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Florida Keys PermitFrom May – October, my friend’s parents leave the Florida Keys for the cooler climate of some Costa Rican Mountain. It’s a retirement lifestyle that many lower Keys locals dream of. A day or two after they leave, the weather stabilizes for the spring, the tarpon show up, and two dudes from Naples in an old truck towing an even older boat, pull into the driveway of a vacant stilt home, and move a bunch of crap into a “room” under it. We call that “room” Rathole Studios, and its our “base camp” for “operations”. Yeah, there is a rat or two around and it doesn’t always have power, water, a/c, internet, or tv. It ain’t much, but if you think about it, it’s probably every fly fisherman’s wet dream.Throughout the spring and summer the time we spend in the Rathole is dictated by the weather and the fishing, until July, when we “hole up” for the month, fish hard, and put together our video for the Drake Magazine Video Awards.This July, Jeff and I met up with Willy during a busy stretch in his guide schedule, and since I had already gotten a head start on the editing, we had some time to burn. By burn I mean fish. We kept Jeff’s little Whipray tied to the dock, 20 feet from the Rathole, and took advantage of the good weather and tides. The goal was to get Jeff his first permit on fly, a quest that started last year.There should have been more pressure on Jeff, since we fished hard for 30 days straight last year without catching one, but for some reason there just wasn’t. In all honesty, there wasn’t even any time to think about it. We jumped in the boat, and ran to a flat. We really didn’t know where we were, but the area had all the makings of a fishy spot. Jeff jumped up front, I poled about 100 feet, saw a tail, and made Jeff get out of the boat and sneak up on it. He made 5 false casts, each one graciously slapping the water, and found a way to get the fly to land softly 2 feet next to the fish’s head. I cringed in horror of what I just saw, as the fish hammered the fly. I looked back at Jeff, who with a look of utter panic on his face, came tight, got the fish on the reel, and climbed back up on the boat. I motored after the fish, maybe more for effect than necessity, and grabbed the camera as Jeff tailed his permit on the third attempt. We were all fired up, and back to the dock before noon. I got one too.During the next three weeks the fishing was nothing less than epic, and the video we were editing, well, I can’t wait to show it.