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Capt Bob LeMay

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Everything posted by Capt Bob LeMay

  1. 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...
  2. 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"
  3. 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.
  4. "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...
  5. 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...
  6. I only met Gartside once, some years ago. Wish he was still around. Folks will still be learning his patterns long after I’m gone...
  7. When the wind is up it ruins our tarpon fishing as well since if you can't see 'em... Then on days when the wind is at zero (usually right at dawn...) it's just magic - and you can see a big tarpon from a great distance if they are anywhere near the surface. The fishing club I belonged to many years ago used to say "What follows five days of perfect weather"? The weekend, of course... Here's one tip for flyfishing on a windy day... if you have a full Intermediate fly line you'll find it seems to punch through the wind much better than a floating line. Of course a full intermediate takes some learning to use properly. On my skiff all of the heavier rods (10wt and above..) are set up with intermediates . Lighter rigs (from 9wt on down to 7wt) still use floating lines...
  8. The biggest advantage you get fishing from a skiff in the salt (or anywhere else) in my opinion is to be able to position the skiff so that your casts are downwind... or to move into the lee of one island or other and get out of the wind entirely.... That’s a big part of what I do each day with fly anglers aboard. Lots of other factors involved but this simple tactic is a game changer on days when the wind has you by the throat.
  9. Most commercially offered pre-stripped rabbit has never worked for me since I'm a saltwater tyer. Here's what I came up with to do my own (a bit wider than most freshwater strips - and I prefer rabbit with a bit thicker skin than what's used for freshwater strips.... As noted above I also use double edged razor blades (these are much thinner than single edged blades so they cut very cleanly) but I first break each one in half length-wise using a small pair of nippers then flexing the blades back and forth until they crack and only use one half at a time.... My next step uses only a standard clipboard to hold the skin fur side down. At first I carefully marked the each skin with a ruler and a fine Sharpie pen to provide lines to cut along - but I soon learned to free- hand it... The trick to keep from cutting fur?? All you have to do is pull the skin tight before cutting and slightly elevate it off of the clipboard. With a brand new blades (the moment a blade starts to dull in the slightest - discard it - they're cheap enough...) I slice through the skin completely and since the fur isn't compressed onto the clipboard it flexes away from the blade as you cut the skin... Give it a try and you'll be pleasantly surprised how well it works.... and you won't lose a bit of the hair while stripping... Here's a pic or two of some of the bugs I do using rabbit (both for the tail and at times palmered, for the body as well... ). the RazorCut Mullet Hook: Mustad 34007, 3/0 Thread: Danville's flat waxed nylon color of choice Tail: very sparse bucktail just forward of hook bend with pearl Flashabou over, then a single bleached white rabbit strip over all Body: Bleached white deer belly hair, spun and clipped - then carefully razored into shape with wire weedguard Eyes: large holo eyes glued in place using Fletch-tite glue Finish: Flex- seal over all the deer hair (after coloring the back with a Sharpie or a Prismacolor marker...) Swamp Rabbit tarpon flies, size 3/0
  10. Those will work just fine... In the past I’ve gone that route as well, just reverse tying without a bend at all (but with a 1/2” of .040 square lead wire as a keel for a 1/0 hook).
  11. This time of year I do get calls from folks up north who think about south Florida... must be that stuff called ice and snow... I’m not a native down here though so I’ve lived in a few places up north and elsewhere with strong winters... We’re very lucky to have the good fishing we have... year ‘round.
  12. Yesterday down in Everglades National Park the big tarpon finally showed up - and they were everywhere in Whitewater Bay (a big interior lake with brackish waters, ten miles long and six miles wide... and it's only four to six feet deep...). For the next few weeks they'll be in and out of the interior, depending on water temperatures... Just nothing like the 'glades and this is the place, every year, that the big fish make their first appearance, usually a month or more before they ever show in the Keys...
