Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bad Parking Jobs

One thing that really annoys me is when inconsiderate people take up 2 parking spots so someone doesn't ding their car with a door. I understand someone wanting to keep a car ding free, but this is very selfish in my opinion. To me, it's almost as bad as the idiots who sit in the car in a no parking lane with the flashers on.

On more than one occasion, I've parked my sled right on the drivers door of the offending auto. Now, you have to understand that my car looks like something out of the road warrior, complete with "fu*@ You" and an erect penis spray painted on the hood, baseball bat dents in the passenger side, a dent in the hood where a tree fell on it during the hurricanes of 2004, a missing hubcap and peeled paint....the selfish parkers nightmare. I only wish I could see the expression on their faces when they come out of the store and see my ride pulled up right next to their baby.

I found a great blog dedicated to bad parking jobs called Your Parking Sucks

Cheers and I hope you get a laugh out of it....

Monday, December 28, 2009

Post Christmas and the New Year

*I made it through the holiday without succumbing to the holiday greed and cash grabbing that most folks normally do. Christmas Eve was spent at my mom's house as is the tradition and Christmas Day was nice at Julie's. There was a budget and dollar limit that everyone needed to adhere to, and you know what? It was great. No one went into debt. Got the wireless Internet hooked up and a few PS3 games and I'm happy.

*I discovered it's best for me to be single. What can I say? Even medicated, depression is still very hard to deal with at times, and it's best that I don't affect anyone else's life with it. It's not as if you can just ask me to not be depressed. I don't choose to feel depressed. I'm in no shape mentally to date anyone....it's not fair to them because I don't have anything left to give anyone. This should be my New Year's resolution.

* I'm taking part in a winter fly tying swap with the members of Captain Mel's fly fishing forum. I'm tying white and red DT Specials with 1/0 Mustad's.

* I'm determined to fish more this year - who cares if I have to do it alone?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Fishing

I know that you're "supposed" to stay home on Christmas, spending time with your family. Last year, I went fishing on Christmas. Loaded up the family and was wading at the un-named City of St Petersburg Park at 78th Ave. By noon.

It was considerably warmer last Christmas with the water temperature holding at 70. After receiving a load of new gear for Christmas, I was dying to try out this stuff. I was wading, throwing an EP shrimp when 2 nice redfish swam leisurely right past me, so close I could see the typical "worried" look on their faces....but no takers.

Does anyone think that it's wrong to go fishing on Christmas?

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Dark Side

I've noticed a lot of debate recently about "going over to the dark side" of fishing....I'm thinking a good definition of this might read something like this:

To fish for species one might not be familiar with - i.e. to leave your comfort zone.

For instance, Rebecca wrote an article about going over to the dark side of bass fishing. I can certainly understand the fear or discomfort in leaving one's comfort zone. I've been there before. Before I was into saltwater fishing at all, I was an avid bass angler. I used to read everything I could get my hands on in regards to bass....where to find them, what lure to use, and what a cold front does to fish.

When my buddy Chad tried to get me into saltwater fishing, I wasn't interested. I had everything I needed with bass....But I have to admit that I was scared. I didn't know anything about the salt. Where to go, what to use, what species was what. The fear made me cling to my bass rods even harder....that is until the first time a 20 lb snook dragged me under a dock and broke me off. Then it was on. Surprisingly, saltwater fishing with lures is quite a bit like bass fishing, it's just that the fish are bigger, the gear is bigger and the lures are bigger.

It wasn't that far out of the norm for me - when I was a kid, we lived in upstate New York. There were so many different fishing seasons that you just adapted your gear to suit what you were fishing for. Ice fishing, salmon run, muskys and walleye season, pike season.

I had the same fears when my buddy Scott kept telling me about fly fishing. "No thanks" I said, but I kept running into cool articles in Florida Sportsman about saltwater fly fishing. I didn't know anything about the sport, so I read everything I could get my hands on in regards to gear....combing the Internet to find gear that I could actually afford. Once I had the information, I felt empowered.

After I taught myself to cast, it was suggested to me that I should tie my own flies. "No way" I exclaimed, "I can't do that"....Well. After watching a few fly tying videos, I started looking at the flies in my fly box and decided that I could tie anything that I had purchased.

Then, someone told me about bonefish. "Sorry dude, I can't afford a trip to Andros...besides, I know nothing about bonefish and they aren't in my area."

Then I discovered Long Key State Park and found out that it's one of the best bonefish flats in the state.

I have to say that I'm afraid of trout fishing in the streams with dry's, nymphs, and whatever else...I know nothing about it.

So the bottom line is....stop being afraid of the fishing that you don't know about. Learn about it, read about it, talk to someone who knows about it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Favorite Florida Keys Posts

For those of you who haven't been there, I'd like to share the fly fishers paradise known as the Florida Keys.

Here are some of my favorite posts about my experiences there.

If you've never been there and want to go - Check this out

Long Key Part One

Long Key Part Two

Long Key Part Three

Chad and the Barracuda

Blood Knot Magazine

I've been telling you about the brand new magazine I've been writing for. Well, after the launch date was pushed back a few times, I'm finally able to talk about it. Blood Knot Magazine is a little bit different than your average "How to" fly fishing e-zine that everyone else does. This is a compilation of irreverent stories and humorous content....sort of like Moldy Chum meets The Outdooress. Check them out and subscribe (I'm still trying to figure out how to subscribe). It's a bimonthly publication but the website will be updated regularly.

Look for my "Lessons in Ditch Fishing" piece if they put it back up.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas shopping for your fly fisher

What's on your holiday wish list this year?

I'm sure you have a fly fisher or outdoorsey person in your life who would enjoy some fly fishing materials, some hand tied flies, or a nice multi-tool as stocking stuffers.

I'm no different. I'm easy. Some things on my list this year would include;

* A new sun shirt

* fly tying materials

* Used games and Bluray movies for my new PS3, as well as any accessories that go with it.

I received a PS3 for my birthday and let me just tell you, this thing DOES do everything....and it's unbelievable on my HD TV.

I'm not expecting anything really. I'm quite happy with just spending time with my family....maybe I can pull off a fishing expedition on Christmas Day again this year.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Yowzer

The "Slab of the Millennium" on Moldy Chum today is quite impressive. The spieces is known as Hucho taimen and is found in northern Russia and China....Never heard of them!

This thing prefers rivers and flowing water.

All I can say is WOW! Hope you brought your 12 weight and good luck.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nervous Water Video

I got this from Midcurrent - This is a bit like the action we get around here. Winter is a great time to target redfish.

This excerpt from RA Beattie's first full-length video project, "Nervous Water" (Beattie Outdoor Productions, DVD, 180 minutes) captures some of the excitement of sight-casting to waking and finning redfish along the south Texas coast.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

McFluffchucker

Check out the blog A Matter of Life, Death and Fluff Chucking

This blog is written by McFluffchucker or Dave, a Scottish guy obsessed with pike and fly tying. This guy has boxes and boxes of flies he's tied - quite nice ones as well. He is also adamant about not fishing with spinning tackle or the use of treble hooks.

Hope you enjoy it!!!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Lost And Found and getting it back to normal


The past weekend was moving day....or as they say in the UK, moving house. I always dislike moving day as i tend to like staying in one spot. In the particular instance of this move, all of my things were in a nice compact storage unit, so packing was kept to a minimum. I didn't move any of my stuff last time since I was in the hospital, so I wasn't sure where or what I had or didn't have any longer. Things were in a disarray of unorganization....clothes mixed in with dishes, electronics mixed with Tupperware, DVD's and Playstation games intertwined as if everything was just thrown into boxes willy nilly without any regard for ever having to open them again. I had only been to the storage unit a few times since July for obvious reasons, so I was unaware of the level of mess associated.....ah but enough whining about Halcyon days, that's not what this post is meant to be about.

There are positive things attached to moving....it was like a giant time capsule....a Lost and Found of sorts.....a bit like me.

*I found my brand new 12 weight reel that I haven't even strung up with line or backing yet.

*Found the pile of broken gear.

*Found my 2 large fly boxes full of tarpon flies I had tied over the summer (hence the 12 weight).

