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

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Old 01-20-2014, 06:01 PM
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Default Bigger Flies = Bigger fish?

I know the title sounds hopeful, but what I mean is: do you generally want to step up the size of the fly to try and target larger fish? Most of my flies are bonefish sized, and I'm finding that a #4 clouser seems to attract some smaller fish. Of the few jacks I caught today, half were small dinner plate sized and the rest were dinks. Would stepping up to something like a 1/0 clouser or other baitfish generally yield larger fish?

Oh, and sorry for blowing up this sub-forum with questions, just new to salt and trying to learn.
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Old 01-20-2014, 07:57 PM
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Default Re: Bigger Flies = Bigger fish?

I would say that, in the salt, increasing the fly size within the upper bounds of the target species is not going to do anything to keep undesired fish away,and may even attract more cudas. Just fish what you think the target specie wants.

It's just something that's going to happen. I've had boneheads (albie's or false albacore) and kingfish both come up and snatch a sailfish fly when a sailfish was after it, and both snapper and jacks do the same when permit were headed for the fly. The little buggers are fast and infuriating.

About the only time I use huge poppers for a similar purpose is when fishing for largemouth bass. It keeps all the Mayan circlids, small peacocks and even most all the small largemouths away. It is not that I believe moster largemouths will ONLY eat moster poppers, but that I know they Will eat them and the others won't. I just prefer not to go bass fishing to catch little fish.

Edit: PS, big brown trout at night are a different story.
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Old 01-21-2014, 12:02 AM
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Default Re: Bigger Flies = Bigger fish?

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Originally Posted by wjc View Post
I would say that, in the salt, increasing the fly size within the upper bounds of the target species is not going to do anything to keep undesired fish away,and may even attract more cudas. Just fish what you think the target specie wants.

It's just something that's going to happen. I've had boneheads (albie's or false albacore) and kingfish both come up and snatch a sailfish fly when a sailfish was after it, and both snapper and jacks do the same when permit were headed for the fly. The little buggers are fast and infuriating.

About the only time I use huge poppers for a similar purpose is when fishing for largemouth bass. It keeps all the Mayan circlids, small peacocks and even most all the small largemouths away. It is not that I believe moster largemouths will ONLY eat moster poppers, but that I know they Will eat them and the others won't. I just prefer not to go bass fishing to catch little fish.

Edit: PS, big brown trout at night are a different story.
I know this is supposed to be about saltwater, but please explain that last comment.

You cant leave us hanging like that.
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:08 AM
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Default Re: Bigger Flies = Bigger fish?

Are you seeing larger fish? I have found for many species, fish tend to congregate in their age group. some fish (not all and varies by region)travel in schools as juveniles and become more solitary or travel in smaller "wolf packs" as adults.

I would say if you are roughly imitating the size of the natural forage, it will appeal to fish of all sizes.

I do like to use huge flies for smallmouth to keep away the riff raff.
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:47 AM
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Default Re: Bigger Flies = Bigger fish?

Search "finding a big brown" and "do you fish mice"
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:06 AM
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Default Re: Bigger Flies = Bigger fish?

"Big fly, big fish" That's what my father always told me
But in reality, "matching the hatch" is sometimes more important, and that's often hard to do.
While fish, including bait, of the same size tend to travel with their own, often schools of bait from different "generations" will pass through the same areas at the same time.

I don't know how "big" is big for you, but I've found a 8" fly to be plenty big in any situation. Even when the bait is actually larger.
Hooks too. Flies riding hooks as large as 4/0 and 6/0 are just plain hard to cast. I'm out there to have fun, not to make life difficult for myself.
Although I was tying 3/0s yesterday, I've found that 1/0 hooks are usually plenty big and strong and 2/0 is often the limit when it come to ease of casting.
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Old 01-21-2014, 01:02 PM
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Default Re: Bigger Flies = Bigger fish?

I believe that generally big flies do = bigger fish when targeting larger fish, but it has to be relative to the size of the fish. Certain species this works well, others not so much. Permit for example, may not be a fish that a bigger fly will necessarily entice bigger fish to strike.

Everything that the others have said is also all relevant. It's not a simple matter of tossing a bigger fly & expecting bigger fish.

I've read that to catch the bigger South American Peacock Bass, bigger flies are needed. That the biggest of that species are usually caught on the biggest flies that an angler can cast. If you're happy catching 10lb fish all day, then throw any big fly, but if you want 20lb fish, they respond better to the biggest flies. I would like to find out for myself someday!

