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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Micro Skiff = Micro Tarpon

My buddy Dominic has been working on this little Micro Skiff for a couple years now. When he first bought it, I thought in my head “what a piece of junk!”. This skiff was just a bare 1974 14ft fiberglass hull with a 4.5ft beam and it was beat up to death, but Dominic had big plans for it that I didn’t see.

It took a while but now the micro skiff is close to completion. With Dominic’s brother being a local surfboard shaper, and also growing up with local skiff builders, Dominic has been around fiberglass enough to know what he’s doing. I was impressed when I came over one day and he had his “piece of junk” all sanded down and decks cut to a perfect fit of how he wanted it. Shortly afterwards, he has laid in all the decks, glassed, and sanded ready to be coated. To me, it still looked like a piece, but once the deck was all sprayed by a former boat builder, I couldn’t believe my eyes! All it needs is a poling platform and a couple more minor accessories to be fully complete, but right now it’s good enough to take out for a fishing/poling/running test, just slap on the 15HP Nissan tiller motor and we are good to go.

All I can say about this micro skiff is that it is bad to the bone! It feels like you are on a surfboard doing whatever maneuvers you want it to do. We spent most of the morning just doing S-turns and 360’s in the middle of the Indian River Lagoon, giggling like little school girls. Top speed with the 2 of us was around 23-24mph with a 15HP.

After the running test, we went back in the way back country, through neighborhood canals with dogs barking at us, and through some VERY tight bushy places, to get to a little spot that holds juvenile tarpon. Equipped with flyrods, we took turns on the bow and poling the skiff. This skiff fished very well considering how small it is, it’s not as tippy as I thought it would be and it poled effortlessly, maybe a little too easy to pole.

After jumping a few mini tarpon, we decided to go back out to the open river and do some more S-turns and 360’s just for kicks….I wonder what the people driving over the causeway were thinking. This little micro skiff definitely impressed me with how well it fished, and how soft of a ride it has. At the end of the day, it kinda makes me wanna go out and get a “piece of junk”, build it from scratch, then go shred the river when it’s all done.

-Capt. Willy Le

Pre Halloween Slob Trout. Gator trout, redfish, snook Tampa Bay, Jason and Lauren


With the Halloween coming this means the new moon is upon us. To me this means the fall low tides will be super low. In Tampa that means the water cools down the fish gets shallow and concentrated when the water flushes out of the bay. Knowing this, I wanted to get out on this fall new moon phase when the tides will be extra low.

I have known Jason Stock for several years now. Jason is the epitome of an avid fisherman. Well before he was ever a captain, he was constantly on the water fishing inshore and offshore. Fishing in bad weather, wading, kayaking, in tournaments, you name it. Anyone can pass the test and be a captain but this passion for fishing really makes for a dam good fishing guide.

Jason  has always kayak guided but have recently added  a Hellsbay Marquessa to this year. He wanted to out and do some low tide fishing with the new ride. Meeting Jason at the ramp on Friday 8am I dealt with more traffic than I thought I had to. Once we got on the water though there we were rewarded with very little congestion.

Working edges of drained flats we strictly used top water super spook jr. We find it very effective working ares with lots of bait. This time of year there is no shortage of mullet around and finding them was not an issue. In the morning we caught red fish, snook and lots of trout. The trophy fish came about lunch time however.  After I lost a big trout on top water we decided to get out and wade fish to be more stealthy.

This resulted in a Jason hooking up to a big moma gator trout. After a few more we took

If you have not caught a trout over 25″ in skinny water, they are a different beast compared to the normal 15″  fish you ski in. The fight compares more to a big snook, zig zaging with quick runs, head shakes and jumps.  Big trout are awesome and has to be at top of the list of exciting shallow water game fish.

This past Sunday I took the Ranger out to fish and shoot some video with Lauren. We needed to get some B-rolls for a fishing pilot we are working on called 3F adventures.

With tide being super low again we decided to get  a little fishing in.  At first the bite was sporadic with a few fish here and there.  Then Lauren noticed a shrimp floating by. This changed the whole game. She tied on a DOA shrimp and was getting a bite almost on every other cast.