*Found my spinning gear.

Another positive aspect of moving house is the opportunity to "douche" the system of unnecessary items and thing that weigh me down. I'm now smooth, streamlined, and "minimalist". No more 200 lb TV, no more ten ton furniture.

Everything is finding it's own place in my new digs, even though it's been a tough process....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Interview with Aaron Adams

For those of you who don't know of him, Aaron Adams is a fly fishing marine biologist.... or marine biologist who fly fishes. He also writes books, which I highly recommend.

Here is an excerpt of his formal bio from his website (I tend to like the informal one better though) -

"Aaron holds Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in marine and environmental science, in addition to a Captain’s license, and has studied marine fish ecology throughout his professional career. A life-long angler, Aaron had the great fortune of cutting his fly fishing teeth on the flats of the Virgin Islands, while working there as a fish biologist."

This gentleman flat out knows fish, knows fly tying, and I would advise you to read his books, articles, and anything else you can find if you're remotely interested in becoming a better saltwater fly fisher.

Aaron is also Executive Director of Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, where the Mission Statement is:
"We support education, conservation, and research to help understand, nurture, and enhance healthy bonefish, tarpon, and permit population.
We serve as a repository of information and knowledge related to the life cycle, behavior, and well being of the species.
We support research and the gathering of information related to the condition of these fisheries as well as their behavior and life cycles.We provide educational materials to fishermen and the public.
We work with regulatory authorities and the public to assure the passage and enforcement of laws protecting these species.
We interact with government agencies to assist in the management and regulations related to bonefish, tarpon, and permit".

Tarbone.org and Aaron Adams are also involved with the new Pirates of the Flats series on ESPN2, featuring Tom Brokaw and Michael Keaton.

Without further ado, Dr. Aaron Adams.....(APPLAUSE)

Q. I often wonder why snook don’t pay attention to any of the flies that I present to them under dock lights at night and often times on a flat .This is including all sorts of presentations to not spook the fish. They tend to just ignore, not spook. Is there a scientific explanation for this? Do they really only eat when they feel like it as opposed to when they see an opportunity like largemouth bass?

A. If I knew the answer to that one, I’d be rich! You might be surprised, but largemouth can be selective, too. There are a lot of reasons that a fish might not eat – whether a fly, lure, or bait. Weather, tidal stage, time of day, predators nearby, etc. Some of what I think are at the top of the list of why they might not eat are below. Sometimes the fish are keyed in on a specific prey, and don’t seem interested in anything else. This is probably a big reason for those snook under the lights at night. They are often focused on very small prey, so only small flies (size 6 or even 8) will do the trick. Other times, I;ve found these nightlight snook to be focused on larger prey like scaled sardines, and other times on shrimp. Sometimes it takes a few lights and multiple flies to find the right one for that night. Other times they seem to be aggressive toward anything that moves. I find this is most common at dawn and dusk and during fall, when they put on the feedbag some days as they get ready for the cool water temperatures of winter. Also, it takes hours for fish like snook to digest prey, so if you happen to fish for them in the few hours after they ate heavily, they might not be hungry. In Florida, I think a lot of the snook response to flies and lures (and even bait) is due to the fishing pressure. Whenever I see fish just ignore a fly or actively swim around it, my first thought is that they are pressured fish. If you have a chance to fish for snook in Central America or some of the Caribbean islands, where they see less angler pressure, they tend to be more aggressive to the fly. Same with largemouth – the fishing on an unpressured lake or river is 99% of the time going to be much better than in an area that receives fishing pressure. Same for trout, bonefish, etc. That’s one reason I think it’s so important for anglers to fish carefully and responsibly – spooking the fish by fishing poorly is just as likely to ‘educate’ the fish as actually catching them.

Q. When you have those days where the fish won’t cooperate, do you ever toss something off the wall just to see if it’ll interest them?

A. Of course. Although sometimes I’m accused of tying flies that are kind of like that anyway. My tying philosophy is to try to figure out characteristics of prey that cause a gamefish to try to eat them, and to incorporate those characteristics into my flies. On days when the fish are not in an eating mood, I go through my fly box and try flies that have different characteristics, whether it’s motion, color, profile, sound, or size. The fish have to think the fly is food, so even if we think the fly is ‘off the wall’, it has to represent something they think is worthwhile to pursue. You can read a lot more about my fly tying philosophy on my web site www.fishermanscoast.com.

Q. I’ve read your book Fly Fisherman’s Guide To Saltwater Prey, which I really like and refer to it often and I’m currently reading Fisherman’s Coast which I should have read a lot sooner. Any plans to write another book in the near future?

A. I’m happy to hear that you like the books. Fisherman’s Coast is temporarily out of print while I negotiate with the publisher on reprint rights, etc. I expect that will be resolved and a new printing will be out in early 2010. Saltwater Prey is still in stock, so should remain available for a while. I’ve had the pleasure of talking to many guides and anglers who have told me that the books changed the way they fished, which is fantastic. The goal of the books was to persuade saltwater anglers to start to think about their fishing more in the way that trout anglers have for countless years – more analytically and more from the fish’s perspective. That positive feedback has me working on a third book. That’s all I’ll say about it right now, it’s still in the early stages.

Q. Is there a fly fishing/ research dog?

A. Sadly, there used to be – Lucy. A chocolate lab. Her favorite was when I fished the beach for snook, or when we lived in the Virgin Islands when we walked the beaches fishing for any fish we could find (snappers, barracuda, jacks, bones). She died earlier this year, she was almost 14 years old.

Q. Have you ever researched what effect a hurricane or tropical storm has on the fisheries? If so, What were your findings? Do fish stay put or do they relocate?

A. Oh boy, that brings back memories. I’ve had three research projects interrupted by hurricanes – two in the Virgin Islands and one here in Charlotte Harbor (Charlie). The answer to your question – it depends. Small fish, like mosquitofish and killifish, as well as fish that are territorial, like a lot of coral reef fish, generally stay put. Their populations can take a hit from strong hurricanes, but they often bounce back quickly. One exception to the pattern of bouncing back was with some of the mangrove creek fish in upper Charlotte Harbor. It took those fish populations years to rebound, and I don’t think they are quite back to the numbers they were just before the hurricane. Larger fish like snook, reds, etc seem to head for deeper water. And colleagues working on sharks saw sharks leave the Caloosahatchee River the day before Charlie and return the day after. Remember, these coastal ecosystems have been through this thousands of times, and are able to respond. We (people) often don’t handle it so well. In the Caribbean, though the hurricanes can be devastating, the preparation and response by people is more even-keeled than we tend to see in Florida, probably because they’ve been through it so many times before. One final note – often, a week or so after a hurricane, the fishing can be out of sight. Typically, you don’t hear about it because everyone is concerned with more important things.

Q. Do you ever use the “Gurgler Technique” when fishing redfish in heavy grass?

A. This is the approach that I use most of the time in this situation. As a matter of fact, the gurgler is my favorite fly for redfish because it is so much fun. And in late summer and fall when the juvenile (finger) mullet are abundant, the gurgler is a perfect imitation. You can read more about my gurgler approach here: http://www.fishermanscoast.com/flies/topside.html

Q. Where is your all time favorite place to fish for yourself, no research involved?

A. It’s tough to choose just one place, but I’ll give it a shot. I’ll answer the question by species. For striped bass – the sand flats of Cape Cod. For bluefish, Cape Cod beaches in the fall. For bonefish, Bahamas, probably South Andros. For tarpon, hmmm…The Everglades for the backcountry aspect, Cuba for numbers. For permit, Belize. For snook, Belize, though I hear other parts of Central America are far better. For reds, right here.

Q. Tell us about www.tarbone.org – do anglers still keep bonefish and tarpon? What can we do to assist in preserving the fishery and the species?

