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Permit Fly Presentation – Setting the Hook

Posted on October 31 2011

Drag by Louis Cahill Photography
Then get ready for this part. Photo: Louis Cahill

It’s time for part four in our five part series from Bruce Chard on presenting flies to permit.  At this point you’ve done a good enough job that a permit is interested in your fly…here’s when and how to bury it home.

Like everything else associated with permit fishing, this stuff is often not simple!

When to Set the Hook

A lot the time permit eat the fly and we never know it.  Any lack of ability to see what the fish is doing will hinder your ability to set the hook.  A lot of the time it’s a visual take – you see the fish eat even though you never felt it take.

You’re not going to feel the grab if you’re not tight to the fly, and it’s very difficult to be tight to the fly but not move it.  But there are a lot of ways you can tell that the fish has eaten the fly, besides feeling the grab.

  • Look for the fish turning sideways and angling down – that’s a very good indicator.  If the fish is at a 45 degree angle to the bottom, chances are 50/50 that he’s eating it.  If he is 90 degrees to the bottom, he is eating the fly.  Period.
  • If you can see any sort of shake or quiver, that probably means he has your fly in his crushers.
  • Sometimes you can see the white lips open up when they eat.  It would only be a quick flash of white – it might sound a little ridiculous, but if you’ve done much sight fishing for rainbow trout, the white flash when the mouth opens should be something you’re familiar with.

How to Set the Hook

  • Know when he ate – get really good at the stuff above.
  • Strip strike just like with a bonefish.
  • Strip long and steady and maybe not too aggressively.  If he did eat and he’s going the the other way, he’s going to break you off if you strip too hard.  If he didn’t eat it and you strip long and slow and steady, the fly is still in the zone and maybe looking pretty enticing to him, and he might still eat it.

Next week we’re going to wrap up this series with some more points on visibility and stealth, and a graduation speech.

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