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Fly Tying

Capt Bob LeMay

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Everything posted by Capt Bob LeMay

  1. Here's a pic or two from the three days we spent on the local freshwater canals.... with a father and son from California... this small largemouth ate one of my SpeedBugs.... most of the largemouths we encountered (all on the small side....) ate poppers with abandon - all day long each day (along with good sized oscars, mayan cichlids, even small bluegills and black crappie....) lots of small peacock bass as well (they ate everything we used -this one ate a bright colored clouser variation...). Note the pronounced bump on its head - males show this during their spawning season... All in all a great few days.... I'll be back down to Flamingo on Sunday for a return to the brackish and salty backcountry..
  2. This morning it was a freshwater trip - peacocks, oscars, Mayan cichlids, and largemouth bass on small clousers (small for me... ) and popping bugs... Will be back on freshwater again tomorrow - then a few days off...
  3. Wouldn't eat the fly... so my angler's partner - took care of business... Another nice redfish in Whitewater Bay, Everglades National Park... carefully released to fight another day....
  4. More backcountry and night-time trips... this time of year the sharks make catching a nice snook and releasing it safely more adventure than most are looking for but we succeeded with this one... The sharks along the coast now are a real hazard for any fish we hook up since every specie is living in close proximity to every kind of inshore tropical shark you can imagine... at night back over on the east coast in Biscayne Bay the snook in docklights are great fun (and never a shark problem at all...). The night scene will be going on all summer long... That night this same angler got his very first tarpon under a local bridge - but around bridges and other structures I'm a bit too busy to be taking any photos... of crazy tarpon... Once again, hoping my anglers will send me a video clip so that I can post it up.
  5. Going full tilt now before the wet season arrives and my bookings fall off (not many want to fish the 'glades in mosquito season...). Feels like I'm on the water more than off of it so here's a few random pics of what my anglers are up to... a popping bug and an 8wt had this nice speckled trout posing before the release... a night later in Biscayne Bay the same angler - Kevin Kwan our of Vancouver, B.C. with a nice small tarpon (about 20lbs), carefully released (and I'm hoping for the video...
  6. Saltwater to the rescue... I use #3 Malin's stainless coffee colored trolling wire.... Here's a pic... Most tackle shops that cater to saltwater anglers stock Malins... this wire leader material comes in various sizes - this is the one of the lighter ones. You'll have to learn the haywire twist to use it properly. I've recently begun to use "tippet rings" instead of a swivel or Albright knot to secure my leader to the wire bite tippet. The usual advice is to keep any wire leader short (only three or four inches worth) so that your leader has the least bad effects on the streamer fly you're using. That does not apply when sharks are your targets (and I'd never use very light wire, like size #3 for shark setups at all...).
  7. Winds... howling and yowling (must be springtime down here in paradise, the wind's been blowning for a few weeks now...) but still lots of bookings... A day or two ago I had two anglers from the San Diego area on board using plugcasting (or occasionally spinning gear). That day the tarpon were hiding, but we still caught lots of speckled trout and other species - then carefully released them. At the end of the day this nice snook gave us fits after biting a leadhead with plastic tail - in a jungle of downed trees... With a little luck we un-snagged the fish and this was the result - a nice snook for a quick photo... Earlier that day he also caught and released his first goliath grouper... Now, if only the winds would ease off a bit...
  8. That's a problem we all have to deal with... Imagine a wholesaler with a barrel of feathers to process (with all that entails...), package and sell -only that container has "bugs".... and so it goes
  9. This time of year we stay booked up and have little time for fishing reports - so this will be a short one. I made time, a night or two ago, to do some exploring up at Jupiter (for those not from this area - it's just north of the Palm Beaches..). I deliberately went on a tide that I normally don't fish to learn whether it would be productive - and it was.... After dark now - you need to be a bit cautious since they're building a massive new bridge with lots of big barges and cranes - but they do have temporary navigation lights that make it do-able... and at a docklight I'd never fished before (the very first one I checked...) there were lots of small snook in the lights chasing any baitfish or shrimp that the tide presented. Using a 9wt fly rod my first cast got hammered by a small snook - here's a quick photo before it was carefully released... this young snook ate a Night Fly that is normally meant for tarpon then went racing back towards the dock before coming to hand A cast or two later - that same fly got another workout - with a bit bigger fish... and a lot tougher fight... then carefully released Although I was supposed to be exploring - I couldn't resist trying for one more fish -using that same chewed up fly - and this time the next fish was bigger still... this one might have been slot sized - but was released to fight another day... I was very tempted to stay right where I was since the snook were in a feeding mood - but still needed to do the exploring I came for.... The next two hours I checked docklights I knew and a few that I'd never taken a close look at with great results. Without picking up a rod you could see fish at most of the lights I checked -some of them big girls (the kind that take you to school up under the nearest dock if hook one..). Pretty sure that any night trip up to Jupiter will be well worth doing in the coming months to add to the night trips locally in nearby Biscayne Bay... Enough for now - will be down at Flamingo today... Like I mentioned we're busy this time of year.... " Be a hero... take a kid fishing" Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  10. Almost every fly I tie for the backcountry will have one of these weedguards (If I can figure out how.... still don't have good weedguard for poppers... )
  11. Hmmm... obviously I've screwed up somewhere... will try to sort it out later today.... Believe it's fixed now - someone please comment and let me know if the pics are in place the way they should be...
