A Morning in Flamingo, Florida with Captain Benny Blanco
This last Friday I fished with J.P. Broche on a writers outing under the guidance of Captain Benny Blanco on his Hells Bay Professional. Though there were tons of floating grass, we released four tarpon, two tripletail, two snook and two redfish. We lost count of the tarpon we jumped. Benny really put us on the fish ! Here’s a quick photo recap.
Captain Benny Blanco
A Review of Three Outstanding Destinations Visited in 2013
Many of the joys of the outdoor life are reflections back over great moments and realizations of dreams. And that’s often done by using photography not just a means of expression but also an homage to recollections of things past.
I’ve traveled to many fishy places far and wide over the years. For 2013, three stand out.
El Pescador Lodge, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Cajun Fishing Adventures, Buras, Louisiana
Cabbage Key, Pine Island Sound, Florida
Just got back from 3 days in the Bahamas fly fishing for bonefish in the Abaco Bahamas. The weather was excellent and the fish were every where where.
This is the a clip from this weekend. We saw this every single morning. The bone fishing over there is truly world class.
I will write up a report in the next 2 days and we will go back again very soon.
A story told through photo’s of a great trip in a beautiful place. I flew to Colorado and meet up with my friend Marsh Thomson. A retired veteran guide and now fishing tackle rep.We did over a thousand miles of driving in the five day trip to fish his favorite spots and as many great places we could. I hope you enjoy seeing the images as much as I did taking them! Enjoy
First off we stopped in Kirk’s fly shop for my waders and fishing license.
Hahahaha Had to take a pick,love the name. Don’t see that in Miami.
Next we stopped in Boulder Boat Works to pick up or boat for the first part of the trip.
Got a quick tour of how they build the best drift boats on the market!
The owner Andy gave us a quick walk through.
And we hit the road
Seeing new things
And new landscapes in Wyoming
First stop in Wyoming five hrs later was to set up our shuttle service for our tomorrow mornings fishing.
Check in our room and hit the water for a quick sunset trip to wet a line
We were hooked up instantly! Field testing out the new Hardy Jet 4wt. Sick rod!
Beautiful sunset rainbow
Yes after a little food we were back out fly fishing at night for trout!?! A little dangerous in the currents for sure but we did it.
Morning came quick and we were back at it ready to take on the North Platte river! Square anchors??? going to be interesting!
Never seen a drain plug like that and in the center of a boat! They call me a flat lander out here! hahaha
Got them to eat the hopper fly! Epic bite!
Sure didn’t expect to see white pelicans in Wyoming in a cold river!!!!!!
We took turns rowing and fishing
Caught a bunch and stopped in the local fly shop for some swag before we hit the road
Dropped the boat back off and drove through the Rockies
Ten hrs in the truck and we were on the Frying Pan river in Colorado night fishing again!
I don’t know why but I love this shot. Net looks so cool! More browns
The morning came quick again. A “PMD” Pale Morning Dun epic hatch was under way!
Big lid up “bows” were hungry!
rare green back cutthroat trout
Brook trout, that makes a grand slam on fly!
Beautiful colors everywhere!
MONSTER BROWN TROUT!
Epic Brown trout on the 4wt Hardy Jet we were testing!
the fly the big brown ate! #28 red midge! yes that is pinky finger it’s on!
The fly hatch was over, the googan hatch was not. Time to go!
Took a pit stop to walk as high as the clouds!
Some mule deer said hi
The last sunset of the trip was beautiful! Back on the road!
The Mosquito Lagoon water level has been low the past couple of weeks and the clarity has been really bad possibly from a brown algae bloom due to high nutrients in the water. That doesn’t mean that the fishing is bad though, it means that you just have to look harder.
Every Summer the Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River and Banana River goes through the same pattern, some years worst than others. I actually prefer to fish in dirty water rather than crystal clear, you don’t see as many fish, but when you do you can get pretty close to make multiple casts until it eats or spooks. I like to use very flashy flies and lures, especially ones with gold flash which reflects more light and you pretty much have to present the fly/lure right in the fishes mouths.
In the cleaner waters which is in the Indian and Banana Rivers right now, there are an abundance of glass minnows and mullet on the flats. Topwater lures have been working great like the MirrOLure Top Dog, Top Dog Jr. and She Pup series. On really calm mornings, I like to use something less noisy so I’ll tie on a D.O.A. Shallow Runner Baitbuster and do a steady retrieve on the surface letting the tail vibrate to top. Redfish, Trout, Snook and Tarpon love that!
These past couple of weeks, I’ve been leaving the Mosquito Lagoon Redfish alone and focusing on Tarpon in the backcountry waters of the Space Coast. Summer time is when they typically show up and most of my clients prefer to target them on fly. I get a lot of clients that are really good fly anglers up North in the small stream but when they come down here, it’s difficult for them to adapt to the style of saltwater fly fishing. I encourage all anglers that want to fly fish in Florida to learn how to double haul your line. That will increase the speed of your cast, the distance, and be able to cast in windy conditions which will increase the chances of catching the targeted species big time.
