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Capt Bob LeMay

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Everything posted by Capt Bob LeMay

  1. In the past two weeks the fishing along the Gulf coast from the Shark River northward to Lostmans has been good and getting better every day. Along with snook, redfish, trout, and small tarpon we're seeing lots of wildlife everywhere we're poling, including small to medium sized sawfish up shallow with the reds and sea turtles in every size from full grown all the way down to babies only six inches long.... In recent days the snook fishing has been overtaking everything else and we've been catchng and releasing them up to fourteen pounds. The small tarpon are finally making a good showing in the Shark river drainage and we released two in the 15 to 25lb range Sunday... I only fished one fly angler during this period, so the first pic is the only one that counts.... Here's a few of the pics we've taken.. the first pic is a small tripletail on fly - it was sightfished in less than two feet of water.... Here's a few fish we tangled with during two days on the water... this spanish mackeral at dawn made for a pretty good start The weather wasn't exactly the best for quite a few days - but that didn't seem to slow down the fish... this nice snook weighed right at 14lbs, she was carefully released to fight another day... on our second day it was a father and son team with Rod Grebe hosting his Dad... Next it was local angler William Brewer with his wife and father in law and we had a time...with snook, tarpon and everything else biting.... After a few blanks William hit this nice slot snook on a small jig. At our next spot we found a bunch of small tarpon and managed to catch and release two of them on lures.... this was Lindsey's first tarpon and it took another of those small jigs... Her Dad got one as well... Not too far away Lindsey's Dad, Jim McGaughan, got his very first snook on -it weighed in at 12lbs... The big girls are hungry now wherever you find them.... We finished up the week on Sunday with local anglers Marcos Beaton and his brother with more snook as well as a red and lots of trout... All summer long the weather will get worse (if that's possible) and the fishing will get better... For fly anglers this time of year... you can put away the big sticks and get by just fine with an 8wt with a floating line and a 10wt with an intermediate.... Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  2. I came down here in 1971... and never left. If you don't like the weather.... just wait a moment, it's that mercurial. I have actually stood in downtown Miami back in the seventies and watched it snow on one occasion so be careful what you ask for. No, the snow didn't stick and yes, everyone stopped what they were doing and just watched those snow flurries.... We moved today's booking (weather forecast for today was just plain ugly) to Sunday and of course today the weather is perfect.... That's how it goes down here in paradise. Hope your trip is a good one! Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  3. Since many of my anglers bring their own gear.... one of my first tasks each morning is to check leaders, knots, etc. Can't remember how many brand new rigs that I've checked (done by the angler's local shop..., supposed to be expertly done....) didn't pass muster. My first check is to test each knot by taking a doubled turn of line in each hand then slowly pulling the knot tight across my chest. Since we're talking leaders for the salt (not fresh) you actually have to pull until your hands hurt a bit to really test each knot - including whatever knot secures leader to fly line... Here's one addtional thing any angler can do to check the status of almost any piece of tippet. Simply tie an overhand knot in your tippet material then slowly pull it tight and stress it.... Yes, that overhand will break (remember all the "wind knots" every angler has had in their leaders?), but it shouldn't break easily. If it does your line is bad and needs replacing before it costs you a fish.... Hope this helps. Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  4. Here's another bendback pattern that shows the amount of bend I put in the hook shank... it's called the Neon Bendback and is done without a body at all..... Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  5. Here's the Big Eye Bendback in three different colors... Done on a Mustad 34007 hook, I'll occasionally also weight the shank with 1/2 inch of .040 square lead wire as keel.... As effective as bendbacks are, remember not to use them for tarpon since they just won't work on them at all (something about the bend vs. the shape of a tarpon's mouth tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  6. We catch and release small to medium sized gar way back up inside the freshwater portions of the Everglades (up in small creeks that also hold baby tarpon...). Given the small size (all less than 2.5 feet long) of the fish we're using small bait patterns on a #4 or #2 Mustad 34007 hook. My favorite is a Crystal Schminnow -it's nothing more than a Wooly Bugger with bead chain eyes done up all in pearl and white. Here's a pic or two of the pattern... By the way, hooking a gar on fly takes a bit of work, you must have very sharp hooks and make a hard short strip strike to succeed... tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  7. I've