|This is what it's all about. This permit
was caught in August of 1999 on the west side of Cape York
It’s now been three years since my good mate, Greg Bethune of Carpentaria Seafaris,
reported his first capture of a large permit or snub-nosed dart
on fly. That eight kilo fish was taken in a river mouth along
the western side of Cape York Peninsula, between Seisia and Weipa,
and fell to a weighted fly fished ‘blind’ in a tidal channel.
It may have been the first of its kind to be captured on fur ’n’
feathers in our waters, although I’m always very careful about
making such claims. Fishing history is not always a clear pond!
Over following weeks, several other anglers on Greg’s live-aboard trips caught decent permit (on lures), and I was lucky enough to sight-cast flies to several big specimens up there myself, although unfortunately without success.
In April and May the following year, Greg and his clients once again encountered reasonable numbers of permit, with several more fish being taken on lures and at least one smaller specimen grabbing a fly. Since then, another half dozen have fallen to fly (Greg is personally up to three), and at least twice as many again have been landed on lures.
|Karratha angler, Garry Frayne, scored this 7 kilo permit on fly at Watering Cove in September, 1999.
The fact is, in a surprisingly short period of time, these fish have emerged from virtual obscurity to become ‘flavour of the month’ in Aussie swoffing circles. It’s history now that fishing guides Steve Jeston and Peter Haynes located sizeable schools of these enigmatic fish in Hinchinbrook Channel, between Townsville and Cairns, during 1997 and ’98. It’s also been well reported that Alan ‘Fish’ Philiskirk nailed a five or six kilo snub-nose on fly in the Hinchinbrook Channel while sight casting to tailing fish under Jeston’s guidance during early December, 1997. That history-making event was even captured on video as part of Peter Morse’s excellent "Wildfish" programs for SBS and Foxtell’s Lifestyle Channel.
Since then, talk of permit their pedigree, distribution, availability, catchability and so on has been widespread in local fly fishing circles, and has even attracted international interest.