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Fly Tying

Capt Bob LeMay

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Everything posted by Capt Bob LeMay

  1. 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
  2. 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...
  3. I use both oil and grease on the various reels I service. The good news for me is that my fly gear (from a 5wt up to a 12wt in size...) rarely need much if anything in the way of lubrication... The oil I prefer is sold for firearms, stuff like Gunslik, Break Free, or Kroil - very light machine oil that doesn't turn into varnish as it ages (the way that terrible 3 in 1 oil does.... I only use a drop or two on handle pivots, and spool shafts. For grease I've been using high temp blue grease available at any automotive store - the tub I've had for more than twenty years now is marked Kendall GT... Once again it's used very sparingly and only on parts that rub together like gears and synthetic carbon drag washers on spin or plug casting reels. I was taught the basics of reel repair and maintenance years and years ago (Reef Tackle, 79th St Miami - in 1972...). For many years I've serviced or repaired not only my own gear - but also my customers... and at times in quantity... These days I've cut way back and only service my own gear since reel parts aren't nearly as available as they were years ago (understatement - these days with many many outfits only making reels offshore... and changing models entirely too quickly....).
  4. We were on the water three days this past week (bad weather claimed my two night bookings). Our first day was local, in the canals west of Ft. Lauderdale, with two anglers aboard switching off between fly and spinning gear. A good day - the very first cast was a nice peacock bass... bit cool that morning but the fishing was pretty warm... For about an hour and a half it was peacock after peacock on both spin and fly gear - along with a few small bass and one nice oscar on the fly. a small yellow and white clouser style fly got this oscar's attention. This peacock also liked that same clouser... Here's a pic of our best peacock that day - in just a five hour trip.. we caught and released 20 to 30 of them... The next day I had the same two anglers - down at Flamingo for some backcountry saltwater action. Both Jim McIntire and his partner Mike from Tennessee had a great day.... Although the waters were too cold for the big tarpon to make an appearance we found snook, trout, and redfish all day long... Early on it was the speckled trout on both lures and flies... We found good numbers of trout in several different spots - this one took a small lure and was carefully released Later that morning Mike scored his best snook ever - a 31" fish... this big girl was caught and released on a lure- just after we missed another one on the fly... the backcountry is heating up... Finally we hit some nice redfish in Whitewater Bay that afternoon... with both Jim and Mike scoring slot sized redfish... note the dark red/brown colors - classic backcountry redfish... with this release Mike had his first backcountry slam (snook, trout, redfish in the same day...). Jim, using the fly rod - had strike after strike, including our best red of the day... come loose after the hook-up before he finally landed this one.. most of our fish on fly that day attacked a pink and white clouser style offering... here's a close-up I suspect I'll be hearing from Jim and Mike again - it was that kind of day... In the coming week the big tarpon should begin to show up in Whitewater (all that's needed is a few days of warmer weather) and they'll be the main attraction as we move into spring (along with everything else....). Just nothing like the Everglades backcountry (and the freshwater canals into the 'glades as well...). Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 309-9489 cell "Be a hero... take a kid fishing...
  5. In the backcountry we use a variety of patterns in basic white as well as firetiger colors. Most are on hooks that range from a #2 to a 2/0 , occasionally a 3/0. Here's one bug on a 3/0 called the Razor cut mullet.. in basic white. almost all of our flies and bugs sport a wire weedguard as well for working heavy mangrove jungle shorelines... This sample is a bit less than four inches overall.
  6. That Dahlberg variation is just outstanding... I'd have my anglers using something similar (fire tiger colors) in both the fresh and salty portion of the Everglades fairly often.
  7. Thought it appropriate since the saltwater scene is so different from the freshwater world.
  8. I'm pretty much iimmune to the various pitches that come my way... My wife, on the other hand...
  9. We did three days this week with anglers and I'll have a report later on today... Here's a pic or two of the ones we caught and released on the fly... a nice fat Oscar on a yellow/white clouser style fly in freshwater followed by a Peacock bass on the same fly the next day down at Flamingo with a nice backcountry redfish on a larger clouser style bug a close-up of the pink and white clouser style fly that drew a lot of strikes that day "Just nothing like the 'glades" "Be a hero... take a kid fishing"
  10. Winter isn't a slow time at all for folks in my area (south Florida) since lots and lots of visitors come our way. Bad weather, though, cancels more trips than I'd like (including last night and tonight's scheduled night bookings...). That leaves me with time to fill lure orders (bucktail jigs currently - both small and large orders...) and make a rod or two for the skiff. At last count I've done three new spinning rods to replace ones my anglers have broken as well as replaced the on-board battery charger on my skiff... Use a boat in hard commercial service and you break things - it goes with the territory. I'll try to take time later today to post up a fishing report or two since we did get out three days earlier this week... "Just nothing like the 'glades..."