been using lead for years in some of my bonefish patterns as well as some of my Bendbacks.... I only use .040 square lead as a keel along the bottom of the hook shank. Instead of wrapping the shank with lead I cut short pieces of the square lead wire (usually 1/2" if only a single, then progressively shorter if I'm using more than one piece to heavily weight the fly by stacking one piece on top of the other for a serious keel effect....). Once the lead is wrapped in place along the shank then it's either chenille or diamond braid over-wrapped to complete the body portion of the fly. Since I'm a saltwater tyer any concerns about lead are moot (lead in freshwater is a problem -it's not a problem at all in the salt...). Here's a pic of one of my Bendbacks that has a single 1/2" piece of lead wire along the keel.... It's a Big Eye Bendback on a 1/0 Mustad 34007 hook... Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  8. Lots of really well built reels available these days. On my skiff we either use Nautilus (in every size range up to 12wts) or the old Billy Pate reel (direct drive model in either Tarpon or Bonefish sizes)... I have seen the occasional Bluefin model from Tibor selling used for less than $500.... The best reel any of my anglers ever brought with him was the Charlton, though. Very high quality with a super stout drag. Unfortunately I don't think they're still being made - and the last I heard they were kind of pricey....
  9. Here's the drill I suggest for my fly anglers who want to become more proficient in the accuracy department. We're fishing mangrove jungle shorelines along the coast and interior of the Everglades so accuracy is very, very important... First thing is just attitude -never cast your fly "to whom it may concern"... always pick a specific spot (a leaf, a branch, the end of a submerged log... something specific every time). That alone will tend to improve your accuracy (or let you know just how much you need to improve...). Now for a few drills to get sharper when not on the water... Practice your casting over grass or anything that won't chew up your fly line. Once you're casting properly then add a target -I like my hat for a target. Start close, say 20 feet then hit that hat over and over until it's second nature, then back up a bit and try to hit the hat from 40 feet (next will come 60 feet...). Once you can hit the hat then move around the clock and hit your mark into the wind, across the wind (and don't forget to use a backhand cast occasionally). After a few sessions you'll get pretty good at hitting this stationary target at short, medium, then longer distances no matter which way the wind is blowing. Now for the finishing touch...once you can hit this small target, then move the hat next to a chain link fence. Try to hit the hat without touching the fence.... Now you're cooking and shouldn't have any trouble translating your excercise results into success on the water... Hope this helps. Today one of my anglers caught and released a nice tripletail in less than two feet of water with a small maribou fly. That fish was less than 20 feet away and he had to place the fly right in front of him to get the bite. Accuracy was all the difference... Tight lines Bob LeMay (954)435-5666
  10. This time of year most guides are going day after day and that's been my routine. Here's a few pics from the last two weeks or so to give an idea of what we've been up to... This big redfish was Sabrina Sparacino's second redfish ever and it came at the end of a really bad weather afternoon down near Lostman's River out of Everglades City. Despite the blood it was released and swam away strongly.... Back over on the Flamingo side we found small tarpon every morning for catch and release (as well as some very big fish up inside rivers that just took us to school..). Some nice sized snook were beginning to show as well -this one was carefully released after eating a small maribou fly... The angler is John Kern from Utah, who makes time every spring for a few days in the 'Glades with friends and fish.... Local anglers Marcos and Heather Beaton made a day of it out of Flamingo... While we were fishing redfish we also encountered a few sawfish. Heather got one about six feet long and Marcos released on in the seven foot size range. That fish gave us a real tussle at the boat and managed to punch a tooth right through my glove into my hand.... then swam away as though it never happened at all. We're finding both reds and saws up in really shallow shorelines at low tide along the coast of the 'Glades most days now.... I'll be back on the water tomorrow for a five day run that will start in Everglades City then move over to Flamingo. Full tilt boogie best describes the rest of this month..... Along with the pictures above you can add gag grouper, goliath grouper, speckled trout, mangrove snapper, and sharks of every size to our daily fare now. It's actually going to get better as we move into summer if you can believe it.... Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  11. We routinely use 8wts for tarpon up to about 40 lbs... and have been doing that for many years. Yes, a bit heavier rod , a 9wt, might be a bit more appropriate but the night time scene in Biscayne Bay allows us to jump as many as a 10 or more fish in five hours so you get a bit of practice.... Of course we do have the luxury of chasing the fish with the boat if things get out of hand. If you're on foot then I'd stick to baby tarpon with an 8wt (less than 20lbs). Not familiar with the reel you've mentioned but if it will hold 200 yds of 20lb Micron backing then you're in business. How it will hold up long term is another matter entirely.. You can greatly extend the usable life of a modest quality reel by carefully waxing and buffing off all of the exterior surfaces before that first salt excursion. For my own uses I generally restrict the flies I toss with an 8wt to no more than a 1/0 (and smaller hooks are better with a light rod). If we're working up close to downed trees and things then I will go up to a 2/0size but I'd prefer a 9wt for that purpose. After each session on the salt I'd want to strip the fly line off of the reel down to the backing then rinse it thoroughly in freshwater (not a hard stream just a gentile rinse until the reel is thoroughly soaked and the fly line as well, along with the every portion of your fly rod -particularly the guides. I never wait for things to dry -just wind the line back on wet, back the drag to zero and allow the rod and reel to air dry a day or two before putting it away (my own gear, a 7wt all the way up to a 12wt never gets put away and never has the rod dis-assembled unless absolutely necessary -my gear sees hard use....). By the way... resist any temptation to use soap of any kind on your fly reel since you don't want to remove any existing lubricants. After the reel dries a tiny drop or two of fine gun oil on any moving parts is all that's required (I prefer Gunslik or Break Free - avoid "3 in 1" oil at all costs since it turns to varnish over time). Hope this helps... Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  12. I was lucky enough to have (then fiberglass) a local blank maker as a source for my early rodbuilding efforts. It was the old GatorGlass facility (a one man operation run by an old man named Gus - I never knew his last name...) in North Miami Beach. He'd build you anything you wanted (and lay an extra layer of glass cloth here or there if you asked). He was kind enough to walk me through his facility that included it all the vertical baking oven with chain drive to draw the ready wrapped mandrels through after they'd also been wrapped in cellophane tape, the hydraulic puller that removed the mandrel (a steel form carefully lathed into the taper that each rod blank would eventually hold....)from the cured blank, then he'd hand peel the cellophane tape before the sanding process using a centerless, water bathed, sander that smoothed blanks needed to remove the "ridges" (and yes, ridged blanks were slightly tougher than the snooth sanded version), etc. He'd also make pushpole blanks in any length desired (they were only $30 or slightly more way back then). Those early pushpoles were originally meant to be "hot sticks" for power company workers to handle hot lines with (dry fiberglass is an insulator, not a conductor) and were pretty limber. We had to make our own forks and points for them (at that time I used green mangrove forks, carefully oven dried before being epoxied into place...). I used to check in occasionally with him and got to see his first efforts at graphite and composite graphite/glass rods. I still have a few of those old blanks in a corner somewhere... All of this was pretty primitive against today's standards with computerized lathes and all the automated processes currently in use. Wonder what old Gus (always with a cigar in his mouth) would have said about today's world where most rods are built offshore... Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  13. I've been building my own rods for many, many years (started in 1971...) but didn't build my first fly rod until 1976 (typical for me, wanted to learn fly fishing so I built a rod before I learned to cast one...). I long ago quit building for others -but still do quite a bit of repair work for local folks that know what they want. As noted above the finish on any rod blank is purely cosmetic (the finish on rod wraps isn't cosmetic -it's there to protect the thread wraps that hold your guides in place....). A word about rod guides... keep them in good condition, particularly the part that your line touches and replace any that even begin to show grooving, cracks, or anything else that might harm your line... If you're only fishing small fish in freshwater it's not so important but big fish can destroy or badly abrade fly line and backing that's going back and forth under pressure on bad guides (and any ceramic guide that loses it's insert also needs immediate replacement -no you can't re-attach a separated ceramic ring....). The quickest way I know of to re-touch finish on a guide wrap that's in need of repair is ordinary nail polish (another use for Sally Hansen clear.....). All you're going to do is lightly cover any place where the thread is showing (I wouldn't bother for cosmetic wraps -only the ones that hold guides in place). I seriously doubt that any rod manufacturer would decline to honor a warranty on a rod where you touched up the finish on a guide wrap but you can call them and ask first if concerned.... If you want to replace a guide I'd make a point of checking with the manufacturer first in case that might void your warranty... Now for the fun stuff... I've recently begun re-building all of my working rods (everything on my skiff that's not a fly rod) and have decided to do