Monthly Archives: October 2013

Spoon fly Revisited

Some of you probably know I’ve wrestled fruitlessly to tie a good spoon. Started with the Epoxy/frame. Then went to the mylar. Back to the Epoxy/frame. Finally moved on to other patterns. Well, after fishing with Kevin Keastman a few weeks ago, I got motivated again when I saw his Epoxy spoons.

I sat down at the vice, dreading whether I could get the Epoxy to spread properly. I finally got it. It was really a pretty simple fix. Before, I was using copper wire to make the frame. Apparently, that doesn’t help the Epoxy spread. If you use any form of mono (I used 20-pound hard mason), it makes a huge difference. My guess is the stiffer the wire, the less the epoxy will bond to it.

Above are pics. I’ve got some adjustments to make (crowding the eye, tail length, etc.), but I’ve got the basic concept down. The biggest things are using mono and not using too much Epoxy. Too much and the fly bulks up. Too little it doesn’t spread. Redfish beware.

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A Sad Day

Condolences to all the Lou Reed fans out there. Fortunately, his music will endure. I’ve always admired artists, who were committed to their work over fame and fortune. Reed fit that mold, a rare breed these days.

Sweet Jane

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Fall Drake

The newest Drake just came out. I’ve got two more stories — one on Joe Welbourn and another on a largemouth bass that kicked my ass as a little boy. The Welbourn story is on Joe and his company, Carbon Marine, which makes push poles and platforms for skiffs. The bass story is an anecdote about the big one that got away — after he had been caught and on the stringer. True story. Been wanting payback ever since.

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Filed under Education, Entertainment

Life Lessons on the Water

A windy day near Gandy Bridge

Fly fishing can yield a lot of life lessons. Learned this the hard way Tuesday while trying to get out before the big change in weather. Among the noteworthy realizations while out on the water.
1) If you see someone kite surfing, that means the cold front has arrived early and the weather forecast was off by a few hours. So if you’re sight fishing out of a canoe with a fly rod, you’re screwed as far as getting back to the launch without feeling as if you’ve been shoved into a nautical washing machine.

2) Sharks like redfish, too. Sharks never bothered me too much until today when I came face to face with a 5-foot bull shark while wading in knee-deep water. We circled each other like a pair of alley cats when a number of thoughts raced through my frazzled mind. A) I could have used that extra cup of coffee about now. I hope he doesn’t go for the groin. Immediately, I thought of Ahmad, the Bad News Bears outfielder, who misplayed a fly ball, which led the infamous quote from Engleberg: ‘Right in the balls,’ and prompted a mandate from Buttermaker that everyone wear a cup. Unfortunately, I don’t fish with a cup. Then I figured Mr. Bull Shark would go low, probably for the Achilles. Enough strategy: Time to assess the matchup. I was bigger and taller. Size and height vs. a mouthful of sharp teeth against a wild animal with breathtaking speed on his turf. 911, anyone? My only hope was to shove the butt of my fly rod down his throat and hope for the best, assuming the fight lasted longer than a few seconds. Well, at the last second the shark peeled off to the right toward deeper water. I’d like to think it was a draw.

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Marsh Reds

My friend Kevin and I spent Sunday scouting the flooded grass near St. Augustine. Kevin was nice enough to show me around most of the morning for a story I’m writing for The Drake on reds in the marsh. We saw four tailers, three that I took shots at. The wind was tough and I got a bit antsy. My first inclination is to strip the fly to entice the fish. What I needed to do was slow down and let the fish find the fly and then strip S-L-O-W-L-Y. Easier said than done when your heart is pounding. Seeing those full tails go completely vertical was absolutely amazing. I may be back in a couple weeks. The tides for the first week of November look good.

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Why the Government Shutdown Matters

 Carl Hiassen takes a look at the shutdown and how it affects fishing close to home.

So they’ve shut down the national parks. No big deal, right?
The troops in Afghanistan are still getting paid, the air-traffic controllers are still on duty and Mom’s still receiving her Social Security checks.
Evidently the parks are considered a minor, low-profile casualty in the Republicans’ war on Obamacare.
Except to the thousands of workers around the country who depend on a thriving park system for a paycheck — and not just the rangers.
In the Florida Keys last Wednesday, about 150 boats filled with fishing guides and their families gathered at Cowpens Channel to protest the closing of Everglades National Park.
It’s unique among our 401 national parks because so much of it is water — more than 800 square miles accessible by boat, canoe or kayak.
ENP is a live tapestry of mangrove islets, flats and snaking channels stretching from Everglades City on the west coast almost all the way to Long Key, encompassing the Ten Thousand Islands and most of Florida Bay.
Since the days of Zane Grey, the area has been one of the world’s legendary sportfishing destinations. Now the guides who go there every day have been ordered to stay out. They’re losing customers, losing money and losing faith.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/10/12/3684282/dc-slugfest-takes-a-toll-back.html#storylink=cpy

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Filed under Conservation, Education

Fly Fishing Expo

Mark your calendar. The biggest Fly Fishing show in the state of Florida is only a few days away. This weekend, Oct. 18-19, The Florida Fly Fishing Expo will get underway at the Plantation Inn in Crystal River.
Among the scheduled speakers are Chico Fernandez, Flip Pallot, Jon Cave and Rick Grassett. Admission for the two-day event is $10.
http://www.fedflyfishers.org/Councils/Florida/EXPO/ExpoWorkshops.aspx

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Filed under Education, Fly fishing, Fly tying, Uncategorized

Sunny side up, Please

I’ve been chipping away at this sight fishing for reds quest for about a year or so now. During that time, I’ve analyzed tides, water depth, flies, weather, where to fish, where not to fish, when to go, when not to. Water depth is probably THE most important factor in Tampa Bay. With so-so visibility, you need skinny water to sight fish. You can persevere with higher water, but it’s almost damn near impossible to sight fish a red wading or out of a kayak in waist deep water.
The next most important factor is probably the most overlooked. It’s not wind, although I must admit I’m addicted to Wind Finder and live for those glassy mornings. However, I’d argue the sun is more important than a calm day. I didn’t realize this until I was chatting up Keys guide John O’ Hearn for a story I’m working on. O’Hearn said he’d take wind over clouds any day. A day later, I realized why.
Wednesday, it was blowing double digits out of the North. The tide was low enough, but the water movement was lousy. I fished anyway. I kept expectations low, and I was pleasantly surprised. Spotted at least a dozen reds during my afternoon trip. Had shots at five or six. One chased my fly, but didn’t eat. Rarely have I seen this many solo fish on foot or in my kayak and this was with a mix of clouds and sun. When the sun was out, I could pick them off. When the clouds settled in, I felt as if I were in the dark.
Bottom line: The sun is huge for sight fishing. If you don’t have sun, you’re essentially relying on tailers and we all know how sporadic that can be. So, pray for no rain and plenty of sun.

Another day on Old Tampa Bay.

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Filed under Education, Fly fishing, Uncategorized

Back in Business

After three weeks of waiting, my Iphone is fixed. No remnants of saltwater damage. Rebuilding my contacts’ list as I post this. Overall, it’s quite a relief, kind of like when Beavis N Butthead reunite with their beloved TV. LOL.

Moral of the story if you’re on the water: Make sure your phone is completely sealed, or leave it in the car.

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Filed under Education, Misc.

A Dose of Fish Porn

It’s raining today in Tampa. Fishing’s been put on hold until the skies clear. The next best thing to do, if you can’t fish, is to watch others fish. If this doesn’t get your heart pumping, you’re hopeless.

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Filed under Entertainment, Fly fishing, Uncategorized