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Saltwater Fly Fishing Bonefish, Tarpon, Redfish, Permit, False Albacore, Striped Bass, etc...


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Old 05-06-2013, 10:23 AM
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Default Damn! That was a humbling experience.

Well, I had the opportunity to go to Islamorada for a week, and had an absolute blast. We stayed right on the water (ocean side) about a block from the Florida Keys Outfitters (great shop, btw). My local Orvis shop lent, yes LENT, me a new Helios 2 8 weight, reel, and new saltwater line for me to use on my trip. VERY generous offer, if you ask me. This was my first saltwater trip, so all I knew was what I've seen on the videos, discussions, etc. online.

Anyway, the first couple of days we waded right out from the house to the flats. I thought we would try for some bones, but didn't see any. I really didn't know what exactly to look for, so we started to get frustrated. They were grass covered, and didn't really see anything except a couple sharks. One actually swam right up to my brother in law, stopped about 4' away, checked him out, and finally bolted off after a few choice words. We didn't catch anything, so we decided to stop by the shop to ask for advice and shoot the ****.

They told us to drift the drop offs with shrimp, crab, clousers, etc. (proved to be successful). After talking for a bit, he asked if we had a guide. We didn't, not for lack of trying, but all of them were booked up, or only had half days. He took our name and phone number and said, "I'll see what I can do."

We headed back to the water after the advice and started catching Barracuda. We caught 7 between the two of us (12"-20"), broke one off (shredded tippet), and we were happy. By the time we got back to land, we had a message that he found us a guide. OUTSTANDING!

He booked us with Randy Stallings for a full day of tarpon/flats fishing. Since we had never done this before, we had NO IDEA what we were getting ourselves into. My brother in law lives in MT, and fishes 3+ times a week, I in IN mainly fishing ponds. We are pretty good casters (he being a lot better than I), and can throw pretty good loops. Anyway, we forgot all that once we got on the Hells Bay skiff. It was like we had never held a flyrod before. Pretty embarrassing, to say the least. Randy put us on fish, we had chances, but could not make the shot. My BIL was better than I, actually had a couple tarpon chase, but I was just terrible. My only accomplishment for the day was not hooking anyone in the skiff .

I now know what to work on for the next time. I'm thinking of standing on an exercise ball, fly in hand, and have my wife yell out "2:30, 50', Go!," one false cast and land the fly in a 2' circle. Oh yea, and right before a thunderstorm to replicate the wind.

I now have the utmost respect for those that fish the salt and make those casts and actually hook up.

Randy was a great guide, gave us the quick in and outs of tarpon fishing, put us on fish, and was understanding, although quite disappointed at times (understandable). He said it was a slow day, but we felt we had the chances (if we could make the damn shot). Anyway, when I go back, I will be more prepared and will book with Randy again (more in advance to make sure).

We also made the trip to Bahia Honda State Park, but we got there late, there were people EVERYWHERE and didn't see any fish. We waded for a couple of hours looking for bones and permit, but didn't see anything.

Saltwater flats fishing is a whole new beast, that I will try and tame my next time out.
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:46 AM
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Default Re: Damn! That was a humbling experience.

I feel your pain. My first trip to Belize was similar. Actually, I waded right out from my cabana and caught the first Bonefish I saw. BUT that was it. I didn't catch another for 2 days. I just didn't realize how spooky they can be. And I didn't have any weedless flies!!!

Now I've been numerous times and know much more about it. The place I was fishing (backreef of South Water Caye) is very difficult, the fish are more spooky there than anywhere else in the area, and I now know how/what/where to catch fish.

Fret not, it's the fish. Some places are much more difficult than others.

Thanks for the story. Photos?
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:04 AM
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Default Re: Damn! That was a humbling experience.

No pics of the fish. Didn't think they were worthy enough, plus I didn't have my phone or camera out on the flats with me. I'll search through the pics and see if we have some of the spots we were fishing off the back deck.
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:59 AM
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Default Re: Damn! That was a humbling experience.

Were you throwing that 8wt H2 for Tarpon? Or did the guide outfit you?
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:18 PM
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Default Re: Damn! That was a humbling experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrfzx View Post
Were you throwing that 8wt H2 for Tarpon? Or did the guide outfit you?
Nope. I used the H2 for wading the flats. I ended up taking it on the skiff for bones, but we didn't see any. The guide supplied G Loomis 12 weights for the tarpon. I practiced with the H2 before the trip in my backyard, and got pretty used to it, but throwing that 12, well...I sucked.
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:59 PM
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Default Re: Damn! That was a humbling experience.

