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Capt Bob LeMay

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Everything posted by Capt Bob LeMay

  1. Great looking shrimpy.... I'm back on the water tomorrow night (we'll be sightfishing small to medium tarpon) I'll bet that bug in all white would do just fine for fish hanging out in docklights or in the shadows up under local bridges. Very nice. Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  2. As a purely saltwater guy... all of my reels hold backing (and I want a minimum of 200 yards of the stuff under my fly line). Makers of dacron braid are fond of labeling the stufff they're trying to sell you "fly line backing" but any decent quality dacron will do just fine (and Micron is probably the best dacron I've ever used). My standards for dacron are 20lb for reels that are 9wt or smaller and 30lb for reels that will be holding larger lines. That 200 yard minimum is for inshore use, for offshore I'd want 300 yards as a minimum (and maybe more, lots more if it's tuna or billfish being hunted....). Like many I was a bit skeptical of the new super braids (and for those that use PowerPro, Spiderwire, etc. you might want to try Sufix braid - it just is head and shoulders better than some of the original braids on the market). Yes, the stuff really will cut you when a big fish is screaming off your drag (so you keep your fingers away until the spool quits turning...). Yes, one of the chief complaints is that it will tend to cut into itself if not spooled properly (a cotton glove while using lots and lots of tension when spooling it initially will cure that problem cold...). Yes your initial turns of braid on the spool will tend to slip (that's easily cured with a single layer of masking tape on the base of the spool before your start winding on your super braid). Lastly is the concern over super braid tending to actually cut a groove into your guides. I bought that proposition for many years until I actually began to use braid on both spin and conventional reels. I have yet to see the first sign of any grooving on my guides (and I build and use all my own rods so I'd be the first guy to notice if that particular problem occurred). In short, with a few precautions those super braids work just fine for backing and many of my fly customers show up with their reels loaded with that kind of backing. The only advice I'd give is to use a bit heavier backing than you normally would if using super braid. Most that I know use 50lb since it's just a bit smaller than the standard 20lb backing. These new lines will provide a lot more backing, they'll survive real world hazards better than standard backing, and most of the "drawbacks" are easily surmounted. There is one minor problem with super braids that I haven't addressed and that is they're a bit harder to tie a knot in properly. For those used to tying up a Bimini twist to double dacron... you're going to need a 40 turn bimini with super braid. You'll have to experiment a bit as well to find out which other knots work as well. Uni to uni knot connections work quite well with super braids (use a nine turn uni-knot with doubled braid to a three or four turn uni-knot of doubled mono, for example). Can't tell you how many of my anglers have shown up with first rate gear, nicely set up by their home fly shops, that fails the knot test the first time any real pressure is exerted. One of the things I routinely do is double check all of my angler's leader, and leader to fly line connections... You'd be surprised how many of them fail (and it sure is nice to find out before you hook a big tarpon or other really powerful fish). One other thought about backing, this time about dacron.... Both dacron and the super braids are synthetic lines... so no matter how ugly or stained they get (mildew, etc) they don't ever rot and pretty much will not deteriorate on the reel so you won't need to be changing out your backing unless you've lost some of it or it's become abraded during extended battles with big fish... No it won't look good but once it again it doesn't rot or deterioate on the spool.... Hope this helps Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  3. A few months back I got rabbit skins from two different sources and was very pleased with each place. They were Wapsi Fly (you'll have to get your local shop to order from them) and Cascade Crest. Both outfits have been suppliers of mine for many years.... I buy both un-cut and pre-stripped rabbit for different uses... Hope this helps Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954)435-5666
  4. I use the same Pentax Optio W80 for all my photo work from shop photos with a tripod all the way to daily on the water pics.... For serious closeups (flies, knots, technical stuff) I try to not even touch the camera (I use a timed release). Everything is directly downloaded to my computer for sizing, organization, etc. I've not yet done any enhancing, preferring the actual picture every time (although with closeups I'll uusually do a variety of light sources from direct to artificial even flash the choose the one that best shows the bug..). Here's a few more samples -the shark pic was taken last Friday along the gulf coast of the Everglades. It's a medium sized lemon shark - about 8' long and 150lbs...
