A short Video compliments of Scott Crippen That I thought you all might enjoy ~ Fly Fishing for Baby Poons in the Jungle ~
It was an interesting summer to say the least……Tarpon season, in which we fly fisherman look so forward to each year was one of the hardest seasons I can remember. We were plagued with bad weather, bad luck, dirty water and mechanical skiff issues all season long. The only thing we had going for us was the fact that if we did make it out to the beach, we were stabbing poons on every outing!! This said, makes it even more frustrating, for that we have full confidence that we will put metal to their mouthes but just cannot get out to do so… Being weekend warriors, we missed full months at a time due to negative weather conditions. Yet, there were a handfull of beautiful days that allowed us to put a few bugs in the faces of some giant poon!
And then something happens that totally throws your tarpon season into high gear….A trip to the Everglades National Park (ENP)..Hooking 8 Big Tarpon by 10AM on fly will allow you to quickly forget about the bad days you previously had!!! Long-time, good friend Capt. Jesse Lavender and I were to make a poon day in the glades and that we did. Not the highlight of the day, but a great story…”Jess – there is a big girl laid up, eleven o’clock, 60 ft…” “Ok, got it”… Cast..strip, Lady fish eats fly…tarpon then destroys hooked lady fish on top and off she goes! Fish ended up throwing the hook (Or lady fish, I should say but nonetheless just another aspect to an epic day fly fishing for tarpon in the glades. I hear they are still around in some parts of the glades…Look for a post poon season report in the upcomming weeks….
Tis the season where snook should also be crashing bait around spill-ways and sandbars up and along the Rivers of SWFL….It has been a really, really slow start in that regard. I have had days where we can land North of double-digits in regards to quantity, but I have yet to see a snook over 35″ be landed…and our summer is running out.. This was an everyday occurance last year…Here are a few photos from the iphone of snook season “so far” from the SWFL Rivers. Stay tuned – this will get good.
I will start off by saying this has been wonderful winter for redfishing! We have had a very mild winter with warm and windless mornings!
As every fly-fisherman does, I try and incorporate my everyday lifestyle around my addiction to fly fishing…We try and do anything and everything to surround ourselves with something that puts us on our favorite stream, river, ocean or flat. Even if it is as simple as listening to music that circumvents this lifestyle.
Everyone can admit that there is a song, album or artist that gets us going as the sun is rising and we are heading for water. This is also relevent after a great day on the water as you are returning to the reality of life’s strenuous feats.
I was fortunate enough to meet an upcomming rising artist, Jeremy Rizer, vocals and guitar of the band “Lowlands”, based out of Grand Junction, Colorado. This guy is a class-act in every way. Their sound, progressive country/blue grass with that comforting hint of Rock-n-Roll will put you instantly back on your roots. The hit song “Snow Road”, is worth the listen and you will quickly understand the potential this band has. http://lowlandscolorado.com/
I believe there is a free download on their Facebook page if you “like” the page or view “soundcloud”. http://www.facebook.com/lowlandsband?ref=ts&sk=wall#!/lowlandsband?sk=info
As the past week went – wind was low as was the tide. We had a heavy push of fish concentrated in Charlotte Harbor that were will really willing to play. Steve Tubbs (Who happens to be best friends with lead vocalist Jeremy Rizer of “Lowlands”) and I used the means of Kayaks to pursue the shallow flats and stalk tailing schools of fish that really never stopped traveling through, even at high noon and high tide. There is something to be said about the strength of solitude when fishing out of a Kayak. You become your own team and are able to do as you please and just “fish”…..We had one of those epic days and placed ourselves in the right place at the right time. Its amazing how looking a your log from years ago, will actually hold true for patterning these fish for future years to come. We were able to capitalize with flies and DOA’s.
You would have thought these two fish were the same…..Nope! This is how fast the fish were pushing in on us! If you look closely, you will see that these are different fish…This is how our fishery has strived this year. We are very fortunate to have such a play ground in our back yard.
It is now only a matter of weeks before we can start to see the large silhouettes of a silver fish laid up in their pre-season haunts! Let the season begin. Stay tuned for pre-season tarpon fishing is about to begin!
Happy New Year to all Salty Shores readers and followers! We are having a mild winter here in SW Florida, which means if this trend continues, our silver friends will show early and hopefully happy to eat our little bugs. In the mean time, the snook fishing in the ENP has been on fire along with reds and trout. Between three skiffs and two days, we boated over 40 reds, 50 snook, and unlitmited amounts of trout. We ran south of Everglades city, we ran north of Everglades city, making it about 140 mile two day trip! The standard was – we found hungry fish everywhere we went! This is also the time of year where we find our negative low tides and tailing redfish in abundance. Our home waters of Pine Island Sound, Matlacha, Estero Bay and Charlotte Harbor have proven top notch so far this year. I have noticed more redfish than I have seen in previous years, making trips on skiffs and or kayaks too much fun!
And of course – pre-trip time at the vise is always necessary!
Superior Equipment is your best friend on the water.
