s first bonefish; this mere fact elevates the status of that catch to at least three, maybe four hefty bonefish for everyone involved. Over dinner later you can console each other by say, “Well, the fishing was pretty poor today, but so-and-so still caught her first bonefish… on the fly too!” Everyone else at the lodge (or bar) will know what you mean. [back]
satori – noun \sè-´tör-é, sä-\: (Zen Buddhism) a state of sudden spiritual enlightenment.
Fly fishing for Permit isn’t something that you wake up one day and say “gee, I think I’ll try and catch a permit on fly today.” It’s something that you’re led to. Like the details of a mystery perpetually unfold, so does the allure of permit fishing. The fascination with Permit evolves from the desire to seek out greater challenge. So, in a sense, it’s really a personal endeavor. But the fish makes it possible… read more here.