Jump to content
Fly Tying

Capt Bob LeMay

  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Capt Bob LeMay

  1. Tough to see much perspective in the photo, but if the slots were felted I'd guess it might be some sort of hand rod wrapping support (for doing one guide at a time with sectional rods, one section at a time), but like I said "just a guess"... Hope someone can actually tell us just what the thing is. Tight lines Bob LeMay
  2. This may not help since it's a monster saltwater pattern.... but you never know. It's a pink Tarpon Snake, roughly six to seven inches overall, on a 4/0 Tiemco 600sp hook. This feather pattern is entirely long wide webby saddle hackles, eight for the tail, and another three to four for the body. The eyes are largest bead chain, and it has a wire weedguard. The flash on each side of the tail is a mix of pearl Flashabou, and pearl Flashabou Accent (the Fat Pack). Needless to say it's a situation specific tarpon fly for really big fish in the brackish and salt areas of the Everglades (and it's a pretty fair Costa Rica pattern as well). More than 90% of the time I do this bug in all black but when the water is muddy or really murky - fl. pink gets the nod. Tight lines Bob LeMay
  3. Here's two pics that will make the highlight report for the end of this year.... I make a point of having a waterproof camera with me on the water (with a lanyard around my neck so that I can drop it if needed, without losing it...). It's very handy to be able to have pics to send my anglers (and also have them to add to fishing reports). Each year is a separate file and the last report of the year will be just the best half dozen pics or so... So far none of my anglers have been quick enough to take any pictures when I end up out of the boat or doing anything particularly foolish. I'm sure they'll come. Tight Lines Bob LeMay
  4. I do make a few changes in the colder waters of winter... Typically it's as simple as a bit smaller and darker fly than what we'd be tossing when it's warmer. Along the way we downsize our rods a bit, particularly when working all the way up into nearby freshwater areas. Typical patterns would be Clousers on no more than a #1 hook, usually a #2... with browns, brown/orange, purple or black colors. Along with the smaller, darker flies we dispense with shock tippets, using only straight 20lb fluoro (a "poor boy" leader, four feet of 20lb loop to looped to a four foot butt section of 40lb for a #8, or 30lb for a #7 rod... This is the setup we're using for snook, reds, trout, and smaller tarpon (under 20lbs). All bets are off when the big fish flood into Whitewater and nearby areas - then it's large black flies on an 80lb shocker attached to a 20lb tippet on the end of an 11 or 12wt... One of the flies I use the most is the Blacklight Special, tied up on a #1 Mustad 34007 hook with a wire weedguard. The tail is black maribou over pearl flashabou over a very sparse amount of black bucktail... The body is black Body Fur from Dan Bailey, palmered forward to within less than 1/8" from the hook eye and tied off. Before proceeding the Body Fur (which contains fine pearl flashabou-type filaments...) is clipped close on each side to flatten the profile, while leaving top and bottom fibers un-touched. The last two steps are a wire weedguard (#5 coffee trolling wire with a tiny hook bent into the end the thread will catch...)tied into place under the hook shank, then a single wide, webby black saddle is palmered forward for a dense short collar (I include as much of the "fluff" on the saddle in the palmering process as the shaft of the feather will permit..). Thread, by the way is Danvilles, flat waxed, in black. No finish is used, just a tiny drop of super glue after the weedguard is bent slightly away from the hook eye. When the glue it dry the wire is bent down into place (1/16" directly above the hook point) then a final small bend at the very tip end... Once the fly is completed, you can add eyes if desired (I usually do...), either holo or hard plastic will do (the hard plastic doll eyes are much, much more durable than those pretty holographic eyes...). I use Fletch-Tite glue to place a tiny dot of glue, then place and clamp (my extra fancy clamp is nothing but a clothes pin...) one eye at a time.... Fletch-Tite is a cement used by arrow makers to attach the fletchings on their arrows. I find it at my local Bass Pro shop. Now for a few pics.... The first pic is part of an order headed for the shop I tie for, the second shows an earlier version of the Blacklight - before I began adding the feather collar.. the last pic is weedguards ready to use - note the tiny hook in the end of each wire, that's where the thread will anchor the weedguard. Finishing any fly with that darned wire sticking out will earn you a few band-aids until you get the hang of it. With that weedguard on a fly you can toss a fly into the mangroves and usually get it back (and it will fall off that last branch right where you wanted it in the first place...). Tight Lines Bob LeMay
