Fog isn't completely uncommon during the winter but most of Pine Island was socked in until almost noon today. I've never seen it this thick before.
Sunday, December 28, 2014
Friday, December 26, 2014
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Friday, December 19, 2014
|Forrest's redfish goes home.|
|Dinky snook are a common catch everywhere in the Pass.|
|An undersized trout completes the Slam for Forrest.|
|Tyler's groundbreaking catch of the day on a Zara Spook.|
|Here's a shot for my neighbor Tom who thinks I only post bird pictures when we don't catch fish. The truth is that I only post the really good bird pictures when we don't catch fish.|
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Monday, December 15, 2014
Friday, December 12, 2014
Be sure to stop by Cape Tool and Tackle's annual open house and pig roast on Saturday, the 13th starting at 10AM. This is a really fun event thrown by one of the best bait and tackle shops in the area and located at 405 NE Pine Island Road in Cape Coral. There will several different seminars by local captains and Mark Nichols, owner for DOA lures will be on hand. I'll be there with my new Beavertail Ambush and the $5 plate of wild hog is more than worth the trip.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Monday, December 8, 2014
So what should you expect if you show up at the ramp and the sky looks like that photo? Well, if you're a spin fisherman and there's a good incoming tide, then we'll probably go as long as it's not too chilly. And for me too chilly means anything under 50 degrees. I know a lot of my anglers from New York of Minnesota will laugh at that but I live in Florida for the 350 days each year of temps above 70. I can sit out the dozen or so days when the Polar Vortex reaches down this far, and the fish usually feel the same way, too.
With spinning gear and live bait there are numerous back bays and mangrove shorelines where we can hide from the wind. It might not be the most exciting type of flats fishing but I've pulled a lot of redfish out of some of our creeks on days that really didn't thrill me at first.
If you've come down here hoping to fly fish just after a cold front it might be a different story. I can deal with wind and I can deal with clouds but both of them together are usually a nightmare for most fly anglers. If your experience level is casting a 5-weight on a trout stream, I'll probably offer to reschedule you if the day looks a bit on the cruddy side.
Fortunately for us, strong winds and cloudy skies are the exception and not the rule down here. Our last few winters have been surprisingly mild on Pine Island, despite the horrible months that the north had to endure. So don't worry about the long range forecast if you have a trip booked with me over the next few weeks. Chance are we'll get out on the water and see some decent fish while we're at it.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
From this month's Nautical Mile newspaper:
Winter is here and before I get too busy I usually spend an evening clearing out my fly box, which often turns into a neglected mess after the slow months of the fall, and this year was no different. In fact, I wound up tossing out 2/3rds of the patterns I had in there. There were so many cool looking flies I whipped up myself and others had given me that had never been tied on the end of a leader. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe they could catch fish, I just trusted a handful of patterns so much more.
So that’s the subject of this month’s column. For the big four inshore species that top every local fly angler’s list, tarpon, snook, redfish, and sea trout, I’ve narrowed down my four best patterns to use for them in the waters off Pine Island.
We’ll start with the easiest and most cooperative species first, the sea trout. There isn’t much this year-round gamefish won’t hit and my choice of fly for them is also an easy one, the Clouser Minnow. This simple pattern was originally tied for smallmouth bass on the Susquehanna River but has been used to catch everything from bluegill to blue marlin. A hungry sea trout won’t hesitate to hit it either. There’s no limit to the size and color combinations for this streamer but the original chartreuse and white on a #4 hook is by far the best bet. Clousers are both effortless to tie and inexpensive to purchase, and that alone makes them the perfect fly. If your entire box is full of just this pattern in different sizes and colors, you’re in pretty good shape no matter where you’re fishing.
Next up is the redfish, which is actually Florida’s most popular gamefish since they’re found on every mile of the state’s shoreline. Like the sea trout, there isn’t much they won’t hit but fly casting to tailing reds require a bit more effort. Spin anglers have used weedless gold spoons with great success for more than a century and there are several modern flies that do the job almost as well. My favorites are the epoxy spoon patterns created by Capt. Jim Dupre. These are a great combination of flashy and wobbly and rarely fail to get the attention of hungry redfish with its head in the mud. They’re not cheap or easy to make but they’re durable and last almost as long as their metal counterparts. That’s why the Dupre Spoon has become my favorite redfish fly.
Snook are far from an easy catch on a fly rod, especially the big over-slot sized fish that cruise our shorelines and beaches. These are a one of the wariest inshore species and they respond to live bait far better than artificials, especially flies. My favorite fly for working them out of the mangroves is a bulky Deceiver, a decades old pattern that, just like the Clouser, is effective on every other gamefish in our waters. The Deceiver is a beautiful looking baitfish imitation that is also surprisingly easy to tie and cast. There are countless variations to this fly but for snook I like mine to be almost all white.
Finally we come to the tarpon, my favorite species to catch on any tackle, especially fly rods. These massive fish eat almost anything but some of their most effective flies imitate tiny worms. A red and black Tarpon Bunny, which is nothing more than two pieces of rabbit fur tied to a 2/0 Owner hook, has been my go-to fly for over ten years. This is another effortless pattern to tie and I can whip one off my vise in less than a minute. It always amazes me to see a six foot long fish attack one of these three inch long flies. Their migration is still a few months away but it’s not too early to start filling the tarpon box.
So those are my four favorite flies for Pine Island. Ask ten other guides for theirs and you might get forty different choices. But if you’re new to the sport these are a good place to start. Best of luck out there and feel free to call me if you have any questions.