This is a large Permit I caught while sight fishing in 1-2 feet of water in Islamorada. It was 33" long (fork length), and according to age/weight tables is over 25 years old and weight in the 30 lb. range. This is a 98th percentile fish for the keys and I feel quite fortunate to caught such a large one on our first attempt.
I have to give my brother lot's of credit for talking me into giving it a try, poling us on the flat and initially spotting the fish. (I was grumbling about buying the crabs, as I thought our chances of seeing permit were nil!) Until recently we had not fished for Permit much, but decided to give it a try as the bonefishing was slow. We tried a spot suggested by a friend, and surprise, saw a permit within 50 yards of where we started. The Permit chased down my small crab like he was starving. About 20 minutes later we boated him, took this photo, then released him to make more permit. I'm hooked!
We've reached the conclusion that Permit are far more common than we realized, but are so subtle in their actions that they are often missed. Learning how they behave and how subtle the signs are has helped. We'll be fishing for permit far more!