Thoughts on permit
We all know that catching a permit on a fly rod is difficult. While this comes as no suprise and is in no way a groundbreaking piece of new information, I bring it up to illustrate a point: mention permit, and the first thing anyone thinks about is how difficult they are. I posit this: it’s not their inherent difficulty that prevents their capture, but our perception of them as difficult that delineates our often frustrating experience; perhaps more than anyone is willing to admit. I constantly see people who can cast better at Bayview Park during a casting lesson than they can when they’re on the bow of a skiff. I know plenty of intelligent, articulate people who simply cannot speak in front of a group. And I know great anglers who simply fall to pieces when they see, let alone cast to, a permit. The reason for this is simple–physiologically speaking we respond terribly to doubt, fear, and apprehension.
My assumption is that you are already a decent caster, know where you want to put the fly, and are fishing with good gear and a good guide. Once you are on the boat, there are a number of things you can do to stay focused and effective: Stay hydrated, don’t drink alcohol the night before you fish. Get some sleep. That phone call you have to make? Make it or forget about it. On the way to the flat, think about what you’re about to do. Visualize what’s going to happen when you see a fish–through the cast and past the hook set. And when you see a permit? Be confident and calm, as detached as possible. As my friend and fellow angler Dave Skok once told me: “Hook them in the mouth and reel them in, Bud.” It’s that simple.