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!


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 -
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 -
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......

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fly Fishing Photography On A Dime

i really enjoy taking photos while we're out fishing or doing anything outdoors. i was reading a piece on how to improve you fly fishing photos and there were some really good points there. Found the link on Midcurrent here:


Sometimes, i'm so busy looking for signs of fish and bait that i forget to notice simple things like a sunset or sunrise, how the waters glassy surface reflects the opposite shoreline, ect. Then the camera doesn't come out.....like last night at Coffee Pot Bayou.

i especially like photos of gear. Not in a gear selling sort of way....but in an artsy form. Where you can see a background, beach, seawall, dock. So next time you're out, try taking a few shots of your gear, flies, ect.

i'm not some world class outdoors photographer, but i can take some decent photos. It's not hard if you can picture the type of picture that you want to see in your head.....then go get it.

Now let me warn you; i don't have some top notch, ultra expensive super model camera. Mine is a Olympus FE-220. A Wally World Special with a 2gb XD memory card. $120.00 out the door. It's a point and shoot model with 3x optical zoom, 5x digital zoom and around a dozen settings. It's fairly idiot proof which is why i like it. It's of 8.1 mp quality and was accompanied by an idiot proof editing program. Perfect for me!

The only thing that i wish i had done is spend a little more money on a camera that is water proof and shock proof because i'm constantly checking to see if the camera is getting wet.

Mama's camera is the same make but is a slightly better model and has more options. Also, it tends to take a bit more vivid photos than mine. Colors are true. With my camera, if i take photos indoors in florescent light, they tend to come out bland and yellowish.

Whether you have a super model camera or a little rinky dink point and shoot like me, be creative. Don't be afraid to get in close, take some original looking shots, and shoot a lot pics in a row if your camera allows for it.

Editing photos with reverse negatives, color smearing and use of effects isn't photography.....it's some sort of graphic design or whatever you want to call it. Getting the shot is the important part. i try different things like sepia or black and white options on a lot of photos and i'm often surprised by how good a bad shot comes out with a little bit of tinkering.

So....in a nutshell, you don't need to be an art school graduate and have thousands of dollars worth of camera gear to take some nice photos. Also, do some homework before you go shopping. Figure out what options are important to you and what models feature those options.....and if it fits into your budget or not. You'll be far more educated when you get to the store.....

Monday, June 15, 2009

Proposed Bloggers Fly Swap

It was proposed to me by Pete at Fishing Jones that the fly fishing bloggers should put together a fly swap of sorts.

i think it's a great idea. We just need to figure out when, how and a theme (backcountry, snook flies, tarpon flies, ect)

i think since everyone is all over the map, it should be a mail only event. We should set a date for all players to commit by and a mail date. A month should be enough time to get the materials and tie the fies.

i've never been a part of a fly swap, but i believe that's how it works. It would be a cool way to share new ideas and patterns as well as what you like to use and what works for you.

Let me hear some opinions on how to work this event.....your suggestions, themes, ect.....

Sunday, June 14, 2009


After going fishless for most of the year, i've started to ask myself why.....



Like the verse in a Killswitch Engage song WHYYYYY!!!!!!!

i'm not going out, uninformed, just casting about with reckless abandon. i spend a lot of time doing research about fish behavior, fish location, fly fishing techniques, i've studied tide charts and solunar tables, gone out with LIVE BAIT (perish the thought), lures of every kind, seasonal hang outs, have even spotted fish and cast to them and seen them bolt, spooked fish, blown them out, lost them due to wind conditions, ect.

It's getting frustrating after fly fishing for almost a year and not getting one fish on a fly....and this includes a 4 day trip to Long Key State Park on one of the best bonefish flats in the state. (even though i got 2 hookups, it doesn't count if they get of before you strip strike them)

Other people catch fish on my flies.....

Look, i'm not an idiot. As i said, i do plenty of research. i'm not one of these guys who just wants to get out there, drinking beer and holding a fishing pole just for fun....it's not ALL about catching fish, but it would be nice to land a nice snook or redfish....and no, i don't forget to appreciate the opportunity to breathe in all of the beauty surrounding me when i'm out there.

It's not like i don't get on fish either. i've had plenty of times where i spot fish, make nice casts, and either blow them out or they aren't interested. There's been plenty of times where i didn't see fish either....and they snuck up on me or i spook them.

So what does it take to break out of the slump?

Do i need to put my hat on backwards inside out, move all of the change from my right pocket to my left pocket, and wear my shirt like Kriss Kross?

I wish i knew.....

Fishing Report 6/13

i parked my car at Sand Key approach, waved at my friend, and noticed the sky lighting with the first rays of the rising sun. i breathed a sigh of relief; i was lucky to be here...not in the sense that we live in such a beautiful place, but literally lucky to be here at 6 am at Sand Key Park. Preparation the previous night consisted of putting together a few leaders, packing my fly box with flies i was going to use, laying out my clothes, getting 2 Nalgenes of water ready, setting up the coffee maker, setting alarm clock, charging camera battery....pretty much everything that would entail thinking at 5 am.....plus i didn't want to wake Mama since she had to work late the night before. i laid down on the couch after checking to make sure everything was set, started watching the Rays game but soon remembered that Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs was on. Fell asleep but woke up with 1:30 left to play in the 3rd. Pens won 2-1!

