Saltwater Fly Fishing on our Bozeman Brains – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Saltwater Fly Fishing on our Bozeman Brains

A very last minute opportunity arose this past weekend to get out of dodge for a few days. I have been pleading my case for months now with my wife and finally she gave in. So, after a couple of days and watching weather in northern Arkansas, southern Louisiana, and the Gulf of Mexico, we ended up ending up in the Yucatan. Head out tomorrow (hopefully as we are in the midst a of blizzard tonight) with plans of fishing 3 days, back home on Sunday. It’s hard to be the anticipation that comes with another adventure, but I have tried to think about things and get mentally prepared for what is sure to be another few days of being shunned by Permit.

Permit fishing is an interesting phenomenon. They are smart fish that have a very selective diet and are typically difficult to find and occasionally spotted. Sometimes they show up, sometime they don’t. They become an obsession for many anglers, and I am yet to meet one that says they have it “dialed-in,” though there certainly are some out there.

I have had, as most people that chase these fish, more disappointing and frustrating moments than happy memories. Two is the number of Permit that I have held in my hands, a dozen or so is the number that have eaten my fly. Broken leaders, failed knots, bent hooks, and one particularly memorable line tangling around a reel foot event are just a few of the things that have gone wrong. Then there are the half a dozen times or more that I have just simply missed the strike, those times are less enjoyable to reflect on than the others. Finally, there are many other chance encounters with a Permit or two that just simply never resulted in an eat or even a look at the fly.

As I sit here tonight though, I am trying to remember everything that I need to try to do right if I do end up getting my fly in front of a hungry Permit. First thing is to make the cast, put it right on the fish if it’s near the surface in water over my head, a foot or two if it’s in shallow water. Slow strip the slack out immediately (I’ll forget this one) with the rod tip under the water’s surface. Slow strip the crab if the fish comes over for a look and be tight to feel the eat. If the tail is up, it’s on my fly, so I better set the hook quick. When setting the hook, just use the strip, don’t swing the tip…never use the tip. Just strip set, hard. Clear the line off the deck and watch out for the reel foot too. That’s a lot to remember to do in a second or two! I probably should double check my knots as well.

I’m looking forward to a few days in the heat, trying my best to get tight to a Permit. Will keep you posted for sure.

I’m taking my Sage X 890 and Sage Salt 990, Hatch Finatic reels and SA Wavelength Grand Slam lines matched to the rods. A pretty spectacular fly selection will accompany me too, although I know that I will only throw the small SS Merkin (find it). I carry all the other crabs so that the guide can tell me that they would have eaten the other fly. Our Bozeman fly shop always has a complete selection of saltwater gear and flies on hand as trips like this one come around much more often than they did just a few years ago.