  5. It's been a few weeks now since I've had fly anglers aboard, finally a day of fly fishing in this report, y'all are welcome to ignore the spinning part.... Another week with only two bookings, one day strictly fly, the second day all spinning. Last Thursday I had Capt Darren Williams and his wife Jennifer aboard in great weather, but poor fishing (nothing like a cold front to give you blue skies, strong breezes and not many fish...). Both husband and wife are very skilled with a fly rod so we hunted up very shallow looking for reds and snook. The first surprise of the day was a shallow mud cove with at least eight small sawfish (none bigger than six feet long) that were laying quietly in less than 18 inches of water. The fish blended in with the mud bottom so well that they were almost invisible even though the water was quite clear... The day's second surprise was that the fish actually came after our flies, a first for me and I've seen them in similar circumstances, many, many times. Jennifer actually hooked one briefly before it quickly pulled the hook - then it was Darren's turn. He had several bites but like before the fish only stayed hooked for a brief moment before pulling free. Moving on we covered lots of spots with little success until Darren got a nice small snook that attacked a pretty large, shallow water Clouser.... Here's a pic... Most of the day we'd been searching for a shot at Whitewater tarpon since water temps above 70 indicated we might get a shot.... and that was the last big surprise that day. After poling a long shoreline looking for laid up fish without success I saw a good fish show just briefly out in about five feet of water out in the open where the wind was strong.... We poled out and quickly found a good number of fish that looked to be 60 to almost 100lbs... You couldn't see them at all in the wind - none were rolling or showing any surface activity except for a sudden attack and surface explosion nearby (but never within casting distance). Things got exciting when one or two of the fish really got some air time, skyrocketing well over ten feet straight up.... We never managed to hook up, but that last surprise will have me back there shortly. Darren who's just now leaving guiding in the Keys to move his family out of Florida should be back soon. I"m looking forward to putting both of them on some big silver fish that will eat.... On Monday I fished local angler Jeff Peterla and Brian from Delaware and we had a different day entirely. The wind was still up but everywhere we went there were trout and small redfish that couldn't get enough of our lures on light spinning gear. Add starving ladyfish to the mix and we left fish biting at several spots. With a few ladies for live bait we moved out to a river mouth and went to work looking for a large hungry grouper for dinner. From the first most of our bites were from large toothy critters... Without any wire leaders, however long the fights lasted they all came to the point where the big fish took the hook with them. Just as I was thinking about some other spot, Brian hooked up on a big fish that turned out to be a very nice snook, here' a pic... at nearly 12lbs and over the slot size it was a pleasure to release this big girl to fight another day... That fish was followed by another good bite, this time for Jeff.... here's a pic at 22" that's one lucky grouper (just two inches under the 24" slot) and another careful release.... From the rivers all the way back into Whitewater it was speckled trout and small redfish... Hard to count how many we caught and released on bucktails or other arties... There are plenty of very nice trout inside now so everyone will be looking to 1 January when they're able to keep one for dinner. The small reds are an indicator that lots of the bigger ones are also around, waiting to be found. As for the tarpon, any week we get three or four days with mild temps there's a good chance of finding them in Whitewater. It's enough to get me going back there, day after day.... Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  6. Most rods on the market today will handle a line size smaller and one line size heavier than the rated size... That doesn't mean they'll do it very well, though. There are specific circumstances where a lighter or heavier line is just the ticket but all of that depends as much on the caster as the situation so "some experimenting" is probably in order. Nothing like time on the rod, along with time on the water, to tell you very clearly whether it was a good idea. If it was me, I'd want to borrow the gear if possible instead of purchasing until I knew I could get the results needed. Since I'm a saltwater guy my needs (and those of my anglers) are a lot different than what freshwater anglers typically encounter. The one instance when I specifically recommend my anglers over-line their rods by one line size is when we're fishing at night around bridges. In that situation you can't see your fly line well at all, the casting distances are almost pointblank (we're sightfishing tarpon so close that you rarely have even thirty feet of line and leader to work with) so it's very hard to load the rod properly. With one line size heavier you're able to load the rod for the quick and accurate shots that are our bread and butter. When we leave the bridge shadows and hit nearby docklights the situation is dramatically different and we're needing long casts and only get one or two shots before those docklight fish are wise to us. In that instance the over-lined rod is something of a handi-cap since it's tough to get an 70 to 80 foot cast with it.... As always no such thing as an advantage in one area that isn't a handi-cap somewhere else. Tight Lines Bob LeMay