A. Bonefish &Tarpon Trust, previously known as Bonefish & Tarpon Unlimited, was founded in 1998 by anglers, guides, and scientists in the Florida Keys concerned about apparent declines in the bonefish and tarpon fisheries. Their plan was to start a conservation program, but they soon learned that very little was known about the biology of bonefish, tarpon, and permit. Having an effective conservation or management plan isn’t possible without at least basic biology information on the fish. So the group became, and continues to be, a science-based conservation organization. BTT has created a framework that summarizes the status of knowledge for each species, as well as the top research and conservation needs, and then funds (or conducts) the necessary research. All funds are from memberships, donations, or grants from foundations.
The assumption is that bonefish, tarpon, and permit are in fine shape either because they are catch and release fisheries or because they are primarily recreational fisheries. But the truth is that there are problems. Based on anecdotal information from anglers who have fished the Keys for 40 years, there are 85% fewer bonefish in the Keys now than there used to be. Habitat loss and water quality declines are probably part of the problem. In other locations, harvest by netting is a problem. This occurs in many places in the Caribbean, including Belize, Cuba, Bahamas. In some places, bonefish abundance has declined significantly because of netting. Similarly, tarpon are harvested in many locations throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean. Since recent research has shown that tarpon migrate long distances (such as Florida Bay to Chesapeake Bay), our concern is that this is one large regional population, and heavy harvest in any location may be detrimental to the whole region. The keys to conserving these fisheries are: 1) learn enough about their biology to manage the fisheries; 2) push for conservation and restoration of their habitats; 3) to push for halting of netting in the places where it occurs, and for additional conservation measures; 4) use responsible catch and release practices; 5) fish responsibly and respect the habitats; 6) join BTT.
For permit, harvesting occurs throughout their range. Although the population should be able to handle reasonable harvest, no fisheries management agency has ever done a stock assessment of permit, so they have no idea what the population looks like and how it is (or might) respond to fishing pressure. Unfortunately, the fisheries management record is full of collapses of fisheries that came about because of a lack of information on the fishery. And since locations of permit spawning aggregations have been identified, we are concerned that harvest of these aggregations may be problematic (as has happened in the Caribbean for Nassau grouper and mutton snapper).
The real challenge is that BTT is being proactive in their research and conservation approach. If we wait until fisheries collapse before taking action, it may be too late. And just like proactive medicine, proactive conservation is much more effective and cheaper.


Thank you Mr Adams!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Black Friday Camping Trip at Hillsborough River






Went camping out at Hillsborough River State Park after Thanksgiving with Julie, Her son Chris and my dog Lacy. It was Lacy's first camping trip at a family campground. I've taken her backpacking with me before but this was a different experience for her. She loved it.

It was chilly (40) and good campfires were needed. We were snug in our new sleeping bags though. Thankfully, they zip together.

Got out the longstick and was chasing small bass with a purple and black bendback. Had a few chasers but no takers....and of course, hung up my favorite crease fly on a brush pile across the river.

We made a nice dinner one night consisting of steak on the campfire, shrimp kabobs, and potato salad and of course, the always popular S'mores.

Lacy did something really funny. After she ate, she scratched at the door of the tent, so I let her in. She laid down on the air mattress and went to sleep. It was so funny.

Also, the families with kids all left on Sunday, so we pretty much had the whole park to ourselves Sunday afternoon on.

It was a good trip and great finale for a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.

Things in the Big, Green Bin



I'm sort of a stickler about just taking what you need when camping. Then you'll understand my confusion about why there was a chessboard with no pieces and a package of vacuum bags (vacuum is at home)in the big green camping bin with the camp stove, the camp cooking utensils, and miscellaneous items.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving with the family







Had quite possibly the best Thanksgiving in memory with my family this year. Mom, Nana and Steve were here. Mom fixed a GREAT spread, and Lacy was a constant source of entertainment.

Did the Black Friday thing for the first time ever, standing in line at Target at 3:30am. Scored a great deal on a new TV and didn't spend too much on it. Now I no longer have to lug around the 200 lb behemoth.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fall Fly Pattern



This is a basic Double Bunny pattern. It can be used to imitate one of the most prevalent baitfish in salt water everywhere. The alien looking Toadfish Game fish love toadfish and this pattern is easy to tie. Bead chain eyes are an option to help get the fly down to the bottom. Toadfish like to hang around oyster bars and backwater estuaries and are a perfect bait for fall and winter gamefish. A slow darting presentation is essential to imitate a toadfish since they don't travel very far or fast to avoid predators.

It can also imitate a smallish shrimp or mullet.

I tie them size 1 to size 2/0.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Buddy Chad - Punching Bag For The Great Baracudda


Several years ago, my buddy Chad (he's deceased now) and I went to the Keys for a week of fishing. 5 whole days of being in the boat, on the water from first light and returning to the dock just before dark. Of course there were a few nights of fishing in the marina at the motel that we stayed at, but most nights were spent sleeping and tending to sun drenched skin. The middle of June in the Florida Keys can be quite sweltering, especially when spent in a 14 ft Carolina Skiff. Staying in Marathon has it's advantages when on a trip like this....being pretty much right in the middle of the island chain, we could go just about anywhere.

We had spent the previous 2 days chasing tarpon in Vaca Cut, catching yellow tails on the deeper flats and combing some backwater areas, sight fishing redfish on the Gulf side....but Chad had an idea for day 3.

We had left early (5am) to make it to the ramp past 7 Mile Bridge to launch the boat. The seas were utterly flat calm, like glass, as they say, when we passed under the bridge, the rosy colored horizon giving us just enough light to navigate. I asked Chad "Where are we going?" to which he grunted something I couldn't hear but mentioned something about "going offshore"....Offshore? In a 14 foot Skiff?

We stopped to catch some bait on the way....8 inch Blue Runners, and some sort of choice white bait that I've forgotten. Now, I have to state that before I realized the joys of tossing feathers and bucktail, I used to chuck 2 oz sinkers, live bait, and Bomber A's attached to 25 lb test mono and broomstick sized Ugly Stiks with a big Penn spinning reel. We had all of the big guns out on this trip.

We went far enough out where we could still see the shore in the distance....maybe out a mile and a half or so. We anchored and Chad strapped on a mask and fins and dove over the side to check if anyone was home on the reef 30 feet below. He surfaced an said "This is the place"....Grouper and Snapper we in the rocks below.

Before long, we had a few smaller snapper and a few Red Grouper....as well as some HUGE barracuda. They showed up like we had rang the dinner bell and hung around the skiff like a half dozen wild dogs. They were smart buggers. They wouldn't take the smaller fish as it was cranked up from the bottom. They would wait until you'd take it of the hook, and just hammer it as it swan back down.

I decided to try to catch one of these toothy predators, connecting a pre-made 80 lb wire leader with a snap swivel on the business end, 3/0 hook and one of the choice white baits....toss and WHAM! off to the races with a 4 ft torpedo. It was doing the "porpoise" thing where it was rocketing out of the water every 20 ft or so and then the line went slack. Upon review, the steel leader was bitten through! 80 lb steel leader bitten through!

While this was going on, Chad was trying to build a 100 lb steel leader and put a hook through his finger. almost all the way through, past the barb. He was trying to get it out , without success. After a while, He said "pull 'em in...I've gotta get this thing removed at the hospital". I was reeling in his gigantic Penn, You know, like the one Quint used in the movie Jaws? It had a blue runner on it and when it arrived at the boat, I could see there was a half a blue runner left on the hook. I mentioned something about that, and just as he looked over at it, a 6 foot reef shark did the eye roll and took off with it....reel screaming as the shark blasted off, with the half bait, bird nesting the reel.....and broke off.

At that point, Chad had reached his limit with the hook, Manned up, bared down, and ripped it out, wrapped it and stated, "we're not goin' anywhere". He made sure that he used pliers to finish the leader he had been building. Lining up a 'cuda, he looks over and says, "this is how you do it".

The hooked barracuda flew off just like mine had, but this one had something else in mind, turning toward the skiff, leaping every 15-20 feet. When it was close enough, traveling at top speed, it blasted out of the water and clobbered Chad right in the jaw, momentum carrying it over his head and back in the water.....

When he woke up a few minutes later in the bottom of the skiff, Chad asked me, "Dude, why did you hit me?"