  12. Here's a step by step one of the ways I do "clousers" (most I know consider that to be a tying style as opposed to a specific pattern...). This particular version, on a 2/0 Mustad 34007 hook, is a standard for working shorelines in the backcountry of the Everglades - we also use it in freshwater when the fish are larger and aggressive -but in brighter colors (see April patterns) and in different sizes... but at one time or another we use "clousers" as small as size #2 and as large as 3/0 depending on what forage is present... This fly is almost foul-proof and the wire weedguard allows an angler to toss his bug into the bushes and actually slide it back out without snagging up (very handy in my area... this version was named for Whitewater Bay where it gets a lot of use...). Note.... the wire size is dependent on hook size - for hooks 1/0 and larger -#5 wire, for hooks #2 and #1 we use #4 wire... Hook: Mustad 34007 2/0 Eyes: large beadchain (the same size as the pull cord on vertical blinds.... Thread : Danville's flat waxed (or equivalent in 210 denier...), fl Fire orange, fl. green Body: double course of orange tying thread (also used to secure eyes..) Wing: white bucktail twice the hook's length, with fl. green bucktail over (after adding flash...) Flash: pearl Flashabou between white and green wing... Weedguard: Malin's trolling wire, coffee colored #5 Finish: none, after tying and before wire is bent into position, thin superglue on head (Krazy Glue) Start thread one beadchain width behind hook eye, do a double course to hookpoint then back, figure eight eyes into position... tie off.. this pic shows the weedguards ready to use - they'll be tied in by the hairpin end and remain sticking out as the fly is completed (you might need a band-aid or two learning to use them....) Reverse hook to ride point up, change thread to fl. green then tie in weedguard by the bend pointing straight forward as shown. Learning to complete the pattern with that wire sticking out... might require a couple of band-aids until you get the hang of it.. first part of the wing tied in place, then 6 strands of pearl flashabou is wound around the barrel of your bobbin and slid into place on top of the white bucktail (strands have staggered ends..). the fiinal fl. green bucktail is tied in on top of the white, then the head is completed, whip finished and tied off. Now raise the wire a bit (to get it away from the hook eye - then coat the head lightly with thin super glue.. Once the super glue dries bend weedguard into place then trim it at the hook's barb and do a small final bend and you're done.
  13. One of my anglers asked about the patterns we're using for peacock bass locally - here's a sampling ranging from as small as a #2 - all the way up to a 2/0 for the "clousers".. The small maribou fly is a Crystal Schminnow in size #4... most in my area consider that a clouser is more of a tying style than a specific pattern... I have a tying sequence that I'll post separately...
  14. I was one of those vets who came home in 1971 - when we snuck back into the country and did everything possible to avoid wearing the uniform... The current fashion of thanking young folks for their service is a far cry from that era. Not a bad thing at all - but it's not what we experienced at all. I suspect that most of us simply got on with our lives, keeping a low profile. To this day I don't belong to any veteran's groups although I was an Army brat and grew up all over the world before I went in the service myself in 1968. My Dad was a career type and did two tours in Vietnam in '65 and '69 before retiring in 1970...
  15. Our night trips... are never in jungle areas at all (after a lot of years you learn where not to fish..). Instead we're fishing the urban areas (between Miami and Miami Beach in Biscayne bay - or up at Jupiter...) where we're pretty much bug free. All of our night stuff revolves around docklights or in the shadows up under a bridge somewhere. The night scene for us is all about sight-fishing and we're looking at every fish we encounter, mostly... You have to stand off of docklights but in bridge shadows we're working so close to small (20 to 40lb tarpon mostly) that you can almost reach out and touch one with your rod... It was the very first thing I was introduced to - in 1972.... and I'd been doing the night scene for a lot of years before I took up guiding.
