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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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    Everything that swims in the 'Glades
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  • Location
    south Florida

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  1. The area that Charles Wright operates in is miles and miles of creeks, rivers and bays - filled with small and larger islands. What he offers is a ride to places you couldn’t reach on your own, paddling (and most would have have trouble finding with a chart) and none of it offshore.. it’s all inshore with wild mangrove jungle shorelines .
  2. Purely as an FYI... there's a guide I know in the Everglades City (Ten Thousand Islands area) that acts as a both a Mothership for kayak anglers and a trip guide for ventures back into the Everglades that include camping out for a few days if anyone is interested. His name is Charles Wright and he runs a pretty unique operation. He has a very large open skiff that can accommodate four (or more?) kayaks in the bow while also transporting his anglers. He runs them into the backcountry much farther than they could paddle in a day on their own -then offloads the "yaks and shepherds his anglers while they paddle and fish on their own for day trips. The extended trips feature overnight stops at Everglades National Park campsites and are designed to be a few days at a time... No one else that I'm aware of in my area does anything like this. If you do hook up with him - tell him I said Hi...
  3. I don't track my flies by weight - although I do different size lead or bead chain eyes on the same pattern to vary the sink rate... I do, however, keep track of the same pattern with different hook sizes (particularly the flies we use at night for baby tarpon.... The method is simple - I just change out the thread color with fl. red for 1/0 then fl. yellow for size 2/0 in the same pattern. Here's a pic or two - The pattern's called the Night Fly and it's pretty much all we're tossing at "baby" tarpon (fish between 20 and 40lbs with an occasional one much bigger, or smaller...). Very handy when fishing at night with the least possible amount of light available to be able to distinguish hook sizes at a glance... For the same reasons we always do up our leaders in the shop to minimize the fumbling that otherwise occurs when tying knots at night in a small skiff... This particular batch was done up on the old Mustad #7766 1/0 hook This batch (the bottom pattern...) was done with Owner Aki 2/0 hooks... This particular pattern is only used at night (Biscayne Bay is loaded with small tarpon year 'round in the urban areas between Miami and Miami Beach) - they were the first fish I learned on fishing out of a skiff, way back in 1972 when I'd only been in town a few months... and we're still fishing them with both lures and flies all these years later. The Night Fly Hook: Mustad 7766, Owner Aki, or Tiemco 600sp in size 1/0 or 2/0 Thread: Danville's flat waxed nylon, color of choice Spreader: bleached white caftail tied in just forward of the hook's bend, and rolled around the shank to provide a base for the tail... Tail: Six wide, webby bleached white neck hackles - three on a side - each half of tail tied in on the side of the spreader (not on top...). Flash: Flashabou Accent in pearl - four to ten strands tied in on top between each side of the tail hackles Collar: Three wide, webby bleached white saddle hackles tied in at the butt end of the hackles with as much of the"fluff" left on the saddles as possible -then palmered forward as a unit to create as dense a collar as possible. Head: built up with tying thread then super glued - Note the bare shank remaining - originally this bug was mean to be snelled back before fluorocarbon leader material came available...
  4. Great looking small bait fly Caloosa... what's that body made up of?
  5. Well said Tidewater... I do also use some genetic hackle for specific purposes.... Mostly Metz #2 for grizzly saddle patches (used to order them ten at a time...) as well as grizzly saltwater necks from Wapsi (pretty sure that those are actually capon necks...). It all depends on exactly what your planned use is.
  6. Different areas different realities... In general, Oceanside flats from Key Biscayne all the down to Marathon are nice and firm - bayside flats much softer ( and if you pole a skiff or wade it’s very noticeable- even in places with good current flow...). The lower Keys are quite different- hard cap coral inside and outside... I knew guys who called it “stainless steel” bottom and it’s really hard on any propeller that’s allowed to touch when running shallow..
  7. By the way... something I forgot to mention... for a flats angler wanting to fish in shallow water bonefish country - the tactic I'd use would be to paddle to my chosen fishing area - then wade quietly towing that 'yak behind me. The best of both worlds since you can approach big bonefish on foot better than any other way of doing it. All that's needed is an oceanside flat that's not particularly soft (interior flats are notably soft - so soft that most would only go on foot once...). Good luck on whatever you choose for you and your companions...