without any finish at all on the rod blanks. The first three have really come out nicely and here's what I've been doing if you want to give it a try.... After stripping down the blank (removing every guide, all thread -even the check wraps, then removing every trace of FlexCoat, the finish I use for coating thread....) I carefully hand scrape the entire blank an inch or two at a time with the side of an old single edged razor blade (makes a fine scraper using the non-sharpened side...). The side of the blade is held at right angles to the blank and you carefully remove every last hint of finish without harming the blank at all.... Once the blank is thoroughly scraped down I carefully water sand the explosed blank using nothing coarser than 200grit wet or dry paper, then work down to 400 grit. All I'm doing is smoothing the surface to prep it for re-wrapping -I do my best not to remove any of the blank itself... Once the blank has dried off the next step is wipe it down with a cloth with some alcohol then the new guides are wrapped onto the blank, they receive two coats of FlexCoat (a two part rodbuilder's finish with the consistency of honey...) allowing the rod to sit for 24 hours between coats. Once the finish is thoroughly dry I carefull wax the entire blank, rod wraps and all with two or three coats of fiberglass wax and the rod is ready for service (very hard use in my case...). I've also done this with one Thomas & Thomas Horizon blank (an old 10wt that I built more than 15 years ago) and I've been very pleased with the results. I completely re-built it leaving only the Powell reelseat from the original build. A word about the blanks used to build fly rods -any that come with a nice color are still just slate gray graphite (or carbon fiber if you want to use the European term) underneath... That's why any nicks or scrapes will show the graphite underneath... That lovely old T & T rod went from a green color to standard graphite color as the result of the re-finishing process... No wonder so many would far rather just send a rod back to the manufacturer. That's a luxury you just don't have if you build your own fly rods (and one of several reasons all the fly rods on my skiff are factory, not custom built (which sounds better than homemade...), at all... Hope this helps. I was lucky enough to learn most of what I know about rodbuilding from pros in the south Florida area. The fellow that taught me the finer points of building fly rods in the late seventies and early eighties,Abe Gaspar, worked at the old Uslan rod shop (Nat Uslan, the founder, built five sided split bamboo fly rods instead of the standard six sided that you normally see...). The young guys in that shop were always building new and innovative stuff. That shop is long gone but shops like it still do high level work if you can find one... Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  14. Iv'e been away from the computer pretty much until a day or so ago (nothing being continuously booked for almost ten days, up before 4am and not home until 7pm each day) so this is the first time to re-visit this thread. As far as the wire weedguards that most of my flies come with -they're not really needed on the sand but come into their own working mangrove jungle shorelines in the 'Glades... Here's a tying sequence from an article I did a few years ago that explains how to employ that weedguard as you tie up a fly... I like #5 trolling wire for hooks larger than size 1 and use #4 wire for hooks smaller than size 1.... http://www.flyfishinsalt.com/techniques/fly-recipies/swamp-rabbit Hope this helps. Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  15. Although I don't have large hands my scissors would suit you (if you can find them....). They're Japanese tailor's snips with blades that can be individually removed so that you can sharpen one blade at a time...I also have a second pair that are solid steel and from Japan as well (no maker shown -but do have Japanese characters on one side). The ones with the removable blades are by Clover -and since they're snips, not conventional scissors there's no loops to fuss with. Yes, I'm a commercial tyer and keep my snips palmed in my strong hand while working at the bench. I'll try to take a pic or two and post it here when I can.... You'll note I said, "if you can find them". The supplier I got these from no longer carries them and I have no idea where you'd find them.... I've used snips for years and years and do some pretty tough work with them since I'm a saltwater tyer and jigmaker (but they're fine enough for bonefish bugs). Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  16. As noted above, in some respects we're not exactly paradise.... Now for the fishing - Dawn and dusk are your best shots for beach flyfishing and the moment beachgoers begin to show up you're done.... An 8wt is a great starting size (but a 7wt or a 9wt will also do....). Beach fishing means covering some ground and remembering that if the wind allows your targets will only be thirty feet or so from the sand... All your casting will be at a 45 degree angle to the beach... Some of the best spots will be near ocean inlets (if you can gain access). Small minnow patterns on 1/0 or smaller hooks will be your first choice. Now for the freshwater side (after you get your freshwater license....go to myfwc.com for licensing info...). Every canal in south Florida holds fish (even