Sunday, April 26, 2015

Pine Island Fly Fishing Club Meeting Monday 4/27

Last month's meeting had almost 80 local anglers show up at the Matlacha Park Community Center, twice as many as the first gathering.  Even though some of our snowbirds have gone north, this week's meeting should be just as packed since more folks are hearing about the club each week.  This month's speaker will be Dave Westra, the owner of Lehr's Economy Tackle, one of the very few fly shops in the area.  If you're interested in fly fishing at any level, stop by the Community Center (4577 Pine Island Road, Pine Island) at 6:30pm.  Hope to see you there. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Too Windy For Tarpon, Great Day For Snook

Northwest winds screwed up our plans for tarpon fishing this morning so we worked inside the Matlacha Pass mangroves and chased snook instead.  Local angler Greg Woodsum landed at least ten of these guys by tossing a white deer hair slider on an 8-weight.  Undersize snook like this are common on just about every inch of shoreline in this area.  Just make sure your flies have their barbs crushed to make releasing them easier since these fish will be legal in just a year or two. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Carbon Marine Fly Line Lair vs. Stripping Basket

Carbon Marine Line Lair
Every fly angler knows that one of the biggest headaches when fishing from a skiff is controlling the loose line on a windy day.  Carbon Marine's Line Lair is a very simple solution to that problem. 

This product has been around for several years and just about every serious angler I know is using them.  As you can see in the photo above, it's nothing more than a thick mat with a few dozen 3" rubber spikes molded onto its surface.  These loosely hold the fly line in place without snagging it for the next cast.  At $129, it's a rather expensive slab of rubber but the Line Lair really works as advertised. 
Ryobi Collapsible Leaf Basket.
Solid stripping baskets are a popular solution but I've never liked them since you often have to look down after the cast to make sure the line is actually going in to them.  That's a big distraction when you really need to be focusing on the fish.  They also tend to be just as expensive as the Line Lair. 

A much cheaper solution, and one I used to use for years, are the folding leaf baskets that sell for about $20 at Home Depot.  These actually work better since they have a larger mouth than the rigid line baskets sold specifically for fly fishing.  They need quite a bit of weight added to their bottoms to keep them from blowing off the deck in 20 knot winds.  A large, soaking wet beach towel dropped in their bottom usually works but a piece of garden hose filled with lead sinkers is the preferred  modification.  Unfortunately, that doesn't stop the top half of these baskets from dancing around in some serious gusts.  For that reason alone I stopped using them completely. 

If you can swing it, get the Carbon Marine Line Lair.  It's one of those rare examples of something that you'll get more than your money's worth out of over its lifetime. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Windy Day Crevalle

The weather knocked out our chances at catching a tarpon on Friday but Punta Gorda angler Nick Smith landed this big jack on a very light rod north of Matlacha.  He also completed a Slam with a lot of undersize trout, snook, and a red.  Not bad for a cloudy and windy day. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Airborne Tarpon

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I don't post a lot of tarpon pictures since we jump far more fish than we actually land and I rarely have a camera in my hands during the fight.  I got lucky with this tarpon, a midsize guy that ate a fly in the flat calm afternoon water in Charlotte Harbor.  The light was harsh so it isn't a great shot but not bad for having a Nikon in one hand and a push pole in the other.  This fish also spat the hook about two seconds later.