During most of the wintertime, Permit fishing exists in the Florida Keys, as most of the other waters around the state are a little too cold for this tropical fish. Winter also brings plenty of wind and rain, which makes the fish less visible than in calmer seasons, however most of the fish will be out in deeper water offshore, where a fish finder will often be more useful than your eyes.
Where the Fish Are in the Winter Months
In the winter months, most of the fish will be down in the southern extremes of the state, particularly throughout the Florida Keys. There, they can be found near the shallow water natural reefs, artificial reefs, and wrecks offshore. They are especially abundant along the Atlantic coast during this time of year, where they will find greater access to deep water.
Catching Permit Offshore
The offshore fish during the winter behave similarly to the fish in the summer. Although they do change a bit, the water temperatures do not change that much in the Florida Keys so the fish are not sluggish, nor do they seem to prefer any different of a diet than in other seasons. The best method continues to be a small, dollar coin-sized blue crab for fishing these structures. One method is to blindly drift across the reefs with your bait suspended a few feet above the structure. The other method is to anchor or tie to a mooring buoy, allowing you to cast just above or right next to the reefs, depending where the fish are.
An Overview of Catching Permit in the Wintertime
The majority of the fish are offshore over reefs and wrecks, where they can find an abundant source of small crabs, reef-dwelling snails, and urchins. Fish for them by dropping a dollar coin-sized blue crab either above or directly adjacent to the structures where you spot a school either by physical sight or on your fish finder.