Optics play an important role in the game of sight fishing. In this game, if you can’t see the fish, you are not catching them, whether you are searching for green or pink backed laid up poons in dark Everglades water or the slight blue off the fin of a pale white redfish in the sandy bottoms of the Islamorada flats. Picking up on these slight signs of life make the difference between getting your shot or blowing it. Having the best lens on the market has always been my top priority. Without bringing in names of other brands, I have tried every amber/copper based polarized lens on the market and I seem to settle for one until I find a better one on the next round.
During the Salty Fly in Tampa this year, I was able to pick up a pair of RCI Optics Monster Hole frames with the Copper based Sunrise Gold Mirror Lens shades. It became evident that they cut through the glare and repelled water very well. The lenses had just the right amount of contrast and did not over-contrast. While bonefishing, the first thing I noticed when comparing side by side with my old preferred lens was that the RCI lenses cut through that white glary stuff much better… I would say at least 30% better. This made all the difference in the world during one of my last bonefish missions where white clouds dusted the horizon. The frames I preferred was the “Monster Hole”, conveniently named after a popular surf spot. They fit my wider asian face very well and temples remained very comfortable around the tops of my ears during and after a day of fishing. Needless to say, I was very impressed and have now made the switch.
The Techy geeky stuff…
“Made in Italy” speaks for the great quality of the frames. The frames are extremely durable and light weight. The lenses are made of a material six times harder then poly lenses and pass the ANSI Z78 rating (I think this is where they shoot the lens at point blank with a low caliber round). Together, these components make for what I feel are the best fishing shades I have ever fished.
For more info visit http://rcioptics.com or give the guys at Shady Characters Sunglass Emporium a shout at 321-953-9875.
I hear a strong winter storm approaches our buddies in the NE this weekend and I reflect on how fortunate we are here in South Florida this time of year.
The classic sight fishing scenario in my home waters on the clearer side of the Everglades has been nothing short of epic this year. From fat redfish floating on the surface like a laid up poon to hoards of sheepshead tailing like a school of small permit (just as skittish and at times even tougher to catch on fly). Of coarse, all this fishing helps pass the time between poon season but is lots of fun nonetheless. It makes for a great opportunity to sharpen your skills using clear fly lines, turning over longer leaders, sneaking heavier flies into zones with skittish fish, and of coarse helping to calm your nerves before the day you are confronted with a more difficult or rewarding challenge.
So to my buddies in the NE, I leave you all with some fish porn and wish you all safe passage through this nasty winter storm. Stay tuned… there is far more to come shortly.
Who can forget the productiveness of the venerable white bucktail jig? Somehow towards the end of last year, I got into the mood of tying bucktail jigs so nights after fishing trips were spent clipping hair that smells of deer ass and tying it onto a jighead. I had almost forgotten how versatile they can be… for deeper water, plane jane fast sinking bucktails and for shallower water, you can adjust sink rate by tying on bushier bucktail, or even sweeten the jig with a curly grub tail or shad tail from DOA Lures.
During some of the cooler days this winter, we traded a pushpole for a trolling motor remote and took to the backcountry of the glades looking for snook and redfish taking refuge from the cold. Cooler AMs had the redfish and snook stacked up in some of the deeper holes and as the sun came up, we spent our time atop a Yeti cooler on some of the shallower mud banks sight fishing redfish and snook that would cruise along jumping from pothole to pothole.
The backcountry of the Everglades can be summed up by this lethal beauty…
Most of the technical fishing slows down a bit as old man winter settles on his rocking chair down in at the purple isle. The one track minded individuals wait until the spring time. But until then, there are many things to do to pass the time. The venerable Florida bay redfish is always around to help us through this waiting game.
Sometimes, the moon and stars align for a short window, or rather a sneak peak of the season ahead we look forward to. This fortunate soul was able to experience the short flurry this year, while in great company. We all grew up with heroes we looked up to in the world of athletes. Depending on which sport you are passionate about, your hero could be Micheal Jordan, Bo Jackson, Lebron James, Wayne Gretski, etc… and while most of my friends looked up to names in the world of basketball, football, and other sports, fishing had always been my number one sport and my number one passion so it would be natural that I grew up looking towards the greats in this sport like Lefty Kreh, Stu Apte, Jose Wajebe, Flip Pallot, Tim Mahaffey, and of coarse Andy Mill. Imagine a day of playing basket ball with Lebron or doing laps on the track with Hurley Haywood. An equal effect in my world would be a day of fishing with the man who wrote the book on tarpon; Andy Mill, who’s passion for chasing tarpon has greatly influenced my obsession for this magnificent fish. This is certainly one spring to look forward to.
