Jack Samson wrote about a British carp fly fisherman who fished at Turneffe (or one of the surrounding islands) who caught something like 18 permit in a weeks fishing. His first ever trip fishing for Permit. Astounded he called and asked the guy what his secret was. The response was, “well, I just fished for them just like we do for Carp, stationary”.
The method that is usually taught is leaving your line and then on the fishes reaction slowly tightening to detect the strike. You have to wonder how many “takes” you miss. And by take I mean the fish sucking the fly into its mouth and spitting it out again. Bauer used to say that Permit generally sucked and spat out a crab a few times on a stationary presentation before the strike was detected.
The Grunter strike is even more subtle and is instantaneous. The fish quickly sucks the fly in and blows it out. A take is often a split second “knock” felt on the fly line. Fisherman in the Swartkops often talk about the knocks felt while retreiving a clouser along the mud banks. Its said to feel just like youre hitting a rocky bottom.
Ive caught two Grunter on completely stationary presentations (both sand prawn flies-the “Henkie Prawn”) and Ive heard a few cases where fish have been caught by mistake while fisherman were untangling their line. You hear a few Permit stories like that too.
Now ill admit the first fish I took stationary was complete fluke. I was watching the wrong fish in a group of 3 and somehow managed a hookup. That got me thinking though and the same day I got my second. There were some fishing milling on the same flat, working from one end to the other. I presented about 4m ahead of the group and watched as they approached. I twitched the fly and one fish quickly investigated. Then comes the hard part. I just left the fly on the bottom and watched. It felt like an eternity waiting to see if I could feel the knock on the fly line (sci anglers gpx). I couldnt feel anything, but I also couldnt see anything else on the bottom so I knew it must have still been investigating the fly. I waiting a few more seconds and then lifted my rod- ON. The fish sat still for a second before shaking its head and then streaking off.
I tried using an indicator afterwards but no joy on that. Interesting.
Heres an old post I did on stationary presentations for Pemit: http://borntoflyfish.blogspot.com/2012/03/knowing-when-to-set-hook-on-stationary.html
Leaving a fly still as a fish approaches is one of the most difficult things to do. But it can work an absolute treat!