Monthly Archives: March 2014

Dealing with the wind II

I hate casting in the wind. It’s hard to see the fish; it’s even harder to make quality presentations. Unfortunately, wind is  a fact of life when it comes to fly fishing the Florida flats.

You can fish when it’s flat, but chances are you won’t get out much, if at all. So I’ve decided to deal with the wind — head on. One can dodge the issue by simply making a backcast into the wind and letting that extra bit of breeze do your dirty work, but sometimes, depending on the tide and position of the sun,  that’s simply not possible.

The key, I’ve found, is line speed. I, put simply, didn’t have enough of it. The reason: I wasn’t investing enough juice in my backcast, which Dayle Mazzarella pointed out to me recently. To create more line speed and cast farther, you have to be able to carry more line on the backcast. That means you have to throw the line with a bit of force, so that it will straighten  properly and load the rod. I took it for granted. Don’t. Mel Krieger and Gink and Gasoline have a couple videos on this. Remember, snap that tip!


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Filed under Education, Fly casting

The Grind

Sorry for the lack of content lately. I’ve been formatting an E-book, Seasons on the Fly: A beginner’s guide to fly fishing Tampa Bay.  The formatting has taken longer than writing the content. That’s a stretch, but not by much. I’ll be back next week with more consistent content.


A necessity when wading through hours of coding and assorted visual detail.

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Filed under Misc.

Words to Ponder

John Gierach has a new book out: All Fishermen Are Liars, which will be released this spring. His promotional video is not your standard PR blather.  I’ve never met Gierach, but I like  what he has to say.

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A Matter of Preparation


All ready to go.

I confess. I am NOT a morning person. After more than 25 years of working nights in the newspaper business, a 7 a.m. wake-up call kills me. My wife springs out of bed in the morning. I crawl toward the closest cup of coffee, my main source of survival before 10 a.m.


Simple stuff, but essential.

I fished with Walt Durkin and Ted Hagaman a lot this winter. They’re early risers. We usually head out about the time the sun rises. I’ve done pretty well with punctuality. Efficiency while rigging up? Well, that’s taken a while.

Not matter how fast I put on my waders, I was always lagged behind. Ted and Walt were ready for the water and I was stringing up my rod. It didn’t take long before I realized their rods were ready to go before the trip. I had always resisted this prep because I was wed to the notion that you wait until you find out what the fish are eating before you tie on your fly. It’s absurd, but it goes back to my days as a freshwater trout fisherman who wanted to match the hatch.

It didn’t take long before I got with the program and got a hairclip and a rubber band. I break the rod in equal sections and fasten the clip at the top and the rubber band at the bottom. The fly stays for several trips at a time. No muss. No fuss. I’m ready to go in mere minutes.


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Quality, Not Quantity

Slow day on the water, but my friend Rob made his fish count. Two of the four he caught were big. See below. Glad I was there with a camera.


A Tampa Bay red.


An early-season snook.


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Filed under Fly fishing

A Good Day on the Water

A nice video on fly fishing Tampa Bay. Featured is Greg Peterson, a good angler and a good guy. It’s too cold and windy to fish. Enjoy.

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Bristol Bay

The EPA steps in on the controversy surrounding Bristol Bay and Pebble Mine.  It’s a big win for salmon, the anglers who pursue the prized fish and Alaskans. Here’s a story from the Washington Post.


Rick Halford discusses the issue. Interesting thoughts. Great scenery.

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Filed under Conservation, Misc.

Salty Fly Revisited

RUSKIN, Fla. — They came, they saw, they won a tournament and they made history.  All in one day.

Bradenton-area resident Chris Hargiss and his teammate, Mani Pailer, dominated the 2014 Salty Fly with a back-to-basics approach. Others poled their way into position and threw from the bow with long presentations and sexy patterns. However, Hargiss caught his fish on foot with the simplest of flies — the Bendback.

That traditional saltwater standby led to a three-fish total of 83.25 inches, a Salty Fly record, just ahead of second-place Kapers Murph (80.1) and third-place Leigh West and Jay Wright, who amassed 77 inches.

The tournament format called for two redfish and a trout — total inches, photo release, fly only. Hargiss, a Palm Harbor native, won $1,500, which he split with Pailer.

The two fish together often, so Saturday they decided to work close to their home waters in Sarasota. Efficient and effective, they hustled back to tournament headquarters more than an hour before the deadline, which meant a long wait before the official results were announced.

“It was one of those days where everything lined up perfectly,” Hargiss said. “It shows that if you put in enough time, you’ll catch the fish you’ve been looking for. It was just a good day of fishing.”

All of the winning quarry were sight fished, a style of angling Hargiss honed while owning a kayak for several years before buying a Hell’s Bay skiff several months ago.

“(A kayak) makes you dial in on fish,” Hargiss said. “You don’t want to spend your whole day paddling and expending energy to find fish. You learn to pick your tides, the weather and the time of year for different flats. It makes you hone in on the finer points.”

Hargiss, 27, wasn’t the only angler celebrating Saturday evening. Murph was the first solo angler in Salty Fly history to place, and West and Wright were the first team to pull off multiple top-three finishes. The pair took third in 2012.


A look at the winning skiff.

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Filed under Entertainment, Fly fishing, Misc.

Salty Fly Results


Chris Hargiss relaxes Saturday.

Just got back from the Salty Fly tourney. Check in was 3:30. No official results yet, but my good friend, Chris Hargiss, looks to be in good shape with 83.5 inches. The format is two reds, one trout, total inches. Photo release. Fifty two-angler teams.


Just got confirmation. C. Hargiss and Mani Pailer teamed up to win the Salty Fly. Kapers Murph and his partner took second. Congrats. More later this weekend.


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Salty Fly Tourney

It’s almost here. Only a few days remain before the Salty Fly Tournament, which starts on Friday. Here are the details.

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