the ones that look like toxic dumps). Once again access is your first problem, then choosing locations to fish. Peacocks won't be found where you are but will show to the south. For canal fishing I'd keep a sharp eye for places where two canals cross, places where culverts or pipes allow a flow between a small lake and a canal, etc. If possible remember that just getting to the west of developed areas (out towards saw grass, away from cities) will go a long way to putting you on fish. Some of the best urban freshwater and brackish water fishing will be after heavy rains when spillways open up and every canal has a current flow.... Since we're coming into the rainy season the rain part will be an almost every day thing... Your best resource will be any local fly shop... When there ask about local fly clubs and try for any chance to hook up with local anglers... Good luck. Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  17. The title says it all -our daytime in the 'Glades has been mostly tarpon and the only night trip last week was more of the same.... It started with a cancellation, never a good time for a guide in the spring but I was lucky enough to pick up two of the five days lost with a fly angler from Pittsburgh who was making the transition from freshwater to the salt and hoping for his first tarpon. We were jumping tarpon from 80lbs on up his first day but none would stay connected. These were all big fish in relatively small rivers and one of them, clearly over 100lbs hit his fly at almost pointblank range. Roy Arnold got a bite that was almost heart stopping as the big fish rocketed out from under a log to inhale the fly while coming right at him - maybe 12 feet away... The fish then did a mad dash down the bank away from us going well into the backing before coming un-stuck after a couple of jumps. We headed home that day planning more of the same the following day. The next day we didn't see many fish at first then Roy got a good shot at a small group moving right at us. One or two long strips and we were off to the races with a smaller fish - about 60lbs. Here's a few pics... Nothing like a tarpon on fly.... Roy also caught and released trout, reds, and a snook on fly. This time of year that's a daily possibility, here's two more pics... Two days later I had Evan Cox on board with a brand new high end Shimano spinning reel he was wanting to try out... It got a work out when he jumped two big fish on lures in the same river - one cut him off on a submerged branch or tree, the second pulled the hook. The biggest fish was in the 120 range and all were up very quiet rivers. To round off his day we fished a live bait for tarpon that drew a very big and hungry shark that looked well over nine feet in length as it boiled up after the ladyfish. After five minutes back and forth the fish cut us off... I think Evan was relieved since that fish was one of those fights that would have been hours long... He also caught and released a very nice trout that day... here's a pic Finally we did a late night on Friday with local angler Neil Franklin. With an 11Pm start we were looking for tarpon on fly in Biscayne Bay. Armed with only a 9wt rod we set up at one of the many bridges in the Bay where small and not so small tarpon come to feed in the shadows... It was game on from the start. His first cast was to a fish we could see gliding along in the shadows right in front of us and it took his first cast then rocketed away from the bridge before pretty thoroughly stitching us up in nearby fender pilings... After re-rigging his very next cast (at this point he'd made exactly two casts total for the evening...) he hooked up with a very determined fish that dragged us nearly 500 meters from where we hooked up. After at least three or four leader grabs the fish finally gave up and I estimated it at 50lbs.... Here's a few photos. It would be nice to report that the hot action continued for the rest of the tide but the weather shifted and the wind got going so many of our bridges just weren't fishable..... The night scene, always good, can still be unpredictable at times.... As we move into early May the action should keep getting better. So far it looks like a wet spring - now if those pesky thunderstorms would back off a bit..... Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  18. And for anyone tempted to get a goliath grouper (jewfish for the politically incorrect...)on fly.... it is do-able but I still haven't succeeded myself. We've hooked a few but never sealed the deal. We do catch gag grouper on fly fairly regularly (but they're a bit more aggressive...). The fly to use if I were trying again (and not planning on teasing the fish first....) would be a big black fly. In fact it's the same fly we usually use for river tarpon, the Tarpon Snake... In an article that Lefty Kreh wrote some years ago he described it as a "big, black bastard" of a fly. Back then it was a genuine secret weapon. Today it's one of my royalty patterns and available from Umpqua Feather Merchants. To give you some idea of its size it's almost 7" long on a Tiemco 600sp 4/0 hook... We only fish it with a full intermediate line (and I keep spare lines on board to load onto my angler's reels... My next fishing report will feature this fly since we've been tarpon fishing the last two days and having a bit of success on fly... Tight Lines Bob LeMay ps... Jim, thanks again for fishing with me...