  13. The last time I was in the UK, mid eighties... Everything tackle related was roughly twice what I was paying for it here in the Miami area. As a result visitors over my way from that area over the years have mentioned that one of their goals while vacationing or fishing with me... was a trip to one or the other fly shop for goods that were a very real bargain for them in comparison to their prices at home... The moment I saw the brand name sunray... my first thoughts were of a possible connection to the fly fishing industry in India (which to this day has a very strong commercial connection to the UK..). Haven't looked into it at all since almost all the gear on this site is for freshwater use and that's not me.
  14. Periodically one hand or the other will get a hard pain jolt - but I'm lucky those are my only symptoms so far. As a guy who poles a boat as well as ties flies, builds rods, etc. it's on my radar. At 72 I consider myself lucky that most of my parts still work okay (if a bit slower). I'll be watching this thread and hoping not to go down the same road - at least for another few years...
  15. Didn't realize you were running a jet... Almost all of what I said doesn't apply to jet drives. They're not very common down here since their impellers don't like soft sand/mud bottoms. As far as four strokes go - one thing they've done is to simply change the gear ratio to give them more go from a standing start... Jet drives work well in clear shallow rivers with rock bottoms - is that your situation?
  16. Before going the bigger, heavier route... consider running a four bladed prop for that jump up onto plane - might make all the difference. Where I run there's lots of guys who really, really need to jump up quickly (miles and miles of shallow waters to negotiate each day..) and the right four blade will get your best hole shot for you with whatever you're running. Most of us are using trim tabs as well and with them you can do amazing things with almost any hull...
  17. The good news for anyone re-powering from an old carbed two stroke is the much, much better fuel economy (and the added range that comes with that...). and the tremendously cleaner burning that all of the new four strokes provide. The downside is that all of them are heavier, more expensive to buy and they don’t accelerate as quickly as those old two strokes did... Guess all of us will be learning all about them...
  18. Oh yeah... In fact, along the Tamiami Trail (US 41 from Naples across to Miami) in winter the water is almost entirely fresh as it drains out of the sawgrass areas to the north. The small canals that are only a few feet from the roadway on the north and south sides of the Trail are loaded with fish - bass, cichlids and other exotics on the north side along with snook, baby tarpon ,and others on the south side.... with a fair amount of intermingling at the small bridges that allow north to south water flow... Be very careful to park safely and be careful of your backcast since none of the fly tackle made will survive a snagged fly - on a passing car or truck at 70mph... Little flies like the Schminnow and others rule... A freshwater Muddler (or it's saltwater equivalent the Maribou Muddler) as well as small poppers and others are always good choices along the Trail... Here's two patterns that I can recommend that will work in both worlds.. my own SpeedBug, with a soft foam Perfect Popper head on a Mustad #1 hook my own Blacklight Special in size #2 (Mustad 34007), maribou tail over pearl Flashabou, body is palmered and clipped Dan Bailey's Body fur.. "Be a hero... take a kid fishing"
  19. I too was interested in Suzuki motors (and I'm a guide, full time...), the 90 horse version.. A good friend and customer of mine, also a guide, has had very bad warranty response from them very recently down here in south Florida... I won't be looking at any Suzuki because of it... When you're four or five weeks down the road with a disabled motor (will probably need a new power head...) and they can't even provide a go / no go response on a warranty repair... that's just not acceptable. I've also heard that they treat their retail customers much better - but that's not me... My own dealer - a well respected outfit, when asked about them said, "They play games with their warranties". At the time I discounted it since he's not a Suzuki dealer but as noted above - this is what I've learned to date.... In my case I"m a long time Johnson/Evinrude user (since 1974 if you can believe it...), now on my fourth Evinrude E-Tec 90 with nearly four years warranty remaining. Last May BRP (the outfit that makes Evinrude...) quit making outboard motors entirely so sooner or later I will have to go with another manufacturer. Can't say I'm looking forward to it since it will also mean all new wiring harness, new shift/throttle, as well as all new gauges - an extra $2000 on top of whatever outfit I go with... I've been a full time guide now since 1996 so I've had to learn more about boats and motors than I ever wanted to... Be careful what you wish for... "Aren't boats fun?"
