Monthly Archives: January 2014

Rising Browns

Very nice work by Simon Perkins. The slow motion effects are well done.

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Freelance Work

Too cold and rainy to fish for a few days, so I spent the morning writing a rough draft on Reds in the Flooded Marsh for The Drake Magazine. It actually turned out better than I thought. The story should run sometime this spring. When I have more details, I’ll let you know a precise publication date.

Thanks to Vaughn Cochran,  Scott Brown, Tim Boothe and Kevin Keastman, who helped me out with interviews and assorted info about Northeast Florida redfish on the fly.

Here’s a nice video from Rich Santos. Can’t wait for summer.

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South Wind

It’s been one cold front after another. The weather, needless to say, hasn’t helped when it comes to sight fishing Tampa Bay. Normally winter brings a welcome dose of lower tides and clear water.  The wind is something we merely try to work around. Well, so far in 2014 we haven’t had too many options.

With little time in between the fronts,  it’s been difficult to get a favorable wind direction. It’s been a lot of south winds lately, which are brutal in Tampa Bay, because there’s no place to hide; the water gets funneled toward you no matter where you fish, making for higher than usual tides. Too much water, as we know, makes sight fishing damn near impossible — and it’s hard enough under good conditions.

Tuesday, I’ll get out again. We’ve got a dreaded south wind, but I’m hoping super low new moon tides will offset the lousy wind direction. We’ll find out.

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Tailing Loops

I confess. I’ve endured more than my share of tailing loops. Give me a headwind and it’s not long before I’m trying to unravel the dreaded wind knots that can destroy a leader and slow down a good day of fishing. It took me a while to figure out why. I thought it was an issue of power, of not stopping the rod, of twisting my hand on the backcast.

It was none of the above. It was the classic straight line rod path, which I seemed to follow until the very end, when I suddenly, for some inexplicable reason, pulled the rod handle down. Why I did this,  I don’t know.  Maybe I was trying to aim at the water? Below is a video from Lefty Kreh showing exactly what I was doing. It was a hard habit to break.

The Redington form game rod helped me fix this issue. It’s a mini practice rod, so if you don’t keep the rod path straight, you will throw a tailing loop. With a regular length rod, you have more margin for error. With this rod, you don’t. Pull down the handle and you’re headed for a tailing loop. It’s a great teaching tool.


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Leaky Waders

I guess I’ve been pretty fortunate. I’ve fished in Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, Wyoming and Montana — and I’ve never had a set of waders go bad.

I fish a season or two in Florida, the land of sunshine and warmth, and my waders spring a leak. I used to tough it out and would only break out the waders when it was really, really cold. Last year, I got away without them; this year, I had to wear them.

One,  I’m fishing more. Two, it’s colder.

I’ve never had to find a leak before. So where to start? I went the traditional route and filled the legs with air, stuck each stocking foot in a bucket of water and looked for bubbles. None surfaced.

On to Plan B, which involved shoving a hose down each pant leg and filling each with water past the knee. I hoped for a leak. Didn’t see one.

Frustration started to set in. Fortunately we’re in between tide cycles. That helped alleviate stress. I broke out the Clear Cure Goo and dabbed a bit on possible pinholes in the feet. Didn’t work. Soggy socks prevailed.

Back to the fly shop, where I got some UV Loon Wader repair. It’s similar to the CCG. I swabbed around the seams where the neoprene socks meet the wader material near the shins. My guess is that I stretched micro holes in the seams when I shed the waders after a few recent trips. At times, I got in a hurry and yanked my foot out the stocking, which is NOT good for the seams.

I’m not sure whether the latest repair will work or not. It’s been too cold and windy to get out. I think the Loon stuff has a shot. We’ll see. The moral of the story: Don’t take your waders for granted.

An update: Headed out to the water in the morning. I’ll report on the repairs when I return.

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Fly Nation visits the Flooded Marsh

Just saw this on the World Fishing Network late Tuesday. It’s outstanding footage. Vantage Point Media is first class with its production and storytelling. It’s the same outfit that brought us Destination Spain. This episode, which features the flooded marsh of North Florida, is memorable as well.  I may have posted this video before. Trust me,  it’s so good you won’t mind watching it again.

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A Tough Day

I was patient yet persistent today. There was one problem.

Not many fish. My fishing partner and I spotted one cruiser apiece. That was it. We made our way North when I noticed a few tailers on a mucky grass flat known for its less-than-firm footing.

I noticed the tails early enough that I was able to get a shot at two of them before they moved into too close to shore. Made a couple nice casts with an EP crab (mono eyes/no weight). Neither ate.

The fish were not tailing long at all. In fact, I noticed the tailers after seeing a few bubbles from an obvious slurp. I knew that disturbance wasn’t a mullet. Moments later, a tail emerged. Then another. And another.

I’m disappointed by the overall lack of cruising fish, but I was glad we stuck it out long enough to see a couple tailers, which are always a bonus in north Tampa Bay.

The conditions: slight west wind, clear skies, 0.3 tide with mediocre water movement. The latter and the fact that we’re coming off a full moon cycle may have been the biggest contributing factors to the lack of fish.

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More Spencer

A little fishing advice from Spencer from his seminar Thursday, winter sight fishing from a kayak.

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More fish and friends


Getting ready to practice catch and release

Fished this morning and met Rob, a fellow fly fisherman who I had met once before on one of the local Bay-area flats. Rob bagged two over-slot reds. I got a pic of the first, but not the second. The crop is intentional for fear that I might give away the location of the catch. Rob’s two were the only fish of the morning.

This particular flat demands that you be still and let the fish come to you, once you track their movement. I’m not patient enough for that type of fishing. I like to move and stalk. Sometimes, though, you have to adjust. Next time, I’ll be more cerebral.

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Spencer’s Seminar


Spencer takes a break before his seminar at West Marine in Tampa.

Dropped by West Marine Thursday to check out Spencer Goodwin’s seminar on sight fishing from a kayak. Spencer has fished Tampa Bay since he was a tyke, when his parents would drop him off after school everywhere from Weedon Island to the 4th Street flats, as he scoured the local waters for redfish, trout and snook. His passion for the Big Three has not waned. In fact, he now guides for a living and teaches others his craft.

He provided a handful of good tips during his hour-long presentation. The main one focused on slowing down your presentation. Fish,  he pointed out, want a realistic presentation. How many shrimp truly flee? Mainly, they plod. Move your offerings accordingly.

As for mullet, Spencer uses the popular baitfish to find reds. The prevailing sentiment is that mullet stir up crabs and shrimp, a theory that Spencer disputes. He said mullet usually swim on top of the water column, not the bottom. Reds do follow, but not because of food, but rather because of the instinctual need to school with other fish. Makes sense to me.  Regardless, I’ll keep an eye on the mullet.

Gold spoons are among his favorite artifiicials. Though the traditional lure may appear cliche to some, Spencer likes the spoon’s ability to cover water and stay out of the grass. He stays simple with his presentation, using a slow, steady retrieve.

To attach a spoon to your leader, Spencer recommends a Canoeman Loop Knot. I use a Clinch knot because it’s easy. The Canoeman looks doable and seems to give the spoon more action. Anything to keep my leader from twisting!





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