Yes, nothing quite like being a punching bag for a Great Barracuda.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

In recognition of Suicide Survivors Day

My Reflection of Personal Growth and Death of a Failed Relationship

In recognition of Suicide Survivors Day - For both me...and my family who experienced this rough time along with me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Any Takers for Florida Keys Trip?


Ok...I have this crazy idea.

As was mentioned a few posts back, Julie and I booked a trip to Long Key State Park in the Florida Keys for April 11th-16th 2010. This is prime time for bonefish in the Keys and quite possibly one of the best bonefish flats in the US. Plus the campsites are right on the water and literally steps away from your tent door....plus, it's probably the most inexpensive place to stay in the Keys, as it were, if that interests you. You can camp there for the entire 6 days for under $200.00.

Anyway, back to my crazy idea.

I think it would be cool to get folks together and do this on an annual basis. Bonefishing in the Keys with my favorite bloggers and readers....

If anyone is interested is going, book your campsite now....they go fast and the best time to book a trip there is as far in advance as you can. If you need us to, we can pick you up at Key West Airport.

We'll be in campsite 2. Let me know if you're going to be there.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Dog Lacy Part II




It seems that my dog Lacy's post is getting as much run as the Fly Fish Chick interview. Tons of e-mails and questions from her new fans keep coming in so I'm going to answer them for you.

Lacy is an American Foxhound


Her favorite thing to eat besides her dog food is rotisserie chicken.

She knows to stay out of the kitchen, but will get food off the counter if no one is looking.

She is a great hunter of rabbits, and will chase them until she's ready to drop.

She talks to me. We have conversations about dog food and cookies and which dog park she likes and why.

She snores.

I have to wake her up and get her going in the morning.

She has never, ever woke me up when sleeping in.

She likes to swim but won't go in the pool.

She has never torn up anything in the house - except once - when she redecorated the house with the contents of the trash can.

Her boyfriend is Bailey, Julie's Golden Retriever.

She looks like a Beagle, but weighs in at 65 lbs where a Beagle tops out at 30 lbs.

I hope this answers your questions.....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The "Gear" Guy


I'm sure that we're acquainted with a "Gear" guy....you know the type - the guy with all of the new gear/bag/stripping basket/rod/reel/hat/high tech clothing....and he isn't afraid to talk about it.

What I find funny about the Gear Guy is, none of his gear help him get on fish any better than me or you. It's not as if the gear is a fish attractor....because, as my friend Scott likes to say, "The fish haven't read "In Fisherman" yet this month".

That's me in the photo, and I'm pretty geared up because we were quite a ways from the car and we were walking a fairly long stretch of beach.

I can remember being Gear Guy. When I used to bass fish, I'd always drag out 3 HUGE tackle boxes, and 4 rods just to hit a golf course pond. I can distinctly remember being out fished by my buddy one day, me with all of my gear and he with a Wal-Mart spinning rig and a few bags of plastic worms.

I usually don't carry all that much gear with me when I fish unless it's "expedition" style fishing....or I'm REALLY far from home. 90 percent of my gear isn't name brand gear and most of it isn't fishing gear at all, rather other gear "converted" into fly fishing gear. I'm not trashing anyone outfitted head to toe, I'm just saying that it doesn't work for me. I'm not going to list everything I take, I'm just mentioning the fact that I'm a minimalist of sorts.

Ken Morrow can be a gear guy too, but he uses everything....(just kidding Ken)

Take for instance, the gear guy at Long Key State Park. There were several of them sighted on this particular trip, but the guy I'm speaking of was a Gear God on a scale of gear-guy-ness. This guy looked like he just walked out of a fly shop that day, knocked off all the price tags, and started fishing....new wading shoes not even sandy yet. I was wading back to the campsite as the tide was almost gone, tired, spent and thirsty....my two 32 oz Nalgenes empty, I see this guy walking along the shore, and says to me "I can't see anything to cast at" to which I responded "you just have to wade and blind cast", opened up my fly box and gave him a few hot pink Sweet Ernies I had tied that morning...and he just sort of wandered off down the beach. It was necessary to blind cast because the 30 mph wind made it so. I couldn't see anything and I was getting hit.

Just like "softball guy", People of Wal-Mart and the always popular "boat guy", Gear Guy will always make me chuckle a bit.....

Time for Trout


I know, I know....You're thinking that I've gone over to the trout streams and 4-5 weight gear...right?

Nope!

Due to the fact that there still isn't a brown trout to be found in Florida, I have to stick with the trout that I know....Spotted Sea Trout.

Fall is here which means the bite will pick up for savvy anglers targeting these pretty members of the drum family.

The largest one I've caught was 42 inches long and quite a monster. It ate a beat up, hammered and shredded shrimp (the pinfish had got to it so the only thing remaining was a shell and a head)that I used because the bait was gone and we had just found a ten feet deep hole in the middle of a field of 12 inch deep oyster beds....between Christmas and New Years.

Fly selection should include shrimp imitations, finger mullet and the always popular white grunt patterns fished near grass beds, oyster bars and, at night, around dock lights.

Hoping to get after some trout this weekend.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Interview with the Fly Fish Chick

You've seen her on various blog rolls, and websites. You've seen her photos and read her articles and seen her on Facebook and Twitter and The Drake Film Tour... My next guest, please welcome....the Fly Fish Chick! (Cue Late Night Music and Applause)



BBC: Did you have any experience fly fishing before you waltzed into that fly shop in the mid 90's?

FFC: Actually I had one prior flyfishing experience. I was about fourteen years old and my family was on vacation in Aspen in June. My dad decided to take me fly-fishing for the day so we found a guide and rented gear. I just remember some stoned kid handing me neoprene waders through this little window in a door on the side of the shop. He was so out of it, he'd probably been handing out ski boots all winter, he didn’t know which way was up.

Of course looking back I realize it was probably runoff and there were no fishable rivers. So the guide took us to some teeny pond -- today I could easily cast to the other side of that pond and I'm not at all being braggadocios when I say that. And it was miserable dreary weather. We stood in the cold pounding rain for hours casting in one spot over and over while the guide sat in his truck and drank coffee. We caught zero fish.


BBC: Since you take an occasional foray into saltwater and I've never fly fished a stream, what would you say is the biggest difference in the two besides the gear?

FFC: It’s Kalik versus Fat Tire; Muscle versus Finesse. Throwing big crab patterns and spoon flies all day long on 8, 10 or 12 weight rods in the wind just takes more muscle literally and figuratively. Not to take away from trout fishing. There is a certain finesse required on a trout stream that can actually be more taxing. Even though I am more exhausted physically after a day of saltwater fishing I feel less pressure, it really feels like vacation.


BBC: Any particular reason that you don't tie flies?

FFC: Time. I simply haven’t taken the time to learn. I am stretched so thin these days but it’s on the horizon. I would love to catch a Missouri River trout on a pattern I tie.


BBC: Do you carry an Ipod in your waders when out on a stream? What would you be playing if you did?

FFC: No ipod while wading. But I am wholly unafraid to take the ipod speakers on my boat on the Missouri in Montana under the right circumstances. Have had some great evening floats catching fish to Willie Nelson, BB King, Marc Broussard, even a little disco dancing in the boat to Michael Jackson when the fish weren’t eating despite a huge caddis hatch.


BBC: Can you tell me about Team Paddlefish and how you're training for the race?

FFC: I really appreciate you asking! I am training for a 262-mile canoe race called The Texas Water Safari in order to raise funds and awareness for a rare disease called Rett Syndrome. My paddling partner and I call ourselves Team Paddlefish. I am also working on a book about the whole year-long endeavor with Departure Publishing. It’s really exciting and a ton of work. Writing, editing, fundraising, paddling – Team Paddlefish has become a fulltime job and I love it.

Right now we are paddling 7-10 mile runs one–to-two times weekly. I am doing Pilates to strengthen my back and core. Weights for my arms. And walking/running for cardio. I loathe running, I can barely run one pitiful mile. But I am trying as hard as I can. I am also working with a nutritionist eating a lean organic diet (most of the time, ahem.) Trying to stay gluten-free, sugar-free, mostly vegan. I seem to be week-on, week-off in terms of my nutrition, but I am determined to lose weight and get strong.

