The only regret I have about tarpon fishing with light tackle and fly is that I did not really get into this sport sooner. It was maybe only a few years ago that I started chasing tarpon on a flyrod, but after that first fish that tracked my fly, crossed his eyes, slurped the fly, and took off into an incredible aerial display as flyline zipped through my fingers; I was absolutely hooked. From that day forward, I lived, dreamed, and talked about tarpon fishing to no end. The many days dedicated to tarpon fishing, be it bageled or successful was well spent as learning about these incredible fish has been quite a journey on it’s own. Perhaps it is the humanlike characteristics or the way a serene bay can erupt with a hooked tarpon that draws so many anglers to chase the silver king.
This season’s journey has brought us through rain storms, cloudy days, sunny days, frustrating days, and a few epic days mixed in. I think all that there is to write has been written in previous write ups I have done, so until the inspiration to write a lenghty piece hits me again, I leave you all with the images from this year that will always stick in my mind.
I did a video on the Rob Meade gutless weedless crab fly a couple months ago. With the powers of the Internet at word, Rob, who lives in Australia really enjoyed it. He contacted me and sent me a couple more of his weedless creations.
The two new ones he sent all the way from Australia are the Gutless Frog and the Shuffler. Both super weedless and should be excellent when fishing lilly pad in the fresh water or submerged structure in the saltwater.
All of Rob’s flies are available on Rainy’s flies.
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.
Check it out, the coolest weedless crab fly I have ever seen.
I was over at Capt Colby Hane’s place and he showed me this fly. Though he did not tie this one he got it from Rainy’s fly, the company where his popular Tarpon and redfish fly are sold through.
I say for weedless situations, it can be perfect for permit, bonefish, redfish and basically anything that will eat a crab.
It is called a Meades Gutless Crab From Rainy’s flies.
Not sure who sells it locally but click this link to find out:
The reason why I focus most of my trips in the Mosquito Lagoon is because the fishing is never the same. There are so many little nooks, crannies, and creeks to discover that every trip for me is a new adventure. Nothing gets my heart pumping more than tailing Redfish on a quiet, calm morning with no other boats in sight.
Me and fellow Mosquito Lagoon guide Capt. Billy Rotne ran around looking for some tailing fish to photograph, which we found plenty that cooperated very well for us. It was so peaceful just to watch these fish tail for minutes that all we wanted to do was watch instead of catch. That’s what we did the first part of the morning, then we ventured off to different areas to catch a few with the fly rods.
In these areas, we had to change up flies to match what the fish were keyed on eating for better success. For the tailing fish, a copper slider with a rattle inserted in it did the trick really well. The rattle helped call out the fish which had their heads buried thick in the grass searching for a meal. Once the fish detected where the rattling was coming from, they would then see the copper flash of the fly and move in for the kill.
We then found some fish that were cruising the sandy shorelines busting on mud minnows and small finger mullet. A tan pattern that resembled a mud minnow got better reactions than the copper slider that we were using for tailers.
In another area where we found Redfish cruising on top of dead grass, we noticed small shrimp skipping all over the surface. I had the perfect shrimp pattern that a good buddy Capt. Honson Lau tied which worked great on these picky fish. It’s good to have a nice variety of flies in your box just for these occasions.
Last week I had journalist Jan Maizler on my boat to do a write up on me and my guiding career. Jan who is from Miami, FL. travels the world to write for multiple fishing magazines and online publications. We had a short day on the water due to some rain storms but we did manage a few fish using D.O.A. Shadtails.
Branden Roberts from a new lure company out of Texas called Logic Lures joined me on his first trip to Mosquito Lagoon the other day. He brought a camera man along with him to film for a video project that they are working on. Branden proved that his lures work well catching multiple fish that clobbered his 4″ PlastiX. visit www.logiclures.com if you would like more info on lures and innovative hook systems.
Fishing is definitely getting better in the Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River, and Banana River. Fish are starting to school up and attacking topwater lures. Fly fishing is really good in the Mosquito Lagoon and will be getting better as the cooler temperatures approach. Fly fishing in the fall is great but winter can get even better with crystal clear water and blue birds skies.
Also, the Black Drum start to show up in big schools around late Fall early Winter. They are a blast to target with the fly rod and can put your patients to the test.
Gotta love the year round fishing down here in Florida!
-Capt. Willy Le
The AC Laid Back by Ashley of Don’s Bait and Tackle in Homestead, FL.
Here’s my variation on a bend back style fly. The great thing about Ben back patterns is they ride hook up and the materials act as a weed guard. This variation has a large head for pushing water and allows for not only sight casting but, works well for pounding shorelines. A customer recently picked some up in a peacock bass color scheme and liked the fact that he could throw the fly up on the bank and drag it in the water, directly in front of the fish with it snagging.
