Weather plays an important role in the success of permit anglers. The ideal
day for permit is not the ideal day for other fish. I like 18-25 mph winds with a
crystal clear sky. Higher winds allow me to pole the boat to within 30 feet of a
tailing permit without the fish spotting me. The high sun gives us the visibility to
tract a fish from 100 yards away.
Spotting a fish at such a great distance and beginning the stalk is the
epitome of sporting challenge. Poling in heavy wind seems effortless when
we are watching a 30 pound fish tail repeatedly along the flat.
As I approach the fish, my angler gets ready to make the difficult cast.
Timing is everything in this situation. Casting too early is the most common
mistake anglers make. With high winds, cut your estimated casting distance in
half and wait for your guide to tell you when to begin the cast.
The boat position is equally important as the cast. Windy days make it
exceedingly difficult to set up the shot. A good guide will pole into position and
tell you to begin your cast. At that moment, he will slowly swing the boat to
allow a clear casting path - while remaining in position to chase the permit if
When the cast is made, watch the reaction of the fish. A well-presented
fly will get the fishes attention. A cast too far away from the fish will go
unnoticed. I tell my anglers that I would rather see them spook the fish
by casting too close to it than having the fish not see the fly. Tremendous
amounts of fish are spooked as the angler tries to recast a short cast.
If all goes well, the permit will rush over to your fly, tail-up on it and ease
off. Your line will come tight and you will be hooked to the most prized fish on
It sounds easy; it is not. While not easy, it is certainly not impossible and
permit are caught on a fly regularly. When an angler achieves the confidence
that a permit will eat every fly that is thrown to them properly, that angler will
begin to catch a lot of permit. Achieving such a high level of confidence is
developed through long hours chasing permit.
I can not think of a better way to spend the day!
~ Thomas Rowland
Key West, Florida and Permit Fishing
In order to attempt permit fishing with a fly, anglers need to go to a
destination that has large numbers of fish frequenting the flats.
A good guide who specializes in flyfishing for permit is probably the best
investment you will make in pursuit of these fish.
Fishing out of Key West, Florida offers the permit angler access to the best
permit fishing on earth. The lower Florida Keys, from Marathon to the
Marquesas Keys have a dense population of permit and a vast diversity of
situations to fish for them.
During different times of the year, I concentrate my efforts for permit in all
of the lower Keys, but tend to fish for them most out of Key West. I consider
the permit to be the most "year round" specie to frequent the flats.
A little heartier than bonefish, the permit can adjust to both colder and
warmer temperatures while remaining active in shallow water. I will flyfish for
permit every month of the year, but tend to give the months of February,
March, July, September, October and November the highest grades as to
numbers of fish on the flats.
There is simply no fishing that gets me as excited as flyfishing for permit. I
would rather guide for permit than any other fish because no other guiding that
I have done requires as much teamwork between the angler and the guide.
Key West offers the best accommodations in the Keys and most of my
anglers choose to stay on the island. There are accommodations for every
budget and taste from the chain type hotels to elegant guest houses to five star
Generally I give a few recommendations of some of my favorite places and
my anglers choose one best suited to their vacation. Key West also plays a
great host to any non-fishing companions with its museums, shops and fabulous
About Capt. Tom Rowland
Tom Rowland's Saltwater Experience
is one of the premier fly fishing guide services in all of Florida.
From your Key West launch, Tom fishes the flats from Marathon to the
Marquesas for permit, bonefish and tarpon.
Captain Rowland fishes waters which cater to his skill. The tarpon of the
lower keys range from 5 to upward of 200 pounds. The bonefish are the largest
in the world, and will challenge any angler. Keys permit are the largest, most
numerous, and most difficult known in the world, and provide the ultimate test
of patience and skill to the serious saltwater fly fisher. Tom is one of the most
intense anglers and guides in the keys, challenging himself to put clients on
fish. When you fish with Captain Rowland, you will push the envelope for
excitement and action, and experience the cutting edge of saltwater fly fishing.
For more information contact:
Tom Rowland, Saltwater Experience. Phone: 305-294-7447.