To be completely honest, even though I use DOA swim tails I am not a big fan of using the shrimp. If you look back at all my reports I have always been using their CAL swim tails to catch fish most notably the gold rush color. So it came to no surprise I did not want to change lures.  I was being quite stubborn attributing the bite to luck. After a 6 to zero run  though I could not deny it any longer.

I changed over and started to catch some fish. We caught snook, redfish and trout for almost 2 hours straight. The bite was excellent, it was tough to put the rods down to get some photos of the big trout we were catching.

Overall DOA shrimp made the day. The colors that stood out was the Stark Naked 420. We also used a similar color with flecks and  chartreuse tail. I tried the clear one, the clear with gold specks and it just didn’t work work as well.

When the tide die the bite stopped. We finished the B-roll videos and ended the day with 30  plus fish to brag about. Next low tide tide you know what’s gonna be in my tackle box.



Big gun shoot out has been moved

The big gun Fly fishing shooting schedule for November 6th has been moved to November 20th.

There is air show that day and that facility could not be used.

From: Dick Miekka
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Sent: Mon, Oct 31, 2011 1:43 pm
Subject: TBFFC’s Big Gun Shootout Date has Changed

Hi Everyone
If you have been planning to attend our Big Gun Shootout, please note this change in date:

The new date for the Shootout is Sunday, November 20.

The previously scheduled date of November 6 was found to be unsatisfactory because it coincides with an air show at nearby MacDill AFB. When the air show in in progress, many spectators crowd onto Picnic Island to get a free view of the action. It would make the Shootout essentially impossible.

3F Adventures video pilot project


One of the projects we have been working on is called 3F adventures with our host Lauren Alvarez.

Lauren is a fun loving avid fisher woman. I met her last year while she was interning at the PTTS down in Boca grande. She has fished many tournaments and landed many tarpon since then. I figured she would be the perfect host for this show.

Watching many of the shows on the air you often see the same concept playing out. Not that our idea is 100% original, we just wanted to do something a little different with a fishing show.

For the show, 3F stands for Fishing Fun and Food. Fishing will take up 50% of the air time and the rest will be filled with fun adventures at the travel destinations and good eats.

We completed filming the first episode (Thanks goes to BLAF Apparel for sponsoring the men’s apparel) and should be ready to show in about two weeks.

We will be shooting four shows in various destination.

We shot this entire thing on literally a shoe string budget. I mean barely enough to pay for food, gas, and water for everyone involved in the project.

Currently we seeking partners in the project to offset expenses like gas and food. In exchange, our partners get exposure both embedded in show and graphics. They also and get rights to use the video to promote their products and services via their website and various media material. Materials like DVD, internet, thumb drives etc.

If you are interested in being a part of if all, shoot me over an email

Poor Man’s Pheasant Hunt – South Carolina Marsh Hens

Seems like all of my buds have been taking off for Canada duck hunts and South Dakota pheasant hunts. They’ve been killing me with pics of piled-up waterfowl and flushing ground-birds. Not everybody can just take off for a week of bird hunting up north. Lucky for us, redfish aint the only things roaming our grass flats. Folks have been hunting marsh hens in coastal South Carolina for years and some of us feel obliged to carry on the tradition. In the fall, hunters push skiffs through flooded spartina grass hoping to jump groups of wary mud-chickens. These birds don’t flush until you’re right on top of them…kind of like a saltwater pheasant. Yeah its a close shot…and it seems like an easy one…but most bird hunters aren’t used to their quarry flushing that close. More shots are missed than you would expect. When a cold front pushes through during a fall flood tide, I can’t think of any better way to spend the afternoon. All you need is a hunting license and a migratory bird permit to hunt these birds…and the daily bag limit is pretty darn liberal. Get out an try to flush a few up.

Jay Nelson

Dave Schmezer’s Shrimp Fly, Shot at the 2011 Fly Expo in Orlando Florida by Flats Pirates


This past weekend was the Orlando Fly Expo in Orlando. Compared to last year it was an awesome event. There were a lot more younger faces there as well as a more up beat feel. There were people mingling and having a great time. They tell me attendance was up almost 40% which is an awesome step forward in growing the expo.

One of the bonuses of having a younger crowd there is the media aspect. Besides me, Jon from Fishbuzz TV was there as well as Steve from Both guys were filming away which make for something that use to be exclusive to the bigger shows like ICAST which I was gad to see.