  7. The dryer sheet works quite well... I use one for several weeks before needing to replace it. I use it mostly to help control unruly hanks of fine flash material (Flashabou, etc.). I'll give the material a couple of light strokes and it settles right down. I also make a point of rubbing my hands with it when static is a problem. Tight lines Bob LeMay
  8. There's been a few sets of tying instructions for the Beauty, mostly in magazines for offshore angling since it was first designed for very heavy gear... It's actually nothing more than a two turn slip knot for the heavy side, then a seven turn clinch for the light side... If I have time I'll try to an SBS for it. These days, like everything else, it's probably available somewhere on the 'net....
  9. You'll have to take this with a grain of salt (since I'm not a freshwater flyfisher at all...).... but I quit using blood knots for leaders a few years ago. I much prefer the Slim Beauty - particularly for bite tippet to breaking strength tippet, or whenever joining different sized lines - the Beauty (an Australian knot) has far better knot strength than the Blood... Here's a pic of the Slim Beauty that was part of an article that I did a few years ago. Tight Lines Bob LeMay
  10. I've never used scent with flies (although there have been occasions when I was tempted..). I do know one or two bonefish guys who have kept a fly in with a small bag of cut up shrimp and have used chum myself on many occasions to draw in bonefish, sharks, redfish, etc. The most deadly technique that I do use occasionally doesn't have anything to do with adding scent to the fly... it's live chumming. You load your livewell with pilchards, sardines, or herring then run from spot to spot. After a very quiet approach you toss a small handful of live bait into an are where you suspect (or know) that fish are holding, then watch carefully to see what happens..... The baits (in the 3 to 6" range will swim away and may not get popped until a few minutes go by (and many times not anywhere near the spot you thought the fish were holding on..). After that first handful of livies is in the water you begin tossing a few addtional baits at a time, and make a point of crippling half of them so they swim in circles or erratically at best... No one even picks up a rod until you see the first boil. If you do it right the first pop will come down (or up) current a good ways from where you tossed the bait. As things heat up the action will move closer and finally in range of flies. The flies used will be attractor patterns or pure streamers that closely match the size of the live chum. If you do it correctly an absolute beginner with a fly rod has a very good shot at his/her first snook, redfish, speckled trout, etc. If you don't see any response to the baits - it's off to another spot with as little time wasted as possible. This entire routine is nothing more than bringing an offshore technique into inshore areas. On an occasional scouting day solo, I'll load the well and move from place to place live chumming just to see where fish are holding as I explore new areas. If you have quantities of live bait available to you (in my area it's only certain times of the year, usually in the fall, when lots and lots of bait are readily netted with the right sized castnet) and a bit of skill with the net (as well as a generous live well on board) is all that's required. Although I'd much rather sightfish while poling quietly in very shallow areas there are days and situations when you'll be lucky to get one or two bites in an entire day hunting the shallows. Live chumming is only an occasional thing for me (some guides in the 'Glades and other inshore areas in south Florida may use it daily when it's appropriate). Whether you're over spanish mackeral, jacks, and small bluefish in open water, snapper and grouper up inside rivers, or snook and reds around downed trees or oyster bars... as long as your angler can cast a fly to where the action is, their results will be so much more positive in that situation than any other.... Is it "fly fishing" in a classic sense? Probably not, but neither is most saltwater fly angling. If you can set up a situation where anglers can get doubles on with fly gear, and the fish will be much larger than the usual fare it can be a treat.... I'm certain this same technique would work in spots where bass are holding in freshwater - the trick would be to chum up enough forage to be able to net a well full of baits to chum with. Kids in my area know exactly how to lure up a few wild shiners with bits of bread, then catch one (wild shiners in south Florida may be the size of small trout in the 5 to 8" range) and fish it for a big bass in canals everywhere under a cork... all you'd need would be enough baits and you're in business.
