THE MASKED PERMIT
Wind is a normal occurrence and something that should be expected when poling and searching the flats. It’s an annoying sound, it is loud, it’s distracting and most definitely makes communication challenging between guide and angler. However, when you spot a large fish slide onto the flat, no matter the strength of that wind, a strange and sudden silence prevails. The ears fall silent and it is your eyes that scream loudest as they bring into brilliant clarity the deafening sight of a large permit on a white sand flat
Even though we could see this fish from quite a distance, it somehow still managed to enter our world in the most difficult of locations as was possible. It required Randy to pole into and at a quarter to a stiff breeze in order to intercept this moving fish. Even if we could catch up to this fish it was not going to be an easy presentation as the wind was always going to be over the right handers right shoulder. Randy grit his teeth and he humped us after that permit. The quick reaction and adjustment of skiff enabled us to ‘ cut the corner ‘ and to get within a 100 feet surprising quickly. Randy had used the angle well and had closed the gap but we now found ourselves in the uncompromising position of being down wind of a fish that was working into the wave. This would not have been our first choice but was the only option we had. It was that or just watch this magnificent fish slide on by and disappear to the horizon never knowing who we were. Randy and I desperately wanted to introduce ourselves so he humped after that fish keeping it constantly at our 11 o’clock. This permit remained antagonizingly close as we followed it into the wind but we could never quite close the gap enough to make a cast. There is a delicate balance in these circumstances when following permit as the harder you pole the more likely you are of making a noise that will either spook the permit outright or will create enough suspicion that even if we did close that gap the fish may not be comfortable enough to eat. It is a delicate balance that Randy managed perfectly and he kept us in the game hoping that this fish would slow just that fraction enough for us to make up that all important last few feet. There were several times we came close enough to consider a cast but as we had discussed we stuck to our game plan of this being a one shot deal and only letting loose the fly at 50 feet or less.
After chasing this fish that remained 60 to 100 feet away for almost a ¼ of a mile an opportunity finally presented itself and a cast was finally made. Fortunately for us it was good enough and the permit ate. The rest is history as they say but this success was not about that one cast, the one strip or the hook set. Those are the standard requirements that are needed in this game and they were certainly not the determining factor. The true success was that of the chase, the constant communication between guide and angler and the rigid discipline we applied to the game plan.
Thank you Randy, Thanks for the lifetime memory.