  19. I've been almost too busy this month - but the cold fronts of March have left us and the fish are starting to feed... I'll let the pics do most of the story here. We've been on the water late at night locally in Biscayne Bay and in the Everglades during the daytime out of both Flamingo and Everglades City... Serious local angler Neil Franklin finally took up the fly rod and here is one of his first nice speckled trout.. Whitewater Bay has been loaded with them... Visiting from England Ant Leake's two small boys had a ball with trout and other inshore species (the one shown measured at 21"...). A few hours later Ant was hooked up solid on a hot 80lb blacktip that almost spooled the 20lb gear we had him using. After a long fight the fish was at the boat and very carefully un-hooked and released. Later that day young Jake was again hooked up - this time with a blacktip almost as large as his Dad's... He needed lots of help but did fight the fish all the way to the boat.... Father and son local anglers David Hughes and his son Charlie went after the tarpon holding in a small 'Glades river. David struck out with his fly rod but Charlie didn't miss with a live bait. This isn't their first time out, either. Great catch for Charlie... Several days later we were on the water late at night locally and jumped at least ten fish. Martin Bowers got his first tarpon on fly that night. All those other tarpon just took us to school that night (the way some of them fought you'd swear they've been hanging out with snook...). Visitors Mike Scott and Jim Rowley spent a couple of days in the 'glades with me and Jim got his first tarpon and a small goliath grouper. Both wanted tarpon on fly and we did jump a few -but they woudn't stay attached.. We did catch lots of different fish on fly including Mike's snook, taken on a Whitewater Clouser My last day on the water was with two boats (anglers from North Florida). It was great fun to hand a big fly rod to another boat and then be a spectator.... Nothing like a big tarpon in a small river.... By the way we're seeing lots of very nice snook and redfish along shallow Gulf shorelines over in the Ten Thousand Islands area recently. My angler from Rhode Island got a double slam of snook, redfish, and speckled trout... Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  20. The only crticism I'd toss out there is about the flies in the first picture... Less is more when using synthetic wings. I was taught to try to tie them so you can almost see through them. Of course that doesn't mean that any fish you toss them in front of won't tear them up anyway.... Tying a sparse synthetic wing is something I struggle with as well from time to time. Now go tear them up with fish... Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  21. Kudu, sounds like you had a great fish on... and don't feel bad about the leader breaking -if you babied the fish he'd still eventually wear through your shock tippet.... I tell my anglers that no two tarpon behave the same when they feel the hook - and that's been my experience over and over. If you pick a fight with a really hot 70lb fish it may outdo one that's a lot bigger... they're all individuals. I was taught years and years ago (early seventies actually) that if you hooked a big tarpon that wouldn't jump... to just break him off and find a fish you could beat.... We've been in fish now for two weeks or so locally. Baby tarpon in the 20 to 50lb range for 8 or 9wt rods at night locally and bigger fish during the days down at Flamingo. Most of our days have been up relatively small rivers that are holding fish up to about 80lbs and a bit bigger. Any day now and the bigger fish up to 150 will be in those same rivers.... I'll post a full report later today if I have time (between going all week long and finishing my taxes this time of year is pretty busy. I'll be picking up my skiff from the techs in an hour or so then getting ready for about a ten day run without a break - it's that time of year.... If you're looking for a place with lots of big tarpon consider the Everglades where we have two seasons for the big fish, from mid winter (if the weather is mild -it wasn't this year at all....) to mid May, then again from August all the way to Halloween (our second season when big hungry tarpon are gorging to prepare for winter...). Tight Lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  22. A quick observation about looping leaders directly to the end of fly lines.... Yes it works, it's convenient and