Photo from Mike Ward.

WOT 83: Permit on the Fly with Mike Ward.

In this episode we Wadeoutthere with Mike Ward, from Spokane Washington. Mike grew up chasing adventure and fish from the time he got his driver’s license.  After he moved to Montana, Mike eventually started Adipose Boatworks, and continued pursuing challenges and new species of fish until he landed on Permit and never looked back.  We discuss:

  • Weather and conditions.
  • Gear.
  • Sight Fishing.
  • Casting.
  • Presentation.
  • Hook Set.
  • Fighting Permit.
  • And some pretty fun stories…

** NOTE** Podcast episode and upcoming guests appear at the end of this short article.

Subscribers have access to submit questions for future guests.


“I don’t want to label you a permit junkie, if that’s not a true statement.”

“No, it’s beyond, probably, permit junkie.”

Beyond.  How do we end up beyond that place in our fly fishing journey where most would consider reasonable.  Fly fishing takes all of us on different adventures and after different fish, but sometimes we hang up on something like Mike Ward did with Permit.  Sometimes, something keeps our attention and we keep digging.

It happens in different ways, but that curiosity is one thing that binds us all together.  There are endless paths that take us deep into the weeds.  “Dry or die.”  Chucking meat.  Native trout or wild browns.  Addicted to chrome.  Swinging with switch rods.  Maybe your home waters keep you mesmerized.  Maybe the high country lakes keep calling to you.  Or maybe, like Mike, you took a trip down south, caught a permit, and just kept going.

In the beginning all of fly fishing seems to fit the mold.  It’s why many of us moved on from spinning rigs or other types of fishing.  Everything is a challenge and a problem to solve.  Fly fishing lets us search.  It lets us go wherever we want and go as deep as we want when we get there.  Maybe we find what we need and move on.  Or maybe, like Mike, “we never find bottom.”


Key Takeaways.

  • Let the fish tell you what to do with stripping and presentation.
  • Carp feed similar to Permit.
  • Practicing casting before you go is important to maximize your time (and money) on a permit trip.
  • Permit like constant weather.  Three days with consistent wind direction and speed. .
  • A saltwater flat may seem flat but there are contours and troughs below that can be seen at low tide that give clues to where permit travel and why.
  • Fishing the same type of rod eliminate variables.  Same feel, just different weights.
  • 15mph and less 9 weight. (Rule of thumb)
  • 15mph and more 10 weight. (Rule of thumb)
  • Permit are typically moving.  Ideally you are poling and fish are coming at you.
  • Fast casts are important because if you cast at 70-80 feet, you may have time for another at 60 feete and another at 50 if things don’t go right.  
  • Too many false casts hurt your timeline and opportunities.
  • Slow is smooth.  Smooth is fast.
  • Presentation depends on the fish and what they are doing.
  • Permit have teeth they use to break shells but soft mouths.

Learn More.

If you want more information on permit fishing check out the book A Passion for Permit by Jonathan Olch.

Upcoming Podcast Guests.

  • Sam Galt – Pennsylvania
  • Erin Crider – Women in fly fishing | Colorado
  • George Zervos
  • Landon Mayer – Colorado
  • Audrey Wilson – Casting, Provo River

Subscribers – Ask a Question on the Podcast.

If you have a question for an upcoming guest, I would love to hear from you. I will ask questions from Wadeoutthere subscribers towards the end of the conversation during “Wadeoutthere Wants to Know.”

If you enjoy the Wadeoutthere Fly Fishing Podcast, and want to help it grow, please leave a rating and review.

I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed talking with Mike.

Click here to subscribe to Wadeoutthere FOR FREE and never miss an article.


Jason Shemchuk

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