  11. That reel photo brings me to the one big Pflueger I still have - brand new in the box, that I bought as a spare tarpon reel more than forty years ago - and never had the occasion to use.. One of these days some collector will have it , I'm sure...
  12. No secret at all - in fact I'm using feathers - that most experienced tyers would reject out of hand... This particular fly is one of a series from the late eighties, done up in five different colors - Drew Chicone featured a red and grizzly one in his recent book BELIZE FLIES that just came out last year and I did a step by step for him that shows the exact tying sequence for anyone interested. I thought that he did a great job of explaining in detail the eleven patterns for Belize... At any rate, the collar is done with three wide, webby saddle hackles - that are tied in by the butt ends as a unit - then palmered forward. What looks like maribou or hen saddles is actually the fluff at the butt end of the saddles that is left in place and not stripped away to add bulk and movement when in use.... You have to look at the stem on each saddle and only use that part of the butt end that has a thin enough diameter to be able to wrap around a hook without cracking, splitting, or breaking away. The saddles (and the neck hackles that make up the tail) are the cheapest dyed or natural strung chicken feathers that come from China.... Wide, webby, and not worth much to most freshwater tyers - they're the sort of goods you might use for a feather duster (back when they were still in use...). I still have a great supply since I always bought them - by the pound... Here's a pic or two of the various colors and materials that the Big Eye tarpon flies came in. I'm still drawing royalties on them with Umpqua... Here are the Green & Grizz, the Sands (white, yellow and grizzly) , and the Orange Grizz all are mounted on my improvised drying sticks... The head finish on the original bugs was FlexCoat, a rodbuilder's finish. After application the flies needed to rotate for two hours until the finish set up properly... Since I've been buildign rods myself for many years using FlexCoat was a simple step in the production process... Here's the Sand Devil, variation #4 in the series - it's been the most popular of all - and still in demand in some quarters... This entire bug is done up with red chinchilla feathers, neck hackles for the tail and saddles for the collar... Note that the fluff on the base of each saddle is a different color than the rest of the feather, making an interesting feature in the finished pattern... The one remaining variation, the brown and grizzly has brown collar and grizzly tail (not shown). I'd say that johnnyquahog came closest in his guess since the saddles I use for this pattern are very close to being schlappen... By the way the grizzly looking tail feathers (and the grizzly mentioned in collars for some of these patterns) - aren't grizzly at all - they're called chinchilla in the trade (or a times simply called variant...) that's a very good grizzly substitute in some cases.... - including the dyed orange collar mentioned in the original query...
  13. It’s 3:30 in the morning here and I’m booked to fish today so I’ll post the info tonight if possible… Thanks for your interest
  14. I've only lost one rod in my nearly 30 years as a guide... Here's the (actually true...) story.. The backcountry of the Everglades where I take most of my anglers has numerous rivers that drain the brackish interior out to the coast and saltwaters... These rivers are wild mangrove jungle scenes and usually eight to twelve feet deep with strong currents when the tide is strong. With dark waters we can, at times fish right on top of bottom fish that will hammer a live or dead bait if presented properly. My angler that day was a big fellow (college football tackle size ...) and he got taken to the cleaners with the first two baits so I set him up a third time, and he dropped down into the same spot and was immediately hit by something a lot bigger than the first two bites.. in fact it was so big and so quick that it actually snatched my angler out of my skiff before I could reach him... When he went overboard he held onto my poling tower and i was able to pull him back aboard - but he'd let go of the rod -so that was that... We joked later on that next time he fished with me he'd have to wear a tether - but to this day I'm very careful where i allow my anglers to stand on my skiff.... and the following week I had to make another heavy rod... If there'd been a camera recording that incident the video would have gone viral i'm sure - there are fish (and other things) in the dark waters of the 'glades that once or twice were definitely bigger than my 17' skiff. No, not a place for a casual swim at all....
