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Trachinotus falcatus


Illustration of a permit fish showing important characteristics
  • Gray, dark or iridescent blue back, shading to silver sides
  • Fish from dark waters have golden tints on belly
  • Dorsal fin begins over anal fin
  • Dorsal, anal and caudal fins long and sloped back
  • Forehead sharply rises to a “hump” then slopes back
  • Compressed body that is deeper than Florida pompano
  • Caudal fin has a narrow fork
  • Small permit have teeth on their tongue (absent in pompano)

Similar Species: Florida pompano, T. carolinus (dorsal fin begins in front of anal fin)   

Size: Common to 50 pounds



Offshore near structure; inshore over grass flats, sand and in channels.


Spawning occurs primarily in early summer and again in fall.

Permit have a specialized plate at the back of their mouth that helps them crush hard-shelled animals such as clams and crabs. Feeds on small fishes and invertebrates.

Additional Information

State Record: 56 lb 2 oz, caught near Ft. Lauderdale

Fishing Tips and Facts: Anglers cast live crabs to schools of permit hoping to catch one of these line-stripping fish, which also take shrimp, clams and occasionally small fish.

Recreational Regulations


Image Credit: © Diane Rome Peebles