  16. Love that brutal winter weather ... it causes my phone to ring down here in paradise where we get all covered up when the weather is below 70 degrees... On the other end of the scale - when summer comes around I don't get too many bookings to fish the 'glades at all... even though the fishing gets better and better all summer long (while the actual jungle conditions get worse and worse...). Thank heavens for night trips.
  17. Not sure if I've mentioned this before... several of my wholesalers have mentioned that covid really messed up some of their local supply sources for things like bucktails, squirrel tails, etc. and that they've been having great difficulty obtaining commercial quantities of natural furs/ tails... Hope this is just a temporary situation. I'd advise anyone to buy those kinds of materials at your local shop these days (if possible) so that you can get a hands on evaluation of exactly what you're buying... Wish it weren't so...
  18. This time of year everything's biting in the 'glades... This snook was caught and released with an 8wt rod and new streamer we've been using.... That fly took at least 20 fish that day.... Tail: old yellowed polar bear Hook: Owner Aki light in size #1 Body: synthetic Body Fur in fl. yellow Eyes: Wapsi presentation lead eyes Weedguard: #4 trolling wire (Malin's stainless, coffee colored. Note... during my years filling fly orders for shops and anyone else who knew what they wanted.. I never used any of my small supply of polar bear for a single fly... Years later, as the hair is almost no longer usable I'm beginning to use a bit of it here or there...
  19. Most of the time I'm a wholesale operator and doing my orders by phone... When there's something on my shopping list that's a critical item (needed to fill an order I'm working on, or needed for my guiding work) I've learned to request a call back after they've pulled the order to find out then if what I need is out of stock, so I can look elsewhere instead of waiting to find out when I receive my goods a few days later (or a week or two later in a few cases... If I have the slightest doubt that they'll call me back I'll make a point of getting the individual's contact info while placing my order and do a call back myself... before the end of their working day to verify that what I'm needing is (or isn't) in that order when it's shipped... This routine, of course, was learned the hard way.... Over the years I've learned that an occasional supplier was not reliable in one way or another - that business was off of my list to purchase from the moment they let me down... Matter of fact I've just found my very first defective fly line in nearly fifty years of fly fishing - after only two days usage and will be contacting the manufacturer directly later on today. Their response will tell me whether I'll be using their lines in the future. I try to keep at least one spare new line for every line size from a 5wt up to a 12wt on hand (in some cases, 8, 9 and 10wt lines - two spares...). The backcountry of the Everglades, all mangrove jungle shorelines... is very hard on fly lines and my floating lines rarely last more than one year for my anglers... Note... Very pleased, that line manufacturer stepped up, requested I send in the line so they could examine it - and will send a replacement.. .They'll be getting more orders from this corner...
  20. We're nearly over-run with juvenile goliath grouper in the backcountry (interior) of the Everglades and nearby areas these days. By juveniles - I mean fish less than fifty pounds. They've been fully protected now for nearly thirty years and as a direct result they've been allowed to increase in population to the point that they're displacing other species... Here's my latest example - a seven pound specimen taken in less than two feet of water while trying to catch a redfish or snook instead... a great catch on an 8wt rod using a Seaducer pattern - but in a very shallow interior shoreline where you'd never expect to see one at all.. Kind of a mixed blessing I guess - but one more example of why my state needs to re-consider its protected status... tougher than an old leather boot and quite aggressive - they're the baddest fish in the 'glades - now if there were just not so many of them... Of course, like always - this specimen was carefully caught and released...
  21. Last night the tarpon took my anglers to school... We jumped a half dozen or more in bridge shadows and docklights using both lures and flies. The fish, a mix of small tarpon in the 20 to 50lb range were up at the surface and feeding - perfect sight-fishing conditions. My father and son anglers (Dad with the fly rod, 15 year old son with light spinning gear) got introduced to the night scene in the usual way - breaking off fish on the strike or hanging on as the fish jumped off after the hook up... Great fun between Miami and Miami Beach... Here's a pic of the flies we used in sized 1/0 and 2/0.... Always in white so my anglers can see where the fly is in relation to the fish at night... The rods I have for night trips are an 8,9, and 10wt (the ten weight is reserved for nights when the bigger fish are in the shadows...). This time of year it's all happening - the backcountry of Everglades National Park for day trips (Flamingo, Chokoloskee, or Goodland to the north, near Marco Island), night trips in Biscayne Bay or up in Jupiter, and peacock bass with other exotics in local canals...
