- Although the flesh of the almaco jack is considered quality table fare, the species has been associated with ciguatera poisoning, a seldom fatal stomach irritation.
- The almaco jack is susceptible to tapeworm parasites in the caudal peduncle area, but the meat can be eaten safely if affected portions are cut away.
Permit are members of the jack family that have a dark, somewhat shiny blue, gray and/or greenish color on the back. Their sides are silvery, while the underside often is yellow. In addition, many permit have a distinctive orange-yellow area on the abdomen. The fins are dark, though the anal fin may be somewhat orange on the front lobe. Occasionally, permit have a black spot behind the pectoral fin.
Permit have a narrow body that is relatively short in length but quite deep, giving them a circular shape. The head is very short and appears almost flat. They have a small mouth with teeth located on the tongue. As fish gain in size and weight, several of the ribs are conspicuous and can be easily felt through the flesh.
The dorsal fins have 6 or 7 spines and 18 to 21 soft rays, in addition to the long dark rear lobes. The anal fin has 2 or 3 spines and 16 to 18 soft rays. Each of these fins has a distinctive sweeping shape, considerably longer toward the front and quickly angling and flattening to a shorter length toward the back. The tail is relatively large and is sickle-shaped.
Favored foods of permit include small fish, crabs, mollusks, sea urchins and shrimp. They will root in bottom in search of food along sandy bottoms and around reefs, similar to bonefish. In a year, permit will eat nearly six times their body weight.
Permit are found almost exclusively in the tropical and subtropical waters of the western Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Brazil. They are most common around Florida, the Bahamas and the West Indies Islands of the Caribbean. Reasonable numbers can also be found around Bermuda and in the Gulf of Mexico. They are rare north of Florida, and when so they are found only in the Gulf Stream current.
Permit reside in and around reefs and other structure and can adjust to varying salinity levels. For the most part, they are found in warm, shallow areas around sandy or muddy bottoms. They commonly thought of as shallow-dwelling fish, they occasionally inhabit depths up to 100 feet. When shallow, they frequently seek water where currents or tides create slightly turbid water. Permit school when they are young, but become more solitary as they age. Juveniles can be found in large schools in the summer along sandy beaches.
- Permit are one of the famed “Big Three” saltwater game fish for fly-anglers, the other two being bonefish and tarpon.