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Fly Tying

Capt Bob LeMay

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Everything posted by Capt Bob LeMay

  1. 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...
  2. 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..
  3. 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
  4. 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?".. .
  5. 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.
  6. I actually used to teach this stuff - years ago at a local community college (night classes, lesson plans and all…) so it comes naturally.
  7. 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...
  8. 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...
  9. 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....
  10. A few years back one of my anglers brought a few gummi minnows with him and I thought they were just a gimmick since they didn’t look life like at all in the water… The fish ate them like they were the real thing… So much for my opinion…
  11. Philly… great looking bugs. Everyone of them would work great for snook, reds, trout and other fish in the Everglades.
  12. Don't believe SA ever made a single reel - but they did have other makers making reels with the Scientific Anglers logo on them - all those years ago. Their first reels were actually Hardy Marquis reels, and as noted were made in England - and I had several sizes that I used hard... I moved up to a better grade of reel after a few years and never kept up with their model changes after those first years. For me that was 1976 to 1979 if memory serves. Tracing an old fly reel spool with little or no markings at all on it is very tough since, around the world, there were manufacturers knocking off name brand reels as fast a discounters could sell them... When you look at the copies you first see something that looks familiar but look at the materials it was made of and how well executed the design was you quickly realize it's a cheap copy - not the original at all...
  13. My first choice? Right where I am now... the backcountry of the Everglades and Everglades National Park... Just nothing like the 'glades.. Two things you can be certain of there - the first is that no two days are ever the same and if you fished there all of your life you'd still be coming across things and situations you'd never seen before...
  14. I used to buy feathers from Capt Mac (gorgeous big strung saddle hackles) - all those years ago, mid seventies… I could never have afforded a Seamaster back then. By the time I could afford a Seamaster he was long gone… Towards the end of Fin Nor’s time in Miami I became a dealer for their reels to be able to offer them to folks I was building fly rods for… Then they too went out of business… My timing could have been better - but no one I knew would have predicted how things would go… all those years ago
  15. Here's a nice small snook caught and released last week by a fly angler from Austria... The fish took a small baitfish pattern after it came dashing out from under a mangrove thicket in a small creek...
  16. Pretty simple... Most drags work by compressing drag washers against metal washer(s) or a metal plate. If you don't remove the drag pressure when not in use eventually two things happen, sometimes together... You put a permanent compression on the drag washer or washers, greatly reducing its effectiveness and you also make them begin to stick to the metal washer(s) or plate... causing a "sticky" or uneven drag - not what's wanted at all. The best reel drags you can buy (for any reel - fly, conventional, spinning....) are glass smooth with no sudden jerks which can pop a leader under stress... at any setting. Guys who fish in the salt have additional worries since the metal washers will tend to trap salt and begin to corrode as well. These days many high end fly reels have sealed drags that you can't even access - if there's ever a problem you send them back to the manufacturer... Properly caring for your drag system greatly prolongs it's life - sealed or un-sealed... Hope this helps .. .I was actually taught to repair reels way back in 1972 - long before I took up fly fishing in the salt - and the basics of reel repair, maintenance, etc. don't change whether it's a fly reel or a high end spinning reel - or even something you'd use for marlin or tuna...
  17. They commonly feed on small fry, glass minnows, etc — as well as shrimp, small crabs and worms etc. The only change I’d make for bones is to use a standard (or shorter) hook.
  18. That Cypert would work just fine as a bonefish bug on bare sandy flats as well… Just lay it out in front of a feeding or pushing group of fish. Allow it to settle then simply twitch it up a tiny bit when they’re close enough to see it. They’ll do the rest. That’s how we’ve been using Crazy Charlies for years…
  19. Lots of back and forth about goliath grouper over the years - and yes they've been protected since the nineties - both by our state - and the feds... The prohibition about lifting them out of the water was never a rule - it was simply a response by an FWC enforcement type to having seen idiots dragging huge goliaths aboard their boats while making videos... (and they were right that should be prohibiited). We release every one we catch and handle them as carefully as any other specie. Here's what I wrote recently about the tremendous population surge of these fish in the areas we fish (in short we're up to our fannies in them and they displace other species....). The tag I mention in this piece is actually $150 for a resident and $500 for a non-resident to take one slot sized fish (not a big one at all....). https://www.microskiff.com/threads/flamingo-report-28-march-2022.100242/#post-954906
  20. To put it mildly the salt is unforgiving. You either follow a solid maintenance routine or allow your gear to break down…
