Winter is here in Florida, which means more wind and less time for fly fishing. All you can do is fish between the fronts. The best-case scenario is one day a week to set up a trip. Needless to say, work, family responsibilities and short winter days yield a lot of time indoors.
A few restless anglers in Northeast Florida got a welcome break from cabin fever recently when Bruce Chard spoke at the First Coast Fly Fishers banquet at the Jacksonville Marriott. A noted guide from Key West, Chard was gracious with his time and put on a first-class presentation where he spotlighted the top places in the world for shallow-water fly fishing. It was worth the hour drive from St. Augustine.
Chard is also a fantastic caster. Fittingly, he gave a morning casting seminar. I didn’t have time to go, but the man can flat out toss a razor-sharp loop. Here’s a clip of his technique.
My story for Snook & Gamefish Foundation
Tarpon season is just about over in Florida. In a few weeks, once the mullet run winds down, the chase for the Silver King will largely be done. Like many of our favorite flats targets, once winter arrives most tarpon will depart for warmer waters.
South Florida fly fishermen have traditionally have turned to two local options close to home: They break out the bass poppers or grease up the fly-tying vise and wait for spring.
But, there’s another possibility: Barracuda. They’re in the Keys, they’ll suck down a fly. Once hooked, they’re ready to test your backing, not to mention your guide’s boating skills.
My story in Hatch Magazine.
Bonefish are on the decline in the Florida Keys. So are the fish that eat them. Barracuda, once a traditional target of winter flats fishing, are now scarce.
“I just started guiding in 2000, which is not long in the whole scheme of things,” Key West guide John O’ Hearn said. “In the winter you could go to any flat and have a few cudas on it, even if it wasn’t a good flat. You could go anywhere and there would be barracudas. Over the years, you had to get better and better [at finding them]. There are places still with good barracuda fishing. You just have to keep working harder and harder.”
Legendary Keys guide George Hommell, Jr. passed away. Here’s a tribute to the angler, who fished with Ted Williams and guided presidents.
Filed under Education, Misc.