What's hot: Offshore wrecks and artificial reefs are holding large schools of permit. With the cost of fuel as high as it is, reliable coordinates are the main concern when heading offshore to find permit; I have a network of friends I trust to put me on fish. Permit will feed off the structure, eating barnacles, shrimp and crabs. The day before heading offshore, I fill the well with crabs and keep them alive overnight with a portable aerator. The most productive way to find crabs is during the strongest outgoing tides toward the end of the day. Grass lines formed by the current usually hold crabs.
Tactics: Once I get to a wreck, I anchor to the upcurrent side and wait for permit to come to the surface. The fish will get so close to top of the water that their fins will come out of it. Have a drop buoy attached to the end of the anchor line so you can throw the line and chase fish when hooked. Permit are strong and run toward the structure when they get on the line.
Tackle: Due to the size of permit, I use slightly heavier tackle. Ten-pound gear is too light to pull large fish from deep water. Thirty-pound braid with a long 30-pound fluorocarbon leader are needed to land these strong creatures. Permit have large eyes and become leader shy if you use anything heavier than 30-pound fluorocarbon. A large 6000 series reel capable of holding at least 300 yards of line is needed. Permit will peel off line in seconds when hooked.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or go to www.captainrobgorta.com.