It's no doubt that Capt. Mark Hall ( Florida Peacock Bass Fly Fishing Guide
) is the man when we're wanting some light flyrod Peacock Bass action. For my friend Dave Teper ( Saltwater Fly Fishing Videos Florida Keys Fly Fishing Tarpon Permit Bonefish Guided Keys Flats Fishing
) and me it's a 2-hour ride from Naples to Miami's Coconut Grove area and just after the full moon, the bass are bedding and aggressive...perfect.
We met Capt. Mark at a public park landing at 12 noon with mostly sunny skies and little wind. Mark's boat is a flats skiff with a remote-controlled trolling motor, excellent for this type of fly fishing. The game is simple, but terrific fun. Six-weight rod, floating line, 7-foot leader, 12-lb. tippet. The fly is a Clouser (Mark learned to tie from Bob Clouser himself) lead eyes, orange and olive bucktail with 2 strands of K-Flash along the sides. The technique is the same as for all Florida gamefish flats boat fishing ...but miniturized. That is, the angler stands in the bow with Capt. Mark directly behind him. Mark spots fish along the bank of the narrow canals, positions the boat with the trolling motor so you can cast, and you often roll cast the Clouser directly on the head of the Peacock Bass. The fish are so aggressive, they will often charge the fly immediately. Other fish might have to be tempted severl times, but they won't spook or give up chasing.
Once hooked, the Peacock Bass are very strong for their size. And, they are gorgeously colored, each with it's own unique markings in orange and yellow.
Dave and I traded positions all afternoon and couldn't have been happier to have had such great fly fishing when Capt. Mark jumped everything up a notch. He asked me if I'd ever caught a Grass Carp on a fly. Of course, I said "No, but I'd like to try".
Grass Carp are periodically introduced into Florida waters by the fisheries service because they eat grass. The Carp are said to be sterile, but often reach weights in the high teens. To think I could catch one on a fly was pumping me up. A DRY FLY? Yes, Capt. Mark positioned the boat near a Ficus Tree overhanging the canal. Every minute or so a berry would fall plop into the water and sure enough, the Carp would eat the berry just like a Trout taking a dun. Mark picked out a fly from boxfull of red deer hair berry flies, tied it on my leader and said, "Go ahead, plop the fly on the head of that Grass Carp in the shade."
The take was just what you think it would be....it's a berry, so the fish rises, opens his mouth takes it in, and turns down. The fight is what you'd expect from a Carp, it's a hard-headed battle of downward surges until the fish tires....but they are very strong.
Add Capt. Mark Hall to your list if you're planning on driving down near Miami. I guarentee you'll have a ball and...a berry, berry good time!