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Fly Tying

Capt Bob LeMay

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About Capt Bob LeMay

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    Advanced Member

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  • Favorite Species
    Everything that swims in the 'Glades
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  • Location
    south Florida

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  1. I actually have a few customers from Germany and nearby countries... They come over here to fish with me and are pleasantly surprised at the freedom we take for granted... From what I've heard there's just no such thing as "public waters" for the most part - everything is private and you pay a fee per day for the right to fish a small stretch of a river, etc. In Germany I've read that they actually have a law that bans "catch and release" - passed by the lunatic fringe - but on the books none the less... For some years it was also a standard practice to buy their fishing gear here - to take home with them since our prices were much, much better than theirs at home (and this was for Great Britain and other countries...). One of my anglers is fortunate enough to fish worldwide about 20 days per year with guides but resides in Luxembourg so I'm all ears whenever he talks about some of the differences between the various countries (and continents...). Haven't spoken with him since before the pandemic and hope to hear from him in the coming year.. . We're just so fortunate compared to other places around the world... I was an Army brat growing up and by the age of 12 my family had lived in five different countries... As a result I have a bit different perspective than most about our place in this world..
  2. Baby goliath grouper, around 25lbs - lots and lots of these around now in the rivers that drain out of the Everglades into the salt. They'll attack and eat anything they can get.... I have to make sure my anglers are holding onto their rods since the drags are set at "exterminate"... We consider them to be "babies" until they hit around fifty pounds - a ten pounder will take you to school - the bigger babies are pretty hard to land since they love to hang out around downed trees and river corners with strong currents...
  3. All of us.. stand on the shoulders of giants in our hobby, craft , passion - whatever you call it. He was one of those giants, lived a long life and passed along valuable information to anyone who tied a single fly... A life well lived from my perspective. God speed, sir... and condolences to his family... When I think of all the folks in our sport that taught me this or that, encouraged me when necessary - and then passed on... that's the main reason I try to pass the few things I've learned over the years - to anyone willing to listen....
  4. Noted something recently worth passing on... While doing a bit of research on E--Bay (quickest way I know of checking what's on the market for basic items - but not necessarily where I'll purchase from - unless not available any where else...). While checking on current Mustad 34007 hook prices at retail I noted a good amount of "mustad hooks" that were not in standard Mustad boxes being offered for sale in various quantities - mostly by the hundred per size.... I figure they're selling knock-offs from the orient and would avoid them like the plague... I wouldn't mind if they were tempered properly but you generally get what you pay for. If I'm not seeing the standard retail box for hooks I shy away. Yes, I can buy those same hooks by the thousand per size at wholesale - but once again - they'll come in a labeled box from Mustad with the correct size and and quantities listed on the label for each box of 1000... Buyer beware... .
  5. A heads up for anyone heading down to the Ft. Lauderdale / Miami area... if you bring a fly rod (even something as small as a 5wt... ) all of our canals are in high water stage - and full of peacock bass... Nothing else is there but the peacocks are going strong - way out near sawgrass far to the west - or right behind a shopping center or apartment building... Great fun! They'll hit anything from a small popper all the way down to small clousers on 1/0 or smaller hooks... The only thing that will slow down the bite is some cold weather (and for us, cold is down in the low sixties at night.. I know, we're spoiled... ). Yes, you'll need a freshwater license - and no, you don't need a guide - but if you want one - call me... When it gets cold at night and stays that way for a while (next month.. and all winter long) the fish won't get active until after 10Am or a bit later as it warms up... We only get two seasons down here - a wet and a dry.. The dry season begins around Halloween (but this year with two wet hurricanes dumping huge amounts of freshwater on us our "dry season" will be a bit later on - understatement... The absolute best canal fishing will be towards the end of the dry season, March through May when all the sawgrass areas dry out and the fish on the flats are forced to retreat back into the canal system... That's when, along with the peacocks there will be lots of other exotics (oscars, cichlids of every kind) as well as a big push of largemouth bass - and all of them hungry... Here's a pic or two of the flies we use... as small as a #4 all the way up to 1/0 and a bit larger... peacock clouser size #4, natural wing same pattern, synthetic wing Speed Bugs in every color, size #1 - soft foam heads from Perfect Popper Crystal Schminnow (my version) , size #4 all the way up to a 1/0, color of choice -note the wire weedguard... Feather mullet (Seaducer variation) in smaller sizes, any color will do from #2 on up to 1/0, again note the wire weedguard.. Since I'm a saltwater tyer straying into freshwater areas, the hooks on all of the patterns shown are just Mustad 34007 stainless - freshwater bass hooks might be more appropriate - but we stick just about every bite on what I've shown - no problem.. No fancy leader system - just a relatively heavy butt section looped to a four or five foot piece of 20lb fluorocarbon leader - and every fly attached with an improved Homer Rhode loop knot....
