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Posted by derick on June 29, 2016
Yesterday was a pretty nice day for fly fishing the South Shore of Tampa Bay. The water has finally settled leaving many areas much cleaner and the water clarity better since the storm.
My fishing buddy Pam and I fished the early morning incoming tide which was best for Tarpon, Shark and Ladyfish. Before long we were 1 for 3 on the Tarpon. I got one to eat a black and purple Gangster Gurgler striped slowly with long pauses. Unfortunately I wasn't able to capture the video footage I wanted but I did get this nice still with my Iphone.
Once the tide came in, the bite stopped. Pam continued to wrestle with Sharks as I continued to give the Tarpon another shot.
As soon as the tide shifted, the Bay began to bounce back in to life. We saw huge mullet schools go crazy. Ladyfish and Jacks scramble the surface then bam, Pam breaks the ice with a nice Redfish. The Tarpon had a different idea. As the tide shifted and everything else got happy, they got lock jaw! That forced me to switch gears and target the mangroves for a Redfish. Glad I did because that's just what I got! I was able to sight cast an EP baitfish pattern right into this nice 26.5"er's mouth.
Shortly after that I packed it in and headed back to launch but not before losing 2 decent Snook to the mangroves. All together the day was not bad at all and I was able to successfully get my fly rod fix. All flies were tied by myself using materials purchased at Tampa Bay On The Fly. They are located at 3625 S Manhattan Ave Tampa, FL 33629. Directly next door to Minnows and Monsters, another one of my supporters I get my tackle and repairs done.
Here is a video of the Redfish I put together. Hope you enjoy!
Posted by derick on June 13, 2016
Here is my second entry to my fresh new Vimeo page I decided to start submitting to. Writing blogs, simple photo edits, those are tasks that I'm used to. May even be a little good at them but video? This is new to me. I have been taking footage for a long time and doing absolutely nothing with it except for the occasional, screen shot. Well all that is about to change as I will be posting videos from my adventures, charters and maybe even some fly tying. Who knows? Sy's the limit, right? I will also have some featured tracks by my friend and mixmaster, Rob Devore of Yaktastick Adventures. Anyhow, I hope you enjoy this short video, (54 seconds) and please follow me on Vimeo!!
Posted by derick on May 1, 2016
April is now gone but not forgotten. The start of the Spring season came early with a wonderful Snook bite in higher numbers since the freeze. Florida has seen a healthy spike in the Snook population in the last few years but this season has been the best. Expect the bite to continue through the spawn with many huge fish caught.
This could be a great year to break your PB (personal best) record fish. Topwater lures such as the Dawgwalker by Unfair Lures will work best on the outgoing tides. Fly fisherman looking for an action packed bite try tossing a Gurgler along the mangroves and hold on! Shrimp patterns like the Simple Micro Shrimp can also be used for those lazy, laid-up fish. If it's live bait you're into, nothing beats a nice Greenback on a cork, let it sit and BAM!
The Redfish made a showing, disappeared and have now made a return and eating everything in sight! The trick in catching these guys is finding them first. I have been spotting them in an near Jack Crevalle and Mullet feeding off the messes they leave behind. These are super lazy fish looking for an easy meal. Small pods of fish will break away and feed on their own and in those cases, a soft and subtle presentation is key.
If you are using artificials try to make them land as quiet as possible and work them slow. This is where finesse comes in to play and nothing can beat a fly. Once again Gurglers will get action packed striked (if you can them to come up top) but patterns like the Backwater Special or the Kwan Shrimp can't be beat. For live bait, Shrimp on a cork or Creek Chubs are hard to beat.
Trout are here, never left and don't plan to go anywhere except for deeper water on the warmer days. The best technique to locating them is to drift a flat while casting either a soft plastic like a 4" Shad by DOA or an Unfair Lures Shrimp over the grass flats and pot holes until you get a strike then stake out. Fan cast those areas and you should find more fish. The bite slows down simply repeat the cycle. One of my favorite fly patterns for this is the "Hi tie" Clouser. Simple yet very effective fly for sight casting or search casting for Speckled Trout in the flats.
Next featured fish of the month is Tarpon. One. Anglers come from all over the world to wrestle in a Tampa Bay Tarpon and they are just about ready to make a showing. Some have been spotted cruising the channels but no action has been reported yet. Juvenile Tarpon are begining to bite though. The action has been a little sluggish but will improve as the rain season starts.
DOA 4" Shads, Unfair Lures Rip-n-Slash and Arrowheads will get you fish. For a real blast on fly, toss a Backwater Special or Poppin' Shrimp to rolling fish, strip set and it's on! For live bait Mullet, Ladyfish and Pilchards have been catching them for years.
Flounder, Cobia, Triple Tail and Black Drum still roam the area and even schools of Pompano and Permit have been seen tailing in the grass. Expect all of this activity and more to continue as the winds subside throughout May and into June.
This is the best time to catch multiple species and that bucket list fish you've been after. We still have some trips open but book now before they fill up.
Tight lines and see you on the water!
Posted by derick on April 27, 2016
I was finally able to land my first trophy Snook of the year today. I had been working at it all week losing 2 really good fish (and 2 really good Dawgwalkers) but not today!
Today was a different story. I called my buddy Pam to see if she wanted to accompany me on a scouting trip for a school of Redfish I had heard about. Plans quickly changed as I was able to land this Behemoth Snook moments after we began fishing.
What a fight! I was able to fool the Snook into slurping the Unfair Lures Dawgwalker in Redfish by tossing it right in her mouth as she laid on a shallow oyster bed.
At first I thought she was a big Redfish by the way it ran taking almost all of my Fins braided line with it! Snook are known to be very acrobatic but not this one. This fish just ran like a freight train across the flat into the thickest mangrove shoreline she could find. I had to quickly dropped my rod tip in the water to keep the line below the bushes keeping her from breaking me off.
After about 10 minutes, the 41" Mama Snook gave up and decided to allow me to take a few photos before sending her on her way.
Throughout the day, Pam and I had fun catching Trout, Catfish and I even had a nice Tarpon come off the hook but we never saw the school of Redfish. Tomorrow may be a different story. You never know what you can catch while fishing the flats of Tampa Bay!
PHOTO CRED: Pam Wirth
Posted by derick on April 12, 2016
It’s been a little rough out there as far as wind is concerned. Blowing mostly from the East, this gave me the opportunity to plan my launches in protected areas keeping us out of the rough stuff. Although there were times the wind caught up to us, paddling the bay was very manageable.
The Snook bite was the hottest with many being caught all over. From the mangrove shoreline to the grassy flats, many were caught primarily using the Dawgwalker by Unfair Lures. The fish reacted with pure aggression on every strike!
Trout were a little tougher to find as they seemed scattered throughout the flats in a little deeper water (in the 4’-6’ range) and even deeper in the warmer days. All Trout reacted well using the Stickminnow 90 also by Unfair Lures, cranked slow with many long pauses.
The Redfish bite was slow at best. The winds made it harder to see them and kept them scattered and on the move. Only a handful of Reds were caught and not as many seen.
Jack Crevalle were also on the move and in full force! Huge schools have been invading the flats and as always they are hungry! I couldn’t get anything pass these guys so like the old saying goes’ “If you can’t beat em’ join em’!”
The most productive bite was during the second half of the incoming tide up into the beginning of the outgoing. Once the tide was up, the fish were a lot harder to locate since they hung tight or way inside the mangroves.