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Captain's Corner

What's hot: Permit are starting to show up on artificial reefs. The wind has finally stopped blowing out of the west, leaving calm-enough conditions for me to venture out and look for one of my favorite fish to catch.

By ROB GORTA, Times Correspondent
Published May 2, 2007


What's hot: Permit are starting to show up on artificial reefs. The wind has finally stopped blowing out of the west, leaving calm-enough conditions for me to venture out and look for one of my favorite fish to catch.

Be prepared to wait long periods for fish to show up over reef structure. I will drop a marker on the reef and set the anchor on the upcurrent side. Permit will show up on the surface in large schools. Flashing (fish turning to allow the sun to hit their side) and tails sticking out of the water are signs I look for when I am anchored over the reef. Select-sized shrimp and half dollar-sized crabs are the best baits to pursue permit.

Tackle: Medium spinning tackle loaded with 30-pound braided line is needed for larger fish. Permit will take off right into the reef when hooked, thus the heavier braided line. I use 30-pound fluorocarbon leader and a size 1/0 circle hook. I like to put a small split shot right next to the hook. This will help the bait sink to the bottom. Crabs have a point on each side of their body. I will put the hook through the bottom on one of the points of the crab. I will tail-hook to the shrimp to allow for a longer casting distance.

Tactics: When a school is finally spotted, wait for the fish to come to you. Place the bait in front of the school and allow the bait to sink. A permit cannot resist a crab sinking toward the bottom. A natural reaction for a crab is to go to the bottom when spooked. Once I make a cast, I will open the bail on the reel and let the crab do its own thing. Once line starts racing out, close the bail and start reeling; no need to set the hook with a circle hook on.