Before venturing into the specifics about what makes Belize a great Permit fishing habitat. Let’s go over a bit of Permit biology and basic information before diving into the what to bring and how to Fly Fish for Permit in Belize.

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Common Names for Permit

Autiranon (Palicur), blå taggmakrell (Norwegian), blå taggmakrill (Swedish), carangue á plumes (French), carangue plume (French), cobbler (English), fausse karang (Creole, French), palometa (Spanish), pampanillo (Spanish), pampanito (Spanish), pampano (Tagalog), pámpano (Spanish), pámpano de bandera (Spanish), pampano erizero (Spanish), pampano palometa (Spanish), pámpano palometa (Spanish), permit fish (English), pompaneau plume (French), round pompano (English), sereia-de-pluma (Portuguese), sernambiguara (Portuguese), sernambiquara (Portuguese), sierpnik okragly (Polish), sinipompano (Finnish).

Geographical Distribution of Permit

Permit inhabit the western Atlantic from Massachusetts to southeastern Brazil. They occur throughout the West Indies and the Gulf of Mexico, and less-frequently in Bermuda. The species has been reported in the eastern Atlantic, but does not regularly occur there. The species is most abundant in southern Florida.

World distribution map for the permit

Permit Habitat

Permit primarily occupy inshore regions such as flats and sandy beaches, and deeper cuts, channels, and holes adjacent to these areas. The substrate of the flats may vary from sand, mud, marl, or sea grass. Permit often swim in water depths less than 2 feet, though due to large body depth, large individuals cannot occupy waters as shallow as other flats species such as bonefish. In deeper waters up to 30 m, permit often congregate around structures such as reefs, jetties, and wrecks where they frequently occur in large schools.

Permit primarily forage on flats and intertidal areas, entering shallow water on incoming tides from deeper adjacent channels and basins. They usually travel in schools of about ten, but may school in larger numbers; larger permit tend to be more solitary, feeding alone or in pairs. Permit also congregate around wrecks and other deeper-water structures.

Like the bonefish, the permit uses its hard mouth to dig into the benthos and root up its prey. These food items usually consist of crustaceans and mollusks, which the permit crushes with its granular teeth and pharyngeal bony plates. However, as opportunistic feeders, permit will eat a variety of animals, including amphipods, copepods, mollusks, polychaetes, fish and insects. Developmentally, permit exhibit planktivorous feeding habits as juveniles, eating copepods, amphipods, mysids, larval shrimp, and fish. As they increase in size, permit begin to feed on benthic prey including mole crabs, coquin clams, flatworms, gastropods, and sessile barnacles. Larger adults feed on gastropods, sea urchins, bivalves, and crabs.

Fly Fishing for Permit in Belize

The same geographical features that make the Bone fishing so popular in Belize are the same attributes that provide for the worlds best Permit fishing as well. Let’s begin by discussing what type of equipment you’ll need for fishing Permit in Belize.

Saltwater Fly Fishing Rod: Fishing for Permit in teh waters off the shores of Amergris Caye and Turneffe Flats present many challenges to teh angling enthusiast. Aside from Permit being one of the most elusive and easiest to spoke fish of the flats fishing species. The prevailing trade winds that exist in Belize also present added challenges as well. With the average size of the Belize Permit ranging from 12 to 16 lbs a nine weight usually will suffice well for most of your needs. Below are my recommended Saltwater Fly Rods and Fly Reels that prove to hold up well in the Saltwater arena of Belize.

G. Loomis Cross Current Fly Rods (9′ 0″, 9 wt.) $385.00
R.L. Winston Boron IIx Fly Rod (10 wt 9′ 0″, 4 pc) $650.00
Sage XI2 Fly Rod (9 wt 9′0″, 4 pc) $720.00

Saltwater Fly Reels: Because so much of your success when fishing the flats of Belize is dependent on your reel I recommend only reels that have been tested and designed for the rigors of the corrossive saltwater environment. The reels I recommen I not only use but have been using for a very long time without wearing them out. These reels are designed to last a lifetime of Saltwater fly fishing abuse.

Tibor Everglades large arbor saltwater fly reels $625.00

Here is a great Saltwater Fly Rod and Reel combo

What about popular Belize Permit fly patterns? What are the best patterns and flies for Permit in Belize?

The most productive saltwater fly patterns for Permit in Belize your standard fare flies that you’d typically use in the Bahamas and Keys. However there are a few specific patterns that locals have devised that perform off the coasts of Ambergris Caye, and Turneffe Flats.

Essential Belize Permit Flies:

• Del Browns Merkin in: brown and tan. If you tie your own flies, substitute the brown wool for olive (size4-8)
• Turneffe Crab in: olive, cream and green (size 4-8)
• Will Baur’s Belize Permit Crab in: olive, brown, white, and green (size 4-8)
• The McCrab (size 4-6)
• Chernobyl Crab (size 4-6)
• Crazy Charlie in: white (size 4-8)

Here is the best online resource for Saltwater Fly Tying materials at the cheapest prices.