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Permit please

I suppose the number two fish on most people’s wish list on fishing holidays with us after a 100 lb tarpon is a big permit. It is very hard to describe just how hard these fish fight and we have over the years been very lucky with big permit. Our best fish was in the high 40’s and believe it or not was the smallest fish in the group swimming by the boat that day. We target the very big ones on the spawning grounds some 8 miles offshore on a group of wrecks called the bridge rubble where part of  the old 7 mile bridge was dumped when the new one was built. This wreckage is in about 100 ft and a mecca to spawning permit, also massive shark which all to often ruin a days permit fishing. What the fish do is build up a school of 300 to 500 fish then swim in a cone then the sexes go into the cone and spawn thus releasing millions of fertilized eggs all at one time into the entire water column.

Even though the water is some 100 ft deep most fishing is sight casting to smaller groups of fish arriving and swimming round the spawning grounds. We use small swimming crabs and the take and first run just off the scale and the number of times the fish just goes straight back to the bottom amazing. Permit can grow to nearly 50 in and get to near 80 lbs growing very fast in the first 5 years and reaching maturity at 2 to 3 years at about 20 in. Last commercial records show over 10 metric tons harvested in Florida in 2002 now all stopped as they have much more value as a sport fish. Last year the regulation were tightened up and a new control zone was sett up just the top proactive fish management in the Florida Keys.