Final Day on the Flats

Another day spent chasing the almighty Permit! I met Capt.Jared Cyr at the Huricane Hole Marina yesterday morning. We headed out to probe the flats around Key West for an opportunity to land my first Permit on a fly. We pulled onto the edge of the first of Jared’s favorite spots. As I pulled line from the reel and started to get my mind in tune with the task at hand, Jared calmly said, “Permit, 9 o’clock, 50 feet…”

My heart began pounding and many thoughts fought to the surface of my brain.. “Is this going to be my first Permit?? Am I going to f*@k this up..again?? Will I be able to spot this fish?”

I stripped three more arm lengths of line off the reel, and pulled the crab fly from the hook keeper. I scanned the water in the area of 9 o’clock.. I spotted him immediately. He was over some sand, and was glowing fluorescent green/blue.

Jared quietly said, “Go ahead and cast to his left.” I pulled up and began my cast. After a couple sneaky little false casts, I layed the fly out… 12″ to the right of his tail..DAMN!!!
The fish didn’t react, so I pulled the fly away to attempt another cast… as the fly slid away from the Permit, he caught a glimpse of it. He turned on a dime and searched the area.. obviously intending to at least take a better look at this silly little crab that snuck up behind him. But it was too late, I’d already pulled the fly from the water, and recast two feet to the other side of the fish… DAMN! Being true to his Permit roots, his alarm went off, and he bugged out.

Then began the relaxing part of the day… 4 hours of flat hopping, looking for that flat that had the right stuff… but not finding it. Flat after flat was empty of all life. Then at the end of the day we made a 30 minute run to the west, to find a couple last spots with the right water level.

Jared slowly pushed us across a sand flat.. so beautiful. Then Jared said..”Permit, 3 o’clock!” This time was I wasn’t going to screw up.. hopefully… I cast the right distance, a foot in front of his face. The fish zoomed up to the fly and swarmed it. I tightened the line, and waited to feel something, anything… but at that very second the fish bolted as if I’d thrown a rock at him. Another one bites the dust!

The next hour and a half we found and cast to five more Permit, at one point as I was refused by one fish, another appeared on the other side of the boat… maybe that was the right fish for me?! NOPE! We ended on a flurry, but never made the connection. Oh well, I’ll be back. I’m vowing to these fish that I will be back and I will fool one of you. I will land one of you, and it will be the most gratifying day of fly fishing of my life!

Thanks to all the great guides that put me on fish for the last couple of months. If any of my FB friends want to come down and attempt to accomplish what I failed to a Florida Keys Permit, any one of these guides has my complete endorsement! Shane SmithJustin Rea, Jared Cyr, and Chris Trosset.