I made some big poppers for a guy when I was tying commercially that were to be used in the Great Barrier Reef area of Australia. He said there's a Jack species there that grows huge, and the flies couldn't be made big enough, because as Rip indicated they still had to be cast. That guy also told me they throw big 10" poppers on spinning tackle for these same fish, and had caught some really big ones, but there were even bigger fish. In that case the size of the fly or lure seemed to be limiting the size of the fish being caught. The poppers I made for him were in the 6" to 7" range, which he said was good. He didn't expect to entice the biggest fish with flies anyway!

As wjc has said, by going bigger you may also have to contend with other species you may or may not wish to be targeting, so chances are you will also be losing flies, especially in the case of Barracuda as he mentioned.

Many years ago I started targeting largemouth bass with big flies, and that's worked well. I had been using small flies, 3" in length or less and once I went bigger 4" & up to 10", I caught more of the larger bass that I knew were there. However, I still caught some of the smaller bass as well. I often now use 4" to 6" flies for bass, but have some smaller for when they're needed.
I agree with letting the fish tell you what they want, but you have to figure that out so that means having some variety to experiment with.

I also had to change my tactics as even though there were bigger bass there, I still had to get my bigger flies in front of them, otherwise the smaller fish would strike them. There's competition when it comes to the food in the water that these fish feed on & the fish that gets to it first is usually the one that gets it. Same with the flies we cast. You have to provide the bigger fish with opportunity to strike by casting close enough to them. That means you have to first figure out where they may be & where to cast the big flies.

If you know there are bigger fish where you're fishing, and you can get your flies in a position that these bigger fish are more likely to strike the flies, then IMO, you should at least try something bigger, but only if your rod & casting can handle it. In my bass example, I had to go to much heavier equipment too. I fished with a 6 wt a lot for bass, but to target the bigger bass now I'll even go up to as heavy as a 10wt. Big difference.

To add to what Rip said about hooks, most of the time I'm using 1/0 to 3/0 size for the fishing I do when targeting bigger fish. But, I do go up or down depending on the fish size, where I'm fishing, and what size flies I think I need. Some places & for fish I know will be smaller it makes little sense to try big flies.

Try some a bit bigger & see if it makes a difference!
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:57 PM
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Default Re: Bigger Flies = Bigger fish?

Sometimes i believe it all depends on species and whats currently on the menu.

A passion of mine is fishing dock lights of the McMansions along the coast north of Tampa. Almost always at night. For large snook and Seatrout.

For the snook, When whitebait or greenbacks are on the menu....yes, the bigger the better. Or, i should say...bigger than whats currently available.

Fall and winter- when shrimp, crab and small pinfish are more prevalent...I try to match the hatch as far as size.

Then as soon as you think you have it figured out, the tide changes, water temp changes a few degrees, high pressure moves in, full moon or no moon, a shark or dolphin shows in the area, bubba blows past 10 feet away in a mullet skiff....and then its back to the drawing board.
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:15 AM
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Default Re: Bigger Flies = Bigger fish?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rip Tide View Post
"Big fly, big fish" That's what my father always told me
But in reality, "matching the hatch" is sometimes more important, and that's often hard to do.
While fish, including bait, of the same size tend to travel with their own, often schools of bait from different "generations" will pass through the same areas at the same time.

I don't know how "big" is big for you, but I've found a 8" fly to be plenty big in any situation. Even when the bait is actually larger.
Hooks too. Flies riding hooks as large as 4/0 and 6/0 are just plain hard to cast. I'm out there to have fun, not to make life difficult for myself.
Although I was tying 3/0s yesterday, I've found that 1/0 hooks are usually plenty big and strong and 2/0 is often the limit when it come to ease of casting.
Yeah, I would generally fish streamers and steelhead patterns of a certain size to keep smolt off my line back in Oregon during the spring. Also, I know bigger flies would actually help you target the more aggressive wild steelhead, or so the theory goes.

I am just noticing that I am occasionally picking up pretty tiny snappers, etc., using size 4 clousers. I am thinking that a larger fly, something like a brush fly or craft fur clouser tied on a 1/0 might be better in situations where I am just blind casting for random species.

I've also read that bigger bonefish like a bigger fly, assuming the area doesn't get tons of pressure. Is that generally accurate?
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Old 01-23-2014, 01:50 PM
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Default Re: Bigger Flies = Bigger fish?

I believe the situations vary from place to place and day to day. I would encourage you to give it a try and post your experience
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