  11. As a guy that's been tying commercially for more than thirty years... I say go for it, but double the price of those earrings...
  12. By the way, for those who've never attempted a rod repair... most rodbuilding component catalogues these days include basic tutorials to encourage first timers to do the job. The first two that come to mind are Mudhole and Angler's Workshop. I'm sure there are others that will provide the materials needed as well as guidelines for using them. Hope this helps. Tight Lines Bob LeMay
  13. Ceramic guides can't be repaired properly when they go bad... you're going to need to replace it. The good news is that it's a very simple job. All of the guides on your rods are held in place by nylon rod wrapping thread, then coated with a finish. If you don't want to do the job yourself your local fly shop will either be able to do the job or refer you to a rodbuilder who will. The repair shouldn't be any more than the cost of a new guide and the labor. If you were in my area that would amount to $3 to $5 for the guide and about $10 labor. Once the ceramic insert cracks, chips, or comes loose that guide will eventually (or immediately) begin to abrade your fly line and any backing that it comes in contact with, so I'd replace it sooner rather than later. good luck Tight Lines Bob LeMay
  14. No matter which way the wind is howling... there's got to be a few areas that are sheltered from the wind - and they'd be the first places I'd look at. I fish in all kinds of conditions with fly anglers and the key in bad weather is to find those sheltered areas. Places out of the wind will not only be easier to work but usually the water will be clearer. Causeways out to the coast typically have culverts or drains that will allow water to move from one side of the road to the other, don't overlook them on bad weather days... If all else fails consider wading and roll casting down wind in places that might hold fish. Not very sophisticated, but might save a day or trip in bad conditions. Good luck.
  15. This report is a bit late since the last day on the water was Monday, but since then the weather seems to have shut down everything in our area. It will clear by the end of the weekend so most of this is still valid... We started out ten days ago, fly fishing with anglers from Europe and were in tarpon of every size for hours at a time three days straight. The only problem is that they were gorging on glass minnows (bay anchovies) and very hard to feed. On the first day Waldi Van Leeuwen hooked and fought two tarpon to the boat, a 25lb fish on a 7wt. and an 80lb fish on a 10wt. Here's some pics from that day... The next two days were pure frustration. We had fish of every size around the skiff for hours but only managed two or three hookups a day - and none stayed attached. Not much fun when fish from 20 to 120 are obviously feeding all around you and not taking your flies... Waldi managed one nice snook and Floris Van Den Berg took one spanish mackeral, here's the pic... Needless to say I went home the last day talking to myself and not liking the answers. I've since spent some time at the tying bench and may have come up with a solution - we'll see... To make matters that much worse I lost a pushpole trailering back from Flamingo, then found I needed two trailer tires to get back on the road. Anyone claims you can make a good living as a guide should be laughed at..... By Monday the weather situation had changed quite a bit and all the tarpon were just gone (I guess they were anticipating the big weather change coming...). The good news is that the redfish and speckled trout were biting - both along the coast and back up inside Whitewater Bay. Brothers Brad and Mitch Feller each caught and released a redfish too big to keep at 28", then caught a solid 25 to 26" fish for the table.... Here's a few pics.... Here's the pair of reds that Brad got, next are Mitch's... One look at their color and you can figure out which were out on the coast and which were up inside.... Along the way they caught and released at least fifty speckled trout and other fish besides. A great day to partially erase the beating those tarpon gave a few days before. Flamingo should be back to normal for this time of year in the coming week. That means everything from giant tarpon on down are feeding up hard preparing for colder weather. No place in south Florida has better action right now.... Tight Lines' Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  16. On the end of my turner drive rod I added a short piece of rod grip to act as a flexible joint. The shafts of the drying sticks are only slightly friction fit inside the piece of rod grip. As a result I can grab any drying stick momentarily