  21. Sorry no fly anglers this past week.. "fly anglers wanted".... and if you come bring your " A game "... You can tell that things are finally opening up this spring in the backcountry of Everglades National Park out of Flamingo and my anglers are enjoying it... Only out two days this past week and the big silver speckled trout are finally making a showing in the backcountry. Every day now we're getting fish up to 20 inches on lures of every kind. Double hook-ups on very light gear are common.... Here's a sample, and they're suckers for flies as well as lures... I expect them to present almost every day now for the next month or so... Along with the trout, we've been getting some nice snook on the days when we've targeted them - on leadheads with plastic tails... this one near a river mouth along the Gulf coast... The real stars this past week have been the tarpon, of every size, holding in the tributaries of our main river - the Little Shark... Our first day we jumped three, getting one to the boat... Last Thursday we struck another three, one a big one..., and all three came to the skiff for a photo or two - then a careful release... This one was nearly 100lbs and took my first time tarpon angler to school for about thirty minutes before coming in for the release.. The tarpon have been biting lures and live baits equally well. I have some fly anglers in the next few days so we'll be after them with the long rod as well. Just nothing like the 'glades... Not to be forgotten, we're still catching and releasing grouper in these same waters that the tarpon are holding in - all of them "baby" goliath grouper up to about 30lbs on all kinds of gear.. .. Here's one of last Thursday's fish... tarpon in the morning, goliaths in the afternoon... some days it's tough to decide which way to go (and what to target...). It's prime time now in the backcountry and will just continue to get better as we move from spring into summer and I do still have a few openings in both April and May for anyone heading my way... Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666 "Be a hero.... take a kid fishing"
  22. Great report... "Be a hero... take a kid fishing" and that's how I roll as well. When she's a bit older if you ever come my way down to south Florida all of our canals are just loaded with exotic panfish on steroids (that will take a light fly rod to school....). Oscars, Mayan cichlids, and those are just the most common ones - every one of them just attacking any wooly bugger or similar fly...
  23. The hook number you've cited "34007" is a stainless model. It's duratin equivalent, I believe, is the "3407" that might just be the difference in price you found... Mustad also makes a line of premium fly-tying hooks these days. The Signature Fly Hook equivalent to the 34007 is the S715Z - but I've never seen or used any of their signature line... You can be sure that everything imported into the US these days is really jumping up in price... Recently I bought a spool of Seaguar 80lb fluoro leader material to make tarpon leaders with - that spool was normally in the $40 range if memory serves - it's nearly $90 now.... Since my politics are somewhere to the right of Attilla the Hun... I'm looking forward to next November... I'm pretty ignorant of freshwater hooks for fly tying since I've never needed them. I'll be watching this thread to learn a bit...
  24. Most fly fishers won't ever end up in the salt - and those that do have concerns about their gear. Here's how I maintain my gear that's in hard commercial service day after day... After a day in the salt or brackish waters every rod and reel gets a freshwater rinse (hose at fan setting - no hard jet of water...). Fly gear has the line stripped off down to the backing and gets that same thorough rinsing including special attention to each guide, etc. Once it's all rinsed off thoroughly the line is wound back on the spool wet, the drag is reduced to zero and the rig is stored upright with the reel cover up on the rod - not over the reel, until it dries... That's it folks... Any time I'm asked about warm water, warm soapy water, etc I point out that any detergent will remove essential lubricants from your reel... I don't like any detergents on fly line either since they might attack or degrade that plastic coating on the fly line... Modern fly backing is always synthetic (dacron - or the newer super braids...) so there's nothing to rot although mildew on your backing is very common - it only affects the appearance of your line - synthetics don't rot... The only thing I ever do to my fly lines is use a scrubbing pad (the one that Scientific Anglers sells), when the line is wet... Once it's dry a bit of line dressing (also form SA...) thoroughly rubbed in - then carefully polished off with a dry cloth (the slightest bit of extra dressing attracts dirt and grit like a magnet...). As for that reel, every now and then (maybe twice a year) I'll break down my fly reels and add a tiny drop of oil on the spool shaft, handle pivot, etc. Parts that rub together might get a tiny bit of grease -no more... and they just seem to last forever... Reels with the new sealed drags get returned to the manufacturer if service is needed - but that's almost never with my Nautilus reels. Reels with a cork drag get a bit of neat's foot oil on the drag surface and that's all... Hope this helps
  25. A reel dunked in freshwater- not a very good idea… but not a total disaster… A reel dunked in saltwater needs immediate attention or you’ll wish it was done in short order. This from a guy who’s been repairing and/or maintaining reels ever since I was taught the basics - fifty years ago. At one time I had customers bringing me reels by the bucket full… The good news about fly reels is that they’re relatively simple compared to today’s very complex high end spin or plug casting reels. That said I’m betting that anyone who dunks their reels for a “great photo” — isn’t the guy who has to fix it when a bearing goes bad… I’ll get down off of my soapbox now.
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