Tuesday, May 24, 2016
the law in Florida since 2013 and it's something I've been in favor of for a long time. There is no reason to pull these fish out of the water after fighting them to exhaustion and it's one of the reasons I rarely post tarpon pictures on this blog. (That, and I haven't been landing many so far this year.) But anyway, congrats to Jim from Michigan on landing this fish and just a reminder to use heavy leaders, go full throttle on your drag, and keep these bigger fish in the water if you want to photograph them.
Sunday, May 22, 2016
Thursday, May 19, 2016
Stop by the Matlacha Community Park this Saturday from 10AM to 6PM for the annual Wounded Warrior Anglers Redfish Shootout. While you're there you can check out a handful of brand new Beavertail Skiffs, including the awesomely fast Lightning featured in the video above. This is also the WWA's current 2016 raffle boat and you can buy tickets to win it at their drawing on November 12th. I'll be hanging out with Beavertail's owners Will and Elizabeth Leslie to answer any questions you might have about the skiffs and the fishing around Pine Island. The weather looks great and this is always a good time. Hope to see you there.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Monday, May 16, 2016
Thursday, May 12, 2016
Stuart Angler fly shop over on the east coast of Florida and specializes in dock light snook fishing. He's a great guy and if you're on that side of the state you should definitely look up his business and book a trip.
Sunday, May 8, 2016
May is right when the annual tarpon season really gets ramped up here on Pine Island. For me, this means several weeks of long days poling my skiff in the relentless sun chasing these fish up and down our Gulf beaches. It also means sitting in front of my tying vice for at least an hour or two each week so I can keep my fly box well stocked.
Fortunately, the flies I’ve found that work best for Southwest Florida are relatively simple patterns to tie. The classic red and black Tarpon Bunny has landed the majority of my customer’s fish over the last twenty years. This pattern is nothing more than two short pieces of rabbit fur wrapped on a hook. I use a 3” Zonker strip for the tail and 2” of cross cut fur for the head. I’ve gotten to the point where I can easily crank one of these flies out during the commercial break of an NFL playoff game, which is when I usually like to start filling my tarpon box for the upcoming season.
While I can whip up enough of these rabbit fur patterns for several trips without much effort, I always make sure they’re tied on one specific type of hook, which is the Owner SSW Cutting Point. The hook is obviously the most important part of any fly and these particular models are absolute weapons. Tarpon have a mouth that is basically skin over solid bone, so driving anything into it takes a serious piece of hardware. The chemically sharpened Owner Hooks can drill into these fish like nothing else out there. They also hold exceptionally well thanks to their small barbs that dig in hard but also release easily without any serious damage to the tarpon.
The size of the hook I use for my tarpon flies only varies a small amount. For the big migratory fish that average 100lbs or more, I go with a 3/0 hook. For the smaller juveniles that show up in a few months I’ll drop down to a 1/0. So if you choose to tie all of your tarpon flies on nothing but 2/0 hooks, you’ll be in great shape.
The best thing about these Owner hooks is that they’re not made of stainless steel, which is something you never want to use while fly fishing for any large species, especially tarpon. They have a carbon finish that will resist corrosion in the box but will dissolve quickly if you break one off in a fish’s mouth. And trust me, this is something that will happen a lot when you start fly fishing for tarpon.
The Owner SSW is also a great live bait hook if you’re a spin fisherman tossing crabs or whitebait at these fish. They’re not too expensive, about 50 cents each, but when it comes to hooking a species as impressive as a full grown tarpon, there’s nothing out there I trust as much.
Sunday, May 1, 2016
Capt. Chuck Downs. We were hoping to chase some tarpon on the Pine Island flats but the wind and high clouds made that a huge chore so we hit the mangroves instead. Chuck easily managed an Inshore Slam using topwater lures that work especially well on overcast days.