  6. Here are two tricks to beat that static while tying.. The first is to simply take a sheet of fabric softener material and rub it all over your hands - instead of tossing it into the clothes dryer the way you would normally. It will greatly reduce that static problem - repeat as necessary during your tying session.... This is something I learned years ago when filling orders night after night. For soft materials like maribou I also used to keep a small custard bowl with about a half inch of water in it to dip the ends of my fingers in before handling fly-away materials while tying... Enough of the water will transfer to the material as you work with it - then quickly evaporate from the finished product when the fly is drying after that final coat of head cement (or whatever substitute you use for head cement...). A small bonus with even slightly wetted down materials is they tend to keep what ever shape they were in when they dry out...
  7. Watching the weather up north from down here in paradise (south florida) - a few thoughts occurred... First this will drive our usual seasonal snowbirds down to us year after year - and my winter bookings depend on them... Secondly watching the weather reports and noting how this is all part of "climate change" or global warming (their previous banner...). Years ago a common saying was that everyone complains about weather - but no one does anything about it... Looks to me as though that's changed big time (and those incredibly smart politicians that run our country are, of course, taking advantage of it....) wish it weren't so - but it was certainly predictable... One of my customers pointed out a few years back - that there was no room for politics on a small skiff so I'll stop right here... but the usual BS about weather and such isn't something I'll be buying into any time soon. I particularly enjoy all the ballyhoo about rising sea levels... In my own area it's helpful to remember that 10,000 years ago - Orlando, three hundred miles to the north of me - was actually ocean front property and that the Everglades only assumed its current form about 5,000 years ago... It was all a tropical ocean bank before that under thirty feet of water..
  8. Hooks are like nails - lots of variations - mostly because of intended usage.. For basic saltwater tying it's hard to beat Mustad 34007 (or the 34011 for a longer shanked hook), but Iv'e been around long enough to also be using the Mustad 7766, the 3407, and the 34077SS at times for specific purposes. Starting almost forty years ago super premium hooks began to be imported from Japan and other places -they were quickly accepted by folks tying for big tarpon, tuna, and other exceedingly strong fish. These come out of the box almost sharper than you can achieve with a file and some elbow grease... The first super premium hooks (my description) were probably from Tiemco -but that's just a guess on my part. Then came Owner, Gamakatsu, Daiichi, Varivas, and a flood of others. These days we've long quit using the Tiemco 800S hooks that were so popular in the eighties (all of my tarpon flies back then were done up on them)... The problem? along with being extra strong and very very sharp they were brittle and when folks started breaking them on the hookset - that was the end for that model in the larger sizes. Tiemco finally came up with the 600sp model and got back some of the market share they'd lost with the 800S hook troubles, but they never regained their early popularity with the saltwater crowd. For at least 30 years now all of my patterns needing super strong, very sharp hooks have been done with the Owner Aki hook (Aki is japanese for yellowfin tuna, I'm told.. ). In the salt we're mostly concerned with size, and strength of hooks. On the freshwater side there's many, many more variations that I can see.
  9. For years I worked every show in south Florida that would have me (and nearby areas) as a tyer - usually with one of the shops I was filling orders for at the time - but in recent years I've quit it since I'm no longer tying commercially and guiding takes up much of my time. In the Miami area our big shows have become less and less "user friendly" with little in the way of nearby parking or other amenities.. Having to take a shuttle bus just to get to where the show is - puts me off... My single most prominent memory of the one Somerset show I attended = all those years ago were the ordinary anglers, lining up at the front door in the cold dark Jersey winter.. to be able to enter the moment the doors opened. Much different scene down here... Think that the shows up north are probably a better bet all around..
  10. The only Somerset show I ever attended - was in 1988 or thereabouts.. I was a tyer then for Randy Towe's first shop - World Class Outfitters...
  11. Just habit on my part… and the desire to have the smoothest and strongest connection possible…. If you set up a full Intermediate fly line with a permanent leader butt section like I do - one nail knot won’t hold up, you must have two from the same leader… in that case you’re just not able to have them any closer than about 1/2 inch apart. My heavier rods (10s and 12s) have quite heavy leader butt sections… five feet of 50lb mono for the 10wt and six feet of 60lb for 12wt. Each ends with a surgeon’s loop to allow a quick change leader to be attached….
  12. Got it (check the weather daily on three different sites...)... and as a result cancelled tomorrow's trip and a night trip on Wednesday... The good news is that the weather is moving and not stationary - so I'm hoping it won't have the time to turn into something really bad. We're currently forecast winds in the 20 to 30 mph range with rain but I wouldn't be surprised if it was a bit stronger than that. Add to that we're at the full moon (or very close) so the high tides will be a good bit higher than normal - without the wind and weather. Lucky us...
  13. Here's that pic of my nail knot loop setup - on an 8wt line.... This shows the two nail knots, quick to do - then coated with Pliobond glue for durability - as well as the doubled loop from the backing end. This setup will never fail you when you tangle with a really big fish. In general my lines rarely last a year. The jungle we fish in is hard on gear...
  14. Many years ago my Dad told me the problem with knives (or similar "personal protection device"...) is that you have to get entirely too close to someone who really doesn't like you. He was a career Army officer (volunteered for the draft in 1942 - then did 28 years as an Engineer...). In my years as a cop I saw first hand what he was talking about... Me? I'll stick to fish - they're safer..
  15. A quick note about pricing... When I was filling fly orders for shops they usually, simply doubled whatever I was charging per fly as their selling price. If a pattern sold well I'd soon get a re-order - if it didn't I might not get an order again for that specific pattern...
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