We need all the cheerleaders we can get!! I humbly but enthusiastically encourage anyone & everyone to check out our website Teampaddlefish.org and/or follow our journey on Facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/Team-Paddlefish/110098016064?ref=ts


BBC: What sort of gear do you use? Any companies you'd like to give a shout out to?

FFC: For sure! I am having a mad love affair with my Scott G2 trout rods, I have a 5 and a 6 weight. For nostalgia I still adore my old Winston Joan Wulff 5 weight. And I feel pretty sassy with my sexy new Hatch 8-wt reel.


BBC: Is there a Fly Fish Dog?

FFC: There used to be, well sort of. I had a basset hound named Gus for ten years, but he passed away last year. He never went fishing with me, but he was my first baby and a real charmer.


BBC: A lot of women "marry in", if you will, to fly fishing and only do it because their significant other is into it. (I can only think of 4 women offhand who really dig it) Why are you different?

FFC: Technically, I’m not. My parents were really into flyfishing. And my ex-husband was also into flyfishing. So all of our family vacations were fishing vacations. I loved it. But after my divorce I really put the hammer down and got into fishing big time on my own. I’ve learned so much in the past five years.


BBC: There is a big difference in women's backpacking gear because women are built different of course. Have you tried any of the fly gear made for women and is there a difference?

FFC: They are finally starting to get it right. It used to be a “woman’s” flyfishing shirt was nothing more than a man’s shirt with a pink hibiscus pattern. Awful. Or they created really outdated “womens” outdoor clothing that was reminiscent of something Karen Blixen wore in Out Of Africa. Finally, now they are producing womens fishing/outdoor clothing that more closely resembles current fashion trends and active lifestyles. Some hip colors, stretchy modern fabrics and realistic feminine shapes. Thank heavens!! I am a real Cloudveil bunny. Love their stuff.

BBC: What is your favorite fly fishing blog to read every day?

FFC: Oh, please don’t throw me in that briar patch! There are too many good ones, would hate to leave anyone out. A Bad Backcast, Trout Underground, Buster Wants To Fish, Fishing Jones, Missouri River Fishing Blog, Michael Gracie, Deneki, Moldy Chum. Blanco Honky is consistently funny. And Chi Wulff is consistently solid with excellent river reports.

BBC: Any way we can entice you and The Professor down to the Keys for a few days of camping and bonefishing in the spring?

FFC: Uh…hmm…let me see…YES! Sounds like a gas. Send details.

BBC: Thanks for your time!

FFC: Thank you! This was fun, thanks for the good questions and don’t be a stranger. Cheers!

There you have it folks....The Fly Fish Chick!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mo' Better Things


I'm just overflowing with ideas for the blog as of late. Got a new writing gig that will be launched soon and have been meeting a lot of new folks who are excited about the outdoors and writing as well. Am also loving Twitter. There are a gaggle people from different walks of life who are very interesting tweeting and some of them actually pay attention to my tweets.

I know I promised big things this week, but I had an interview scheduled that I haven't got back yet among other things. I'll let you know about the new writing gig as soon as I get the go ahead.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Dog Lacy











Julie is already pretty high up in my book of favorite people, but she reached a new level of awesomeness today when she took my dog Lacy to her place of employment and gave her "the treatment". She's such a good woman!

Lacy is a 6 year old American Foxhound that I adopted 2 years ago from the Humane Society. I can't figure for the life of my why anyone would even think of getting rid of her...she is such a good tempered and well behaved dog.

I don't know about you, but my dog is like my child. I wouldn't get rid of her just as I'm sure you wouldn't get rid of your kids.

Here are some photos of her day at the doggie spa and her triumphant ride back to Julie's. Before and after photos. See how she's smiling? I'm told she REALLY liked the chicken flavored toothpaste....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Teva's



Yes!

A bit like the old school Run DMC song "My Addidas", I was lost when I found out that I left my Teva Dozers at home on our most recent camping trip. I was reduced to buying a pair of flip flops (Ewww)at Wal-Mart. I have always disliked flip flops, and this past weekends experience only solidified my belief that flip flops suck.


These Teva Dozers are probably the most comfortable shoe I've ever worn. They're good for light weight hiking, going to the beach, or wading the flats. They hold up well on oyster bars too. The last pair of hybrids I used for that (Ocean Pacific) were sliced to shreds after a few times over the oyster beds. The Teva's seem to be impervious to slicing.



Check them out here

Thursday, November 5, 2009

So much gear, so little time


Have you ever noticed, when packing for a normal camping trip to a state park (normal camping trip meaning big tent, drive up campsite, water and electric), why do we pack so much?

Now I know that there are limits to how much one can carry in a backpack, so packing light is a necessity. On the other hand, why can't we pack the same way when going to a drive up campsite?

I have to say, I've become better at it, but still find myself with a packed and stacked vehicle. The only things that I bring that are different from backpacking would be a bigger tent, a large air mattress and pump, and regular food. Why does this tend to take up so much more room?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Fly Fish Chick

I'm sure you all know about Austin Texas' very own The Fly Fish Chick blog....but just wanna take this opportunity to say how much I like reading her site. She's a very good writer and quite an adventurous person. Check her out! You all know I don't recommend rubbish (unless I'm writing it). Now if I can just convince her and the Proffesor to hit the Keys in the spring during the bonefish run....just leave the IPOD at home please.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Orvis Photo "Contest"

In case you haven't heard, Orvis is having a photo contest. The winner gets either a Helios rig or a $1,000 Orvis gift card PLUS your winning photo will adorn the cover of the 2010 Orvis Catalog. Pretty cool eh?

Be warned though - in order to vote for your favorite photo (mine of course), you'll have to donate to "Save our Rivers". So whomever has the most money errrrr votes, wins.

You can check out the contest here - http://orvis.com/fishphoto

Mine is titled "What should I Tie On". I'm presently accepting donations in order to vote for myself....

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Redfish at Weedon Island





Went for a hike with Julie at Weedon Island over the weekend. It was more of a scouting/photo trip than fishing expedition so of course we saw a lot of activity. Redfish were making big humps in the shallows, foraging for food and were mixed in with some rather large mullet in the calm water. There were loud crashes back in the 'groves out of site, but can only imagine snook chasing bait. Black Mangrove Fiddler crabs were in large numbers along the branches, so a dark colored crab pattern would have been good me thinks.

Of course, i didn't take one iota of fishing gear with me. If I had, we wouldn't have seen anything.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Clearwater Jazz Holiday Part 2

One of the perks for working for the city is, i always am able to score VIP passes to the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, which is my favorite live music event of the year. i wasn't able to attend last years festivities because we went camping instead....and believe it or not, i'm sure i would had more fun at the jazz holiday.

There was a different feel to this years festival. At past festivals, the food in the hospitality area was provided by Hooters or Island Way Grill and was always yummy. This year, the food was catered by Rumba, which is a good place to eat, but the food provided sort of reminded me of a standard wedding reception. The underlying theme of the event as a whole felt like "Well, times are tough...." At every break between bands was the organizers literally begging for money in order to "keep jazz free", there were folks walking around selling beads and "blinkies" for $5 and they were raffling off things every chance.

The people in the VIP section are normally well behaved people, which is one reason that i love this event. This year, there were more problematic drunk people than i can remember from past festivals....and even overheard someone in the food tent state to one of the workers " we just want the free stuff"....another example of the "Well...times are tough" theme. I also lost more hope in humanity with the abundance of litter blowing around the VIP seating....it was only a product of people who don't want to clean up after themselves because, as i heard it said "we're VIP's".

i had passes for both Friday and Saturday but made other plans last minute on Friday. i gave the Friday night passes to my mom and brother and they really had a good time besides the deluge they experienced at the end of Chris Botti's set. My brother and i went Saturday night. It was chilly and windy and it wouldn't have been a good night to bring out the fly fishing gear.