  20. Here's my version of Norm's Crystal Schminnow.... In the Everglades we use them a lot in size #4 (but will go down to #6 or up to #2 on occasion...) for baby tarpon and times when fish are feeding on glass minnows (bay anchovies). We also change up the eyes from beadchain to lead or for a suspending version - mono eyes.. For beach fishing you can probably do without the weedguard (it's essential in mangrove jungle country...). For additional info on the gulf coast fly scene go to Microskiff.com then to their fly fishing board and post your questions there. Bunch of folks on that site work the beaches from Tampa south. Right now they're getting a bit of red tide.... which can stop fishing along the coast cold when it's happening. Go to myfwc.com for info about red tides and learn about the weekly report they generate (I'm on their mailing list and get it automatically... Hope this helps
  21. Forceps were the solution I came up with years ago to be able to photograph flies that were designed to ride hook point up.... Whenever I see a photo of those kind of flies poised upside down it bothers me.
  22. In a conversation with a forum member I went over some of the things about bendback patterns I thought important. Here's an excerpt from that conversation. Hope it helps any tyers looking to explore these kinds of patterns... As far as that Prince of Tides... it was originated by Flip Pallot and my own version of his pattern varies a bit from the original (which, in fact, I've never seen a sample of....). Mine starts with a Mustad 34007 hook in size 1/0 that's been hand-bent into shape. The biggest complaint I've had with any commecially available bendback style hooks is that they're usually bent too much.. Here are a few different bent pattern photos that might show what I'm referring to - all are on 1/0 hooks with the exception of the last one meant for bonefish.... My own Big Eye Bendback (one of my royalty patterns with Umpqua - until they didn't sell well enough). This is only one of the three colors it was done in... my own version of the Prince of Tides, more about it in a moment my own version of Chico Fernandez's Snapping Shrimp pattern, with black bear wing for the dark version and cinnamon phase bear for the lighter version - these are on #4 hooks and come with an "outrigger style" weedguard.... Once again I bend my own hooks - commercially available bent hooks just don't work well at all... Here the recipe for that Prince of Tides... Hook: Mustad 34007, 1/0 bent slightly less than 1/4" to the rear of the hook eye (using two pairs of pliers...). Thread: Danville's flat waxed nylon in brown Body: Six strands each of gold and dark brown or black Flashabou, tied in along the body starting at the front bend, secured the full length of the desired body - then wound back over itself as a unit being careful to allow the flash to show gold then brown with every turn as a unit. All of it over-wrapped with medium sized clear V-Rib from the rear to the front... Wing: Three modest bunches of bucktail, almost twice the hook's length starting with bleached white, then 6 to 10 strands of pearl Flashabou Accent, then dyed brown bucktail with 6 to 10 strands of gold Flashabou Accent over, then dyed green bucktail over all. Since all of this will build up very quickly try to use only two or three turns of thread for each part of the wing (and all of the bucktail should be cut on the bias before tying in place to allow a tapered head). Head: Built up with tying thread then super glued after whip finishing (I prefer the original Krazy Glue commonly available everywhere..). Once the head is dried thoroughly then a dot of yellow paint on each side, allowed to dry for a day - then the center black dot and again allowed to dry thoroughly... The final clear finish coat is FlexCoat - a rodbuilder's finish... Note: In the past I've used less body materials with good results - and this fly will produce without the painted eyes as well... Remember - when Chico first brought the original bendback patterns to market he noted that he'd never been able to catch tarpon with them at all... He believed that bent patterns simply weren't well suited for a tarpon's mouth. As a result I've always used them for snook, redfish, and speckled trout... Bob
  23. As far as clousers go (note the small "c"....) that's why many of the folks I know consider it as much a style of tying as a specific pattern. Here's a staple that many saltwater fly shops ordered from me over the years - it's specifically for bonefish and has an "outrigger style" weedguard. I did these in sizes #6, up to #2 and in many color variations... Brn/wht, pink/wht, chartreuse/wht, brown/orange, etc... size #4 bonefish clouser ready to ship - #4s on the left, #6s on the right.... Note how both the wing and the lead eye sizes change with the hook size...
  24. That's a puzzler... the link is working just fine for me... Perhaps, because it was a conversation instead of a regular posting - I'm the only one who can access it... I'll try to copy it and post it here (if moderators will allow...).
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