  8. Many days on the water between fish like that.. Congratulations on an outstanding catch on very light gear...
  9. A quick note about chicken feathers, saddles or necks, hens or roosters... The ideal freshwater fly tying necks (or saddles) aren’t exactly what saltwater tyers need at all... In fact that lovely genetic product so prized by skilled freshwater tyers is lost on those of us that tie for the salt, mostly... Instead, we’re looking for wide, webby, saddles and neck hackles that are strung in uniform lengths and dyed or bleached as needed. Most freshwater tyers would consider the feathers that I prize to be junk and pass them by whenever they come across them...
  10. If I'd had access to a good quality kayak all those years ago - I might never have gotten my first skiff with a motor... but that never happened in my case. Friends that fish out of kayaks (a better choice than a canoe, mostly...) really get into fishing out of them. In my area you can even find fit young anglers that will take a 'yak out into the edges of bluewater and actually fish out of them - something I'd never recommend - but each to his own... Down here in paradise (south florida) guys fishing out of kayaks are quite a common sight. Down in the saltwater portion of the Everglades where I do most of my guiding... I see guys in 'yaks that are 30 miles and more from the nearest ramp (aka civilization...) and just covering ground (the national park has campsites specifically designed to be a half day's paddle apart... I know one or two 'yakkers that claim you can paddle right up into tailing bonefish if you're careful and quiet... That said - two points to make about the downsides... The first is that something like a kayak does limit your mobility and "reach" in a day's fishing - something that may or may not be important to you. The second is that in the salt - no matter how big your paddle craft is... you're not the biggest thing on the water - and some of what lives in the water can be hazardous to your health... Lastly, if tangling with big fish out of any kind of paddle craft please remember it's entirely possible for some fish to tow YOU around when hooked... Not a bad idea to keep an anchor aboard so that at least you have something to pull against on a really big fish.... Nowadays with the emphasis on video there are a few definitely scary adventures in kayaks for everyone to see if interested...
  11. We’ll be there tomorrow, doing a bit of exploring, particularly small rivers where there should be a big tarpon or two (it’s that time of year, their last few weeks of warm water before falling temps force them offshore).
  12. No fly fishing in this report... so be forewarned. However we'll be back in this same area this weekend with fly anglers aboard (finally)... As usual you can do almost all of your fly fishing in the 'glades with only two rods, an 8wt with a floating line and a 10wt with a full intermediate line... That is unless you're wanting to tangle with big tarpon - for those you'll really want a 12wt... Finally getting active again (after the way the year's gone so far - very grateful...). We spent a few days this past week down at Flamingo - and the fish are biting. There's so much bait along gulf coast shorelines right now that hungry fish can feed 24/7 when they want. The only downside so far is that the big tarpon have been a bit scarce. That should change any day now since these next three weeks are their last big feeding opportunity inshore before falling water temps at the end of this month will send them scooting offshore just before Halloween. Find a feeding station right now and every cast will be a redfish or a snook around any creek mouth along the coast. Water temperatures are still nearly as high as August with low eighties each morning - but not rising much above that given the rain/thundershowers each afternoon. I don't expect the fish on the coast to start their move inland (the way they do every fall) until water temps begin to fall, so for now, the west coast of the Everglades is where you'll find us most days. And for those wanting to stay close to Flamingo... the fish in that area are pretty turned on as well. The other day, a quick stop at a canal mouth had my angler getting hooked up with small snook from his very first cast with a lure on light spinning gear - and we lost count of how many he caught and released...it might have been as many as twenty. Here's one that paused for a photo before going back where he came from... At that spot all we used were leadheads with Gulp tails - at other spots a DOA Baitbuster was our second choice... Whether we're tossing lures with spin or plug casting gear or working the fly... I have enough rods on board to simply pick up another rod ready to go since we do get snagged up every now and then... My angler that day was Dave Boyden out of Maryland - and I was working on his Pathfinder. As I write this he and his buddies are down in the Keys for the rest of their expedition... Later that day Dave hooked a nice small tarpon around 10 to 12 lbs on