Permit are widely considered one of the premier saltwater gamefish, and they drive anglers crazy. Permit are temperamental and senselessly selective. Anglers spend thousands on destination trips for the opportunity to land a single permit on the fly. The cost may be high, but so is the reward.

Even with a great guide and favorable conditions, the chances of landing a permit are generally lower than other flats species such as bonefish and even tarpon. This means the angler must maximize every opportunity that comes their way throughout their trip. 

At one point, the 10wt was the go-to permit rod, but that is no longer the case. Most permit anglers are now opting for a 9wt, and for good reason. Modern high-end 9wts are as powerful, if not more so than 10wts from a decade ago. They are lighter, easier to cast and offer better presentation.

While a 9wt may be the most popular permit rod, there are times when an 8wt or 10wt may be a better tool for targeting these finicky predators. We're here to break down the key factors for picking the perfect permit rod.


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8 Weight

If you find yourself on a flat with minimal wind and are casting to permit at shorter distances, an 8wt rod is a great choice. While lacking the power of a 9wt, the 8wt offers the angler better feel and accuracy at closer distances.

Fly selection plays a significant role in determining what rod you should use as well. Flies like the Bauer Flats Crab are small and easy to cast with an 8wt, even for intermediate anglers. Small flies requiring delicate presentations point toward a lighter rod with a softer action.

Location and versatility are two issues worth considering too. If you're fishing in Belize, chances are you will target bonefish on top of permit. If carrying two rods isn't an option, consider picking the 8wt. You'll find the lighter action more enjoyable when fighting smaller fish.

9 Weight

Most saltwater anglers know that targeting fish without adverse conditions on the flats is rare. The wind seems to blow against you, no matter which direction you cast from. During high winds and choppy water, delicate presentations become less critical. A fast-action 9wt like the Scott Sector will cut through the wind more efficiently than an 8wt.

While 8wts give the angler an advantage at presenting smaller flies, some permit flies are too heavy to cast adequately. Bulky patterns like the EP Permit Crab require a stouter, faster, and more powerful rod. If you plan to throw weighted crabs with heavy dumbbell eyes, reach for the 9wt over the eight.

Popular permit fishing destinations like Belize and Mexico see large populations of medium-sized permit. A powerful 10wt will be too much rod for most permit, but an 8wt lacks the stout butt section and lifting power often required to land bigger fish. A 9wt strikes a delicate balance between too much rod and too little.

10 Weight

You may be wondering if there's any room left for a 10wt? A perfect storm of wind, heavy flies, and trophy-sized fish could have you reaching for old reliable. Fishing a 10wt could mean the difference between success and failure on the windiest days. A 10wt will give you better performance when the conditions grow more challenging.

Another bonus is the 10wt can double as a tarpon rod in areas with larger migratory and resident populations like in Belize. While landing a true giant migratory tarpon may require an 11 or 12wt, you are going to be glad you had a 10wt on hand to wrestle that 50-pound resident away from mangroves.


If you can only have one rod and plan on fishing for bonefish, the 8wt is a great choice. While traditionalist may roll their eyes at the idea of using an 8wt for permit, the rod shines in many different situations. 

The 9wt is hardly a jack-of-all-trades, master of none option, and it does more than adequately cover MOST situations encountered. If you prize versatility and can only have one rod, this is it.

While the 10wt is slightly outdated, it still has its place in the quiver, ESPECIALLY if you plan on taking shots at tarpon. However, If space is a premium and you can only have two rods, opt for the eight and 9wt.

OK, I know what I’m looking for. Now, which rod should I go with?

Best 10 Weight Orvis Helios 3D
Best 9 WeightScott Sector
Best 8 WeightT&T Sextant
Best OverallG. Loomis Asquith
Best ValueAtlas Signature
Best Mid-Priced RodSage Maverick
Best Beginner RodTFO Mangrove Coast

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