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Capt Bob LeMay

Everglades tarpon report, 19 April

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We've been in the big fish now for weeks in the backcountry of the Everglades out of Flamingo. It started in Whitewater Bay then moved out to the Gulf coast north and south of the Little Shark river. I only had one fly angler this past week, Ivano Mongatti from Italy. We managed five bites in the morning along one section of the coast but they just wouldn't stay connected. Our best bite resulted in a solid hookup then a broken fly line (not the leader...). When the big fish laid down and quit moving we ran to the north and up a river where we found fish for more than two miles.... Yep, every 100 to 200 feet as far as the eye could see. Unfortunately the river was quite muddy and we never got a bite. We stayed with them, poling quietly with the tide for about 1/2 of a mile without a single response to the large black fly despite good presentations. More than a bit frustrated we rolled the dice and went back inside looking for a few laid up fish. For anyone that's never seen them laid up fish in the interior of the 'Glades are in the 100 pound size range and they lay motionless in less than three feet of water along selected shorelines. You could look for them all day long and never see one unless you're very close since they don't roll or move or give any indication at all of their presence unless you're very lucky....

 

The first shoreline we poled appeared lifeless until we found one fish, so close that Ivano just rolled the fly to it. As the fly moved the fish saw the skiff and that was that.... We found a few fish more along that shoreline with the same results. They're very hard to see laying on dark bottom shorelines. We then ran to a similar shoreline that had a light colored bottom and that made all the difference. With less than an hour to go we found a medium sized fish 60 to 70lbs laying up close to the shoreline and Ivano made a perfect presentation. That fish only moved six inches to take the fly and we were off to the races. It was Ivano's first big tarpon and he did everything right. I was too busy with the skiff to do more than snap a few pics and none of them showed the fish properly. I think he'll remember it though (by the way he writes for La Pesca magazine in Italy, so I think he'll be writing about that fish as well). Along with Ivano's pics, here's a shot of the fly we're using, it's called the Tarpon Snake and is six to seven inches overall...

 

The giant fish will be in the 'Glades for another four weeks (until the end of the second week of May) then they'll head out to join the spawning migration down to Islamorada. After that we'll only have the 50lb and smaller fish until mid summer when the big fish begin to return.... I still think it's one of the best tarpon fisheries around....

Tight Lines

Bob LeMay

(954) 435-5666

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That pattern. the Tarpon Snake, has been taking a lot species other than tarpon for some years. I finally did an article about it that's been accepted by Flyfishing in Saltwaters magazine and should be in the July/August edition this coming summer... The hardest part about that fly is finding the large, wide, webby dyed black saddle hackles that are used for both the tail and the body.

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Yep, know what you mean about finding the hackle, and I also use black a lot. I'm primarily tying Seaducer versions, but some look very similar to your fly. Most of the one's I tie are in the 5 to 6 inch long range, so saddle hackle works, if I want to go longer I usually use a combination of schlappen's & saddles.

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