that same leadhead / Gulp tail combination at another spot and did a great job of bringing it alongside the boat. As I reached for my camera -the fish decided to shake free - and that was that... That day we also found a few very nice tripletail that were pushing in around five feet of water against the falling tide (those same fish and lots of them will be found floating at the surface when the tide starts back in...) but missed our shots at them. Once the crab traps are back in the water (very shortly) all of our inshore tripletail will begin to move offshore a bit and once again be found hanging around those crab pot floats the way they'll do all during the cooler months each year - but they're still to be found, right now, inshore and close by... Here's another photo or two from this past weekend... Casey with a nice small redfish on a Baitbuster, carefully released... this 30" snook got invited home for dinner... The fish were so hungry this past weekend that twice a good redfish or snook never made it to the boat before a medium sized shark turned it into a meal - all in less than three feet of water and close enough that I was reaching for the leader when things went south... Lots and lots of "hungries" right now and it will stay like this as long as conditions allow.... With good weather the next two or three weeks should get better and better. This weekend coming up I'll finally be getting some fly anglers and we'll be hunting tarpon among other species... I'm looking forward to it... and for a change I still have lots of open dates for anyone heading this way. "Be a hero... take a kid fishing"
  13. Remember that no leader, in use, is under the stress that you’re able to place on it by pulling against an anchored end (except right at the boat -and I can’t remember how many I’ve broken off by being too hard with 80 or even 100lb mono -really green fish need a very easy hand, they’re just too powerful at close quarters...). Heck, the max pressure you can transmit to the hook end of things by putting a full bend in a fly rod is barely 3lbs (measured at the hook end of your leader), of course to the angler it feels like they're pulling as hard as possible... Moments after this photo that fish slapped me in the face with its tail before it settled down... and for those who've never fished them, this was only an 80lb fish - they get a lot bigger... I was able to finally leader the fish for a quick photo then carefully release it... I’m only stretching fluoro just enough to straighten it and have no interest in trying to load it to nearly the breaking point since I’m certain that would weaken it... Moderator, please move this thread to the appropriate board since we've gotten a bit far afield...
  14. I routinely use straight 20lb fluorocarbon for “Poor Boy”leaders (with an 8wt that’s a butt section that’s four feet of 40lb Ande premium mono that loops to a five foot section of 20lb fluoro for the tippet). I only stretch that 20lb once - then use it to destruction. Since without a bite tippet, you have to cut the fluoro back a few inches after each fish, it just gets shorter with each bite then gets replaced when there’s only two feet remaining... Why are you repeatedly stretching that leader? I’ve never done that...
  15. I’ve been straightening monofilament and fluorocarbon leader material for many years (fluoro less since compared to mono it’s a relatively recent development). Mono not only kinks but will take and hold a curl - to the point that you can’t use it unless you can straighten it properly. A combination of heat and stretching is needed for mono - and depending on where you are and how soon you need to use it .. will determine what kind of heating you employ. The quickest without tools is friction - particularly for light tippets. In a shop a heat gun, or hair dryer works well. For heavier mono, like the bite tippets used for big tarpon, I knew anglers years ago that would drop their heavy monos into boiling water... just after it came off the heat and was below boiling temperature to straighten out kinked, coiled, or other problems with monofilament. I’ve never seen a sign that moderate heat on mono weakens it at all... Heavy mono is why fly leader stretchers were invented all those years ago. Fluorocarbon is completely different than monofilament material... All that’s needed with fluoro is to stretch it and hold it for a few seconds. It will straighten out and not return to it’s former state. That’s why I use it day in and day out (Mason hard nylon has similar properties). With the advent of fluoro, tarpon fly stretchers became obsolete and you don’t see them much any more. As for kinks weakening a leader - maybe with really light tippets but I only find weakness in leaders that have abrasion or nicks showing ( and few freshwater anglers will test their leaders the way we do on the salt...). By the way, a fair number of my fly anglers from freshwater bring leaders with them that just won’t hold up - and it’s the knots that fail mostly...
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