Roatan’s ultimate challenge for flats fly fishermen is its permit. Alert, nervous, and discerning, they demand precision and patience. Yet, despite their skittishness, Mango Creek Lodge has had great success hooking up and landing permit. In fact, in 2007,Fly Fishing in Salt Waters magazine named Mango Creek Lodge a top-10 permit hot spot!
Although permit fishing can be good year-round, we see the largest numbers of fish between February and July. Permit are most aggressive during their spawning season (March and April), when we have seen groups of 50-100 on the flats. They are often found on the same flats as bonefish, but they also cruise the edges between deep and shallow water. The average permit weighs 8-12 lbs, but they can reach 30 lbs or more.
Make sure you gear up with the appropriate rods, reels, line, leaders, and flies.
- Merkin Crab (tan, olive, chartreuse) #4-6
- Mother of Epoxy (white, pink, brown) #4-6
- Mantis shrimp patterns (olive, tan) #4
- Spawning Shrimp #4
- Clouser Minnows (chartreuse and white) #2.
An 8-wt rod can be used for permit at Mango Creek Lodge, but you may also want to bring a 9 wt for casting heavier permit patterns in windy conditions.
8- and 9-wt reels cover most permit-fishing situations.
Bring tropical line that matches the reel weight. We recommend weight-forward floating lines, although a floating line with an intermediate tip can be useful when fishing crab flies. (It effectively lengthens the leader and gets the fly to the bottom quicker.)
Leaders should be a little long for casting to permit. They should be 10–12 ft and 12–15 lb test.
Permit love crabs when they are feeding on the flats. If they are cruising in deeper water, mantis shrimp patterns can be effective as well. White or light-colored crabs generally work well, but it is hard to predict what fly a permit will take and when. Some of our biggest permit were caught on bonefish and tarpon flies.
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