to add or remove a bug, when released the whole fixture resumes turning (no on or off each time). My motor is set up with a timer so that it automatically quits at the two hour mark in any drying session. I never use any epoxy, much preferring to use FlexCoat instead (a two part polymer rod finish that needs to rotate for at least an hour after application -sometimes a bit longer..). I'm sure that those using a single foam wheel can set theirs up so that you could stop it momentarily while the motor is still turning to get the same effect. By the way, I've always thought that a "pool noodle", one of those floating toys for kids would make a great foam wheel (or you could mount them in series the way I used cork rings). Those same cork rings, by the way, are easily 30 years old now. They've been used for hundreds and hundreds of dozens for shops and other customers.
  17. There's one other method in building drying mounts for your motor. Most tyers use a single large foam wheel... since I'm also a rodbuilder I long ago decided to use individual cork rings mounted on short sections of old fiberglass rod pieces. I have four or five of them that allow me to do two to three dozen flies at a time for production work. Here's a few pics.... Tight Lines Bob LeMay
  18. If you decide to go with a slow turning motor, I've always used barbecue rotisserie motors (and each one has lasted for years and years). They usually come in a small rectangular metal case that's perfect for mounting onto an "L" shaped or "T" shaped wooden bracket. Since they usualy come with a small square socket to mount a square rod, it's a simple matter to use a slightly larger wooden dowel, and carve the end square to fit perfectly. My turning motors were originally meant for rod drying applications (I've been building rods for 40 years...) and only later used for turning flies.... One other thought - if you think you might be doing any demonstration tying, a portable battery powered turner might be another option since it frees you from all the usual extension cord hassles that come with a standard turner when it's being used outside of your shop....
  19. That bug will work in the backcountry of the Everglades as well... particularly in winter when small (almost tiny)forage is on the menu for large fish that have moved from the salt all the way back up into freshwater...
  20. If you have a choice the bucktails from Wapsi in any shop will always be very good quality. In the other direction if you want the best price always buy in bulk direct, by the hundred count, in each color needed (I'm a commercial tyer, so that's how I do all my materials, if possible). Tight lines Bob LeMay
  21. The area accessible from Flamingo is so large that many learn to work (or favor) just a portion of it.... This time of year the best fishing lies in two directions - "out front" to the south into Florida Bay where there's miles and miles of very shallow waters and the target is large schooled up redfish mostly (and you need a skiff that floats pretty shallow...), or all the way across west to the Gulf coast north and south of the Little Shark river, miles and miles of creeks, rivers, and bays in a mangrove jungle setting where large numbers of giant tarpon are gathering to gorge along the coast before that first cold night in October sends them back offshore. If you choose to run to the west you've got your choice of an area that's 20 miles east to west and 40 miles north to south (from Lostman's River all the way south to Cape Sable). In a few short weeks the fall migration will begin and very gradually fish along the coasts will begin to move back inside for the winter where the water is a bit warmer. When that happens the action inside will shift much closer to Flamingo, that's when Oyster and Whitewater Bays begin to load up with bait and the trout, snook, redfish and others that will follow them inside... At the beginning of the wet season in late May the process will reverse and the fish will move back outside... You could fish out of Flamingo all your lifetime and only two things would be certain.... the first is that you'd never learn all there is to know about it, the second is that no two days are the same - ever. Every day I'm there I'm towing my skiff almost 100 miles each way and it's worth all the effort. Since hurricane Wilma in Nov of 2005 the only facilities at Flamingo are the marina with gas pumps, marina store (where they rent canoes, kayaks, small motor skiffs, and houseboats), two boat ramps (one for outside, the other the interior side), and a campground. The restaurant, motel, and cabins have never been replaced so you're in a commuting situation each day with the closest motels 50 miles away in Florida City.....
