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Capt Bob LeMay

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Everything posted by Capt Bob LeMay

  1. My thread problems (only occasional so far...) are a bit different than most tyers since I'm buying in bulk (thread spools by the box of 12 in one color) and I'm never buying any thread smaller than the old 3/0 monocord - 90% of my thread is Danville's flat waxed nylon (or anything similar in a 210 denier thread...). My problem? Occasionally I'll get a box of thread that isn't the normal color I expect (and consistency is something every commercial tyer tries to achieve when filling orders... something I learned so long ago that it just habit now...). My usual course of action is to set that box aside and re-order (sometimes to another brand if it has the color I need). I will try to find a use for the off color (sometimes darker - sometimes lighter) thread if possible - but it's just one more hassle in the materials game... thank heavens I'm also doing bucktail jigs in quantity - that's where that wrong thread will probably end up... I'm no longer tying flies commercially but still doing lures as fast as the orders come in... when my guiding bookings slow down...
  2. Did a trip earlier this week with a real legend as my angler... and did a bit of fly tying in preparation... The tying part is over on the Tyer's bench section - You can find the report on this thread... https://www.microskiff.com/threads/baby-tarpon-out-of-flamingo-this-week.102892/#post-979358 That day we used only an 8wt rod for fly fishing and Bouncer occasionally went to a plug rod when his buddy was tossing flies...
  3. Great report and glad to hear your repair has worked so well... Me? I've broken two more fly rods (or my customers have actually - and that poor 5wt is still sitting for the time and interest needed for a proper job....). Breaking fly rods as a guide is something we do - all too often - and that's why I've been buying Temple Fork Outfitters rods for my skiff now for a few years. Their replacement policy is nothing short of outstanding - and when I need to buy a rod they'll have it to me in just three or four days from purchase - pretty handy if you're a guide. I'm still building and/or repairing all of my spinning and conventional rods in the meantime as well. Anyone wanting to be a fishing guide should be cautioned... "Be careful what you wish for"...
  4. Mentioned on Sunday that I'd recently tied up a selection of small flies for baby tarpon - and that the ones we're using right now are mostly white in color... Here's a photo of what we're using... They range from a size #4 all the way up to a size #1... ready to go individually sleeved with barbs mashed down... the first column includes two Minno-mites (a size 1/0, and size #1), then a Crystal Schminnow (my version) in size #4, the middle column are all small Seaducers in size #2, the last column are an assortment of SpeedBugs in size #1... Note that every one has a wire weedguard with the exception of the poppers -and I'd have a weedguard on those if I could figure out a way that didn't compromise their movement in the water... This time of year I favor very light colors all summer long - then go to darker colors as we move into fall and then winter...
  5. Not sure will have to look army catalog…
  6. I've just begun to experiment with Rio's tippet rings - but for a different purpose than most... I'll be tying the ring to the bitter end of my usual 20lb fluoro tippet (salt or brackish waters where we're usually using heavier leaders if we're not targeting bonefish or permit..) then using a haywire twist to add a three inch piece of #3 Malin's stainless trolling wire (coffee colored) to be able to toss our flies at toothy critters like mackeral or small sharks (under 4 feet in size). So far the rings have stood up well -and the very light wire mates well with those small rings as well so I'm hopeful it will be something to add to our arsenal... When you try to use really light wire spliced to tippet with an Albright or similar knot it's very difficult to get a good strong connection...
  7. That baby tarpon fly will work... I've just tied up a few bugs for baby tarpon as well (these babies are in the one to ten pound category.... ) and everyone I've worked up is white in color... I'll have to take a few pics and post them up. We did pretty well with them the other day for both small tarpon and small snook...
  8. My favorites are actually two very different rods… The first is a beaten up old Sage RPL+ 8wt that’s used hard day after day ( and on night trips as well…). The second is a 10wt I built myself using a Thomas & Thomas Horizon blank with a Powell reelseat… I built it just before I took up guiding in 1995 so it’s been used hard for everything that swims in the ‘glades, including tarpon up to and over 60lbs. These days it’s been retired from guiding and only used by me when I’m exploring or when my TFO 10wt is out of service as a backup…. I’ve actually been guiding long enough to have two reels for every rod size (5wt all the way up to 12wt) - one that winds right handed and another that winds left handed… I’m able to set up my gear based on my angler’s preferences each day.
