By Ed Walker
With mid-day tarpon fishing being somewhat difficulty lately, we have been splitting our trips. In the early morning we target tarpon on the beach then as the sun gets higher and the fish sink to the bottom, we move offshore to hunt permit. The permit have been plentiful and eager to eat a live crab.
We find them around wrecks or other large structures in depths ranging from 25 feet to 80 feet. They can also be found in much deeper water although we have not had to run that far lately.
If you are lucky, you might be able to see permit finning on the surface when you approach a spot. This tailing behavior usually takes place when the water is very calm, and when the tide is slack. Sometimes you may also see the fish swimming on their sides with their shiny silver bodies reflecting the sun. More often however there is no way of knowing if these elusive members of the jack family are in residence on a wreck. You have to park on the spot and deploy some freelined live crabs to find out of they are home.
I like to put out 3 lines, one with a small float on the line 12 feet above the crab. This keeps the bait suspended at a common depth permit are found. The other two are rigged for freelining and will make slow gradual fall through the water column. By putting each line out in a different direction, you can cover the most water. If there is no action on 30 minutes pick up and try another spot.