Don’t be too cautious when presenting a fly to permit. Hook ’em or spook ’em.
By Chico Fernandez
The light was perfect as I aimed my telephoto lens at a skiff working across the flats. The bow angler made some beautiful practice casts, and I was sure the photos were going to be nice.
All of a sudden, the poler pointed to the right, and the angler started to cast again. But this time, there was no loop. His backcasts were hitting the water, and finally, his leader caught and wrapped around the rod, ending any possibility of a shot. Even at a distance, the angler looked four inches shorter in his humiliation.
I turned around to my friend, who was smiling broadly. “A permit,” he said. “They saw a permit.” And sure enough, a few seconds later, the angler started to practice his cast, which was once again beautiful.
A little late, but lovely. I cast my first fly to a permit in the mid-to late 50s, and today, with quite a few permit to my name, they still make me nervous when I am getting ready to cast. There is something about permit fishing that just makes an angler uneasy.
Maybe it’s the fact that you could face a fish well over 40 pounds, and that same large fish can often be hard to see in the flats. Or perhaps it’s the fact that they can be incredibly spooky even on a windy day; forget a calm day. Even after a great presentation, they might come to the fly as it drops, carefully inspect your offering long after it has reached the bottom, and then reject it and go about their business of looking for real food. It can leave you with the shakes.