  9. I started using Flex Coat in the late seventies- but only as a high build finish - not as a glue at all… It’s worked very well for that purpose, and I’m still using it today all these years later. You have to be a bit disciplined about the amount you use in a repair or when building a new rod from scratch since it’s easy to use too much. I try to apply it in two coats allowing it to cure between coats and, of course you need a rotating fixture for the first two hours after application since I has the consistency of honey until the two parts kick off and it quits flowing… The epoxy I use for gluing up reelseats and grips (of any material l) has always been Fasco’s slow cure epoxy with a pot life of about 20 minutes working time. Any glue job is allowed to sit undisturbed for 24 hours before handling and excess glue is cleaned up using lacquer thinner on a rag before it sets up. That’s what I’ll be using for the broken tip repair, then wrapping with thread over the repaired area after he glue has cured… Hope this helps…
  10. That will work... You'll have a dead spot where the new ferrule is but other than that let us know how it works out. I have a similar problem, also a five weight that I'll be attempting to repair in similar fashion.... For the last few months it's been sitting waiting on free time to get after it. This will be a bit different since it's crush damage over about three inches all told... and in the tip section - just forward of the existing ferrule...
  11. Great series of photos…. I hear you about the fuel situation (thanks a lot Brandon..). My daily bookings are out of ramps that are exact 93 miles from home (Flamingo or Chokoloskee) so each day I’m towing my skiff nearly 200 miles round trip as well as eight hours in the water… makes for very long days. My nut each day is roughly 25 gallons total for truck and skiff - lucky me…. So far I haven’t passed the additional cost onto my anglers…
  12. Great report, great trip... and really first rate photos... very nice.
  13. Great report… Over here on the east coat we’re fishing canals mostly when hunting peacocks and other exotics… All of our small creek adventures are in brackish areas out of Flamingo or Chokoloskee. Way up inside… My basic fly leader in all of those kid of places is a “Poor Boy”, a heavy butt section with a surgeon’s loop at the end - then a four foot section of 20lb fluorocarbon without a bite tippet. That way at least my anglers have a chance with a snook or baby tarpon…
  14. And for anyone contemplating a trip to Florida.. Our hurricane season (as those weather folks have called it....) starts in June and runs until November - but I doubt any hurricane can read or follow the "usual pattern"... The good news for all of us down here is that usually we get so much advance notice that we're tired of hearing about one - long before it shows up... The only exception is late season hurricanes which can brew up and come at you with little notice at all... Here's the only things I've learned about them in more than fifty years... One thing you can be certain of and that is, if you live in the tropics sooner or later you'll be learning more about hurricanes than you ever wanted to know.... Secondly there are two things you can never predict about them - the first is when one will come to your door - the second is the size of the dog coming to bite you.... I won't even put up shutters for a category one storm.. . if a category five is headed my way I want to be a thousand miles away....
  15. Your setup might be "very basic" but it's also quite sophisticated - and very well thought out... Well done!
  16. I’m actually still operating with materials purchased more than 30 years ago in some cases and when that movie, Avatar, came along I was able to resist selling off even at five or more times what I paid - all those years ago.. Wholesale prices were actually quite reasonable years and years ago… I’m still not doing any production tying (except for bucktails) and until that changes I have most of what I need in the way of saddles and necks (if I can keep them bug free…).
  17. Love those first two pics Caloosa... all of our local canals down here in paradise (south Florida) are loaded with them... That first one is a jaguar guapote I believe - and one specie we have yet to tangle with while working through lots and lots of mayan cichlids, oscars, peacocks, and others... Here's a recent peacock bass from a canal system about 15 minutes from my house. Most of western Broward county has canals so full of fish that myself and a frequent partner, retired teacher Mike Cole not only match each other fish for fish (he's working spinning gear with me on the fly rod) but frequently have double headers, working around each other's fish... Just nothing like the 'glades, and I've added peacock bass to my offerings as a guide when I'm not 100 miles away working the saltwater Everglades...
  18. A quick note for any beginning saltwater tyer.... I always enjoy reading good quality info about tying materials - particularly about saddles and necks - but for my purposes most of those great materials - aren't worth much to me at all... Over the years I did have great use for grizzly saddles - but only the #2 saddle from Metz - I just never had the need for much else in the way of patches (or necks... )... The only exception to that came about halfway through my years as a commercial tyer and those were very specifically saltwater grizzly necks, natural and dyed from Wapsi Fly (and I believe they were from capons not natural roosters at all... ). For my uses simple good quality strung saddles and necks were always in demand -and for saddles I was always looking for wide, webby, and long saddles (finding high quality strung saddles these days is difficult - it was much easier years ago before SARS and other related bird diseases really messed up the source that most of these materials came from (China and southeast Asia...). Once again I'm in awe of what our serious domestic breeders have been able to accomplish for the tying world - but they rarely have much utility in my world.... And for saltwater tyers everywhere, these days most new patterns are done with synthetics - not natural materials at all. That development in recent years has me feeling like a dinosaur by comparison since I'm still using mostly natural materials - but in a much lower grade than most freshwater tyers find satisfactory..
