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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 keep a pair of Shimano flats boots on my skiff (nothing like running aground and having to get out and push in places that aren't exactly "foot friendly"..). They're zippered, have a pretty tough sole with lugs for traction and I'm just guessing here... but imagine a size or two larger would work well for stocking foot waders... They're not very expensive and since I'm not a freshwater angler at all (except when way up inside the freshwater headlands that drain down into brackish or saltwater portions of the Everglades... ) you'll want to check out their possible use with guides or shops that actually are in the water day after day... Good luck and post up what you choose...
  2. Thank you very much SilverCreek for that drawing and the accompanying illustration (the only one I've ever seen...).. My normal deerhair (excluding deer tails...) has always been from Wapsi - belly hair for spun and clipped work needing very bright colors (dyed over white) and those lovely natural and dyed strips on tanned skin from them as well... For many years as a commercial tyer (saltwater) I did my best to avoid filling orders for spun and clipped (or razored) patterns since they're too time consuming and result in less money earned rather than more... Now that I'm no longer tying for shops and other guides - most of my efforts are for my guiding customers to make sure we have the flies we'll need year 'round - and yes, there are a few deer hair patterns for those needs.. Once again, thanks for a very un-expected lesson... - and of course - here's a photo to go with it... The Razor cut Mullet...
  3. First chance I've had to visit here - been going day after day with bookings (figure folks have been cooped up long enough and most that I know are fully booked now..). Caloosa - those are great looking minnow patterns - and 239 (Naples area phone code...) do great stuff as well. When I get back on the water on Tuesday it will be all tarpon for us... for at least three days. Just nothing like the 'glades.
  4. I've never fished the Homosassa area at all - and my stomping grounds (the Everglades) are completely different (understatement). That said, since I was a commercial tyer for many years (quit it about three years ago now) I've tied for more than a few shops - and guides. That includes at least 35 different tarpon patterns at one time or another... and all of my royalty patterns still active with Umpqua are - you guessed it... tarpon patterns. The only orders from guides in that area that I filled were for one of my signature patterns the Sand Devil... Here's a pic... It's tied up on an Owner Aki hook in sizes 1/0 up to 4/0 - and here's a tip.... if you have a tarpon pattern you like always do them in two sizes - a 4/0 and a 2/0, or a 3/0 and a 1/0... A refusal of the big fly? then go to the smaller version (and maybe a lighter, longer leader...). Here are a few patterns I'd want - anywhere in the world for big tarpon (small ones get different flies entirely...). This is my version of John Emery's famous Cockroach pattern that's been around for years and years - and is still catching fish today world-wide... most tarpon anglers will have at least a few rabbit strip patterns... Here's one that I drew royalties on for a few years... the Swamp Rabbit in 3/0.... I did this in five colors - and would want some in light colors and some in dark colors - along with the black death (red/black), I'd want "burple" (black/ purple) on hand. Note: the Swamp Rabbit has a very sparse underwing of dyed bucktail - same color as that rabbit strip (makes the tail foul-proof, an important feature in any rabbit strip pattern...). This photo shows a batch of Swamp Rabbits still in production... in "grizzly brown" One last thought about tarpon patterns... In some areas (the Keys, Homosassa, and others where tarpon are heavily pressured...) any info about patterns is going to be the equivalent of a state secret.... (serious understatement).... Shops will talk up what they have to sell - but guides get lockjaw with rare exception... Whatever you tie up expect the guide to have "something else" and go with whatever he (or she) recommends. Your best bet is to look very closely at the fly he hands you - both in dry state and after it's been in use for a while.... The Holy grail for me would be a new sample to take home with me so I could learn how to tie it properly (and it would never, ever, see the water if it was something special...). Hope this helps, and please post a report on how your trip goes. Homosassa season is well after our own (the interior of the Everglades is the first place here in Florida that gets big tarpon up shallow every year- and we've been in fish for weeks now...).
  5. As a guy who not only fishes every kind of gear around... fly, spin, plug casting... I've always been interested in how a lure or fly sinks - and at what attitude, nose first, tail first, or mostly level... Along the way I've learned that I can influence how the fly or lure suspends or sinks - and at what rate, by varying a few things. The first item for sinking lures and flies is how it's connected to the leader. If I want the hook end to remain level as it sinks I employ a knot to the leader that is fixed and not "flexible" at all. A few examples of this kind of knot would be the clinch, the palomar, or the snell (probably not a knot at all...). Even a bonefish jig with this kind of knot will tend to sink in a more level fashion... The actual size and material used for your leader has some influence as well. Now if I want the lure or fly to sink nose first the attachment is always a loop knot which allows the fly or lure to pivot against the leader connection and go down nose first... In fly fishing we have an advantage since we can greatly vary how the terminal end (the fly) behaves by merely changing the fly line (or going to a setup that already has a different type of line ready to go). That's why as a general proposition I like my lighter rods (7, 8, and 9 wts.) set up with floating lines, and my heavier rods, 10 to 12 wts. , set up with full intermediate lines.. Yeah I know for freshwater anglers a 7 wt is not a "light rod" but I'm a salty type and we use heavier rods than most freshwater types..
