Fishing For Permit On The Wrecks Of Key West

Wreck Fishing For Permit

Permit Fishing On The Wrecks of Key West, Florida

Catch The Elusive Permit On The Wrecks Off Of Key West

Winter time is coming, yes, in the heat of today I am reminded by phone calls coming in that we are in the booking season for winter here in Key West for fishing trips. Many prudent anglers that visit Key West know that winter time fishing here can be awesome and they book in advance.

One of the fish that we fish for in the winter is the elusive Permit. Both on the flats and the near shore wrecks these fish are impressive all the way around. But, we are going to talk about the wrecks.
There are a gazillion shallow water wrecks to be found around the Marquesas, Key West and the Dry Tortugas. Orbiting these wrecks in the winter and spring are the permit. Like lost souls or misplaced ghosts they shade the bottom with their presence and eat live crabs with a passion.

Sometimes when I pull up to these wrecks I have had 40 – 100 fish following my boat and all of them are HUGE. It is not uncommon to catch a permit weighing close to 40lbs off of these pieces of structure.

I use pretty light tackle for my charters to permit fishing the wrecks. Line class is usually 12 – 20 with a nice light tip and most likely braided line.  Hooks are only one kind.. OWNER and I really like the SSW 2/0 with a 20lb fleoro leader about 4 ft long tied to the braid with a nice secure Fleoro –  braid knot.  Casting is of the essence and I rig this rod to cast well and accurate.

Sneaking up on these fish can be a chore. I use my 32 ft Yellowfin Center Console boat powered by twin Mercury Verado outboards that are pretty quiet. I don’t mind leaving the engines idling but gear selections will spook fish so I try and drift in over the structure very carefully so not to have to engage gears.

My anglers are usually on the bow of the boat hopefully set and ready to cast to the fish that will be orbiting the structure. I give the word and its that simple. Cast the crab, permit eats and then all hell breaks lose.

Maneuvering the boat is a key factor to my anglers success. Mercury has made this very easy with the DTS system for Verado and the Yellowfin 32 is super agile. My anglers fight he permit on his blistering runs and I take pursuit to catch him with the boat. Working with my angler instructing along the way we wear the permit down and bring him along side to boat him and take his photo. These fights generally last about 20 minutes to 1 hour depending on the size of the fish.

The time of the year is important. Permit congregate on the wrecks to be social and start a spawning ritual. I generally start to see heavy numbers of them in December all the way through May. The main part of the spawn is in Late April where they also head out to the reef to do their thing.

On my trips I will  allow two fish to be hooked on each spot, each day. With over 8 really good spots to fish this allows me to move around and not pressure my fish to hard. I want them to feel comfortable there always and get everyone a chance to catch one of these incredible fish.

Booking a trip of this nature is easy here at Dream Catcher Charters.

Call my office and speak to Island Gen or Robert and they will tell you about the availability for us to get you out there. My office number is 1-888-362-3474 

If you are looking to make Key West a winter time fishing destination there are many things you can check out to learn more about Key West. has a ton of information about Key West and surrounding area with regard to accommodations, restaurants, activities, and attractions. Its a Blog written by Island Genn.

There are many other species to fish for in the winter time as well, especially on this trip. We can also cover Cobia, Jacks and Grouper too. Fun times.

Thanks for checking out this blog, I look forward to hearing from you guys.

About Capt. Steven Lamp
Dr Catcher Is - Capt. Steven Lamp - Owner of Dream Catcher Charters is a veteran Key West fishing guide for flats fishing, deep sea fishing, wrecks and reef fishing, and fly fishing. An expert waterman and licensed captain since 1986. A Veteran of the United States Coast Guard Heavy Weather Search and Rescue, I.G.F.A. Certified Captain and Standing regional board member of The Florida Fishing Guides Association