  5. Because I'm generally fishing out of a guide skiff (think bonefish boat) most of my pics are of customers. When I'm on my own exploring (or whatever excuse is needed when I take time off from shopwork) I've learned over the years to bring a towel and wet it before it's needed. When I have a good fish that I want to photo, I lay that towel on the deck, then lay the fish on it just long enough for a photo and usually include whatever rod I was using for perspective... It helps that I keep my camera on a lanyard made of mono (and the lanyard's long enough to allow the camera (a waterproof Pentax) to sit in my pants pocket until needed. That wetted down towel provides a good surface for the fish to lay on and i'm able to release it afterwards in pretty good shape. When I'm out exploring I rarely pick up a fly rod since I'm trying to cover as much ground as possible - as quickly as possible. When I'm solo I may cover as much as 100 miles in a day running through the Everglades along the mangrove coasts. A day or so later when I have anglers with fly gear I'm sure they wonder why we fish one spot or another - it really helps when you actually know the fish are there from a day or so before.... Hope this helps and I'll add a few pics to show the results.... Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  6. Several reasons why I went to a lanyard.... not the least of which is all the things you need both hands for when a fish gets near the boat (or you have to drop your camera to use the pushpole, etc.). I've already had an earlier Optio go bad (the screen cracked and the factory replaced it - but I was the one paying...). Eventually it was no longer waterproof (found that out when I fell off of the poling platform as we were poling up on a big tarpon - no, the tarpon was not impressed...) so the Optio W-80 was its replacement. For ordinary anglers that have the luxury of just using their camera when their companion has a fish on that little float looks great...
  7. Panama, didn't know you were down - glad to see a report from you (and aren't trout the best fish in bad conditions?). Here's a tip for that next camera (my current one is a Pentax Optio W-80).. Although it's waterproof (something I'm not eager to test), like all cameras it doesn't float so I've always been worried that if dropped in the water it will sleep with the fishes.... I took a length of 30lb mono and made a lanyard that's just long enough that while around my neck the camera can hang inside my pants pocket. That way it's out of the way all day long until needed, fairly protected (turned so the all important screen is in towards me) but ready at a moment's notice.... I figure that my fishing reports aren't worth much without a photo or two. Tight lines Bob LeMay
  8. Not sure but suspect that you'll have a tough time finding "tropical" lines in that light weight size. Tropical lines are meant for the salt usually and I'll be surprised if they come in sizes smaller than a six weight.... Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  9. Here's one other minor factor when tying with red hackle (saddles or neck...) to keep in mind. Many classic saltwater (or freshwater bass) patterns are in a combination of red and white (usually the red end of things is the collar...). Dyed red feathers may be one of the least color fast materials around. A red and white fly just doesn't stay that way for long once it's wet. Bad enough that the red fades but the white materials begin to turn a light shade of pink.... Whenever I can I use pink or fl. pink instead of red for that red/white pattern. In use the white actually stays white since the dyed pink end of things is very color fast compared to red... Here are a few samples of that pink/white color scheme... Tight lines Bob LeMay (954)435-5666
  10. I work with lots and lots of bucktail (and buy my tails at wholesale) since I'm not just a fly tier but lure maker (bucktail jigs). The advice about the difference between hair at the base of the tail and hair farther up towards the tip is quite valid. Here's a tip for tying in bucktail that can make the hairs stay exactly where you want them.... place a tiny amount of super glue on your tie (just a trace - I squeeze the tube until I see the beginning of a droplet then just touch the area with it) and it will be there forever. If you use too much you'll find the glue is drawn up into any fibers nearby with bad results. Here's a pic of a small portion of a 100 jig order that I'm delivering to a local shop today. Every one of these 1 oz. jigs has the thread super glued to make them as durable as possible.... Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  11. Paint or finish in the eyes of hooks is something that I deal with fairly often - but have a significant advantage over freshwater tyers since I'm using larger hooks for saltwater.... Most of the time I'm dealing with FlexCoat that's run from the head of a tarpon fly down into the eye of the hook. I wait until a batch of flies (usually two or three dozen) have been on the drying fixture at least 30 minutes or so and is beginning to set up. Then I either use a toothpick or the quill portion of a feather (with fibers stripped away to clean out each eye -my usual routine rarely has more than a few in each batch that need to be cleaned)to clean out the finish after I've turned off the rotisserie motor (and whatever I use is wiped clean after each hook). For flies and jigs with filled in hook eyes that have already dried I use a different technique entirely. Most aren't aware that you can buy drill bits in very small sizes at a well equipped small hardware store (big box stores won't even know they exist....). I'm talking about drill bits so tiny that you have to wrap the base with masking tape to even be able to use them.... I bring the hook sizes I'm going to need the bits for to get the right size. Once that paint or finish has hardened the right size drill bit in a decent quality battery powered drill will make quick clean work that looks as though it was part of the manufacturing process (I do lots and lots of jigs as well as flies so production shortcuts are important to me). Hope this helps Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  12. Forgot to mention one other thing about that "high tie" technique... It's actually one of the key methods for tying baitfish flies with synthetic wings (get a close look at almost any of the Puglisi pattern sbs and you'll see what I mean...). It's used with other ways of tying in small bunches of materials from tail to the hook eye and then the all of the body is shaped with sharp scissors so you'd never guess that "high tie" was how it was done...
