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Florida Fishing - Species

PERMIT

Regulations

Slot limit of not less than 10" or more than 20"; no closed season; aggregate limit of pompano and permit is 10 per person per day; may possess only one fish over 20"

General Information

A very close relative of the pompano. Permit is the larger of the two species and is more commonly caught offshore than pompano. Little is known about their life history. Note that the size and bag limits for permit and pompano are combined.

Distribution

Permit are warm water fish primarily caught on the flats of Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys and offshore of southwest Florida.

Tackle and Techniques

This is a relatively large fish (20 pounders are not unusually) that anglers can pursue on the flats with light spinning tackle or fly rods. A 7 foot spinning rod with a reel containing 6-12 pound test line offers the angler a real challenge. Fly fishers will use an 7 to 9 weight rig with at least 150 yards of backing. You can also use the same tackle when fishing offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Sightcasting both on the flats and offshore is one of the most exciting ways to angle for this species.

Bait

The permit's favorite meal is a small live crab. They will also take live shrimp and cut bait. Live crabs may be hard to find in the bait shops so take a take along a long handled dip net with you and look for small crabs floating on the surface of the water. Off the southwest coast crabs are often abundant ten miles or more offshore. Look for the 3-5 inch crabs among floating clumps of seaweed. You can also find small crabs in some of the passes.

Soft plastic artificial crab baits such as the one made by D.O.A. Lures work well. Flyrodders should tie or buy flies that imitate small crabs.

Secrets to Success

* Permit have a tough skinned mouth so you need to set the hook hard a couple of times.

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