certainly strong enough. The trouble, if any, will come in situations where you need to strip your line so close that you bring the butt end of your leader up into the tiptop or the guides. We do that exact thing fishing small tarpon (20 to as much as 40lbs or larger) at night under bridges... What happens is that over and over again the loop to loop connection hangs on a guide or tiptop and my angler is stuck until we can sort it out by hand... This is particularly tough since while I'm sorting things out the angler is watching fish go by and not able to take the shots.... A few days ago we did a night trip and jumped about 10 fish in just two hours (our first three hours we hardly saw a fish...) on every kind of gear (fly, spin, lures, flies, and even bait..). I'll post a report later today with pics for the past two weeks. Because of the above situation I still prefer a direct connection that will pass through the guides like it was part of the fly line. For floating lines it's a carefully tied seven turn nail knot (a speed nail, actually), for intermediate lines it's two nail knots in row... This setup is very durable and won't hang even when you're pointblank with a big fish at the end of the fight and that knot may have a very big fish at the end of the leader.... Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  23. cool... Your part of the world is one of the few spots I'd like to visit... For those medium GT'S i'd want nothing less than a 10wt with a 20lb tippet and a 60lb shock tippet (or bite tippet...). Even with that setup you're going to be under-gunned for a big GT. I have one regular fly angler that's lucky enough to fish world wide twenty days a year with guides and takes my Tarpon Snakes to places like the Seychelles and Madagascar to wade fish in places where the big GT's come roaring up onto the flats. What little I know of them is based on his accounts. Still it's a hoot to tangle with a lot more fish than your gear was meant for... Cheers and keep posting you reports.
  24. What with water hazards ('gators, crocs, and sharks...) float tubes aren't very popular down here in south Florida.... If you do mount a depth sounder on your float tube will you please take a photo and post it here. Might be a good idea to take that picture before your maiden voyage....
  25. You can go as light as you choose for leaders... but snook (even little ones) are equipped with lips like brand new 100grit sandpaper (and we won't talk about the gill plate on each gill that's sharper than a new knife blade...). What I'm saying in a roundabout way is that 20lb fluoro is as light as I care to go (and although most want a shock or bite tippet of 30 or 40lb between fly and leader - I do without it to get more hits and worry about what happens after that all important bite... Remember as well that your leader needs to transfer the energy all the way down from your fly line to the fly you're using. Nine weight lines need a substantial butt section and if you tie a tapered leader (not really necessary for what you'll be doing) you'll want a butt of 40lb, about 4.5', then three feet of 30, then an 18" section of 25, then a final three foot section of 20lb.... If you use a "poor boy" system all you have is a two piece leader, that heavy 40lb, which is looped to four or five feet of 20lb... If memory serves that pontoon boat will be best operated in the waters that are actually sheltered by Anna Maria... If the weather is laid down you may be able to anchor up at one end or the other of the island close enough to structure (jetties, docks, breakwaters) that you'd be able to use a fly rod off of one end or the other - but pontoons aren't really very suitable for that purpose... If you're on foot, in addition to walking the beach at dawn or dusk you might want to check out any public access points at the north or south end of the island. There will be current there and feeding opportunities for hungry fish. You might just find some that you can reach on foot - that's where your clousers will come in handy. Here's a pic or two of the ones I tie and use quite a bit way to the south.... This pattern is called the Whitewater Clouser and it was developed to fish Whitewater and other bays in the interior of the Everglades. It's on a Mustad 34007 in 2/0 and is the size of my palm overall with large bead chain eyes instead of lead eye. When I want something to work deep I tie the same bug with medium lead eyes on a 2/0 jig hook...
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