  22. This time of year we're going day after day (nice to have anglers... but be careful what you wish for...) - freshwater, saltwater, day trips, night trips.... when that great flood of visitors heads our way.. By May things begin to slow down (as customers begin to dwindle - the fishing, though, gets better and better...) and in summer - not many want to fish in the jungle with me... In the meantime I come up for air a day here or there... with lots to do - then it's back on the water... Here's a pic from last week of a nice redfish out of Flamingo in Whitewater Bay where the reds have that great mahogany red/brown copper color... carefully released after an encounter with a small leadhead on light spinning gear... Today I'll be sourcing a new stern light for my skiff... Trying to stuff a seven foot wide skiff up a six foot wide creek - has consequences...
  23. Water temps in the 'glades are a bit higher than normal for this time of year... We had 81 degree waters in the afternoon... For those who've never fished tarpon - water temperature is what gets them moving - not time of year or any other factor... The interior of the 'glades is simply warmer than waters out in the Gulf - and that's why Flamingo, Chokoloskee, Goodland and the entire Ten Thousand Islands area gets the first crack at the big fish - before the spawning migration gets going each year..
  24. Finally our weather warmed up a bit - and stayed that way... In the backcountry of the 'glades our waters warmed up 12 degrees in just a few days - and the giant tarpon responded by flooding up into interior bays out of the cooler Gulf waters they've been holding in... On our first of two days the wind was blowing and we only saw a few of the big fish but weren't able to get on them properly. That day I was fishing local angler Bill Myers and his buddy Andrew... We mixed it up with Bill on the fly rod in the bow and Andrew with light spinning gear at the rear and found snook, speckled trout, and redfish along mangrove jungle shorelines for both anglers, at times double hookups. The snook were small, the redfish nice sized, and the trout were numerous but only a few of them were keeper sized.. Here's a pic of a nice redfish that Andrew caught and released. the reds in our interior areas are all this gorgeous red brown color... That day we kept two nice trout for dinner - an 18 and a 19" - both loaded with roe.... It's that time of year when the trout will flood into our area all of them roe laden and fully mature. When the conditions are right - we do really well using popping bugs on fish holding in feeding lane currents with them. The next day I had Chris Frohlich and his Dad Court on board fly fishing for the big tarpon... Chris was the sole angler that day with his Dad along to watch and do a bit of filming if possible. Chris is a very skilled tarpon angler, able to lay out a full 120 foot tarpon line in the right conditions. We found the big fish early on, laid up in a sheltered area in a big open bay , just occasionally rolling in three to five feet of water (and every now and then floating just under or right at the surface, showing only the very tip of a fin here or there.... I was on the pole most of that day and fish after fish - simply ignored our flies.... typical tarpon (you could hear them snoring....). Finally late in the day the fish perked up, began moving around and actually doing a bit of feeding. Chris began to see fish following the fly although still with lockjaw until one, only thirty feet from the skiff did a perfect eat and it was game on... with a fat eighty pound fish (there were a lot of tarpon in that immediate area - some of them really way over one hundred pounds...). I was only able to take one photo of the action (and I'm hoping to get a small video clip from Court...). That one fish, though really made our day... Hooked up solid with an 11wt rod We like to use much bigger tarpon flies than folks in the Keys favor... This pattern a Tarpon Snake variation, was the tarpon food that day... Just nothing like the Everglades... "Be a hero... take a kid fishing..." Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  25. This time of year I'm prepping up for the busiest part of my annual bookings down here in south Florida. We go year round here -but these next two or three months will see the most visitors (and keep me busy...). This is one of my go to patterns, specifically when we're working up shallow and sight fishing the the 'glades out of either the interior (backcountry) or the vast shallows of Florida Bay. I do these in every color under the sun - this one is a favorite. I also do them in various sizes - this one a good average size for redfish, speckled trout, snook, and small tarpon (anything under fifty pounds is a "small tarpon:"...). This is a suspending pattern and it's deadly on any fish we encounter with a proper presentation using a strip... pause... strip, retrieve... This version of Chico Fernandez's famous Seaducer is done in grizzly/white and features a wire weedguard (very handy working over grass flats or mangrove jungle shorelines) Hook: Mustad 34007, size #1 (with barb flattened and point triangulated with a 4" mill bastard file) Thread: Danville's flat waxed nylon Fl. Red Tail: Six wide, webby bleached white saddle hackles Body: Two of the same saddles, tied in butt first then palmered forward with as much of the "fluff" left on each saddle as possible Head: One wide, webby, grizzly saddle palmered in as noted above Weedguard: Malin's stainless leader wire, size #4 Eyes: Solid plastic doll eyes, 7mm, with the stem clipped away, secured one at a time using Fletch-Tite, an arrow maker's cement... After each eye is cemented in place it's held tightly with a clothes pin for about five minutes... these eyes are much more durable than the holographic eyes most use...
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