Permit are finicky, picky, bad-attitude kinda fish. They're known for challenging feeding habits, unnecessary pickiness, and humbling elusiveness. That's part of the reason anglers focus so much time, energy, and resources to catch one on a fly rod. A Perm on a fly rod is like a badge of honor in contemporary fly fishing. If you're tuned in to the Permit scene and are ready to start traveling to target these addicting fish, check out our Mexico Permit lodges here.

If you already have a trip planned, most operations require you to bring your own terminal tackle. We've covered the best fly rod for Permit, the best fly reel for Permit, and the best fly line for Permit. To round out our Permit-based blog posts, let's discuss the BEST flies. We've caught over 20 Permit on the fly and have chosen the flies that we use... they work! If you're looking for other flies for Mexico, check out the best flies for Mexico, broken down by species, here.

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The Flies

One of Ben's 18 Permit in 11 days during an exploratory trip to Mexico in 2018.

EP Spawning Shrimp Fly

  • Yes, I know it's a shrimp. In fact, I've listed a few shrimp patterns here because, truth is, Permit eat shrimp, too. Depending on the scenario it's always wise to have a few shrimp in your Permit box. Plus, if Bonefish pop up you'll be ready.

Squimp Fly

  • The Squimp is a great crossover between a shrimp and a crab. The rubber legs provide great movement in the water and this fly kicks up sand beautifully. A commotion in the sand is sometimes (if you're lucky) all it takes to fool a Permit.

Rag Head Crab Fly

  • The Rag Head is a simple yet effective small crab imitation. The lead eyes quickly drop this fly to the bottom and keep the butt of the fly down and the claws up.

EP Crab Fly

  • This fly is similar to the Rag Head but adds a little more color to catch the attention of a feeding Permit. The orange stands out in the water and, again if you're lucky, will trigger an eat.

EP Fleeing Crab Fly

  • While the general crab patterns are highly effective, sometimes it pays to have a more lifelike fly. The claws and eyes make the EP Fleeing Crab a must-have for those picky fish that are used to seeing the real thing.

Cathy's Fleeing Crab Fly

  • Fleeing crabs (and fleeing shrimp) work well when fished correctly, and this fly is no exception. This is a great small crab for smaller Permit.

Permit Crab Fly

  • The movement of the Permit Crab in the water is tough to beat. This crab kicks up a bunch of sand and features a realistic profile for skeptical fish.

Alphlexo Crab Fly

  • Originally designed for the Seychelles, anglers found out pretty quickly the Alphlexo works worldwide. Although difficult to tie, this 'leggy' crab works beautifully and swims sideways.

Contraband Crab Fly

  • The Contraband Crab Fly adds to our collection of realistic, detailed flies. Available in a variety of colors, the Contraband features a small profile with large eyes for Permit to key in on.

Avalon Permit Fly

  • Developed in Cuba, the Avalon Permit Fly is a crossover between a crab and a shrimp. The beads create a clicking/rattle noise in the water that triggers angry strikes from Permit. Strip set and hold on tight!

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