The cold has set in this winter and it is too damn cold. Sight fishing in south Floridahas become very limited and there are few days that can call for epic tarpon or bonefishing so Sam Root, Joe Welborne, Eddie O, Capt. Will Le, and I decided to make a trip out west to the Marsh and experience some of the finer redfishing that exists there. Eddie and I volunteered to tow our skiffs out west so we greased our bearings, did the full trailer inspection, and made ready for our long journey ahead. We made lodging arrangements at Sweetwater Marina in Delacroix. The accomodations were good and made boat storage very convenient. My goal though, was to learn how to navigate and fish in a fishery that is completely new to me, figure out where to find big redfish, and have a fun time doing so. No, I don’t plan on ever guiding there in those waters, but I do plan on making a trip there annually to partake in the world’s best winter fishery. I’m sure as you all may have read from Sam and Willy’s reports, fishing was a bunch of fun.
We arrived after a push of cold weather accompanying very high winds and freezing temperatures washed through the marsh. This made the water was dirty and real cold. We bunched up in many layers of clothing and embarked on a mission into the Marsh. The first day brought hope as we had a bright sun and calm winds. It didn’t take us long to find the elements we had been looking for to locate fish, as we started off catching numerous smaller (7-10lb) redfish on light fly rods, but we were after the famed giant redfish that this marsh was popular for. We ran around for a bit and found where bigger fish would hold but lost out light. We settled for catching a bunch of fish in the 12-15lb range given the limited visibility we had. It is just amazing how aggressive these redfish were… definitely a nice reprieve from what we normally face here in Florida. There was zero light our second day on the water. We could barely see a foot into the water but made the best of it anyways and still ended up catching more 15lb redfish… we doubled, trippled, and quadroupled up on fly. This is truley the most amazing winter fishery in the world. Don’t buy the media hype about the Oil spill.. the marsh is very alive and full of the most aggressive redfish in the world.
We got to sample some of Louisiana’s fine cajun food but I think the best eats we had by far was the Pho at Pho Tau Bay. It took us 2 hours of wandering around lost in New Orleans to finally find this Pho restaurant, but it was well Pho-king worth it. However, the most memorible meal was the one we had before we left. Willy mentioned we should eat at Willy Mae’s Scotch House in New Orleans for some fried chicken. Let me tell you, this was the absolute best fried chicken I had ever eaten. There is no surprise that Willy Mae’s was featured on several TV programs on the food network.
This was to be a true test of fishing ability and equipment. The Maverick 18 HPX-V I was running made for a perfect fishing platform in this environment as we ran through the marsh, through shallow mud ponds, and poled quietly big laid up redfish. We also got to test the 9wt G Loomis NRX’s ability to handle big flies and it proved to be quite the amazing rod for both long and short casts. For those in the entry level fly market, we got to test the first TFO 9wt BVK to come off the production line. The new 9wt BVK is a very fast and powerful fly rod and definitely benefits from an aggressive taper and heavier grain fly line such as a Wulff Burmuda Triangle Taper or Airflo Ridge. The 9wt BVK is by far the best 9wt rod that TFO has ever made though. For smaller 10lb class redfish, I got to use my 7wt G Loomis Shorestalker, which was a little light for the big flies we were throwing, but it surprisingly was able to turn over some pretty large flies well. This is a powerful little pistol of a fly rod. We mainly used Nautilus NV and FWX reels on most of the flyrods we fished. These Nautilus reels are truely amazing.
Between the good eats and great fishing, I think it was the camaraderie amongst good company that will never be forgotten. I can’t wait to be back next year.
Capt. Willy Le and I made our way North to the Mosquito Lagoon, the day after the tournament in Vero. A front was threatening to approach us further south so we drove north of the cold front and fished behind it. This would prove to be a good choice as I had a little time to fish before having to head back down to Miami. The cloudy conditions always make it tough to sight fish but we had small 5 minute windows of light that would allow us to capitalize on what shots we had… patterning out the fish, we set ourselves up for quite a few great shots as the sun peaked. The fishing was nothing short of spectacular. We caught 8 redfish out of the 13 we stuck metal to in the 3 hours. This was definitely a lot of fun feeding fish that aggressively attack a well placed fly. We got to test a few new fly patterns I had developed earlier that week and I am happy to report great success and a new fly that has found itself into my back of tricks.
I got to cast and test some new gear this trip so stay tuned for an update for all the fly and spin gear heads out there…
Reminders and Forgotten information people asked to put up and Events this weekend, FREE Saltyshores Stickers
The last couple days I’ve been down in the Ft. Myers area shooting more Saltyshores Calendar stuff.
Cheeky Flyfishing reels I mentioned a couple days ago according to my feed back and the statistics has some good interest. The complaint was there isn’t enough photos of the reel. All the photos are on their Facebook page go check it out. Plenty of photos there, not quite as good as Saltyshores photos though.
I also forgot to put up the link for the Croakies Arc sunglass holder. If you type Croakies Arc, Saltyshores.com was first the bring it up and the first on the Google search.. wooo hoo! Can I get a cookie or at least free Croakies ARC for the Saltyshores crew to “test” out?
Soutshore, Ruskin, Apollobeach, Outdoor event is this weekend.
TECO South Shore Community Events Center
302 Noonan Branch Road, Apollo Beach
Come see all of the fun outdoor activities
that can be found in Florida…especially
in South Hillsborough County!
• Fishing & Camping
• Water & Team Sports
• Biking | Running | Walking
• Sports Apparel
• Outdoor and Wildlife Artists
• Food Vendors
• Activities area for kids AND adult
—————– More Events this weekend
Simms Night at Orlando Outfitters
Thursday, Oct. 21st
as Simms’ Executive Staff and Florida Representative Dave Chouinard present the Spring 2011 product lineup. Sign up early for a free Simms/Orlando Outfitters T-shirt.
—————– In Kissimi/Orlando is the Fly Fishing Conclave Oct. 22 & 23, 2010
Also this weekend is the Fly Fishing Federation Conclave in Kissimi/Orlando Florida
I have no idea why it’s called a “conclave”. Maybe it’s just me but this make it sound so elitist and not open to the public. BTW: It IS open to the public.
It will be held at the Ramada Inn at Celebration. Here is the link: http://www.ramadaorlandocelebration.com/
There was no address that was easily found, so I’m doing my best to help you guys find the place. This must be like one of those “top secret” if I tell you, I’ll have to kill you kind of thing. Because they sure are doing a great job of keeping it quiet. The only people I have heard talking about this is the people that are representing a company.
I know many avid fly fisherman that visit fly shops weekly. When I make a phone call to see if they are going most was surprise to find it was even going on.
Here is a link to the google map.
Here is the run down of all the seminars, fly tying lessons, vendors and speakers: http://fff-florida.org/expo_programs.html
More information at the official website: http://fff-florida.org/index.htm
—– New TFO BVK fly rod
Regardless, I will make it there for at least Friday. I want to see all the new goodies that are out there plus I really want to try the TFO BVK, this is new fly rod that just came out a few weeks ago and according to the rep is has sold out. If the stats they are telling me right it’s easy to understand why.
It suppose to be lighter than my G.Loomis GLX and as light as the super light weight Orvis Helios (which sells for $800.00), Sage XI series like action with a retail price of $249.00 and 4 piece at that!
Hell at that price, if it’s 80% of what they say I’ll buy one just for a back up.
On a Final Note:
ps. Brad Pitt, please come back and make A River Runs Through it 2.