  19. You're right about the knowledge part and I'd freely admit I'd be lost in any area I didn't know.... I must admit though -some days I go home feeling like a genius - and others I go home talking to myself... The sport we all love can be humbling at times... understatement
  20. We have the reverse of your problem in the backcountry of the Everglades (miles and miles of jungle shorelines, creeks, rivers, bays)... Every last bit of it looks fishy - but only maybe 10% holds fish (and it changes from day to day). Most of my anglers take one look at the places we go to and ask "where do we start?".. .
  21. I buy my threads by the box of 12 per color each time - and all of my unused thread stays in those very same boxes until they're used up and then I buy another dozen spools... I keep on hand maybe 20 boxes of spools - all of them kept in a big drawer and only come out one spool at a time as needed. I have noted in years past that spools of thread left in display type racks will fade over time. The only spools i keep on my bench are ones in bobbins ready for use (Danville's flat waxed nylon mostly...) and rarely have any problem with colors fading or thread weakening. Why the thread spools I've kept in a display rack have faded out I can't say except to note that any spools mounted on bobbins get used up long before any color fading - or other problems... can occur.
  22. I actually used to teach this stuff - years ago at a local community college (night classes, lesson plans and all…) so it comes naturally.
  23. One of the charms of the backcountry in Everglades National Park is that you can launch your skiff in salt or brackish waters at Flamingo, then from there - run all the way up into freshwater areas to the north(a pretty long run at around 27 miles..). The water is stained dark - but pretty clear. Way up inside you can find salt and freshwater species together -snook, tarpon, redfish, etc - along with largemouth bass, oscars, cichlids of every kind - and along with them plenty of short nosed gar... The gar aren't big specimens - rarely much over 24 to 28" but they'll follow and attack a fly or small lure all day long in some places (a nuisance when you're looking for snook or baby tarpon that they're holding right next to...). For some years we'd rarely ever hook one since their mouths are all bone or teeth - but finally I figured out a method that works for us and we've added them to our "catch and release" menu. Using the same flies that we're trying to get a snook or tarpon to bite (small baitfish patterns in white - with razor sharp hooks..) I simply tell my anglers to try to break the leader with a short quick hard strike in response to a gar taking a fly.... When I can get my anglers to respond that way -striking with your stripping hand only - no rod movement at all (and the rod pointing straight at the fly...) they hook up frequently... No we don't target the gar - they're just a regular part of small creeks way up inside where the water is purely fresh - but on it's way to becoming brackish a few miles away... Just nothing like the 'glades for variety and surprises... I'm still running into things and situations I've never seen before and I've been running that area in a small way at first way back in 1974 - then as a guide years later...
  24. Here are a few pics from my last two days down at Flamingo with fly anglers.. didn't want his picture taken... this young goliath grouper came up off the bottom in seven feet of water to take my angler's tarpon fly - then do it's best to get back to cover... quite a fight... mangrove snapper on the fly speckled trout on a clouser Lots of tarpon around now but most of them ignored our flies with the exception of one we broke off on the strike.. The speckled trout have shown up in good numbers - every cast is a bite when you find them... The mangrove snapper ate a fly meant for a snook... We're finding lots of young snook now up inside but the bigger fish have been hard to find in high windy conditions.... After the tarpon ignored our flies one 50 to 60lb fish was hooked up on spinning gear and fought to the skiff...
  25. Many good quality high end plug casting reels have that same "one way bearing" setup as well. If I can get the part all is well - otherwise that's another reel I won't be repairing. It's a good idea to tear down any new reel to verify that there's grease on things like bearings before that first trip (if the manufacturer has used a design that you can even access..). Once that bearing starts rusting it will be all downhill from there. Freshwater is relatively harmless compared to the salt. Those of us who've been working with reels for a lot of years can remember when some brand new reels in the box came without a speck of lube on the inner workings so we learned not to trust any new piece of gear until we'd verified its condition where you couldn't see without a tool or two....
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