Last week we started a short series of posts featuring Bruce Chard’s incredible knowledge of how to present flies to permit.
Today we’re diving deep, and the topic is presenting a fly to a feeding permit.
Feeding Permit – Presenting Flies
If you come across a feeding permit, recognize that right away. Usually that calls for a closer presentation – possibly letting the fly just dive down in front of him, creating some sort of a reaction strike. I believe that they’re drawn in by the diving motion of the fly.
In super shallow water, like with tailing fish, you need to put the fly right on his head, because the depth of the water restricts the ability of the fish to see longer distances. A tailing fish in 2 feet of water can only see maybe 10 feet. If you plop a fly 15 feet away from a permit in 2 feet of water, it’s really unlikely he’s going to see the fly dive – because he can barely see that far to start, and the shallow depth means he has less time to see the fly dive. In that shallow depth, to simulate a crab diving to the bottom, you have to land it almost on his head.
In 4 feet of water, he can see twice as far. Now other factors come into play – amount of current, wind, speed that he fish is moving. Now you want the fly to land close to the fish. Here’s the key in this situation – we want the permit to see the fly, but we don’t have him to look at it. If he can look at it, odds are good he’ll see it’s not real.
We want to use methods to trick the permit into believing the fly is real, by its movement or by its lack of movement. When a crab senses a permit in the area, usually he won’t move at all – he’s locked up with his claws out in the battle position (you can see this when you’re wading the shallows). Or he may just stay still in the sand and cover himself up and hide.
If you present your fly in the zone where the fish can see the fly and he runs over to it, you ideally don’t want to strip the fly. The fly sunk to the bottom just like crab and is now sitting there, just like a crab. You need to read the fish’s reactions to the fly, but this is where it’s very different from with bonefish (when a bonefish is on your fly you normally want to strip it).
If the permit is tailing in shallow water on a calm day, you have to lead him so far that the fish doesn’t see the drop. Usually when it’s like that you’d use very long, slow, enticing strips to get the fish to notice the fly. Now you’re hoping to have the permit see the fly from a distance, but when he does see it the fly is moving slowly across the bottom, crawling as if nothing is going on. Therefore the fish believes he has the element of surprise and often will run right over and suck it in.
That’s your primer on presenting flies to feeding permit. Next week we’ll talk about cruising fish.