What's hot: Offshore wrecks and artificial reefs are holding large schools of permit. Given the cost of fuel, reliable coordinates are the main concern when heading offshore to find permit. I have a network of friends I can count on to put me on fish. Permit will feed off the structure, eating barnacles, shrimp and crabs. Before I head offshore, I fill the well full of crabs the day before and keep them alive overnight with a portable aerator. The most productive way to find crabs is on the strongest outgoing tides toward the end of the day.
Tactics: Once I get to my destination, I anchor up using a high-definition GPS trolling motor. All I have to do is put the motor in the water and hit the "anchor" button on the remote control. If I am off my mark a little, I can "jog" the boat left or right with the arrow buttons to get precisely where I need to be. I do not have to worry about dropping a clunky anchor again.
Tackle: Ten-pound gear will not work offshore for permit; it is too light to pull large fish from deep water. Thirty-pound braid with a long 30-pound fluorocarbon leader is 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 60 series reel capable of holding 300 yards or better of line is needed. Permit make long runs in seconds when hooked.
Rob Gorta charters out of St. Petersburg. Call him at (727) 647-7606 or visit captainrobgorta.com.