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Capt Bob LeMay

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Everything posted by Capt Bob LeMay

  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...
  16. Great looking bug Squeezy. Toss it in the backcountry and it won’t last long enough for any fancy paint work or other extras to matter at all. I like to start off my fly anglers over schooling fish if possible ( ladyfish, jacks, blue runners). With a popper under the right circumstances it’s a fish ever cast…. And the extras don’t matter at all.
  17. These days high end technical poling skiffs can come with “dry launch” trailers set up specifically to allow the user to never dunk the hubs… That’s not my setup at all…. But very handy if you fish in saltwater. Since high end skiffs now routinely sell for $50,000 and more I’m never going to own one.
  18. A word of caution about big box stores… Most do offer savings on selected high demand items - then really stick it to you on everything else… It’s been most noticeable at big box hardware and DIY places where you make a small purchase or two then stop by an old established local store and find out that you paid as much as 20-30 % more at the big box store…
  19. For some years now I carry two spares for a single axle trailer - and actually have two additional spares ready to go at home. Needing a tire or a spare can be tough with the hours I keep. I actually have a night booking coming up this week that I’ll get home from after 1Am…
  20. Here's a tip for anyone that wants to check the condition of the bearings - on any trailer... I was taught it by a pro years ago. Jack up the wheel you want to check just like you do to check bearing adjustment - then give the wheel a hard spin and place your finger tips on the trailer frame nearby while the wheel is spinning... If the bearing is good you won't feel a thing while it's spinning.. If the bearing is bad - you feel a rumbling or vibration in the trailer frame next to that wheel - long before it becomes a "hot bearing" and you're in deep trouble... It's also very good practice whenever you stop somewhere when towing to put your hand on every hub to feel if it's getting hot (indicating a bad bearing), hubs will always warm up a good bit out on the highway but should never be hot... I used to use bearing buddies back when I ran trailers with grease hubs... Something to remember is that if you ever have a bearing go bad out on the road - the hub will heat up, the grease will expand - and actually push that nice Buddy right off the hub allowing the grease to run out (and all over everything)... Just another of those "ask me how I know" moments... More than one boat owner, after losing a dust cap or bearing buddy on a hub figured that it didn't fit right - but a bad bearing that gets hot will push off whatever cap you have in place - and leave a mess to clean up -while you're at roadside somewhere trying to install a new bearing (you do remember to keep a set of spare bearings and seals out on the road don't you....). And for anyone who envies the life of a fishing guide... be careful what you wish for.... I've had to learn more about boat trailers than I ever wanted to know - over the last 27 years.. as a full time guide. My first year guiding, I popped five trailer tires (before learning to put quality rubber on the road..) and never got to change out a tire in daylight... Year in and year out I'm towing an average of 20,000 miles a year from my home to one ramp or other.... "Aren't boats fun?"
  21. Aluminum trailers are great - and these days good ones come with all the hardware isolated - serious saltwater corrosion problems with older aluminum trailers that didn't have that isolation routine (a combination of the right washers and I believe something called Tef-gel -not sure of the correct spelling..). My trailer, a galvanized steel number is very old fashioned - a full roller trailer and I like it because many years ago a lot of ramps down my way weren't exactly "float-on" friendly and any time you have to submerge your hubs to launch a boat (not to mention the back end of your tow vehicle at some ramps ) you're risking your bearings unless you really keep after their maintenance. I've known many that automatically re-did their bearings annually to keep them in good shape. My rig, on the other hand never needs to have the trailer deep enough in the water for it to barely touch the rims on my wheels (and never the bearings) so in that regard it's pretty bearing maintenance free. Matter of fact with the oil bath hubs I'm running - when the trailer is around 250 to 350,000 miles (correct figures....) I'm still using the original bearings... The trailer shown in the photo is a 2005 model - and I really am on the road with it 20,000 miles a year... These days of course most trailer setups are the drive on or float on style that needs two people to load properly - most days... I never need assistance if my gear is working properly... It's also an advantage with a PowerWinch and a walk board to be able to idle up the rear of the trailer, hook up you winch cable - then walk to the front of the rig with dry feet on the walk board and complete loading your skiff using that PowerWinch - by yourself (this style of trailer self-centers your boat as it's pulled up onto the trailer) late late at night (or very early morning...) no matter what the wind is doing - and if I can get to the water I don't even need a ramp in some situations... The downside of course is that even galvanized steel will rust - the good news for me is that nothing is welded - it's all bolted together so with a schematic I can order a new cross member or axle or whatever I need - and do almost all of the maintenance myself. With an aluminum trailer you'll need a welder every now and then - and a competent one that works with aluminum regularly... All said though - I"m still a poster child for being careful about what you wish for - long days on the water with a nearly 200 mile round trip commute to one ramp or other... Been doing it for many years though - and will until I can't anymore...
  22. I know most fly fishers are on foot in fresh water (at least that's the impression I get...) but for guys that venture out into saltwaters boats are a big part of your day always... Seems to me that at least half of my maintenance work isn't done on rods or reels, or at the tying bench - it's simply keeping my skiff in good shape - trailer and all. Here's a few pics of my most recent work where we needed to remove the skiff from the trailer to be able to upgrade the suspension... first, drop the boat off of the trailer (either at a boat ramp somewhere - or just on the grass... then do your trailer repairs and then load the hull back on the trailer afterwards - ready to hit the road again... Pretty old fashioned trailer and I"m towing an average of 20,000 miles a year with it, commuting from my home to one ramp or other day after day... And yes the entire rig fits exactly into my garage - it was planned that way years ago... This is the second trailer it's had - not bad for more than 32 years old now...
  23. Capt Bob LeMay