Overall, it's still a nice event and i look forward to next years festival.... The powers that be just need to police the hospitality area a bit better.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Clearwater Jazz Holiday

I'll be at the always illustrious Clearwater Jazz Holiday Friday and Saturday....this is one of my favorite events and always a good time. Look for me in the hospitality area. This years featured can't miss acts are Chris Botti on Friday and the always entertaining Boney James on Saturday. These aren't the only artists so get there early to see Brian Bromberg on Sunday afternoon. You might want to bring an 8 weight because Coachman Park is right on the water.

Camping trip and fall gorge fest

Ok folks!

After much editing of the blog and an exceptional absence, I'm proud to announce an upcoming camping trip the first weekend in November that will get this blog rocking again. Even though it's only out to Hillsborough River State Park (to which I've been countless times), the chance to get out into the woods and build campfires and possibly fish the river for bass is almost too much for me to contain! I'm hoping to get the camera sorted before then as to have some new images to add.

I'm also itching to get out on the flats because the fall gorge fest that the reds and snook take part in before winter. As soon as the water temp drops, I'm hoping to hit a few ambush points along the mangroves with some new flies I've tied....the small pinfish imitations and toad fish look alikes should work fine.

Got a new Pflueger 12 weight reel from wflies a while back and never got to try it out before the end of tarpon season. It's very well built and I'll be pairing it with a Wild Waters 12 weight rod. These are really nicely made 4 piece 9 foot rods. Google them and see what you're missing out on.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How To - Saltwater Fly Fishing for Beginners

I'm sure that none of you need to read this, but I'll post it anyway.

Is there really a difference?

So you've always wanted to fly fish in saltwater? Not just going after little weenie brook trout like they do up north, but honest to goodness big game saltwater fly fishing. You've mastered all of tactics needed to be a successful saltwater fisherman with spinning gear and you need a new challenge? This is a basic guide that will have you chucking fluff in no time.I distinctly remember wanting to get into the sport of saltwater fly fishing and not really knowing where to start. I combed the web looking at gear, watching videos and was amazed at how different fly fishing is compared to plying the brine with a spinning rod and reel. The first thing that I noticed was that there seemed to be a new language associated with anything fly fishing related. That's where we'll start this basic guide.

The Jargon
Here is some basic terminology that you'll need to understand before you start :

Weight -

Fly rods, fly reels and fly line is categorized by "weight". They go from 1 weight up to around 15 weight or so. The lower the number, the lighter the action and smaller fish you'll need to target.A good starting set up to use for saltwater applications targeting bonefish, redfish and snook would be nothing lighter than an 8 weight. This is subject for debate of course. I know folks who like to use 6 and 7 weight rigs in saltwater but you're going to need to be quite proficient in being able to land a large fish with a lighter rod, smaller reel and shorter line. For big game fish like tarpon or cobia, you probably want to use a 11 weight or higher to be able to deal with these bruisers. Of course, a larger weight means heavier rod, and larger reel adding to the weight of what you'll be holding. If you're not used to using a rig like this, you can wear yourself out in a hurry. A recommended place to start would be a 9 foot, 4 piece rod.

Backing -

Backing is line either gel spun or braided line that attaches from the reel to the fly line. The length varies by how much line the reel can hold. Most saltwater set ups should have 100 yards of backing and 200 yards for large, fast running fish.Backing can serve two purposes. One is to create a larger diameter spooling surface that allows the fly line to fill the entire fly reel. The other is to provide additional line for fighting heavy or hard fighting fish. A fast running or hard fighting fish may take line from the reel and get "into the backing". You can cheat and add backing capacity by using braided line such as power pro in a 20 lb test range. This tactic can add a longer length of backing without using a larger reel.

Fly Line-

This is what the angler uses to cast the fly. Usually made of plastic or composite, this gives the angler the ability to "load the rod" and present the fly to the fish. A good product for a beginning fly caster would be a "weight forward" line which is slightly heavier and thicker the first 30-40 yards of line out of the rod tip. This makes it easier to load the rod and can assist the newbie with tighter loops and higher line speed. There are floating lines, sink tip lines and sinking lines. A typical abbreviation in the fly fishing industry will look like this - WF8F which stands for "Weight Forward -8Weight - Floating."

Leader-

A leader is a length of monofilament line or fluorocarbon material that attaches the fly line to the fly so that the gamefish cannot see the fly line. Leader lengths are typically 9-10 ft long for salt water but longer leaders can be used in clear water conditions. A standard saltwater leader would be constructed like this - 4 foot butt section (the piece attached to the fly line) of 30 lb test - 3 foot section of 20 lb test - 3 foot section of 15 lb test.

Tippet-

This is a short section from the leader to to the fly usually made of heavy monofilament, fluorocarbon or wire material. For large gamefish with sharp gill plates, a standard tippet would be 10 inches long and be made of 30 - 40 lb test. For fish such as barracuda, a strong wire tippet made of 80-100 lb test is desired.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

On to the next thing

Hello folks,

Sorry that i haven't written very much here over the last month or so but, life changing events have occurred and, i feel the need to write about things other than fly fishing. i still love fly fishing, and i'm sure that i'll write about it from time to time, but it looks like i probably won't be writing here very often. If you'd still like to read my stuff, feel free to follow me at Hub Pages or Triond. i've really appreciated your feedback and thank you all for helping motivate me to write everyday.

You can read me here - http://hubpages.com/profile/Rob+Dee

Again, Thank you for being a part of my blog!

Rob

Friday, July 31, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

And the winner of my flybox is....

E.O. Carp!

Get ahold of me via e-mail and I'll ship it off next week.

Rob

Friday, July 24, 2009

Hub Pages

Here is another blogging site that i recently became a member of. It's a good way to get your articles read by a lot of people.

Check me out!

http://hubpages.com/profile/Rob+Dee

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fishing Jones

I'm sure that you folks are familiar with Pete over at Fishing Jones but check him out if you don't. He has great photos and a blog list like no other.

I'm feeling better. Thanks for all of the kind words and get well wishes.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Win My Fly Box


......well.....not really MY fly box......but one just like it.....and yes, it will be stuffed full of saltwater flies tied by yours truly. Deceivers, DT Specials, beadchain eye clousers, bonefish flies, tarpon flies, Greenie flies, majoras and a Bill Jackson's foam lined fly box adorned with your choice of a snook, redfish, bonefish or tarpon could be yours!

All you'll have to do is write a comment on this post advising me how to get off the snide. Much like a hockey player going through a goalless stretch, a baseball player who can't buy a hit, or a golfer who can't seem to find the fairway, i need to know from you the best "slumpbusting" techniques to employ to get out of my fishless streak. And eating sushi before you go doesn't work. All that got me yesterday was a redfish that couldn't seem to get a mouth on my crease fly if i fed it to him. Leave a way to contact you so i can send it to the winner.

So on the count of 3, start writing.....

Ready!? 1......2.......3!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Recent Tarpon Flies


Just a few tarpon flies i've been working on....not that i've had a lot of time recently.....All hooks are Owner.











This is a Black Death Keys style 3/0

















Red Death Keys style 3/0


















Diana Rudolph style mullet toad 3/0

















Location X floaty fly 3/0
















Purple and white toad 3/0

















Olive and black Bunny Deceiver 3/0

Let me know if you like 'em.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tarpon Migration Video

Via Midcurrent can be found here thanks to the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust - has some cool music with it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Saltwater Leaders


There is often a lot of debate among saltwater fly fishers when it comes to leaders and how to construct a good connection between your fly line and your fly. Of course choosing a leader depends on what species you're targeting, water depth and clarity.

Most folks say that using a 4 section system is the best way to help your fly turn over however, i have found it unnecessary to use 4 sections.....i've whittled it down to 2 sections and sometimes even one...."get out and practice" is what i say.

Most of the time, i'll use a 9 foot leader made of either Triplefish or Trilene Big Game or a shorter 6 foot leader if the conditions are windy. i don't like fluorocarbon because it tends to drag the fly down too fast even though it's quite a bit tougher than regular monofiliment. One rule of thumb to follow.....be sure to use the same brand of lines when putting together a leader.....the sections tend to hold together better and greatly reduces the chance of slippage.

When targeting redfish in the backcountry or on the flats, i'll use a 9 foot single strand of 25 lb Trilene Big Game. If there are oyster bars present, i might bump it up to 30 lb of the same material.