So until next time… Stay tuned…
Fall/Winter is my favorite time of year to go out of town and experience fisheries outside of my own. One special place I always look forward to travelling to this time of year is the Mosquito Lagoon. In the interim of dropping my skiff off to get work done and picking up my buddies finished skiff from the area, my buddy Jeremy and I found a good opportunity to get together with Capt. Willy Le (http://nativeflycharters.com) and sneak out for a couple of days in the “goon.”
The ride to the launch destination was a scenic one different from what we are used to in South FL.
Chilly morning rides and blue bird skies in the backdrop made for great expectation for the days of fishing ahead. With great conditions, experienced fly rodders, and the right tools for the artisan; we set out to stalk redfish and trout in some anorexic depths. Can you catch fish with other tools? Sure, but we preferred to use high end tools available to us such as comfortable sun gloves, UV-protecting clothing, high modulus graphite fly rods, technical skiffs, and advanced light weight push poles to make our pursuit a little more comfortable.
We never found the redfish willing to tail these last couple of days but there were plenty of laid up and slow cruising fish that the sun was willing to reveal to us. Moments of good visibility would overcome the 20kt breeze climbing over the small clusters of islands that make up part of the Lagoon.
We encountered many scapes different from that we are used to. They were different from what we are used to seeing in Biscayne and Florida Bay. The wildlife and birds had different attitudes on their own. It was a familiar but different part of the world for those of us who call the Purple Isle our home waters.
And one of the highlights of fishing in the Lagoon is the opportunity to sight fish giant seatrout up in the shallows. As far as fishing goes, this is something we don’t have back at home. The level of difficulty to sight fish a big weary gator trout on a fly rod is somewhat equivalent to the challenge of fishing for big Islamorada bonefish. I managed to catch my biggest seatrout on fly this trip. The epic bite from this behemoth as I slid an olive SS Permit crab fly over it’s head was more memoriable and impressive then the size of the fish itself. What an amazing fishery.
When sight fishing is a little less then great down south, I highly suggest looking towards our neighbors to our north and sampling the great fishery offered by the Mosquito Lagoon. Thanks to Capt. Willy Le for having us. Great times are had as always….
I’ve been boatless now for a week but far from fish-less. Stay tuned…
I made a decision earlier this year to take time off from guiding starting this Fall. I set forth to rediscover the feeling of being the dude on the bow of the skiff facing a great technical fishery right at my doorstep. Of coarse, this can only be possible with an alternative source of income as I am no trustafarian. This past summer was all all about calm windless days, waving flags, and lots of copper. The days spent on the water this Fall amongst friends was set in the Everglades and upper end of the Florida Keys, primarily focusing on silver-clad gamefish.
The shameless plug this time goes to Maverick Boat Company. My first ride in a new Mirage 18 HPX-V was back in 2009 and from there-on, I knew this was to be my next skiff. I sold my 17 Mirage HPX-V shortly after that demo ride and have been fishing in my 18 HPX-V for the last couple of years. For my style of fishing, the 18 Mirage was just the work horse technical fishing platform I needed. A Mercury 115 Optimax ProXs found it’s way on my transom this past year, replacing the 90 horsepower Yamaha I had originally hung on the skiff. This set-up is perfect, achieving fuel efficient 40mph cruise speeds and top speeds in the low to mid 50s. The extra 6lbs on the transom was negligible taking into account the extra speed gained from the motor swap. Recent fishing trips and tournament days have really pushed the limits of this great skiff… traveling over 100 miles a day, covering lots of water, getting there at just the right tide, and remaining stealthy once arriving at the stalking grounds. Kudos to Maverick as all performance expectations were exceeded. It is almost time for a new skiff soon and I may actually have an itch for something a little bit different. Though the idea a new skiff is tempting, it is difficult to not to fish another season out of my 18 Mirage. I guess time will tell…