    Boo!

    I was expecting a photo of my least favorite politician... Just can't wait until the 8th... I don't belong to any political party but you can be certain my views are somewhat to the right of Attila the Hun... Great costume by the way !
  24. We go through more than our share of fly lines, fishing the brackish and salt parts of the Everglades (heavy mangrove jungle shorelines, downed trees, fish with horsepower...) so I've rigged loops on more than my share of fly lines from 5wts on up to 13wt lines... In recent years many fly lines come with welded loops that will hold up - but will also snag on guides - when it's not convenient at all. My go to method these days is, for the butt end of the fly line (the end that attaches to backing... ) formed into a loop then secured with two or as many as three tight seven turn nail knots using various line sizes in mono for the nail knots. For a 5wt line the nail knot is only 15lb mono for a 12 wt line it's 30lb... Each nail knot is spaced from a 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch apart from the others then the fly line is trimmed back to the last nail knot on a 45 degree bias so it will make it past the guides without snagging - no matter how much pressure is on the line from a big fish... This setup will last the life of the fly line and never, repeat never, fail under however much stress you're capable of bringing with the gear you have.... An extra step, if I have time, is to coat each knot with Pliobond (a rubber based cement) to protect it from abrasion and allow it to move as smoothly as possible through the guides... By the way, over the years I've had more than one fly angler show up with his (or her) gear ready to fish - until a quick check of line connections ends up in failure (connections - even ones done by someone's local fly shop... occasionally will break in my hands as I pull them taut until my hands hurt...). Then after a few minutes of rigging, I'll have them set up properly for what we're going to do.. All of my fly reels, two for every rod - one right hand the other left hand, are set up with a loop at the end of the backing for quick change of fly lines out on the water ... but that's a story for another day. I'll try to take a photo or two of what I've just described and add it to this post today if I can find the time. I'm back on the water tomorrow...
  25. Pretty sure I've developed a mild allergy to some of the natural materials I handle, but it's greatly diminished now that I'm no longer tying for shops and other customers... In particular I've found it to be very good practice to carefully wash my hands after a session at the bench since I handle lots of deertails, kiptails, and very low grade strung dyed feathers (both saddles and neck hackles) as well as bird skins -some in poor condition - others fairly old, if you buy in bulk you end up with such a variety that it's difficult at times to narrow down what the problem is... What I had to do at times was wear a dust mask (no, not the masks we've all worn in the covid years) to reduce my exposure to airborne problems as well as at times even washing my hands using household cleaners with a bit of bleach in them.... If you handle lots of feathers and other materials dyed in black or red colors you'll quickly begin to notice that the dyes used aren't nearly colorfast enough - you can see the results on your fingers... I've also learned not to touch anywhere close to my eyes when tying since the slightest contact, hand to eye, will cause burning, itching, and other problems with my eyes unless I've left the bench and carefully washed my hands first... Like I said, most of these symptoms are either gone or greatly reduced now that I'm no longer spending hour after hour knocking out fly orders.. The lures I make are mostly done up in bucktail dressing so that eliminates airborne problems - but my hands and the potential transfer of chemicals to my eyes is still something I try to guard against... Slightly off topic I've also learned a few tricks in handling materials that allow me to be more efficient... The first is to use a sheet of fabric softener, rubbed on my hands before a session at the bench in cold weather to greatly reduce any static electricity problems... Another trick is one I learned to use when working with maribou (or other fine materials...). I keep a small custard bowl with a half inch of water in it and dip my fingers in it periodically to moisten them - maribou and similar materials are much more controllable when slightly damp... The finished fly dries out very quickly in the low humidity of winter as well... Lastly that same bowl of water acts as a super glue killer whenever you dip your fingers... If you have the slightest bit of wet super glue on your finger tips a quick dip in water neutralizes the glue - kills it dead... Very handy...
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