  13. At the other end of the state, around Stuart and to the south, pomps are suckers for brightly colored Clousers on a #1 or #2 hook. Tie the fly with bright pink or fl. Chartreuse wing, keep the wing short enough that the overall dimensions of the fly are less than 1 1/2" and use a lot heavier lead eyes than you normally would for a standard Clouser. In conjunction with a sink tip line or a full intermediate line, lay the fly out, allow it to drop down near the bottom then work it with sharp, short strips with definite pauses between each strip so that it hops upward from the sand bottom.. Hope this helps. Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  14. Tying in a hair wing with the High Tie method provides two benefits. The first is that it gives that wing a very distinctive profile compares to other ways of doing things(and with a minimum of materials).. the second is that if it's done properly you won't have to worry about any of the wing fouling around the hook either (and materials fouling around the hook is a real problem with larger flies with relatively long wings). Concern about exposing the hook is not much of a factor since that fly will be used a bit quicker than you would in freshwater use.
  15. I suspect that bubbles in this case are a good thing.... they're probably offsetting the addtional weight slightly.... very ingenious idea, I like it! Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  16. My world's a bit different than most since we're strictly salt or brackish (and if we work all the way up into freshwater we're still chasing the same saltwater fish that are just wintering up in freshwater areas). For topwater I tell my anglers not to react to that first pop since the fish rarely takes then. If you're patient the second pop is rarely a miss. I can never tell how long any fish will hold a topwater bug or a sub-surface streamer but if my angler strikes with the rod their hook-up percentage goes way down. If they strip strike they're hooked up more often than not.... To facilitate that strip strike I actually want the rod tip into the water slightly and the rod pointing directly at the fly at all times. With a sharp hook, and no slack in the line at all, if the fish even kisses that fly its hooked. All of the above is for everything except the big tarpon - we work a lot differently when they're the target.... Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  17. I use two different methods for Perfect Popper heads - one for the hard foam, the other for the soft foam... I long ago learned that the hard foam would melt and form a perfect bond with the hook if you first heated the shank of the hook in a propane flame until it began to change color (Mustad 34007 hooks) then immediately positioned it in the slot. When it cooled off it was completely "welded" in place. The next step was a single edged razor to trim off any raised edges on the slot,then filling the slot with that same five minute epoxy (purely for appearance purposes) or any other epoxy you chose. Once the epoxy is in place any excess was scraped away while still soft and the new head allowed to dry. After that painting was optional for me since bugs used in the salt will take a terrible beating and I'm not sure any cosmetics are ever noticed by the fish at all. For the soft foam heads things are quite different. Using the same Mustad hooks, I wrap a base layer of thread on the shank of the hook (where it will be entirely concealed by the popper head, then partially place the hook in the slot. Once the hook is started, I lay a bead of standard CA glue (Krazy Glue is my choice), then properly seat the hook, and finally a clothes pin or mini-clamp is used to hold the edges of the slot together until everything's properly set. I do nothing else with soft foam heads, preferring just to leave them bare. I tie up a minimum tail and they're ready for use (since they take almost no time to do up the name "Speed Bug" fits them perfectly. The result is deadly on small tarpon and large speckled trout (and everything else early in the morning or just before dark in the evening). In use I tell my anglers to fish them like they were small minnows struggling at the surface. Here's a pic or two of the Speed Bug... Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  18. Flies just don't last very long in the salt, period. They're either shredded by the fish or beaten up working mangrove shorelines, bounced off concrete pilings at night... they have a hard way to go. To complicate matters a fly that's had a good amount of use in the salt may have hidden corrosion up under body materials where you can't see it... You hook a fish on one and the hook may fail if it's been used a few times (even when carefully rinsed in freshwater and allowed to dry before storage...) The fading I've noted was when actually using them that first day. I want a saltwater bug to stay bright colored for at least that first use.... Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  19. The main pattern I hand my anglers for night fishing is a very simple bushy white tarpon fly on a 1/0 or 2/0 extra strong hook. I've been using it for many years and appropriately it's called the Night Fly.... Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  20. I use both Sharpie and Prismacolor markers on occasion.. but must admit that I've gotten away from them a bit since the colors fade pretty quickly as the fly gets used. The one time that isn't the case is when the marked materials are later coated (Flex Seal when hardening up spun and clipped deerhead patterns).
