Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tying The Merkin

Now that a cold front is here it's time to catch up on some fly tying. The classic Merkin Crab is one of my favorite patterns, especially for redfish. It can be a pain to assemble at first but I've been using it for so long that I can tie one in less than two minutes. They actually get easy after your first half dozen. You can check out my method by clicking on the photo above.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I Could Watch This A Million Times

Click on the video above and try not to die laughing.

I've literally had everything shown here happen to me in one way or another, including the 4-Wheeler incident at the end. But that one happened with a forklift in New Jersey, and at night.

Totally hilarious fishing video at its best.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Charlotte Harbor Mackerel

With winter coming and the water staying in the mid-60's we'll start seeing lots of action in the deeper waters of Charlotte Harbor. Spanish mackerel are a great target right now and a blast on light tackle and fly rods. The ones pictured above as well as the bluefish were all landed on a 9 weight Sage casting a foam slider. These are toothy predators so a short length of wire is necessary or you'll be loosing a lot of flies.

Birds are the best indicator of a school of feeding macs. A few diving gulls lead us right to these fish and I was hooked up on my third cast. When you get into a serious school it's hard to keep them away from your lures or flies. My dad even brought in two mac that hit both hooks on his Zara Spook this morning.

In addition to being an easy catch and a great fight both macs and blues taste excellent when smoked. I simply brine them overnight in a mix of salt and brown sugar and smoke them over mangrove wood for about five hours. This is the best way to enjoy these fish that taste too strong when simply grilled.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sliders For Redfish

Now that our water is turning especially clear as it does every December, the redfish have become especially spooky. This means that casting a soft landing fly will be one of the most productive ways to hook them.

I posted some shots of an antelope hair slider a few days ago which is a great pattern but a bit difficult to put together. Here's a fly that's as simple to make as is it effective on tailing reds.

This foam slider is made out of a medium size Mini-Me popper head with the concave end facing backwards on the hook making it more aerodynamic and easier to cast. This also causes the fly to slip quietly right under the surface every time it's stripped. The marabou tail adds a little extra pulsing action while the fly is sitting still. I tied this on a 2/0 hook and they take no more than a minute to put together.

I like to cast these flies as close as possible to the tailing reds we find at the bottom of the tide. These fish are usually so focused on what they're trying to dig out of the grass that they don't notice the fly land. I let the fly sit until the tail slips back under the suface. This means that the fish has pulled its head out of the grass and can now spot something on the surface. A couple of quick, smooth strips will usually get their attention. If I see the push from a chasing fish I switch to some very short but quick and spastic twitches with the line and rod tip. This keeps the fly moving without outrunning the closing red. Since prey won't slow down for the predator this usually seals the deal and causes the strike.

An easy fly and easy technique for a tricky fish.