Little video I made Fly Fishing for Peacock bass in Miami Florida.More to come!!
Camera: Canon 60D with Canon 50mm 1.4
Song: Ms.Ho by Onra
Big thanks to Vince and Chase for the help.
One of the coolest things about moving over to the east coast was being able to have numerous shots at Peacock bass. There is some back home, but just not in the number that they are here. Peacocks on fly are awesome. It’s so cool walking down the bank and seeing one just sitting there, waiting to be caught. The peacock fishing around school is kind of poor. I guess the 40 miles above Miami makes a huge influence in the amount of fish there are to be had. I did a little fishing around Boca and scored probably my biggest peacock to date. But once I caught this guy I never saw another peacock in Boca again…(Back when the beard was raging)
A few years ago, Adam Hope created the Carp Damsel, which is a hybridized version of a damsel and dragon nymph designed to target carp. The fly excelled across a wide range of conditions but made its name fishing mid-column to prowling carp and to bank feeders where the fly was delicately dapped in front of the fish. The fly was developed out of necessity due to the wariness and intelligence of the carp we target on our home waters. After learning of Adam’s success, I developed a very similar version to call my own and fished it as successfully over the past few years. It has accounted for some of my best carp on fly, all of which took the fly in the middle of the water column, as it slowly parachutes down.
It was the third redfish we had seen since poling up onto the flat. Selfsame as the last two. Oversized and broad across the shoulders and neck where the small brassy scales ran around its collar and met the wide smooth cap at the base of its skull.
I want to start by apologizing for the lack of blogging. I have been really lazy lately and it has gotten the best of me. Aside from that I hope everyone has been out fishing and having some fun. Since I haven’t posted in a while I have tons of pics that I would like to share with you guys. These are trips with friends to Flamingo Camping grounds, The Florida Keys and Biscayne Bay. These last 3 months have been awesome, not so much fishing as I have been behind the lens most of the time, but a lot of great memories in and out on the water.
Photo Credit to.. John Long, Jason Fernandez, Warren Chin, Eric Estrada and others who helped take some pics. Read More…
As the weather improves up here in the Midwest so does the fishing. My buddy Mike and I decided that we would try and head East in search of steelhead. The rivers that we were fishing had been frozen for most of the winter, however, the high temperatures and direct sun light really helped the fish get back into their groove.
Just a few days past January first my son and I had planned a fishing trip, he is nearing 17 and fishing time with Dad is not as important as it used to be. He’s more interested in his girlfriend, hanging out with his buddies, hunting and creating his own art as a fly fisherman. The wings are being tested, soon enough he will leave the nest to try the world on his own. That leaves us little time to fish together, and I have to take what I can get in short clips, here and there. We decided to fish south of our comfort zone, but a place we know well, a place we enjoy fishing. On the way as Jake was driving I came across this post on Facebook from one of my friends, it was with me all day….
“I am so ready to just give up… It seems that I am not where I want to be and I just need to tell everyone to just kick rocks. So fed up”
After reading this I tried let it go, but it remained in the forward part of my mind as Jake and I began the task of searching out redfish.
I advanced the throttle and pointed south, the sun was just now breaching the horizon, and the colors were magnificent! At our first stop we anticipated what was lurking beneath the surface. Would they be hungry? As we fished, we talked of things of little importance; I did my usual fatherly duties of lecturing about how he has to take more responsibility because he is becoming a man, blah, blah, blah… I remember these same talks with my Dad at his age. It penetrates, not all the way through, but I think enough sticks so that the point is made.
Fishing the southern end of Tampa bay the bite was not that good, we were not “kicking rocks” but we were not catching the bronze fish we envisioned on the big negative low, it was not what we had anticipated. We had visions of tailing redfish that would eat our flies, the reality was, the wind was blowing just a little too hard to fly fish and it was blowing the wrong direction keeping the water from reaching its predicted low. This tide was at the ugly level, not low enough to push the fish into the holes and edges of the salted flats, but just high enough we could not access them in the skiff without bailing out and stalking them on foot. Jake and I bounced around the little bay and settled on the east side, out of the wind. We had given up on the long rods and now were tossing plastic DOA shad tails, into a dense school of mullet. Jake penetrated the hard jaw of a hefty redfish maybe a minute into the drift, as he brought the fish boat side, I hooked up. Unfortunately our bite did not last much longer, we each got another mid slot red to the boat, but that was about it other than some dink trout.
As we ran across the little bay in the skiff, the wind was diminishing. The menuquita came to rest in an area we like to call the pond, shallow sand and mud flats, with a prominent drop that holds fish on a low tide. Jake was on the bow, I was on the platform pushing and looking. It was my turn to spot fish for Jake, and I spotted a couple of shadows. “1 o’clock” I whispered, Jake pitched his bait past the shadows, worked methodically to them, gave a twitch, perfect timing, the fish ate, Jake had a nice redfish on and another was trying to chew the plastic out of the stuck fishes mouth, I quickly tossed out next to his fish and hooked the other one, ” DOUBLE” I yelled, but I was premature, Jake lost the hold on his fish, as I was still fighting mine atop the platform, Jake snapped a pic just before my line fell victim to (in afterthought) a previous fray .
Jake and I had called it a day we had a meal in the one redfish we harvested, and we were hungry. Jake took the wheel on the ride home. I thought about the post I had read on Facebook that morning off and on during our time on the water. I reflected on my career and how I’m not really where I want to be in my career as a charter Captain. I thoroughly enjoy my chosen profession, I am passionate about it, but I too am not where I want to be, and I’m really not sure where it is I’m supposed to want to be. I’m definitely not kicking rocks, I’m making progress!