Also, after much debate I’ve decided to go back to naming my patterns not so much out of ego but, the inability I’m having understanding which flies people are asking questions about and ordering. After almost 20 years of tying I’ve regressed back to trying to come up with witty and catchy names.
Hook: Gamakatsu B10 Stinger #1/0
Thread: Match fly
Body: unique (supreme or ultra hair), SF Fiber, and Ice wing
Head: dubbing of your choice
Eyes: 3D epoxy
Needless to point out the obvious, but the dog days of summer have long since arrived, and with them came the typical permeating heat waves and contrasting dark clouds. I enjoy this time of year as I do with many of our seasonal cycles…………………….they each have their special place in my annual fishing calendar.
For the most part I find that when you finally get in your seasonal groove, mother nature changes it up. Nothing drastic per say, but enough to change the habits which you thought you had previously dialed in. However, fish are fish, simple creatures generally, and they act instinctively and in time, new patterns gather shape. Typically by then honey do’s add up and I am landlocked once again.
The summer slick clear days can turn to illustrious displays of sparking lighting and puffy marshmallow clouds in but a moment’s notice. Days of dealing with in & out clouds, particularly in the afternoon, is quite common
Clouds are not always shunned this time of year as they typically ease the heat and provide some interesting disparity from your typical clear sky horizon. Then, there are those days that the extreme radiating heat provides a myriad of summertime illusions that appear and disappear with ease, like a mirage in a desert, fish push in shallow for a quick snack to simply haul ass back to the deeper cooler water.
Fishing these overcast skies certainly keeps one on their game, fish are all of the sudden at your feet and instantaneous scrambling occurs. Sometimes your left with curse words while on other occasions your left with a bent rod.
Although not condoned on pointy end of my skiff, some bites even evoked uncontrollable fist pumping…………………….
A damn good fish for my buddy to end his season on
While other days are spent on different, often more complicated, pursuits…………………………..
…………………..and some days lady luck is on your side
Adios tarpon season………………………….
………………………..and back to the norm
Just about everyone in South Florida knows the shrimp here become microscopic in the summer and the fish that feed on these ever present crustaceans change their feeding patterns to offset this annual tradition. The bonefish in Biscayne Bay average 8 lbs. or so and must adapt to the quality of the food source available to them.
Working at Don’s has given me as a fly tier a unique experience in seeing all kinds of food items available from Biscayne Bay ( Biscayne Bay is where almost all the shrimp that are delivered from Miami to Key West are caught). This time of year we begin to see a lot more mantis shrimp in the tanks and this is after they have cleaned and culled their nighttime catches. This leads me to believe that the mantis shrimp are extremely abundant this time of year and they certainly offer a much better food source for the larger bone fish in the Bay.
Here’s a fly I have had a lot of luck with over the years for summer time bone fishing especially during the hottest months of July- Sept. This is a large bone fish fly (3 -4 inches) and not for flat calm slicked off days or the faint of heart. If you get this meal in front of a fish and she doesn’t spook its game on!
More questions please visit.
Hook: Gamakatsu b10stinger #2
Tail/ body: barred jumbo zonker
Head: arctic fox or cross cut rabbit in dubbing loop
Eyes: situation specific
Been awhile since I had the front end of the boat – until last night when friends Perry & Jamie had me along for some flood tide redfishing. My mother-in-law gave me a hall pass from new-baby duty, so I jumped all over that. The fish didn’t tail that well until some weather started bearing down on us, at which point we got a few decent shots. I don’t own a farmers almanac or check barometric pressure, but I swear these fish get fired up right before a storm almost every time. We used flies by Dan Johnson – called the redfish candy – Perry and Jamie have been using them for years in our marsh and they seem to work pretty well. http://www.customsaltwaterflies.com/
Here’s my version of Dan Johnson’s “redfish candy”
Photo Credit: Many of these pics were taken by Perry Peace. If you are ever looking for a really nice place to stay while fishing or vacationing in the Georgetown, South Carolina area, make sure to check out Debordieu Beach. Perry can set you up with a great rental whether you are here to fish or just relax on the beach. Check them out at http://www.debordieurentals.com/
With all the rain we’ve had lately the only thing to do is tie flies and dream of calmer drier conditions. This time of year is one of the best times to get out in the early morning or late afternoon and chase tailing bonefish. This particular pattern has been very effective in that Endeavour. The fly can be tied with a variety of different weighted eyes for tailing or mudding fish and the size can be adjusted to match the conditions. It’s also a great redfish pattern when tied in the appropriate colors and size.
This example of the pattern is tied for tailing bonefish in slicked off conditions for Biscayne Bay. I have a fondness for olive although other color combinations will work.
Hook: Gamakatsu B10 Stinger #4
Tail: Ostrich Plumes
Body: Grizzly Marabou or Matuka with silly legs
Head: Senyo’s Laser Dub and weight appropriate eyes
I hope this gets the creative juices flowing.