  21. This past week has followed the pattern that's been in place now for most of the summer. Good fishing at night locally in Biscayne Bay and good fishing along the saltwater coast of the Everglades during the daytime. I'll let the pics do most of the reporting... I enjoyed having skilled fly angler Amador Rodriquez aboard for two nights this past week. A visiting fly angler from Chile, he picked up a 9wt that first night and was jumping fish almost immediately. My usual night trip starts as the sun goes down and lasts five hours (just enough time to cover the falling tide my style of night-time sight fishing requires). That first night, Friday, was a bit difficult since there was quite a bit of boat traffic around the bridges we fished and it limited our shots at fish. Amador still jumped five fish up to about 30lbs, working two of them to the boat. Here's a few pics telling the story... The second night was during the weekday so there were very few other boats around at all. The weather that night might have had something to do with it since we only had a few hours when we weren't hiding under a bridge somewhere waiting for heavy rains to clear. That night our gear was the only problem- we had fish tearing up our leaders, one nicely hooked fish that managed to badly snarl a fly reel (don't know how the drag on the reel was at zero) - but things got interesting as we worked hard to sort it out. Amador fought that fish almost completely without the fly reel, finally working it to the boat... It took me almost 20 minutes to sort out the reel afterwards (removed the line, cut the backing, removed the tangled remnants, then re-built the backing loop, re-loaded the fly line.... and still had to do another leader to get ready for the next encounter. Amador still went on to jump a few fish and I'm betting he's ready for round three... Yesterday it was back to Flamingo where the agenda was to provide a seven year old boy his first taste of the 'Glades.... Since action was the target we fished out front with a late start instead of my usual long run to the west just before dawn. We started that day catching a few baits. The boy's dad was able to hook a nice medium tarpon while we were bait fishing and he got a half dozen jumps out of the fish before it slipped the hook. From there we hit a few areas where not much was happening, finally finding some very nice redfish. Here's a pic of our first one, right at 26".... Since we'd also hooked and fought a few sharks by then our young angler was a bit hesitant when it was his turn with a redfish. He did a great job with a little coaching - but getting him to even stand near his fish took a bit of doing.... Everyone caught redfish yesterday (and they brought home dinner...). I'd say that redfish will be in great numbers near Flamingo for the rest of the summer for anyone wanting to tangle with them. Whether you're up hunting them with a fly rod up in very shallow flats, or just soaking baits in nearby channels the reds will be there.... and the night scene locally will be going strong... Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  22. If you're looking for hooks by the thousand per size, one of the outfits I use is Shorty's Hook Sales. Not sure if they have the type hooks needed for freshwater tying but they do have a pretty good selection of Mustad, Varivas, Eagle Claw, Gama, Matsuo, Partridge, etc. You'll need state or federal tax number to be able to purchase from them, their number is (800) 723-8508. Hope this helps. Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  23. Our best fish on a 7wt to date was a 37lb tarpon (weighed on a 60lb Boga Grip and carefully released) - but that was with a very experienced guide on the rod... That said, although I keep a 7wt rigged and ready, it gets left at the barn most days. The problem is that lighter rods are for perfect days, weather-wise, and you just don't see that many of them on the salt. Guys who really benefit from the lighter rods are folks wading or fishing out of a 'yak where you can really get close to fish. My standard "light rod" is usually an 8wt. That "light rod" designation is very subjective - my light rod for tarpon is usually a 10wt... The advice about rods that I give to someone starting out on the salt is to have rods that are two sizes apart (a 7, then a 9, then an 11wt - or an 8, 10, 12wt) which pretty much covers the spectrum. Often the heavier rods aren't nearly as much about heavier fish (tarpon and sharks excepted...) as they are about larger flies or tougher weather conditions. Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  24. As usual only a portion of my fishing trips are fly-fishing... Here's an extract from this week's report... I was able to add one night in Biscayne Bay where the tarpon action was pretty strong (and will stay that way for weeks to come...). Two days later I had a long time customer and skilled fly angler Dr. Nate Mayl aboard for a quick night trip in Biscayne Bay. We hit a docklight or two where snappers and jacks attacked every fly they saw, then headed for a nearby bridge looking for a few tarpon. Nate was equipped with several 8wt fly rods and we weren't disappointed. That night he jumped eight fish in the 20 to 30lb size range and all behaved like they were on fire with that small fly.... Along the way he broke a Sage rod, lost 30 feet of a new fly line and just in general had a great time. Here's the only pics I had time for.... All of the fish that night were sight-fished... Nate was looking at every fish as it turned and attacked the fly... The best bet now has to be the night scene - and it's perfect for a fly rod or light spinning gear. Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666 ps- for anyone wanting to look at the full report (spinning gear and all...) go here... http://www.thehulltruth.com/florida-georgia/439023-everglades-days-biscayne-nights-7-july.html
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