  15. As a saltwater type - my leaders are all hand tied (and since I'm from the stone age - a bit old fashioned). For anyone hitting the salt for the first time - here's the first step - a permanent butt section connected to the end of the fly with a nail knot ( two nail knots in a row if connecting to a full Intermediate fly line - one won't work...). I prefer monofilament for this portion of any saltwater fly leader (and Ande Premium is always my first choice if available). Each butt section ends in a surgeon's loop big enough to pass any popping bug through and here's the routine... 7wt... 3.5 feet of 30lb mono 8wt ...4 feet of 40lb 9wt... 4.5 feet of 40lb 10wt.. 5 feet of 50lb 11wt.. 5.5 feet of 50lb 12wt... 6 feet of 60lb I'll forego the final "quick change portion of my leader setups for now... but here's a teaser.. I tie up pairs of leaders, joined by a common bite tippet, then loaded loop to loop on spools by size... When needed you pull off a leader pair, clip the bite tippet in half and have a ready made class tippet with shock (or bite tippet) ready to secure to your butt section and ready for whatever fly...
  16. Always a possibility that the thief - is in-house as well… As you can guess, I’ll never be allowed on any jury…
  17. Most likely it was chopped up and sold for scrap (and the scrap value of the metal was probably a good bit of money...). Down here in paradise, years ago during the crack cocaine troubles, thieves were even taking aluminum lamp poles along busy urban freeways to sell for scrap. One guy I knew back then reported that he caught a crack cocaine zombie actually trying to remove one of the aluminum storm shutters off of his house - while he was at home... Glad I'm years out of police work - the desperation of addicts will be hard for anyone to come face to face with in that line of work (understatement...).
  18. I smoked from age 16 to age 23..before quitting cold turkey. To this day I can't tell you how I was able to do it but I was single back then. Best thing I ever did looking back on it. For me - that was 52 years ago now... Anyone struggling with that habit has my sympathy. By the way, when I was in the service a carton of smokes was around $1.75... You'd think the tobacco industry was trying to get all of us hooked.
  19. On the issue of tying threads - currently I'm struggling with supply issues... My wholesaler reports that shipments from Danville have been a bit uneven... Twice now I've ordered a particular color and been told that my wholesaler doesn't have it since Danville hasn't produced it and they have no idea if and when it will be included in their ordinary course of business. Guess I'll be using Uni instead - still in that large 210 denier size and praying it will come close to the actual color I've been using forever...
  20. Outstanding display... Where I am most days in the interior of the Everglades - the reds rarely tail at all - we usually spot them cruising, mudding, or feeding along very shallow shorelines with no grass at all... All our tailers are down in Florida Bay just south of the areas we fish most days...
  21. Poopdeck... thanks for your info about in-line singles.... Very interesting -and something to consider since my anglers toss lures as well as flies at tarpon... My normal routine with plugs for big tarpon is to change out the rear hook for one - two sizes larger (and in the 4x strong category..). We do get solid hook-ups with the larger treble hooks -but, unless the plug is of small size (relatively...) big tarpon are still able to toss the lure entirely too often. Hook a big tarpon on the fly and it has a hard time tossing the hook on it's jumps - instead they break my anglers off if they're not quick to "bow to the king...".
  22. Snook do behave a bit like largemouth bass in that they will attack anything that comes near (and we use many of the same tactics, lures and flies for them) - when they're hungry... After that things change since they're very quick once hooked and will streak towards the nearest cover and stitch you up before you even realize you're on one... The harvest of them is strictly controlled since they're also great table fare... In my area, along the coast if you hook one - sharks are always a problem since they like to eat them as well..
  23. That bit about homo sapiens is true wherever you go in this world, unfortunately, in my experience. Of course as a retired cop my point of view is a bit skewed but I came to the belief years ago that - it's who we are as a species... All possibilities, angel to demon are contained within each of us from my experience.. Any time we get compared to monkeys - the monkeys ought to feel insulted...
  24. If I lived up north I wouldn't be much of a fisherman at all - until it warmed up a bit... Instead I'd take up poker playing, pool shooting, visiting other fellow's wives - nothing dangerous at all... All of that, of course, was many years ago. Nowadays - it's just a memory...
  25. In my neighborhood - we have fish that will eat whatever fish you've hooked.... just nothing like the 'glades... Here's a true story... in a place called the Little Shark River one day my anglers caught and released a small great hammerhead (about six feet long, and skinny, maybe 50-60 lbs... at full growth a great hammer may be as much as twenty feet long...). It was in good order and swam off - no problem. When that small guy was about 200 feet away from my skiff - it got blown up with an enormous explosion... and whatever monster had him in it's jaws swam by us with that little hammerhead sticking straight up in the air about three feet... My anglers got really excited and asked what was that... I replied a really, really big shark... When they asked what kind my only reply was large and hungry.... very hungry. No, the areas we fish in are not suitable for swimming since the waters are dark and you just don't see a big animal headed your way until it shows itself (which only happens now and then...).
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