Andres from Brazil was having a tough time sending the fly out far enough to where the Tarpon were at. Tarpon here keep just enough distance from the boat to barely reach them with a flyrod. After trying for a couple hours with no luck reaching the fish, I set him up with a spin rod and a D.O.A. Baitbuster which he was glad to try. A couple casts to rolling fish, and Tarpon were in the air after that.
Andres also caught a few snook with the fly rod while blind casting against the shorelines.
Matt from South Florida brought his brother Ryan along to introduce him to the world of inshore sight fishing. After he got used to seeing what to look for and casting in the right spot, he started catching them and now he is hooked. Here’s Matt showing his brother how it’s done.
..and here is brother Ryan with his first sight casted Redfish. All fish caught using D.O.A. Shadtails.
Reid and his dad Rudy come up to fish the Lagoon with me at least once a year, they don’t have much sight fishing down in the Palm Beach area so they come up to enjoy some father and son time. Always a pleasure having them aboard and listening to them bust each others balls!
Luke was on a family vacation to Ormond Beach and wanted to scratch a Redfish on fly off of his bucket list. He did just that and caught a few more on top of it on a half day. I’d say that’s pretty good for not having much experience sight fishing for Redfish!
Stuart from North Carolina was pretty excited to catch his first tailing Redfish this day in the Indian River lagoon using a D.O.A. Shadtail.
On June 13th, I was invited to fish a fly only Invitational Tarpon tournament in the Brevard County area. The 2nd annual “Chase for the Chalice” is all for charity and Tarpon research. All of the money went to a German Shepherd rescue of Central Florida and all the tarpon caught and released needed to be swabbed for DNA for research. It was all great times with a great group of anglers and guides for a good cause. My good buddy Honson Lau from Miami came up to fish with me in this event. We ended up getting 1st place with our names on the Chalice that will be showcased at Harry Goodes Outdoor Shop in Melbourne, FL.
Right now from what I’ve been witnessing on the water lately, anglers will have a very good chance at chasing a Grand Slam on fly this Summer. That’s catching a Redfish, Sea Trout, Snook and Tarpon all in the same day which is a great accomplishment!
-Capt. Willy Le
If you can find a day that’s not windy or storming to get out and fish the Indian River or Mosquito Lagoon, then the fishing should be pretty good. Schools of redfish are still around and with the water temps warming up a bit, more singles should scatter the flats which I prefer to fish rather than large schools.
Lots of big sea trout are still lurking the sandy areas and have been taking well presented artificials and flies really well. I’ve been impressed with the numbers of big sea trout that I’ve seen this year.
Don Thomas – a well respected author, outdoor journalist, and photographer from Montana is a doing a piece on the Mosquito Lagoon for a couple fly fishing magazines. Here he displays a smaller fish that beat about 5 bigger fish to the fly, it was crazy watching them fight over it. His wife Lori took some great shots this day. To learn more about Don visit his site: www.donthomasbooks.com
…and something a little creative using Alissa’s eyes as the main subject.
-Capt. Willy Le
Happy New Year everyone! I guess the world did not end in December 2012, which means we are stuck on this beautiful Earth to enjoy more memorable days of fishing….DARN!
Fishing in the Mosquito Lagoon/Indian River has been hit or miss. The crazy weather pattern that we’ve been experiencing with 80 degree temps one day and a high of 45 degrees the next, then back to 80 and so on. If this pattern didn’t get Floridians out of whack, it sure did get the fish acting all crazy.
My week of being on the water consisted of a ton of fish schooled up and happy one day, then gone the next. If temperatures decide to stay consistent for at least a week, then the fish should be more predictable and make the lives of guides and anglers a lot easier. But what’s the fun in that?
Well, when the fishing is good, you can find Redfish schooled up in big numbers on the flats, some trophy sized “Gator” Trout laid up in shallow sandy areas, and some small pods of Black Drum roaming around.
Mark Wolaver who is a great caster and knows how to feed fish on the fly rod joined me for a great day of redfishing in the Mosquito Lagoon. This was one of the better days to be on the water with blue bird skies, light winds, and happy fish.
Buck and Jim were the lucky ones to have their trip fall on the coldest day of the year. The thermometer in my truck when I arrived at the Mosquito Lagoon ramp read “ICE”, which was the next level below 37 degrees. This was one of the slower days where fish were scattered and far in between, but they managed to catch a few redfish on D.O.A. Shadtails.