If going for snook anywhere, i'll employ a 7 foot section of the 25 lb Big Game and a 2 foot section of 30 lb for a bite tippet to defend against the razor sharp gill rakers that snook like to use against unsuspecting anglers.

For bonefish on the clear flats in the Keys, i prefer a 4 foot section of 25 lb Big Game and a 5 foot section of 10 lb Big Game. These fish can be quite spooky hence the need for a lighter leader, but you can't use material that's too light because they can break you off on a coral head or mangrove prop root.

Barracuda require a 6 or 8 inch section of wire bite tippet. For this, i prefer Surflon Micro Ultra nylon coated knottable stainless leader wire. These saltwater snotrockets are seldom leader shy and their sharp teeth make wire necessary when targeting this fierce predator.

There are many options and preferences when it comes to saltwater leader systems and it's best to use what works for you. One thing that we can agree on 100%....there is no need for a 1 lb tippet that you might use in a trout stream.....these are tough fish that require tough leader material and sound knots if you hope to land any of the saltwater game fish that inhabit the tropics.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New fishing licence goes into effect August 1st

From the Tampa Tribune -

TAMPA - Come Aug. 1, there's no more free fishing. Not for most people, anyway.
Florida residents fishing from the shore, bridge, pier or other structure will need to purchase a $7.50 license, unless they already have a regular saltwater fishing license.
The new license covers only Florida anglers fishing from shore. The regular saltwater license covers an angler no matter where in Florida they fish.
While the state has always required non-residents to have a license when fishing from shore, Florida residents could fish for free.
The new shoreline license, which goes on sale July 15, provides all the same exemptions as a regular license, including senior citizen, children, disabled people who meet certain qualifications, active-duty military personnel home on leave and anglers who fish from a commercially licensed pier.
There are a couple of exemptions. Anyone who is a food stamp recipient, on temporary cash assistance or on Medicaid or anglers fishing in their home counties using cane poles or gear that doesn't require mechanical retrieval are exempt.
The Florida Legislature approved the new shoreline license to head off a more expensive federal license that goes into effect in January 2010. The federal license will cost $15-$25.

Photo blog....

Ridiculous, good, unique outdoor photos from Finland can be viewed here

Awesome photos Simon!

ICAST sold out for 8th straight




Found this over at Angling Trade Magazine

"For the first time in more than 10 years, the world’s largest sportfishing trade show will head to Orlando, Fla., located in the heart of the powerful Southeastern sportfishing market. From July 15-17, the global sportfishing industry will converge on the Orange County Convention Center for the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades, better known as ICAST. Produced by the American Sportfishing Association(ASA), the sportfishing industry’s trade association, ICAST represents the cornerstone of the sportfishing industry, helping to drive sportfishing companies’ product sales year round."

Which is really cool if you're a member of the media or a buyer for a large corporation.....or Ken.

But at the bottom of the page, you'll see ICAST is a trade-only event and is not open to the public.

It's a great event....it's just too bad that most of us will never get to see it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Interview with Captain Pat Damico



For those of you who don't know of him, Captain Pat Damico is one of the Tampa Bay Area's top saltwater fly fishing guides (not to worry, he uses spinning gear too), a great fly tier, and patient teacher of fly casting. Captain Pat is also very involved in Project Healing Waters which is an organization that helps disabled veterans learn how to cast and tie flies. Plus, if he agreed to an interview with me, that makes him so much more gracious in my book.

Captain Pat has been in the Tampa Bay Area for a while and knows the flats and fish well. He has written articles on a regular basis and is a frequent contributor to Captain Mel Berman's online fishing magazine, Fly Fishing in Saltwaters, The Fly Bench, and Full Creel's saltwater moderator. He's also a Federation of Fly Fishers certified casting instructor.

Check out his site....read his articles....go out on a charter!

http://captpat.com/index.html

Without further ado....

RD-After fly fishing and casting for as long as you have, what starter fly rod/reel combo would you recommend to someone buying gear for the first time? Good to buy a combo?

PD - Most companies make combo's that are cost effective. More importantly, get one at a fly shop that can help you through your learning process. Fly fishing clubs have swaps where very good equipment can be purchased often half of retail. Use the fly club's equipment until you have a feel for what you want. SA, Cortland, Redington, are all good. I lean toward TFO for very reasonably priced gear with a lifetime guarantee.

RD - As a newbie hack fly tier, I found your fly tying videos on Fishbuzz TV to be quite informative. Any plans on doing any more of those?

PD - We have talked about more videos. I wanted them to be more about helpful hints than on tying a specific pattern.

RD - As you show simplified ways of doing things in regards to tying on those videos, do you also simplify things when giving casting instruction?

PD-Yes, I pursued my Federation of Fly Fishers casting certification because I felt that much of the information in books, videos and demonstrations did not separate substance, what is really necessary, from style, the individuals own technique. I have learned and continue to learn more about casting from other certified instructors. If you use a certified instructor, you will find we all follow the same principles developed by the leaders in our sport. It is important to teach in a non threatening environment. Students must be committed to practice!

RD-I’ve heard about some of your casting clinics and I need to attend one. Are there any scheduled in the near future?

PD - I give individual instruction, but I have a class scheduled with the Suncoast Fly Fishers club at Ft. DeSoto park Aug. 1. This is free to all club members and includes lunch. Another good reason to join a club. If you go on the FFF website, local clubs and contact information is provided.

RD-I know that bonefish aren’t located in the Tampa Bay Area but do you have a “go to” pattern that you might share when you’re after bones? (my “secret weapon” bonefish fly is a Sweet Ernie - http://www.flyfishinsalt.com/techniques/fly-tying-bench/the-sweet-ernie-1000070702.html that worked wonders at Long Key when I was down there in April)

PD - A Gotcha in various sizes, and weights would be mine.

RD- You pointed me towards Aaron Adams website where I found the always valuable book “Fly Fisherman’s Guide To Saltwater Prey” (this is an awesome book that every saltwater fly fisherman should have on hand). Is his previous book “Fisherman’s Coast” required to get the most out of “Saltwater Prey”?

PD-I read Fisherman's Coast three times and constantly use it as a reference. One of the best books for the saltwater fly fisherman.

RD-Any tips on fly fishing photography?

PD-I am still learning. Many expo's and fly shows have a session available on this subject. With digital cameras, take a lot of different pictures then download them at home for your review. If you know a wildlife photographer, they are usually a great source of information.

RD- Do you have a favorite time of year and target species that you like to fish?

PD- Baby tarpon and snook during the summer. Redfish in shallow water during the winter. I love freshwater trout also.

RD- You’re quite involved with Project Healing Waters – can you tell me a bit about that and how a hack fly caster like me might be able to help?

PD - Check out their website www.projecthealingwaters.org. Over 70 programs are active. We are devoted to helping physically and emotionally disabled veterans through fly tying, fly casting, and fly fishing trips. It is one of the best programs available for those interested in fly fishing. Fly fishers and tiers at any level are welcome as volunteers. You will learn a great deal and really see what this sport can accomplish. Area coordinators are listed and will welcome your interest.

RD- Got a good fishing story for us? Could be anything….

PD- I remember the first trout, a brookie, that I caught on a fly that I tied. I was ten. Last week I watched my grandson Jonathan, age 9, catch and land several rainbow and brown trout on flies, wooly buggers, that he tied, one of which was over two pounds. This was in PA where I grew up fishing with my dad and friends. It doesn't get any better than this!

RD- And finally, after having huge problems making spoon flies for a buddy in Texas (I ultimately failed) any suggestions on how to make the pattern and cut out the holographic tape for #4 spoon flies?

PD- FlaBob that posts on capmel's website has the most tier friendly pattern that I have seen. They are not easy!

Thanks Captain Pat!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Favorite Spots



i'm sure i'm not alone when i talk about favorite spots to do things that i love. Everyone has one whether its a beer joint, music venue, or store. But what is it about "That Place" that makes us want to go back?

For me, my favorite places seem to go hand in hand with a great experience whether it be great food, great fishing, great company, a spiritual experience, great weather, aesthetic beauty, or a combination of these things.