  6. Where is your trip.. that alone will go a long way towards a recommendation on what to tie and bring with you... Mind you, I have had many anglers over the years bring a selection of tarpon flies (some buy them other tie them..) that rarely get used since we've got to be very specific in the Everglades and many Keys style tarpon flies simply don't work well in the dark waters of the 'glades..
  7. As great as the clouser is for most species worldwide... We’ve never had a single tarpon bite on one... Have absolutely no idea why.
  8. Amen... tarpon flies vary widely from place to place, and time of year... We also use dramatically different sizes, depending on the size of the fish we’re working. Your guide will know exactly what you need.
  9. And since nothing exists in a vacuum... some of the earliest bonefish flies (right after WWII, Joe Brooks was one of the earliest to experiment with using flies to take them...) actually started out as salmon and/or steelhead flies. One of my early mentors in tying was Harry Friedman, a contemporary and fishing partner of Joe Brooks, was kind enough to teach me a little about that early era. He was nearing the end of his years when I first became interested in tying for the salt... As years went by more and more folks began fishing them and the flies changed so that today you'd be hard pressed to find a single bonefish pattern with a salmon or steelhead ancestry. I did catch my first bone on a fly that Harry showed me how to tie... Nobody today would look at it twice...
  10. I use a bit of squirrel occasionally for tarpon flies - as a collar, not a wing. No, it doesn't compress at all - my usual technique is to place the entire collar as a bundle, square cut on top of my tie in point then with the thread only under light tension after a few turns I roll the bundle around the hook shank before tightening up on the thread to hold it in place - the stroke the hairs back towards the hook eye to make them stand up a bit before completing the tying process. I also add a tiny drop of superglue (the thin formula - my favorite is still Krazy Glue...) on the butts of the squirrel hair before covering then with the thread as I'm usually intent on creating a head that's just built up thread... Here's a few pics of the finished flies... All of the flies shown started out as variations of Stu Apte's Apte Too tarpon pattern. The last version is my own Furnace Squirrel... These bugs were done about 30 or more years ago using both gray and fox squirrel collars... Back then I was using Tiemco's 800s hooks (discontinued) . If I did them today they'd be on Owner Aki hooks. The one sample shown with a doubled wire weedguard was done at the request of a specific guide down in the Keys dealing with tarpon laying under floating grass. I never got any feedback on how it worked from him...
  11. Jack Gartside passed away a few years back so if anything with his name on it is being operated by someone else- or it’s just a memory... Wish he were still around. I’ve said it before - folks will still be tying his patterns years from now...
  12. Re-read this post - then my own contribution to it... was surprised that it held up so well years later... Thanks for bringing it back... One thing I didn't mention before does need to be said though... Some of my anglers who bring their own gear down to my area show up with line connections that are less than satisfactory (even ones their local fly shop has done for them... My standard test is to take the line on each side of any connection with a double wrap for each hand then slowly pull the knot, splice, or loop so tight across my chest that my hands are hurting... A lot of knots fail that test... Just something to consider when you're going after that fish of a lifetime that can really pull on your gear (something I doubt most freshwater anglers ever consider...). "Be a hero.... take a kid fishing"
  13. Like many I also use Google Earth to get up close to spots I need to learn more about. For us coastal types there's also a handy on line version of all of the Coast Guard's navigation charts..... Here's the one for the area of Everglades National Park that I spend most of my days in... "Flamingo to Shark River" https://www.charts.noaa.gov/OnLineViewer/11433.shtml For your area - or for any coastal area you're interested in - find out the chart number and simply substitute it for the one that's shown.. "11433" At a glance on my desktop I have the charts on hand for every bit of the coastal and interior waters (mostly...) of the areas we fish - from Naples all the way across to the Keys and up the coast to Stuart in the north.... Very handy.
  14. "Be a hero.... Take a kid fishing" That's my motto and I actually mean it... Always a great day when someone brings a kid on board (no matter how many hooks, lures, or flies I have to retrieve from one tree or another...). With kids aboard I advise most to shorten the day a bit, bring plenty of snacks - and I do my best to find action fishing as opposed to "that fish of a lifetime... When all else fails I allow them to try to catch the fish in my live well - bare handed...
  15. Opening Day... haven’t thought about that in many years... Down here in south Florida it just doesn’t apply. We not only don’t have an opening day but right this moment the fishing is simply outstanding and our only concern is weather... Inshore or offshore, freshwater, saltwater, or somewhere between... take your choice. Tomorrow I’ll be spending the day doing a bit of exploring while verifying that my motor is 100% since it just came out of the shop, forcing me off the water for a week while guides I know were covered up in giant tarpon in the backcountry of Everglades National Park...
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