A Florida angler’s catch of a massive permit could shatter a world record that has stood for 21 years.
Kathryn Vallilee, while fly fishing recently off Key West, landed a 21-pound possible world record permit on 6-pound tippet. If her line-class record application is approved she she will have broken the existing record – set in 1999 – by more than 11 pounds.
“The fight for me was so tense because I knew this fish was the one,” Vallilee told For The Win Outdoors. She was fishing with Guide and Captain Brandon Cyr. “And I think my focus on fighting it was what makes that memory so vivid. When Brandon got the fish in the net, I just felt a wave of relief wash over me.”
Permit are a favorite among south Florida fly anglers. The fish are tough fighters that travel in schools over the sandy flats.
Vallilee, with Cyr as guide, has been trying for the 6-pound tippet record since early 2020. On March 22, she fell just short with a morning catch weighing 9.5 pounds (the record stands at 9 pounds, 12 ounces). But later in the day she and Cyr saw three much larger permit moving like shadows over the white sand.
“Even at a distance these fish seemed to be larger than the ones we had hooked previously,” said Vallilee. She was fishing with a Skok’s Strong Arm Merkin fly.
The permit remained with the school briefly before darting into a nearby channel. “And this made us pretty nervous,” Vallilee explained, “because you never know what is on the bottom for the fish to wrap the line around and break off.”
Vallilee, who owns a Key West fly-fishing shop said they caught and released the potential world record permit in less than a minute.
Information for this story sourced from FTW on USA Today.
Related: Learn about fishing Haulover Inlet here