I live (recently moved) on a little river in SW Florida that flows or connects into a large river, figuring out the fish movement with tidal flows and spillways has been challenging, but now that I have it down, it has been more than rewarding! I have caught everything from bass to tarpon (And i am not talking the little guys) and all the backcountry saltwater species along with a few fresh water usuals. As most of you know, I fly fish so finding that special fly/color combo was also a must. It ended up being a peach bunny/dear hair slider variant with gold (they can’t say no to this guy)! I obtained a gheenoe when I moved in and it suits my needs perfectly for most of the situations, for it sits in my garage and I can launch it from my back yard with little to no effort. The NOE is a great addition to any anglers line up when need to go backcountry wide and ultra, ultra skinny!! I have also found a way to target “Sunshine Bass” on fly, which I am currently working on that piece which is going to be a very interesting read! These fish are amazing, they are a cross-breed between a white bass and a striper! The physical charactristics are very close to that of a striper and they range from ~ 5- 12lbs! Stay tuned for the full write up and photos of these trips! Iam also considering shooting a short fly fishing film for these fish for they eat like a big snook and pound for pound fight as hard a jack but have long straight runs into backing like a bone fish!
Last week, I had a good friend with me after work trying his maden luck out on the big snook that have been lurking around lately. It did start a little slow with high winds and a strong opposite tide forcing bait in places that were not natural to the big sand bars creating presentations difficult. Once the tide and wind slowed, my buddy was more than impressed with the power of the river. Non-educated, giant female snook eating even after the first missed hook set (Those are the kind I like!). We ended up with countless numbers but Eric did manage to land 4 big line siders above 34″ and topping the ruler at 38″ with bigger ones lost! Here are the photos from the other day but stay tuned for the Sunshine Bass expedition piece!
BTW: You Gotta love the NOE!!!!
Shake, rattle and shake some more!!
As the dog days of summer drag on and empty poon gulf waters have us confused of what just happened….it leads us to different, but an equally as challenging pursuit. Bow hunting in South Florida in August…For the ones who dont know its pretty close to swamp hunting, but can be some of the best hunting Florida can offer! When it comes to searching for a snook or red in high water with a heat index of a 105, ill take stalking a deer with a bow right now. Last weekend was the opening of Bow season here and although we were not in full rut, there were plenty of opportunities. Bow hunting in my opinion is very similar to fly fishing, you have to get very close and have to be very stealthy…also, your “shot” has to be money! Luckily, one of my closest friends owns a large piece of property in one of Florida’s top % hunting locations. The amount of wild life you see is simply amazing, from deer and turkeys to bears and panthers. I have missed every opportunity to capture the panthers on photo….It is haunting me right now. I look forward to a good bow season and also making the trip to Biscayne Bay for the rest of summer with the fly rod. A small re-cap of summer fishing in SW Florida with a fly rod is also in tow – when the poons were here we did drive the fly to them with the exception of the A.W. Dimock fly tournament….the odds and gods were not with us this day. Here are a few of the photos from last weekend and a few from our previous outings chasing silver with the long stick. Enjoy, and as always stay tuned!
Fly fishing fun last 2 days of tarpon season!
This has been a very strange 2011 Tarpon season! We had a great pre-season, finding Tarpon in a new area where we could easily see them swimming across white sand and then laid up just off the sand! Once it was time to leave the backcountry and escape to the beach, the winds came throwing a very heavy silt blanket on our Gulf Beaches making it almost impossible to see fish. The awful water clarity finally gave away 2 weeks ago presenting fishable waters once again. The problem then was lack of fish…Last year at this time it was not uncommon to see 500 + fish swim past you on an average day. After talking to many guides and anglers down south, the outlook is grim. It appears the keys tarpon are gone, which would only mean we are not too far away from the end of the season. Last Sunday we had Ed from South Padre Island Texas on the skiff to learn a little about fly fishing for Tarpon. It was very dissappointing from 10AM – 4PM, seeing only a few fish. We decided to give it a little longer as we discussed various types of fly fishing, fly fishing while being married, tarpon patterns, Biscayne Bay vs Keys, poling a skiff on the ocean vs backcountry, etc.. We even discussed what type of depression medicine would be needed if indeed our season was truly over so soon. The wind and seas kicked up and then it happened ~ like a light switch, we had fish swimming both North and South bound. Finally, not only did we have fish, but we found that particular line and they were swimming at the boat in masses. This was the sight for very sore eyes. We ended up sticking three of them before the lights went out. I am confident now that our season is not over, it will just take a little more effort in watching that tide and keeping your head in the game! Here are a some photos from the past few weeks. The A.W. Dimock Tarpon Tournament (Fly Only) is next Friday and hopefully the fish will swim for us!
There are many ways one can catch a Tarpon – but trying to catch them on fly requires a certain individual. An individual dedicated enough to go through the hardships that will most definitly come during a season. Being a weekend warrior we have really about only 28 days we can fish. Out of those 28 days there are very few that are perfect. I hope that one day I can escape from the weekend warrior tag and become an angler who can pick and choose the days to seach for Tarpon. And yes, Jet Skies and pleasure boaters are your enemy!
I did get a few days to watch the meat chuckers do their thing with their 9 Rods filled with 100lb mono and piece of cut mullet or catfish on an 8/0 Hook!
Lets hope that the season is not over and we can continue to chase these wonderful fish a little longer this year!
Tarpon season has started off with a lot of “ohhfers”…..(like 0 for 9…) But the good news is being weekend warriors, we are 0-9 on fly! As the fish flood the beaches and flats hopefully there will be some mental health days taken from work!
“Slicked Out Tails”
“River Mosters In My Backyard”
Photos from a few weeks ago, opening day of Spring Turkey SW Florida! A great break-up period for the spring/pre-summer fishery to heat up. The early residential poons have been around and willing to play with the fly when the weather allows. Stay tuned for some fresh fishing photos!! I have had little time to process and post! Enjoy. BTW – This trip cost me one of my 9 lives….as you can see from the bottom photo..