Here is one of the video that Steve from shot while at the show of Dave Schmezer’s Shrimp Fly.

Will have many more as these videos gets edited.



Low Country Channel Bass

 Ever wondered what your wildlife biologists are doing for your fishery? I got an education when the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources visitedGeorgetown,SCOctober 3rd-5th to sample our adult red drum population. Using a 56ft research vessel called theSilver Crescent, the folks from DNR tagged and released around 150 breeder-sized red drum and more than a hand full of sharks. TheSilver Crescentis a long-lining rig that deploys multiple lines of 600 lb. monofilament that stretch 1/3 mile across its target zone. Each line has 40 droppers with 15/0 circle hooks baited with cut mullet. Surprisingly, gut-hooked fish and fatalities are pretty much unheard of – they have this operation down to a science.

In the fall, thousands of man-sized red drum move inshore from the ocean to spawn. The large concentration of post-spawn fish makes the species an easy target for both biologists and recreational anglers alike . DNR samples adult red drum from August through December each year in order to keep a good handle on the population’s stability from one year to the next. They want to make sure that these breeding fish are healthy and in good numbers so that recreational anglers can enjoy year-round fishing in our estuaries well into the future. Good news – our adult red drum population looks healthy according to DNR biologists, meaning we can continue to expect great fishing in our shallow water estuaries!

The spawning redfish get a lot of attention from recreational anglers in the fall and SCDNR says there’s nothing wrong with that. We just need to approach the adult fish with a little respect – after all they are pumping our estuaries with new fish every year.  SCDNR biologists recommend the following:

1. Use circle hooks (we used 15/0) – that’s way bigger than my tarpon hooks! Not saying you should use 15/0 hooks, but they worked for us and it limits the number of swallowed hooks.

2. Use heavy tackle – stout rods, strong leader, and heavy line. Get the fish to the boat quick and avoid whipping its ass too bad. The intention is to release it alive. We see way to many floaters in muddy bay every year due to angler abuse.

3. Use short leaders – this helps prevent gut-hooking the fish which in many cases will kill the fish.

4. Limit your catch to just a few of the breeders. Get out there and get your picture taken with a giant redfish, but don’t sit there and hammer them all day. The fish are there to spawn – let em get it on. If you bring a fish out of the water for pictures, get them back into the water as soon as possible. Nothing wrong with a quick photo, but the longer the fish is out of water, the less the chance of them making a full recovery.

Nobody is trying to get on a soap-box at all – it is just important to acknowledge the work that DNR does each year so that we can continue enjoying our recreational angling opportunities. If you ever have any questions about how to handle these fish, just ask one of your local fisheries biologists at .

 External tags for recreational anglers to report. DNR immediatley got a recapture from a  fish we tagged on Tuesday – the fish had moved 8 miles from where we tagged it the previous day!

 “Pit Tag” – these get embedded in the fish like microchipping your pet pooch. It will last a lifetime so they can keep track of the 40 and 50 year olds. The external tags can wear out after 10 years or so.

 Scanning a fish for a pit tag.

 A very special thanks to Bryan Frazier, DNR Biologist, for inviting me along and to biologists Henry DaVega, Erin Levesque, Michelle Taliercio, and Capt Rob Dunlap for putting up with me for the day. You guys are awesome at what you do – thanks for keeping an eye on our estuaries so that we can get out there and forget our worries ashore.

Jay Nelson

2011 Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Club’s Big Gun Shoot-out

Reminder of the Fly fishing Big Gun shoot out..tomorrow. Sunday 20th..


2011 Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Club’s Big Gun Shoot-out is just around the corner.

This is a cool relaxing fly casting competition open to the public held at a local park in Tampa, Florida.

Basically you bring your own 8wt rod and they hand you a leader to tie on. You then cast in a various obstacle courses. They tally up the up the points on team and individual cases.

See you guys there.

The event is held this year on November 20th a Sunday. It last 9am to about noon.

at: Picnic Island Park


7409 Picnic Island Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33616



Last year was my first one and it was pretty fun. I finished in the middle of pack somewhere.

Here is Dave Olson casting 138′  which won the long distance category. I think I got 88′  but it was still a blast to hang there.