Now....for the lucky part....

when i set my alarm for 5, i failed to notice that it was 5 PM. Luckily, i woke up at 5:01 and wondered why the alarm didn't go off. Jumping out of bed and getting dressed, fixing coffee on the way out the door, i made it to Sand Key in 35 minutes.....No driving like a maniac was done.

After my arrival, i rigged up with an all white deceiver....good choice. There was a large amount of bait, glass minnows, mullet and majora in the pass as we worked our way out to the beach.

The tide had just turned as the sun started lighting the sky. Purple and red reflected off the towering cloud tops. There was a light breeze blowing off the water. Surf was a bit churned up. We didn't see any gamefish in the pass nor did we see any in the waves or see any signs of feeding activity.

The rolling surf was playing havoc with my floating fly line. i started casting parallel to the shore line but the fly would end up on the beach before i could get it stripped back in. i started casting straight out and could see my fly in the rolling wave....getting pulled by the tide, causing HUGE amounts of slack. Whiting were trying to attack the fly in the brief glimpses between surges of water but no hook ups. Joggers were running by and there was another lone fly caster up the beach. i switched to a bunny clouser hoping the weight would help keep the fly down a bit but it didn't seem to help matters.

We worked our way back to the east side of the park, along the pass to a sandy , calm grass flat. Still no luck. Scott's wife had phoned him to let him know he had doubled up on his blood pressure meds....he was feeling a bit woozy so he headed home around 9:00. i decided to stay and work the flat for a while. No luck there with the falling tide and dolphins in the area.

Headed home at around 10:00. Was a nice day even though we were fishless....

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Snook on the beach

This Saturday morning before the sun comes up, my buddy Scott and i will be plying the beach for the always popular snook on the beach.

What is beach snookin'?

Every year late spring/early summer, at the beaches near the passes with adjacent structure, snook like to hang around and feed in the swash channel, inches from the shore line. Early morning hours during a moving tide make this one one the best times of the year to catch this elusive fish.....as anyone who has cast repeatedly to a large snook with lockjaw can attest, these fish only seem to bite when they're on the feed and will ignore or blow out with your offering if not in the mood. They'll be literally inches from the waters edge, so make sure to keep your distance. And remember, a stripping basket will help to keep sand out of your reel so use it!

Good polarized sunglasses are a must as sight fishing these log shaped torpedoes is paramount to a good day fishing. Smaller schoolie sized males should be in higher numbers than the big females, but larger fish can be had. The hard part will be making an accurate presentation to the larger fish and having the fish see it and get to it before the smaller male counterpart snatches it away.

It's not uncommon for folks wielding the long stick to use a 6 or 7 weight but i wouldn't show up with anything less than an 8 weight due to the fact that tarpon, jacks and seatrout can be a common occurrence on the beach at this time of year and it might be an unpleasant experience for you to be outgunned and possibly break some of your gear due to a powerful fish that you weren't expecting.....gear can be expensive these days and i certainly think it would be a drag to have a tarpon introduce you to your backing and have to respool. Large snook can have a bad attitude when hooked as well and won't hesitate to head toward any structure in an attempt to break you off. This is one reason you might need a little bit more leader. Typically, on a flat, i'll use a 9 foot section of 25 lb leader but for beach snook, i like to use a 5 foot section of 25 lb and a 4 foot section of 30 lb for a bite tippet. Sharp gill plates can make quick work of a light leader so make sure that you include the bite tippet. i personally don't like 4 section leaders and contrary to popular belief, the leader rolls out and lays down for me just fine. Sinking lines aren't necessary but a sink tip may be ok due to problems you may have with the rolling surf.

Fly selection can be simple but don't be afraid to try new things. Threadfin Shad and Glass Minnows can be present in large numbers so be sure to have some of these patterns in your fly box but most of the time, majora, finger mullet and pinfish will be the main target prey. An all white Deceiver in 1/0 is the ticket as is a small # 4 EP baitfish pattern once again, all white. Don't be afraid to toss a schminnow or one of your bonefish flies if the fish aren't paying attention to your offering. As the king of refusals, i can safely say a snook that sees you fly will "lean" towards it and if not interested, either turn away or bolt. Sometimes they do nothing.

Best times to go for a linesider on the beach would be right before first light since snook are mostly nocturnal feeders and on a moving tide since they prefer moving water. The bite can be hot towards evening too but on the West Coast of Florida, the setting sun can take away the sight fishing opportunities....