Often times, while Mama and i are taking a camping trip, we go back and rate the parks we've stayed at, our personal favorites and why we like them, as well as the bad trips. What we can never agree on is a 5 star, full out, 100% favorite.....i'm looking for the backpacking trip in the mountains like Rocky Mountain State Park to converge with a Caribbean grass flat and be fly fishing for bones....all in the same day. i know....i know...not asking for too much am i?

Here is a small list of highlights and lowlights and why.

i think it's safe to say that Long Key State Park(http://www.floridastateparks.org/longkey/default.cfm) belongs at the top of the list because not only is it visually beautiful, but you can step out of your tent and into the water with ease. Tide not right for bones? Just change it up and you can be catching barracuda, snook, redfish and a host of other tropical fish. Just so happens to be one of the best bonefish flats in Florida and, at roughly $30.00 a day to stay at the park, one of the least costly places to stay in the entire island chain. Nice bathrooms and a sweet canoe trail help complete the positive experience.

Of course on the not so glorious side of Long Key is the always dreaded highway being 50 feet away from your tent.....and, at no fault of the park, the wind was howling at a 30mph clip the entire 4 days we were there which, as you can imagine, puts a big damper on fly fishing.....but i made the best out of a difficult situation.


Manatee Springs State Park (http://www.floridastateparks.org/manateesprings/default.cfm) is another favorite. Mama and i have a rule; when we go camping during the summer, there has to be a spring in the park. We arrived at this conclusion after a few sweltering trips last year and figure that heat is only a problem from around noon 'till about 5pm. What better way to avoid the heat then to be splashing in the72 degree spring during that time.....The Suwanee River is in the park as well and even though there isn't a lot of access to it, there is good bass fishing right there in the spring run and at the river. Not a great place for fly fishing. After not using spinning gear for a while, i pretty much decimated my lure supply by making the branches across the spring run look like a Christmas Tree at the MirroLure factory. Also, wild deer foraging near the boardwalk and spring run close to sundown give you an opportunity to observe and photograph them in their wild habitat. They will also pay your campsite a visit so make sure to stow any sort of fruit or veggies that you might have along.

The wild deer also help to create the big negative for this park - Deer Ticks. Never had a problem with these voracious creatures before. You need to check yourself and your partner constantly and have tweezers or tick pickers handy at all times.

Fort Desoto (http://www.pinellascounty.org/park/05_Ft_DeSoto.htm) is a Pinellas County Park which is located right near the mouth of Tampa Bay just south of St Petersburg. (Is it really a camping trip if one doesn't leave the county to get to it?) A saltwater fly fisherman's playground, an island connected to the mainland via the Pinellas Bayway, the park features a 238 site campground, an old Spanish Fort, 7 miles of coastline and voted as America's Favorite Beach 2009 by TripAdviser. The entire park can be fished and has quite a diverse range of habitat; lush grass flats, several former deep shipping channels, oyster dotted backwater bays, a prominent pass and 2 quality fishing piers. A well renowned springtime schooling redfish and spotted trout haunt and great spot to catch snook on the beach in the summer might even make you forget about the migrating tarpon in Bunces Pass. Facilities and campsites are very nice.

Being located in the most densely populated county in the state make Fort Desoto a popular destination among local campers and weekend warriors mark the negatives of this park, as does tent camping in the summer....of course one could swim in the 90 degree water at the beach but i don't believe it to have any sort of cooling properties during the summer in Florida.

And lastly on this short ramble of special places, The Weeki Wachee River. Home of Mermaid shows and Buccaneer Bay water park recently purchased by the state, it's a slice of old Florida. The real attraction for me is at the confluence of the river and the Gulf of Mexico. A pristine brackish ecosystem awaits those in a canoe or kayak with mangrove shorelines, oyster bars and sand flats. Snook and redfish are popular game fish and manatee are common in the river. If you go upstream, part of the river is in a residential neighborhood but past this distraction, is a virtual rain forest, pristine and lush with a few sandy beach area's to park the canoe and relax. No campsites anywhere along the river.....

This stretch of water can be quite crowded on a weekend summer day but don't let that stop you. Access to the river can be had at Rogers Park.

So there....these are a few of my favorites. Why did i leave out RMNP? Because i had to draw the line somewhere.....lest this post keep going and going and going....

Friday, June 19, 2009

All White Deceiver


One of my favorite flies to tie and use is the always popular all white deceiver.

It a very easy and versatile fly to tie. i use a 1/0 size most of the time but you can always make them larger or smaller. Sometimes while fishing for snook around lighted docks at night, i'll use some "weighted" versions tied with wire on the hook shank to help the fly get down in the deeper water around the docks. For skinny water grass flats, i like to use a small sliver of foam (like on a Location X Floaty Fly) lashed down to the hook shank to make it float just below the surface. Also, your typical, traditional deceiver has painted on eyes. i prefer to use the Mirage Stick On Eyes. i love the way they light up in the water. These patterns tied a bit smaller seem to work best when glass minnows are present. Do what you will to it....this is a classic and one of the best fish catching patterns in history.

Hook - Mustad 3407DT - 1/0 - 4

Tail - White deceiver hackle

Body - White bucktail

Flash - Pearl Krystal Flash (Photo shows red Krystal Flash)

Eyes - Mirage Stick On Dome Eyes

Thread - White Danville 210

Glue - Fletch Tite

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Affordable Starter Fly Rod Combos

One of the first things that people interested in fly fishing say when looking at their first set of gear is "high cost". This is true to some extent. The quality gear makers can run you up over $600.00 just for starters but that doesn't mean there isn't another way to get you the gear to get started. There are a lot of unknowns to the novice fly angler...."will i be able to do it"...."will i like it". i don't blame anyone on a budget for thinking this way. It's a whole new world of terminology, jargon, and equipment. One way to get these questions answered would be to visit your local fly shop. A lot of shops offer lessons that include the use of their gear at a nominal price. Some shops even offer a discount on new gear if you enroll in a class.

Here are 3 good options to get you started fly fishing without breaking the bank:

Temple Fork Outfitters - http://www.templeforkflyrods.com/outfits/nxt.html
Temple Fork Outfitters or TFO offer quality rod and reel combo's that won't kill your bank account. An 8 weight NTX outfit comes complete with 9 ' 4 piece rod, large arbor aluminum reel, floating fly line, backing, tapered leader and rod and reel case for $209.95. This also includes TFO's policy of if the rod gets broken.....not matter how, send the rod and a check for $25.00 and they'll fix it or replace it, no questions asked. The main reason that i don't own one at the moment is, i couldn't find a way to order from them, or very many sites online who offered the same deal. Pretty much everything you'll need to get started except a fly box and flies.

Okuma Infusion -
http://www.flyshack.com/DisplayItem.aspx?ItemID=23629
This package includes a 9' 4 piece 8 weight rod, large arbor Okuma reel spooled with weight forward floating line (WF8F), backing and leader for $119.00 delivered. The first thing i noticed after unwrapping this outfit was that the leader needed to go bye bye first thing. i've got no use for a 1 lb test tippet 'round here. Mama and i both used these set ups and have to mention that both rods were snapped by hanging a backcast on a tree and having the rods both break in the same spot on the forecast.....i don't think this is a defect as it happens with other rods as well. Not rod case, but does come with a rod sock.

Pflueger Trion -
http://www.wflies.com/combo.html
John and the fine folks at wflies.com have a really nice Pflueger Trion rod and reel combo online. Includes 9' 2 piece 9 weight rod and Trion reel. (i've recently ordered a 12 weight Trion reel from them for the fly rod that i'm building) for $169.99. Combo comes with a case and you can have it spooled with line and backing for $32.99. i can vouch for the rod because i'm currently using one with an Okuma reel. i prefer 4 piece rods but can safely say that the rod is of the best quality, loads well, and is very comfortable to cast....even on all day trips. The service from wflies.com is fantastic and very fast (my rod arrived in 2 days).

So there you have it.....if you're looking for something new to obsess about, this sport will soon assimilate you.....

Let me know if you can find a better deal......