Some serious permit fever had set in so we decided to go on a little road trip and headed straight for our favourite permit spot. The tides were perfect and when we got there the water was clear so our spirits were high. With a few sightings of the little gold trouble makers but no actual shots we stopped for lunch and sat watching the water.
After lunch we headed for my favourite area, the honey hole, I call it. But before we could quite get there he emerged, out of the waves like a giant torpedo surfing into shore. Rod at the ready and line in my hand we stood motionless watching him scouring the sandy bottom for a tasty morsels…
As he tailed up I cast out beyond him and waited, hands trembling, I could see his giant eyes searching. All of a sudden he turned and shot back out to the deeper water, leaving me crouched over in the permit pose ready for action for absolutely no reason at all. Over the next few minutes he continued to tease me, coming in shallow on his side, with his fins out of the water… taunting me. Cast after cast he changed direction and swam away or just plainly pretended he hadn’t even seen my fly at all. Reaching the edge of a small sand spit he started to settle down. There must have been some good grub around as he was now in a feeding frenzy. Again I cast out, landing the fly closer to him this time, just in front of his nose so he would definitely see it. His head popped up and his body went motionless for a second so I started to strip slowly, jerking my crab pattern along the bottom. His eyes fixed straight onto my fly, shooting over and inspecting the fly. Then down went his nose and tail flapping wildly out of the water as he devoured it. Strike…. he was on, and with a huge tail smack and explosion of water he was off towards the deep, angrily shaking his head.
He proceeded to try every trick in the book, tearing off, turning left and right, then rubbing his nose in the sand trying to dislodge my fly from his mouth. But after a few minutes of angry battle he sulkily admitted defeat and grumpily swam into the shallows. He was a real bruiser of a fish, with short stubby fins, some scratches along his sides and markings around his eyes that made him look very worried indeed…or that may have just been when I gave him a kiss…. A few pics, a final slap of his tail and he was off on his way to fight another day.
Brandon was up next and almost immediately we spotted another permit. This fish was also not playing ball so I left Brandon trying to coax him into taking his fly and walked ahead to get some pictures. 50 feet on and in surfed a beautiful little permit, delicately picking his way along the breaking shore line. I couldn’t resist the temptation so I put the camera away and stripped some line out and got ready. On the 3rd cast he saw my fly, swam over and inhaled it. I was so surprised I struck and didn’t even give him the chance to run. Before he realised what was going on I had him in my hands, and a somewhat confused Brandon was standing on the shore behind me.
“I thought it was my turn?”…..oooppsss.
An absolutely beautiful little guy I aptly named freckles as it was covered in dark speckles all along his silver flanks.
The day was drawing to a close so we headed back to camp in high spirits.
Next day I retired my rod as it was Brandon’s turn to fish so I took over camera duties. We spent the morning chasing a few permit but they appeared to be much more skittish and not interested in any fly we showed them. After lunch we turned to head back for the car as we wanted to move on and explore another area of coastline. Out of the corner of his eye Brandon spotted a fish surfing in to shore. Getting ready he waited until it settled down in search of some tasty crab and shrimpy morsels. Casting out ahead he continued to work the permit as it picked its way along the shoreline. After a few tense minutes the cheeky little chap finally decided to try out Brandon’s shrimp fly and moseyed on over to have a nibble. Tail up, nose down and strike he was on, for a small fish he packed a serious punch. He was so angry he shot off at full speed and took the line straight onto the reel. In amusement and of course the usual permit nerves he gingerly played him into the shallows for a picture and release shot…. Another amazing day on the water!