Nice story. Flats fishing has a place in my heart. Glad to know that you had a wonderful experience.

So... are you ready to invest in some big sticks for your next saltwater trip?

Dennis
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Old 05-06-2013, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: Damn! That was a humbling experience.

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Originally Posted by MoscaPescador View Post
Nice story. Flats fishing has a place in my heart. Glad to know that you had a wonderful experience.

So... are you ready to invest in some big sticks for your next saltwater trip?

Dennis
Thanks. Yes, I can't stop thinking about it since I returned, it was fantastic. Well, being land-locked in Indiana, I'm not going to run out and buy a 12 weight. I would like to buy an 8 weight, I could use that here for carp, steelies in Michigan, etc., but I have other priorities at the moment. I have a baby coming in July, so the house upgrades (carpet, paint, etc.), nursery items, etc. are taking priority right now.
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Old 05-06-2013, 03:17 PM
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Default Re: Damn! That was a humbling experience.

Been there for sure. We did a trip with my sons over spring break for Redfish with Greg Dini & Miles LaRose out of Hopedale, LA.

I spend months prior stretching out my distance cast, doubling hauling, really chunking it. I had my 80'+ "A" game ready.

Then here I am on the casting platform needing quick accurate casts with big bulky flies to points on the clock with wind at differing angles. Most of the casts were 20-50' but accuracy being key. My eyes are good but guide is like a hawk. I'm still trying to find the fish when he's telling me to cast. Very humbling, lots of blown casts. I missed many opportunities, however there were beau coup opportunities.

We're use to throwing 8-9wt stuff but we typically blind cast while wading. However spot casting from a deck is completely different.

Now the boys & I play a game not unlike the old basketball game "horse" where we each get to call the shot. However you always start with the fly in your off hand, 2 rod lengths of line (this include leader length) out, under 45' no false cast, over only one false cast. It has really improved our accuracy and coordination. The whole deal of holding fly, casting, clearing line, etc. is a "learned" task. Gotta practice it or do lots and lots of guided trips.

It's all good.

Pete A.
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:27 AM
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Default Re: Damn! That was a humbling experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pete a View Post
Been there for sure. We did a trip with my sons over spring break for Redfish with Greg Dini & Miles LaRose out of Hopedale, LA.

I spend months prior stretching out my distance cast, doubling hauling, really chunking it. I had my 80'+ "A" game ready.

Then here I am on the casting platform needing quick accurate casts with big bulky flies to points on the clock with wind at differing angles. Most of the casts were 20-50' but accuracy being key. My eyes are good but guide is like a hawk. I'm still trying to find the fish when he's telling me to cast. Very humbling, lots of blown casts. I missed many opportunities, however there were beau coup opportunities.

We're use to throwing 8-9wt stuff but we typically blind cast while wading. However spot casting from a deck is completely different.

Now the boys & I play a game not unlike the old basketball game "horse" where we each get to call the shot. However you always start with the fly in your off hand, 2 rod lengths of line (this include leader length) out, under 45' no false cast, over only one false cast. It has really improved our accuracy and coordination. The whole deal of holding fly, casting, clearing line, etc. is a "learned" task. Gotta practice it or do lots and lots of guided trips.

It's all good.

Pete A.
I had been practicing with the H2, but not the correct kind of practice. I would go out in the wind, throw some loops, stretch the distance, ect., BUT I was not prepared for what happened. Standing on the deck, trying to keep my balance and casting to specific spots is a lot harder than the videos make it look. I like to think I have relatively good balance, but something about standing on a 2' X 2' platform with a stripping bucket looking for fish while the guide and current/waves are moving the boat in all directions is a completely new concept for me.

It seemed that most of my concentration was being used to keep me out of the water and not hooking myself/others while trying to cast. This may have been a big reason that I was basically "puking" on myself when trying to cast. I've fished out of rafts before, and that was no problem, but for some reason, the skiff with the guide high and to the rear made me uneasy. I guess in the raft it was easy to cast over everyone in the boat, and this wasn't going to happen on the skiff.

I like your idea of "horse," but I would be playing by myself.
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:18 PM
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Default Re: Damn! That was a humbling experience.

I didn't want to admit my fear of falling while on the casting deck. For me it was worse getting on and off the deck but once on it I was ok.

Possibly if you would have puked it would bring the fish in a bit closer making it all easier

Love it!

Pete A.
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