Indo-Pacific Permit Fly Fishing

Golden-yellow fins with big, black eyes are the most striking features of an Indo-Pacific permit fish. Apart from that, they are well camouflaged on the backdrop of white sand, turtle grass, or coral flats. Their body is a silver, almost mirror-like colour that reflects their habitat, making them nearly invisible to the untrained eye.

Caught that permit
Angler with a permit he landed
Fishermen caught a large permit

“Serious fly fishermen are all aware that catching a permit marks a personal epoch in the sport ” – Thomas McGuane

Key Facts About Indo-Pacfic Permit


Indo-Pacific Average Length

82 cm

Indo-Pacific Average Weight

10 kg

Indo-Pacific Permit Diet


A permit fish being released by a fisherman

The Search For Indo-Pacific Permit

Permit generally like to frequent and inhabit the same particular areas, which makes targeting them easier. The Alphonse guide team has certainly figured out the best spots to locate them throughout the various destinations! Each of the different atolls around Seychelles has its own unique style and approach when targeting permits. Rays act as magnets on the flats, pulling in several different types of fish species, and permit definitely falls into this category as they are often targeted and caught off rays.

Best Indo-Pacific Permit Flies

Alphlexo Crab Fly

An Alphlexo Crab fly has been revolutionary in terms of landing Permit fish! This fly is extremely realistic in size, colour, and even texture. When targeting Permit fish, these flies are absolutely crucial to have in your box. A must-have in any Permit-enthusiast’s box.

Fleeing Crab Fly

The fleeing crab fly imitates exactly what its name suggests, i.e., a crab that is on the move. It is a simple pattern but highly effective. It can be tied in various colours and sizes. However, the most common colour is barred tan and white with orange rubber legs.

James Sand Fly

A nice, bright fly that draws the attention of a Permit fish from some distance away. It can be fished by either retrieving it along the bottom or mid-water column. The big eyes of these flies are a dominant feature, acting as a great trigger to attract and entice a Permit to eat it.

Best Indo-Pacific Permit Rod Set Up

Out of all the species we target around our atolls, permit fish species are the most skittish fish of all, and it is crucial that a very subtle presentation is made when presenting the fly to them. Once hooked, the battle is still not won and permits fight hard right up to the net, so it’s important that the rod you are using can match the fish’s power and durability. We, therefore, found that either a 9 or a 10-weight rod works best to target permit.

Angler with a permit he landed

Best Tides For Indo-Pacific Permit

Like all flats fishing, the tide plays a massive role when targeting these saltwater fish. Generally, the best time to attempt to target permit fish is over the Neap Tide cycle when the water movement is slower.

We believe this is because they can feed more comfortably, as opposed to Spring Tides when the water is moving faster over the flats, causing a greater current, thus making it harder to feed as they look for morsels of food along the bottom.

Fisherman showing off a permit caught on the fly
Fisherman with a permit
head of a permit fish
A permit fish

Making The Catch

After seeing your permit fish, your first task is to fire off a quick prayer to the fishing gods. Permit fish species have not obtained the reputation of being the fish of a thousand casts for no reason! These saltwater fish are extremely sensitive to their surroundings and spook more easily than any other fish. Everything has to be perfect in order to land a permit.

A stealthy approach

Firstly, your approach has to be stealthy. Your cast has to be deadly accurate in terms of fly presentation, as anything too close will scare the fish, and anything too far will not get a response from the fish at all. If a re-cast is needed, lifting the line off the water too vigorously will again make noise and inevitably result in a spooked fish.

Permit fish react differently to flies

All permit fish to react differently to flies, mostly depending on their mood. Some need to be caressed into eating the fly by specific stripping techniques, others need a few casts or, if possible, a fly change or two, while yet others need no enticing at all as they can very aggressively inhale the fly the moment they see it. Once hooked, they fight right to the bitter end and often struggle to get into the net, so patience all the way through the fight is vital!

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