Travel Journal: Fly Fishing for Gemini Permit in the Bahamas

Gemini Permit
by Pat Penderast

My last trip out of the country was in March 2020, where my group and I barely made it out of Argentina, before the world virtually shut down for two years. It was a rough two years at the office for me and my team, rescheduling 1,000’s of trips for our clients, and trying our best to navigate international travel during a worldwide pandemic. Now, two years later, I was on my way to the Bahamas to check out three new lodges. The scheduling was such that I would miss my wife’s birthday, but that was not the first time that had happened; she is a very understanding person and knew I was rabid to get back out and travel again.

My trip took me to three different lodges over a period of two and a half weeks, Soul Fly Lodge in the Berry Islands, H2o Bonefishing on Grand Bahama Island and finally a week at Crooked & Acklins Island Lodge. You can read all about all three of these destinations HERE.

Gemini is Latin for “twins”), the third astrological sign in the zodiac. Here is how my two Gemeni permit #18 & #19 went down in the Bahamas this May.

24 MAY 22 – Tuesday (my mom’s 87th birthday):

Dick and I are fishing with Kenny (correction Mike) on Crooked Island today. Kenny is having an issue with his starter, so Mike is taking over his guide day. Tom and Geoff are fishing together and Tom and George together – four  anglers on Acklins Island. Michael is a soft spoken fella with a bad ass boat, 18’ Hells Bay Professional with a 70 HP Yamaha, power pole, trim tabs, poling platform and an elevated casting stand on the deck with cradle, a very nice boat to fish from, worth about $60K. 

After loading up our kit in the skiff, we head about 15 minutes from the Turtle Sound dock, and start poling a flat on the outgoing tide. We are looking for specifically blak rays which on Crooked and Acklins and in most of the Bahamas, seem to draw permit. Basically the rays stir up the bottom looking for crustaceans and ever optimistic permit will dart in and steal their food or slurp up some scraps. Works for me.   About 15 minutes in we see a black ray with a permit on top and Mike positions the boat and I make a 45 foot shot landing the fly to the right of the permit about 6 feet in front as he swims toward us, power pole down so we are not drifting toward the fish. I let the fly sink and the permit immediately rushes the fly (Doug McKnight permit crab – Dangermuffin – white with blue tipped claws – a stone crab imitation) and tails, I strip-set to “solid” and it takes off and I give it another strip-set as it heads off, he is hooked… The fish runs, about seventy yards in the backing with subsequent shorter and shorter runs, and begins orbiting the boat in shortening concentric circles. About 15 minutes later we had him netted, great fish, great set-up by Mike and I got a good shot off.  

Pictures, high fives and I release him, about 12 pounds or so, my 18th permit on my mom’s 78th birthday, very cool. We fish the rest of the day for permit and see none. The wind howled all day, 15 plus knots with bubble lines. 

Dick and I along with Mike discuss how key the power pole was in making the shot. With the pole down the boat is stopped and you stay connected to your fly (no slack) and can feel the fish “Hoover” the fly.  

27 MAY 22 -Friday:

It’s our last day fishing at Crooked & Acklins and I am fishing with George and Clinton today. Happy birthday Lisa Van Cott Pendergast! George and I head out with Clinton, George insists I get up on the deck first thing and we are going to fish the last of the outgoing tide for permit for an hour or so. Pole for about 20 minutes or so it is pretty rough with no leaning bar. I ask George if he wants to get up for a go and he says stay up for another 5 and Clinton said we would be moving soon. 

Not long after I see what I think is a permit, and a few seconds later Clinton confirms (power pole down), and I make my shot at about 75 feet across and downwind, right to left and land the fly in front of the fish about four or five feet. The fish moves quickly, tails up and a quick strip set and we are on. The fish makes a long run, probably a good 90 to 100 yards into the backing and about 15 minutes later we have the fish close to the boat. The fish gets under and around the boat three times ( what a shit show) until finally Clinton digs out the fish with a net and #19 is in the books, Gemini (twin permit).  The permit eats the same fly as the first, we are sold on it!

We all super pumped on the fish. We fish for bones the rest of day with mediocre success and end the day out in front chasing triggers, lots of shots, no eaters, I still cannot see get a trigger, oh well… 

That’s the story of the Gemini permit on my recent Bahamas trip.  I couldn’t be more thrilled as I typically don’t fish in the Bahamas to target permit. But, even a blind pig finds a truffle once in a while and I was happy I got the two shots I did.

— Pat Pendergast, The Fly Shop