Permit Fishing | As seen by Bill Mitchell

Permit fishing is risky. Permit pose a risk to one’s reputation, ego and sensibilities, and especially to one’s hip pocket. To fish permit is to risk sanity. Permit care nothing for any of these things.

They are erratic…agitated…twitchy. We fish for them in places prone to wind and current, and where visibility is ruled by undependable cloud. Permit never travel in a straight line. They never do anything that aids the would-be permit angler standing on the bow staring out over the flat. They give no quarter, do no favours and forgive no faults. A permit’s coach would say they have mastered forcing error and welcome frequent unforced errors.

When your cast is perfect, the fish will be travelling. When you are tangled in running line, or hooked with your own fly, the fish will feed fifteen feet off the bow – slowly, lazily – beckoning with a waving bright yellow-orange tail. They are modern day sirens, calling anglers to their inevitable demise. They create angry anglers, prone to tantrums, cursing and sulking. They encourage the drinking of rum. I can’t say what they do to guides but I’m sure it isn’t good.

But then again…when you catch one, ah, when you catch one, we love them and they are wonderful. All at once the world is at peace.


Bill was guided by Australian Flyfishing Outfitters’ Head Honcho Dave Bradley and Warren Cooper took the photos