Have fun! Snook are like big pissed off largemouth bass but they are protected at this time of year so make sure you do your best to revive them and release them safely.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

William Joseph stripping basket

One thing that every salt water fly angler knows is the importance of line management. My tarpon buddies have told me about hooking a fish and having it run all the while the line gets snagged on a boat cleat or sandal buckle losing the fish. One necessary tool in helping with line management is a good stripping basket but some anglers shy away from them since a lot of the products on the market tend to be bulky and cumbersome. Of course one could make and adequate basket with a bungee cord and small trash can, but these can get in the way too. i wanted something that i could use when i needed it and not have it take up space or get in the way when i didn't need it.

Enter the William Joseph Stripping Basket/Wading Belt!

This product isn't just a stripping basket, but for folks who wear waders in the winter, it doubles as a wading belt.
It tucks away nicely when closed and is a roomy basket to strip into when open and a wire guided rim for easy open and closing. The basket itself is made of lightweight mesh.
Easily adjustable to fit folks of large or small and featuring the same grooved backing for ventilation found on quality backpacks, the workmanship is top notch and what you would expect from William Joseph. The snap fastener is user friendly but difficult to close behind your back.

Another nice part about this belt/basket is the "daisy chain" utility loops to attach tools to.

Bottom line: i would rate this product 4 out of 5 fish stars. The only things that i don't like about it are that there aren't any "detanglers" at the bottom of the basket that you might find on another product and i found that my line would come out in wads when casting, however, stretching your line before you begin greatly reduces this problem for anything greater than a 6 weight. Also, at $36.00, the price was quite a bit more than your average bulky stripping basket.....but i suppose you can't always put a price limit on small luxuries.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

....and while we're on about colors....

As i gazed into tarpon angler Diana Rudolph's fly box, it brought up the question of fly colors to me.....

As a former avid bass fisherman, i've always had a hard time using lures that weren't natural colors. If i were a bass and saw a chartreuse baitfish swimming by, i don't think it would be high on my list of things to eat....lest i live near 3 Mile Island.

The same transferred with me when i made the switch to saltwater fishing and now, fly fishing.....although i can safely say that there is a fair amount of chartreuse in my fly box, i often hesitate (or freeze up) when i get to a flat and set up my rig. A common practice for me is to look at the flat and look for signs of fish, possible holding areas, structure, oyster bars, and how the current relates to all of these factors. i also look for any sort of bait present and try to "match the hatch" so to speak by using flies in the same color and size to the bait i'm looking at instead of maybe using what i might consider to be a snook or redfish's favorite meal as you might when bass fishing. Aaron Adams' book about saltwater prey has helped me with this quite a bit.

i still like natural looking lures and flies but have learned to adapt with the water clarity. Normal water clarity summer snook fishing, i'll start with a white deceiver or white baitfish pattern. If the water is dirtier, i'll go with chartreuse and white with a lot of flash, and for stained water, purple and black or red and black. In the fall, i'll start with mullet patterns and cockroaches in grizzly or brown. Redfish seem to prefer ugly, ratty looking flies in rust, brown and orange. i tie a deceiver pattern in these colors for them as well as a few grizzly marabou clousers with bead chain eyes. In clear water like you find in the Keys, i like to use natural colors but found that bonefish sometimes like bright pink sort of like my Sweet Ernie fly. Also, barracuda seem to prefer flashy bright colors in clear water....so i tied a few bulky deceivers in chartruse and white with a lot of flash to them.

i've also learned that there are no rules in regards to what color to use....and that it's ok to do something different. Ya never know what might work on any given day.

So....what sort of colors and patterns work for you? What's in your fly box?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Crazy Kayak Fishermen

The folks on Captain Mel's Forum posted this yesterday.


For those of you that don't know, tarpon can grow up to 200 lbs....this one appears to be in the 80 lb range if i was guessing....and to be fishing for them in a kayak is just insane.

Way to go guys....great photo! Try it with a fly rod! See if you can get towed into the sunset!

....i'm just not sure about the color.

Amidst the research for rod building, it seems that the only color blanks i can get are either black or emerald green. My current rod (Pflueger 8 weight) is emerald green with lighter sea foam green wraps (anyone ever seen green sea foam?).

i DID see a company that had loads of rod blanks in way different colors....but they were a bit on the pricey side....but we all know how important it is to have the proper colored gear. My backpack is a light forest green and gray and my lumbar pack is a similar color....

Of course, if you know me, you'll know i'm just kidding....i just wish there was more to choose from.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rod Building

The latest project that i've been researching is fly rod building.

Everyone who has been fly fishing for a while has told me that the best rods they've ever used was one that they had built.

i have no knowledge of the first thing to do....but i have been reading everything i can get my hands on.

i've also found a lot of good deals on rod building kits online. The price range has been all over the map and it seems like a lot of rod companies sell rod building kits which have all of the same materials, but the price seems to go up if it's by a popular company such as G-Loomis or Sage.

Bottom line:

i want an 11 or 12 weight rig to be able to handle tarpon. i'd also like to have another 8 weight. i want a 9 ft, 4 piece rod and i want to spend under $150.00.

Mama's friends dad (this is like your next door neighbors cousins sisters college roommates uncle) knows how to build fly rods so i'm sure i'll be enlightened soon enough......