To guarantee success when fly fishing for permit is something that we simply cannot do. This wonderful fish is the ultimate flats challenge and many fly fishermen have been taken to school by this wary fish. To cast to, hook, and land a permit on a fly is a true angling milestone and one that most fly fishermen who have fished the salt will eventually aspire to. It is a gift that with patience, agility, modesty, and great humility, a lucky few will be rewarded.
Fly fishing for Permit is extremely challenging and the odds are often stacked against the intrepid angler who looks to target this fabulous adversary. Wind, sun and the erratic nature of this fish all conspire against fly fishermen in their quest to tail one of these majestic fish. We can think of no other fish that is so difficult to predict, to understand, and worse still, to deceive. What a challenge!
The best locations in Cuba to consistently find permit are in Cayo Largo and Jardines de la Reina. Both of these locations are 60-80 miles offshore, along Cuba’s southern coast. The optimal times to fish for permit in Cuba are between March and July, as well as in the month of November, when the tides are high.
Cayo Largo and JDR are both outstanding locations for producing Grand Slams and Super Slams, in large part because the permit fishing is consistently so good. Each of these fisheries regularly produce 25 pound + permit for our anglers and we don’t know of too many other places that boast the number of weekly Slams that Cayo Largo and JDR do. Further west, Isla de la Juventud is fast becoming known as a Mecca for huge permit taken on a fly and we would not be surprised to see a record come from this location in the near future.
Anglers in these locations will periodically find permit tailing on the flats in 1 to 2 feet of water. A far more common way to find permit is to go looking for sting rays feeding in 2 to 3 feet of water. Permit are intelligent, opportunistic feeders. They will follow behind sting rays, using the rays to flush out crabs and shrimp which the permit will then eat before the ray has a chance to get its meal. Cayo Largo is the best location in the world for finding big permit on the backs of rays and the guides are experts at reading the water and tides in order to find this unique phenomenon. Fifteen to 25 pound permit are commonly found feeding on the backs or rays at Cayo Largo, so if you are dreaming of landing a big permit, Cayo Largo is the destination of choice.
Cuba’s south coast permit can also be found swimming with large schools of bonefish. This scenario presents its own set of challenges because bonefish will often take the fly before the permit has a chance to eat it, unless the fly is cast to just the right location. This kind of precise angling will get your heart pounding and put all your fly fishing skills to the test.
Travel Tip We highly recommend trip insurance for every angling adventure that we offer.