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
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.
This is a report from my buddy Eddie Oliveras in Orlando about his recent trip to Georgetown, SC…
Short clip of my trip, still learning d-slr and software…
What an age we live in… I recently had the good fortune of linking up with a facebook buddy near Georgetown, SC for some fishing while on a business trip to the Carolinas and Virginia. Capt Jay Nelson with Winyah Guide Service greeted me at the Big Tuna Restaurant on Front St downtown Georgetown late Tuesday evening.
We both share a passion for fishing including throwing feathers and I grew up in Greenville, SC as a child… it was the first place we lived when I immigrated to the US from Puerto Rico. The joke being our plane must’ve made an emergency landing en route to New York, because to this day I have no idea why we moved there. I had never been to the SC coast but Jay also has a passion for photography and video to give me a vision of what was in store. We shared Facebook messages and emails and finally the time had come.
Dinner was excellent, pan fried local flounder, done a way I had never eaten before… scored, seasoned and fried whole. The guys reserved their comments as they watched me try to peel the flesh off the skin and I quickly figured out I wasn’t eating the best part! I didn’t leave not a crumb for the ants on my plate after that instruction. What impressed me most however was the camaraderie and respect in that community from everyone. They would stand when they were approached by older folks and hand shakes were firm with direct eye contact and a “marine-like” posture… something I hadn’t seen in a long time. Word must travel fast in such a tight community.
We head back to Jay’s place in Pawley’s Island. Ranch style homes surrounded by tall pines I walk into Jay’s place and see a piece of fishing tackle on every wall in the garage… from fly to spin to gigging to hunting, a true outdoorsman. Without a spoken word the fly box comes out eventually… an interesting assortment, some that seem more like a stolen secret pattern from a Keys guide. Redfish here have holiday spirit too so Halloween colors are the pattern of choice.
To my amazement, the tarpon bite had been very good the past couple of weeks, and so a couple big rods went by the wall just for good measure.
Perry’s tarpon images
Jay’s good buddy Perry picked us up early. We put in not far from downtown Georgetown and made our way out of the historic seaport passing shrimp trawlers towards a secret spot to find tailers at high tide. The Great Pee Dee, Waccamaw and Sampit rivers converge to this inlet and the resulting marsh delta is well fed with nutrients.
Sunrise at the ramp
Discussing where to go first
Georgetown Lighthouse at Dawn
Ready to pole
We didn’t find tailers but I did hook up on a nice fat overslot red (slot is 15-23 inches) busting shrimp in the grass. We made a quick run thru some backcountry creeks to North Inlet and found an abundance of trout, flounder, redfish and… gar?? What the heck is gar doing here? It’s precarious if you don’t know the area as razor sharp oyster bays can leave you high and dry, so we quickly worked areas according to the tide. Jay and Perry were both prefishing for an IFA tournament so we hit all their spots. It was cool to run into a creek barely wide enough to fit the boat and sightfish reds cruising on top of oyster banks.
My red (Perry’s image)
Well, alas the day was over, we ran back to the ramp with more redfish than I could recollect to the boat. Jay dreams of fishing Mosquito Lagoon for the giant redfish with me, I hope I don’t let him down now, haha!
Oh, they placed 3rd out of 41 boats at the IFA tourney too!
Jay’s YouTube video:
A friend has loaned me a Nikon 105mm macro lens so I have been playing around with it for several days. You can see other examples at my blog, InshoreNearshore.blogspot.com or InshoreNearshore.com and navigate to the Macro gallery. These shots were taken with ambient light but I am also using the SB-R200, (looks like the flash used on the cameras in Miami CSI), which works great and is easy to use. Just set everything to TTL/Fill flash and let the camera do the work.
I hope to get more opportunities to work with this lens. The only nit I have is that even though 105mm seems like it would give you adequate working distance, it sometimes does not. To get 1/1 macro, you need to be inches from the subject and some subjects just won’t tolerate that. This redfish had no choice.
Thanks for looking!
HDR photography has blown up big time with the advent of Digital photography. High Dynamic Range photography.
Basically it’s the process of combining multiple exposures to get a look that everything is exposed at a wider color/brightness range than cameras can currently see with only one exposure.
If properly done, It can turn out fantastic.
Kenny Smith reminded me about a website of HDR photographer a couple days ago and I figured I share it with you guys.
The guy is phenomenal. His website gets millions of hits and his work has been displayed world wide including the first HDR to be in the Smithsonian.
He even shows you how he does it.
Here are some examples of his awesome work.
May 16th 2010
I have not been shooting many nature photography as of late. Today after a soft afternoon rain, there was some excellent defused light with a slight mist in the air. I got out the tripod a just did a short walk around the yard. I know I go to great lengths for some images but It is amazing what you can find right outside your front door.
We had a rare couple of days with light winds, bright sun and the right tides. The redfishing was off the charts Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday we moved off the flats and up the Brownsville ship channel and hooked up on a fat trout and a nice Texas snook.