  22. On the water out of Flamingo three of the last five days, mostly fly fishing... The pics will tell most of the story and, as expected, things are certainly heating up along the Gulf coast of the 'Glades. You've got to get going long before daylight to see the coast at dawn... since it's a 21 mile run to the west coast from the ramp at Flamingo... With very skilled local angler Cass Sumrall aboard we started off the day with popping bugs at small to medium sized tarpon. The darned fish blew up the bug on more than one occasion but never managed to eat the thing, so that was it for popping bugs. A quick change to a Silhouette and Cass was hooked up to a 30lb fish on an 8wt rod... He beat the fish handily but it didn't pose for a photo and we were on the hunt for bigger fish.. Running south along the coast we encountered a large school of jack crevalle - all from 10 up to 30lb fish and circling slowly like they were in spawning mode. Cass had several bites before hooking up but it was the smaller fish that were quickest to the fly.... with this fish a small one you can imagine how big the larger ones were... We went on to find much larger tarpon but never managed a bite and all the action slowed to a stop at midday.... The next trip had local angler James Banta aboard and again it was all catching and releasing with fly gear. That day the tarpon pulled a disappearing act most places but we still managed a variety of species on fly, including snook, redfish, trout ( all on the small side), ladyfish, macks, jacks, etc. This time of year the spanish mackeral are hungry enough to eat popping bugs (if they don't cut you off in the process...). catching macks on the fly is lots of fun if you don't run through all your bugs trying... Yesterday it was time for a father and son team. Young Charlie Hughes with his Dad, local pastor David Hughes, both looking for a big tarpon. At 11 years old it would be Charlie's first big tarpon, his Dad would be using the fly rod - and we had a great day. After quickly catching bait while watching big fish rolling all around us we got down to business. The young angler (all 76lbs worth) was set up with 20lb spin and a live bait on a 6/0 circle hook. In the first hour we went through almost ten baits with a few tarpon bites but many, many shark hits, losing our share of hooks in the process. Charlie finally hooked up with a big fish and it was off to the races... with David on the camera. Young Charlie did it all, and never let up on a fish that was much bigger than him. After about 20 minutes he had the fish to the boat for a leader and photo. I estimated the fish between 90 and 100lbs... and that's David holding on for the photo... you can see the circle hook right in the center of the upper jaw. A few minutes later a revived fish was released carefully. Next up was David using an 11wt rod and a great big black fly..... He jumped one fish that didn't stay attached, then hooked one solidly and we were back in business. That fish, estimated between 70 and 80lbs really put on a show with lots of long runs and air time. I was a bit busy and missed pics of the fish in the air but did manage one good father and son type photo at boatside... All in all it was a great day, young Charlie also caught and released several small redfish, a seven foot lemon shark, and we had big bites from grouper that just tore us up but didn't stay attached long enough..... To end the day we made one last try for a slot redfish and here's the result... a very nice Whitewater redfish that was just a little too big at almost 30 inches... it was Charlie's first big red and a great way to end the day. In the next five to six weeks the fishing is going to keep getting better, if that's possible... Tight lines Bob LeMay (954) 435-5666
  23. The book that you're looking for is Backcountry Fly Fishing by Doug Swisher and Carl Richards. Along with tactics and gear there's a fair amount of info on crab patterns the way Richards does them. Can't say I'd give this book a thumbs up though... I found it difficult at best to get through. You might want to browse through it a bit before buying it... Tight lines Bob LeMay
  • Create New...