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Capt Bob LeMay

fishing report, Biscayne nights - Everglades days, 16 June

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We switched over to fly fishing gear this week and found a few fish on each outing. Early in the week I had Benjamin Vial aboard to fish for tarpon at night locally in Biscayne Bay. Ben is a full time fishing guide from Patagonia (where the trout, browns and rainbows get really big...he's in waders most days, fishing quick moving rivers with a lot lighter gear than he'd be using with me) and it's winter down there so a tarpon trip was in order...

We used a 9wt each night, sight-fishing tarpon up to and a bit over 40lbs under the bridges that connect Miami and Miami Beach. His first night, the fish had it all their way - he hooked up but the fish just took us to school, jumping off, breaking off (we're fishing next to bridge pilings), and just plain being tarpon.... He'll be remembering that first one since when it felt the hook it rocketed straight up in the air - at least eight feet of silver in the air high above those black night-time waters - a Miami classic... Now if it had just stayed with us for a bit longer... Fortunately the second night was the charm and Benjamin brought three fish to the skiff - a 20, a 30, and his last - a 50lb fish if it was an ounce... Here's a few pics of one of his fish...


Off to the races and you soon learn to keep your fingers away from that spinning handle...


Getting down to business -about 20 minutes worth if I remember correctly...


The prize... finally to the boat...

Our night time tarpon "season" will last through mid-August - all that's needed is a falling tide and reasonable weather... The fish are under bridges and in docklights every night...

Yesterday we switched up and fished a day trip out of Flamingo with retired doctor Nate Mayl - a skilled local fly angler who's been fishing with me for some years. We planned on a few baby tarpon - then a long run to where there might be a few big triple tail for his fly rods... Our first stop was a small bay with lots of baby tarpon from tiny up to around 15 pounds. His first or second cast that morning - just at dawn, found a tarpon small enough to double for a big shad... We carefully released it then poled after its friends. That morning the baby tarpon were a bit shy of us and we soon decided to get moving.. Things were slow to not happening at several spots in Whitewater Bay so we were headed out to the Gulf coast where a small rain cell right on the coast limited our options. We chose to scoot northwards to keep one step away from the lightning we could see - not too far away... That's when things turned around in dramatic fashion when Nate hooked up a big snook on a light Sage rod (the smallmouth model - a short stick meant for working freshwater bass...) and we were off to the races.. Here's a pic of that 9 lb snook - then I'll tell the rest of the story...


A great catch on fly -but look closely at the photo....

Yep, on the fish's first long run (thank heavens away from the shoreline...) the spool popped off of the reel so Nate was forced to fight the fish with only his hands on the line - to strip in as well as act as a brake on that fish while the reel spool was rolling around his feet. I was able to fire up the motor and maneuver the skiff as much as possible to give Nate some assistance - but he fought and beat that fish on his own - without the reel at all...

Not just a great catch and release but more excitement than I was looking for... We never could get the spool to re-attach properly so the reel will be going back to the shop (or the maker...). We ended that day at a great triple tail spot where I saw at least one ten pound fish - but we missed the one bite on fly that we got... You can bet I'll be there again as soon as I can...

Be a hero, take a kid fishing...

tight lines,

Bob LeMay

(954) 435-5666

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I teach my beginning saltwater fly anglers that taking a moment to "get the fish on the reel" with a snook usually results in the fish getting off. I tell them hand strip the fish until it takes you to the reel (and that's pretty good advise for snook, reds, trout and others). Fish like bonefish, permit, and tarpon will take you to the reel instantly so the situation rarely arises. The important thing for me is that your fly rod is bent hard on a fish from the first - that way they stay hooked from the first contact....


This whole "disassembling reel" situation doesn't occur very often fortunately - most times when it happens the angler seizes up and loses the fish -we were very lucky that day (and Nate was very quick to react to the situation...).

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when my wife and I were on our honeymoon the reel popped off the rod when a 15 or 16 inch smallie grabbed the lure, I was stuck holding the spinning reel in my hands reeling the fish in while she fought it with the rod.

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