I finally settled on the fact that I am on a journey leading to an unknown destination. Along the way I have met and fished with some awesome people, celebrities, Doctors, attorneys, CEO’s, business owners and guides like me. I have spent time with some very different personalities, some wild and unbelievably crazy (maybe for another article), some quiet and reserved and everything in between. I have taken in many things in along the way, and they all make me the person and guide I am today. I don’t think anyone is really where they want to be. In my opinion, where you really should want to be is on the path to where you perceive you want to be. It’s the journey where the memories are made and the stories are born, the destination is merely the end of the trip. If we give up on where we want to be, we will miss the ride to make us who we are to become, and maybe that is where we are meant to be.
Leaving Pinellas County heading south you soon find yourself at the apex of a giant bridge supported by a bright fan of yellow cables with the waters of Tampa Bay soon filling your rear view mirror. The flats and mangrove laced islands dotted with anglers and others enjoying the water quickly turn into 3 lanes of tourists, daily commuters, self proclaimed race car drivers, and motorcyclists all trying to get somewhere south of where they were.
With the cruise control pegged at 80 and the stereo shuffling its way through my favorite playlist, I find myself caught up in the same race as everyone else on I-75 south. I now have 170 something miles of straight line cruise controlled highway ahead of me and an iPhone full of music to keep me entertained. Even at 80mph I cant help but to notice the occasional patch of woods id like to hunt, the puddle id like to sling a fly into, truck id like to own or the hot little brunette chick driving it! The exit signs fly by… Venice… Port Charlotte…Fort Myers. You see the sign for Naples and then I-75 bangs a left and shoots straight across what seems to be the bottom of the state. Knowing there’s more Florida south of where I’m at I exit off that concrete race track and continue on south. Soon Highway signs turn back into small residential areas and highway shoulders turn into canals and ponds cut into the limestone. A few miles down the road and I’m making a left at a moderately busy intersection onto US 41.
Welcome to Tamiami Trail…
Two lanes of road that make their way right through the middle of Big Cypress. My mood changes instantly, no longer am I racing trying to beat the person next to me to wherever the hell it is they may be going. The traffic is gone, only staggered patches of travelers enjoying the same two lanes of old Florida that I am. Mangrove lined pockets of black water border both sides of the road, broken up by the occasional dirt road or the long standing cypress heads. Alligators, turtles, snakes, deer, panthers, wild hogs and birds of every shape and size make up the local population that call this piece of land home. With my 5wt riding shotgun, rigged and ready to go I’m now less worried about my final destination and more interested on what puddle of dark tea colored water am I going to drop a fly in? Whats going to take the opportunity to eat my fly first? Largemouth Bass, Cichlids, Gar, Snook, Tarpon, Redfish all lurk these waters and are all a prime opportunity for the angler with the desire to seek out and try new water. Salt and fresh water species all in the same holes leaves a mystery to what your next strip strike is going to turn into?
I couldn’t handle passing any more of what could be that honey hole that every angler dreams of so now im on the hunt. There it is! With a quick U-turn i make my way back to the spot that stood out in my eyes, Ive been cooped up in the Jeep for hours and I wanna fish! With a steel guard rail separating me and 55mph traffic I wait for a gap in the cars long enough to make a cast. My first throw landed 2ft short of a 9 or 10 foot alligator who was soaking up some sun. A few short strips and there was that familiar tension on the line that brings a smile to every anglers face. With a quick fight I bring my first Tamiami representative to the shoreline…. A copper-red Cichlid with a mouth full of pearl schminnow! I snag a few pics and thank him for his time and back to the dark colored sanctuary he goes. Another break in traffic and another cast, this time into a little pocket of cattails and grass. Four or five strips and I’m back into that happy tension! I can tell from its aggressive display of aerials and topwater attempt to remove my fly from its mouth, that its a Largemouth. Ive caught many of Largemouth Bass in my time but this was my first Everglades/ side of the road Bass on the fly. Like with his friend before i get a few pics and away he goes to catch another day. A couple of more throws with a couple of short strikes and rolls I land my schminnow tight against the mangroves. Halfway through my first strip there was a boil and again my line was tight. This fish was determined to get back to that mangrove root fortress that I just convinced him to leave. After a fun fight on my 5wt I landed my first Everglades Snook on the fly! I was sold and I didn’t want to leave, this had to be the best stretch of highway for a backwater enthusiast in the entire country. Looking at the time and remembering that I did have a place to be I got back in the Jeep and made my way down the road. The mangroves transition into cattails and lilly pads and then eventually back into south Florida civilization. A right turn near a casino and Tamiami Trail is in my rear view mirror.
This year Ill be working on a film project about Back Bay. This Eastern Virginia watershed was once a world class Largemouth bass fishery. At at average depth of 3 feet, its all Skinny Water. Due to environmental changes the fishing and grass beds have declined. But that’s changing because of the efforts of several agencies and citizen groups. It’s making a miraculous comeback and I am going to show you all how. One of my fly tying mentors used to fish Back Bay back in its prime. These are a few of his famous poppers. In the next few months ill be using these just as he did. Lets hope things keep looking up.
This past Saturday I was lucky enough with the chance to be able to fish with Brown Hobson. He is an Orvis Endorsed guide in Asheville, North Carolina, and is also a member of the USA Fly Fishing team. He is definitely the most skilled angler I have ever met. Since I am trying to make my way onto the youth team this spring, there were some very important things that I needed to learn. This included a completely different style of nymphing than what I had ever fished.