Paul Casserly from Boston, Mass came down for some Mosquito Lagoon action. Plan was to catch his first redfish on spin tackle to break the ice, then switch to the fly rod the rest of the day to try his luck. Well, conditions were still cold and fish were still scattered from the previous cold front. Paul did get his first redfish on the spinning rod but had a few shots with the fly rod afterwards with no luck. Paul will be back for revenge one day.
Tim Creasy came down from Kentucky during the holidays and has planned to fish the Mosquito Lagoon with me for a couple years now. The weather on this day was not so good. 25-30mph winds with a 70% chance of rain and storms. Instead of canceling the trip and Tim being bummed out that he didn’t get to fish while he was vacationing in Orlando, I opted to take him into some small wind protected creeks in the Indian River Lagoon to try our luck on Snook and Tarpon.
Tim ended up catching a couple Snook, jumping a few small Tarpon, a couple jack crevalle, and ladyfish all on fly. We turned what would have been a cancellation into a fun day of catching mini species…..he now can scratch Snook off of his list of fish to catch(almost scratched Tarpon off the list but you know how it goes.)
On New Years day I had a last minute cancellation. I decided to head out solo on a scouting mission for a trip the following day. I forgot how nice it was to get out on the water alone, everything seemed to happen in slow motion and I was enjoying every second of it. I had no worries, no pressure, no rush, just enjoying doing what I love. I found fish, caught a few, but most of the time I was just memorized by all the wildlife and everything happening around me while poling the skiff peacefully down the shoreline.
John Kelly is an avid fly fisherman from Connecticut(now lives in South Florida) that fished a lot of places around the world. He’s caught Stripers, big Bluefin Tuna, Roosterfish, bonefish, Tarpon, Snook, and even Marlin on fly but has never caught a Redfish….until now. John learned that you have to be more patient with tailing Redfish than any other fish. When they tail, you have more time to think than if you were casting at a cruising fish. I had John wait until we got at least 40-45ft from the fish before making a cast, then I had him watch the fish for a minute to see what direction it was facing, once he knew where he wanted to place the fly, take a deep breath, relax, and make the cast. When the fly landed at the perfect spot, a couple twitches of the fly and BAM, John was hooked up to his first Redfish ever! After the first fish, John was catching tailing Redfish left and right.
John also had shots at some monster laid up “Gator” Trout, but feeding these fish are extremely tough, they are as spooky, if not spookier than Islamorada Bonefish. Getting them to eat is a challenge, which makes them even more rewarding to catch on fly…if the stars align.
I wish everyone a Happy New Year and great fishing for 2013!
-Capt. Willy Le
My daughter Jasmine Ann Le aka “Jazzy” was born Dec. 6th 2012 in Cocoa Beach, FL. She is amazing! I am looking forward to my journey in fatherhood and teaching Jazzy everything I know about the Ecosystem, the Ocean, Respect, Compassion, Simple living, being Positive, and maybe even poling a skiff so old dad can get some bow time
Ok, enough with the Awwwwws, let’s talk fishing.
The Fishing in the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River has been really good these past few weeks probably because of the picture perfect weather that we’ve been having here on the East Coast of Florida. Redfish are happily grouped up, aggressive, and ready to eat a well placed fly or lure. Water level is high so you won’t be seeing much tailing action in most areas, but with the gin clear water we have and a good pair of polarized glasses, you can easily spot fish to make a casts to.
Medium to large Sea Trout can be found in the sand holes laid up waiting for something to eat. These fish are extra alert, so keep your distance if you see one and make the farthest possible cast to your target. The hard part is getting your fly or lure in the water without spooking them, if you can get past that point, you have a good chance of catching that fish.
Jorge and his wife Lauren were visiting from Miami and decided to spend a day fishing in the Mosquito Lagoon. This was Laurens first sight fishing experience and Jorge was pretty happy to have her witness the fish charging and smashing the D.O.A. CAL Shadtails.
A couple good buddies and fellow guides from Miami came up to fish the Mosquito Lagoon for a change. Capt. Honson Lau and Capt. Jeremy Alderman both run Purple Isle Fly Fishing down in the Florida Keys and Everglades National Park. We had a windy day with tough light, but these guys know what they are doing and caught plenty of fish including Honson’s biggest Trout on fly to date. We estimated it to be around 32″ and 9 or 10lbs.
Most of you have some time off to get out on the water to do some fishing over the Holidays. If so, good luck, be safe, and if you plan on fishing the Mosquito Lagoon, please grab a brochure that are at the ramps and see where you can or can’t run your motor. There is a Pole and Troll only zone that will be marked in the brochures, be careful not to run in those zones. There are shallow sand bars, underwater debris, and most importantly, fellow fisherman that are trying to sneak up on fish in those zones, so please have courtesy to others and obey rules. Here is a link to map of the Pole/Troll areas: http://www.fws.gov/merrittisland/Images/Mosquito_Lagoon_Map.jpg
Happy Holidays everyone!