Monthly Archives: May 2013

More S. Goodwin

I did a feature for Spencer Goodwin for Blu Magazine this spring. Below is a link to a photo essay on the story. No text, but nice photos.
Goodwin photo essay

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Steve Martin

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell are at the Mahaffey in St. Pete tonight. Got tix. Can’t wait. Martin is incredibly talented — good actor, great banjo player, great comedian. Looking forward to it. Never been much of a bluegrass fan before, but as I’ve gotten older,  I appreciate it more.

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Barracuda Blues II

Just finished up the story for The Drake on barracuda in the Keys. Long story short, Cuda are getting hammered by commercial fisherman largely because there are no regulations on commercial harvesting.

“A lot of them shipped to Miami, the tropics and some of them go up north,” Keys guide Doug Kilpatrick said. “There’s no telling if they’re sold for fish sticks in a restaurant at the o’doeuvre bar or what they’re actually sold for. They are a white-meat fish and actually not a bad eating fish. They’re actually very good.”
What’s happened is the spear fishermen as well as the commercial fishermen are going out to the areas where these fish spawn in the spring and summer,” Kilpatrick said. “Then they come into the flats in the winter. All these fish that they’re spearing or catching on hook and line are basically sexually mature fish that are (going to spawn) in deeper water. We’ve seen a significant decline on the flats over the past 10 years. There’s NOOA data where $1.2 million pounds have been taken in the last 10 years.”

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Barracuda Blues

Barracuda don’t get the attention of bonefish or tarpon when it comes to flats fishing, but that’s changing — for all the wrong reasons.
The Lower Keys Guides Association has asked the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to grant the popular predator gamefish status, a designation that would eliminate the commercial harvest of the fish. The LKGA says that barracuda, because of their unregulated status, have been over-harvested by commercial fishermen. I’ll have a story in the summer issue of The Drake. Below is a bit of info on the issue.

Lower Keys Guides Association

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A Sparring Session on the Water

 Save The Tarpon scheduled a protest Sunday against the Professional Tarpon Tournament series on day one of the big-money affair in Boca Grande. The PTTS recently sued their conservation nemesis, so it’s safe to say the two will never exchange Christmas cards.

I’ve put in a call or two to check in to see if everything remained civil and will keep you posted info arrives.

PTTS Protest

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The State of the Glades

The Everglades gets a welcome sip of water. Here’s hoping the progress continues and that the Tamiami Trail receives bridge work to revive needed water flow.

River of Grass

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Time at the Vise

A few samples of my work

Tied a few flies. From left to right are three Deceivers, a Cockroach and a Toad fly. The Deceivers are for the beach snook; the Cockroach is for the tarpon; and the Toad fly is for tailing reds.

I tied each with a goal. For the Deceivers, I tried to tie sparse to make the profile as sleek as possible. The big issue was tying the tail feathers on straight. That’s simply a matter of holding the fly against the shank of the hook with the off hand and being steady. It’s the same deal with the Cockroach. You line the feathers up, get them straight on the hook shank and secure them. With the Toad fly, it’s the same pattern I’ve been using — except with smaller, lighter eyes. I’m hoping that a lighter fly will sink slower and not get hung up in the turtle grass. We’ll see what happens next week with the new moon tides.

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More Double Haul

Cathy Beck has a video out — First cast to double haul. Bought it about a year ago. Watched it once. Didn’t think much about it. I assumed — wrongly — that I was well on my way to double hauling — no matter how big the rod or how stiff the wind.
I was wrong. … again. I recently fished a 12 weight in a stiff headwind and felt as if I were throwing a javelin — badly. Off balance and out of practice, I knew I needed additional work. Fishing for tarpon in a headwind is tough as hell for anyone, but it’s doable.
I watched the video again and a couple obvious things stood out — I cast too vertical. I went more three quarters with a low elbow and that allowed me to really keep — and sustain — a straight line rod path. Also I haul too early and often not enough. The key is to snap the line hand later in the stroke to maximize line speed — and you have to snap. A gentle tug doesn’t get the job done in the wind.

Cathy’s Double Haul

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Filed under Education, Fly casting, Uncategorized

The Fort

Happy Birthday Fort Desoto. The Pinellas park treasure turns the big 5-0.

Protected from urban sprawl, there are few places like it left in Florida nowadays, particularly this far south. Here’s more from the Tampa Bay Times.

A nice afternoon at the Fort

FD Park

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Finding the Fish

I now have the utmost respect for those who sight fish. It’s easier — and more efficient — to throw a spinning rod with an artificial lure — or dare I say — a piece of bait.

But to sight fish, you have to know where the fish and how to find them when the planets don’t align. So it was last week at Fort Desoto during a late-evening, new moon flood tide. I went two days. Back to back. Missed my chances on both. Slow learner, I guess.

Day one, I was place conscious. Fished the same flat that yielded fish on the same exact tide a month ago. A stiff northwest wind made for an exceptionally low tide. I sought protection near any lee island I could find. Of course, that strategy didn’t help much, because the wind blew hard no matter where I fished. I gave into the elements pretty quickly and chalked it up to one of those things you can’t control.

A couple of my buddies, however, were a little more persevering and pushed the deeper on to the flat in deeper, but unprotected water. They found fish. I worked on my casting.

Lesson learned, right? So I thought.I fished the next day determined not to repeat my mistakes. I strayed deeper on to the flat, even though the northwest wind continued to blow. The water level was low, so low that the tips of the turtle grass poked above the surface. That was a telling sign, but I was confident that the incoming — and the fish — would find me, if I stayed positive.

A few fish tailed on the outgoing, not long mind you, but enough to keep me interested. So I waited and reminded myself to be patient, that the fish would come to me. An hour passed, then another 10 minutes and the afternoon sun descended below the horizon.

I had about 10 minutes of light left. Not much time to fish, but just enough time to make a run past the tips of the grass to even deeper water. I paddled for a few minutes, much farther than I had before.

The tips of the grass began to fade as I found knee-deep water and I found the fish, tailing away.  Moral of the story. If the tide doesn’t come in, you have to find enough water to keep the fish happy. The fish won’t come to you; you have to go to the fish.

With evening tailers, the window for quality fishing is narrow. Exploring isn’t an option. One miscalculation and you’re probably done. That’s why it’s important to invest time on the water. The more experience you have, the better decisions you make on the fly.

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Filed under Education, Fly fishing