Monthly Archives: December 2013

Hatchery Health

One my first efforts shooting video during a visit to the Port Manatee Hatchery last month. More than you ever wanted to know about redfish health.

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The Port Manatee Hatchery

If you’ve never been to the Port Manatee Hatchery, you’ve missed out on an informative morning and afternoon. So it was for the Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Club, which toured the hatchery earlier this month with our FWC host, Gina Russo, who provided mountains of information about the gamefish we love to pursue.

Much of the discussion focused on the redfish that live in the hatchery. We’ve all spent a lot of time looking for that elusive spotted tail on the Tampa Bay flats, and a wealth of helpful insight flowed out of the Dec. 12 trip, including:
·         Redfish can live 25-35 years.
·         The Florida hook-and-line record for redfish is 52 pounds, 5 ounces.
·          The Florida state record for a red on fly is 43 pounds and was taken from the Banana River.
·         Reds were banned from commercial harvest in Florida in 1989. Approximately 2.1 million were harvested in the mid ‘80s, but that number dropped to nearly 250,000 in 1993.
·         On average, redfish grow to 40 inches, 40 pounds in the Gulf of Mexico and 45 inches to 52 pounds in the Atlantic.
·         Reds can vary in coloration. In general, muddy water produces bright red fish. Sandy bottoms and clear water yield a lighter colored fish.
Special thanks to Gina and the rest of the FWC hatchery staff for the informative morning and relaxing afternoon fishing the nearby ponds for snook, redfish and baby tarpon. Also a pat on the back goes to Alligator Bob for lunch.
I’ll have a video up soon.

 

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Different Camera, Same Fly


The EP Crab is one of my favorites. Been shooting with a Canon EOS Rebel over a Sony Cybershot recently. Below is the pic and tips on how to tie the fly, which works well on Tampa Bay reds.

 
Materials
Hook: Size 4, standard 34007
Eyes: Mono (medium or large)
Tail: Marabou plume (brown, tan or green)
Body: EP Fiber (sticks of tan or green). EP Tarantula brush (green)
Weedguard: 30-pound hard mason
Thread: Flat waxed nylon (light green or red)
Instructions
Use color combinations at your discretion. I prefer light green thread with a tan body; and a dark green body with red thread. The above photo uses light green and tan.
 1) Insert hook into vice. Start thread near the eye about where you prefer to tie in the eyes. Wrap thread back to beyond the bend.
      2) Grab two clumps of marabou. Strip the fluff. Tie in the tail along the bend to form the claw.
      3) Take approximately two inches of EP tarantula brush and tie in over where you tied in the marabou, palmer forward three, four wraps. This part of the fly serves as the transition from the tail to the body. You can use regular hackle. I like the EP brush because of its fishy texture.
     4) Tie in mono eyes near the eye, but make sure you leave plenty of room to tie in a good, durable weedguard.
     5) Take a strip of EP fiber. This can tricky. Work from the outside in. Grab a half a pencil length. Cut this section into 2-inch sticks.
    6) Tie in each stick with cross wraps, as you would lead or mono eyes. Place each stick as close to the previous one as you can before you tighten. IntheRiffle.com has a good video on this. Continue toward the eyes.
    7) When you get to the eyes, tie a half-hitch. Cut your thread.
    8) Comb out the EP fibers to straighten and blend. Trim at the mono eyes in a traditional toad shape. I like the squarish toad shape, because it’s easier (at least for me) than a circular Kwan. Longer scissors seem to work better and give straighter, cleaner cuts.
   9) Re-attach the thread in front of the mono eyes. Tie in your weedguard. I use Puglisi’s style. There’s a good video of this method on YouTube. I like it because it’s durable once you get the concept of thread pressure.

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Full Moon Tides

DSC00537Sorry for the lack of editorial content lately. Been busy with getting ready for the holidays and editing the local fly fishing newsletter. …
Fished near Picnic Island two days last week. Had one real nice day and it would have been better had I been sharper seeing the fish sooner. However, the second day, I was focused and fished well. I located cruising reds and made the casts I needed to make — when I needed to make them — but it didn’t matter. The fish wanted nothing to do with my fly. My theory is the first trip I caught the full moon cycle early; the second trip, though only three days removed, was late in the full moon cycle. My guess is the fish fed early in the week, but we got a few consecutive full moon nights, the bite was off because the fish were full.

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Enver’s Fly Tying

Time for a little video and a local fly tying. It’s winter so days are shorter. Time on the water is now spent inside preparing for the little daylight we have to time the tides perfectly. Why not stop by Tampa Bay On The Fly?

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Time for a Little Winter Maintenance

When I fished freshwater in Virginia, I cleaned my line when I felt like it or when I sensed one of my buddies might notice the buildup of grime and grit if they happened to take a practice cast. When I moved to Florida, I had to change. Saltwater can ruin a reel and cost you casting distance when you need it the most — on those windy days of winter when the redfish tails finally start to show. Here’s my method. It’s not the only way, but it works for me.

1.    Find two sinks, preferably side by side. Strip your line off the reel into the sink. Soak the line in warm water with a bit of mild detergent.
2.    Wait at least an hour. Strip the line through a paper towel and into the other sink.
3.    By now, your line should be dry and relatively clean and tangle free.
4.    Grab a clean paper towel or cloth and some Aerospace Protectant, spray the paper towel or cloth. Strip your line through the cloth, and you’re done. Joe Welbourn (Carbon Marine) sells Aerospace Protectant. It’s worth the money.

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Big Gun Shootout

A leftover photo from last month’s Big Gun Shootout at Picnic Island Park in Tampa. Below is the winning team Chris Homer, Greg Peterson and Dave Chouinard. Chouinard took top individual honors, edging out Homer.

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Filed under Fly casting, Uncategorized

Cathy Beck’s Double Haul

Was out working on my double haul today. I tend to haul through the stroke and too early. Here’s a video that shows how to get the timing down pat. I tend to overpower the rod while hauling too quickly. If I delay the haul and slow down the rod hand, longer casts require much less effort. The haul hand has to be sharp with good timing and performed near the END of the back cast and forward cast. Makes a big difference if you can get it right. I’ll keep trying.

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Houston, We Have a Problem

Fished Picnic Island earlier this week and ran into my first Tampa Bay snook on fly. The big fish schooled and nearly spooled me.
I set the hook thinking redfish and prepared for a tough — but winnable battle — but got broken off in a matter of seconds.
All of my fly line peeled off my reel, then came the backing. Or so I thought. A tangle, as it turns out, forced the fight to grind to a halt and the leader snapped like a winter twig.
A reminder to all: Check your equipment. Preparation pays. My assumption was no fish on the Tampa Bay flats could get to my backing — except for a tarpon. And snook, to a large degree, are not willing players in the winter. But it’s been warm lately, so a few linesiders have lingered and at least one sparring partner forced me to learn a valuable lesson the hard way.
As for the local fishing, I haven’t seen much lately. Took a stroll to Cypress Point Park Monday. Nothing. After getting my butt kicked by the snook, I went back to Picnic lsland, but didn’t see a whole lot before the wind kicked up Friday afternoon. Gotta love those South winds that push too much water on the flat.

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Freedom of Speech Is Alive and Well

Sometimes the good guys win. Tom Chandler, publisher of The Trout Underground, fends off a libel lawsuit against a former outdoors writer. For more on the story. …
Chandler has his day in court

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