Monday, October 28, 2013

Screw a One-Horse Open Sleigh (Bull-Sharking from a Kayak)

Admittedly, not fly fishing, but this looks like fun. The only question I have is wouldn't it be more sporting from a paddleboard? Skip to about 4:20 for the good stuff.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gar Quest Part 1

In my freshwater sojourns as of late, I haven't had as much luck with the bass, and I've been eschewing the bluegill entirely. I have, however, discovered that the place where I've been fishing has a healthy population of gar.

Just for fun, I've been casting at them with my bass popper. It's always enjoyable to target a fish, present a fly, and entice a bite, but with gar, the problem is setting the hook. It's not hard to get a gar to bite. With their armored scales and their mouthful of teeth, they don't have much to worry about (aside from the occasional hungry gator), so they don't spook too easily, and they seem to have the attitude that if something is moving, it must be food. I tried different hooksetting techniques with each gar to take the popper, ranging from a hard strip strike (teeth cut the line) to a gentle trout set (fish stayed on for a few seconds until it realized all it had to do was open its mouth).

All of this has resulted in a new determination to catch one of these fish on fly. The generally agreed-upon strategy is to use a fly that will entangle the gar's teeth. I'm sure this is frowned upon by purists, but so are gar, so I figure what the hell, I'll give it a try. I've tied up a few flies with EP fiber and a few with an old gar standby -- nylon rope. These are ugly flies, but like I said, the gar seem not to be too discerning, so they'll probably be shredded in short order.

Now all I have to do is get out there and catch one of these swamp creatures so I can get back to the salt.

To be continued...

Sunday, October 13, 2013


The new issue of Southern Culture on the Fly is out. For those not in the know, SCOF is a cool e-zine that covers everything fly fishing in the Southeast, with great photography, some videos, and nice articles, as they say, "served with a side of grits."

Go read the fall issue of SCOF

Friday, October 11, 2013

Becoming a Bass Master

I've only had a few hours here and there to fish lately, and instead of loading the car with the paddleboard and all its accoutrements, I've been hitting the freshwater with the 4-weight, doing some bank fishing.

When I see the bass tournaments on TV, I turn the channel. There's just something that turns me off about the sparkly, sponsorship-emblazoned water rockets swarming around the lake, carrying bass pros that yank three-pound fish into their boats with 50-pound test to store them in a live well until they're weighed at the end of the day. That's the vision I have of bass fishing, a prejudice that lets an entire fishery slip from my consciousness for years at a time.

But since I've been dipping my toe in the freshwater as of late, I've had the chance to discover that I really like fishing for bass. It's like a latent primordial redneck has arisen within me that has lain dormant, waiting to be baptized in the blackwater gator hole from whence he came -- except this one uses a fly rod rather than a flippin' stick. Snook, my regular quarry, grow larger and stronger than a largemouth. They swim faster and jump higher. But there's something to be said for the suddenness of a bass striking a topwater fly. That strike is quick and full of malevolence, no matter the size of the fish, and at least where I've been fishing, it comes from nowhere. The fly is bobbing on the surface, and then it's annihilated. Fly fishing for largemouth bass could be described as periods of stillness interrupted by sudden violence. And it's a lot of fun. One of these days I'll commit for real and tie up some big hair bugs, put the paddleboard on a lake, and sling the 8-weight in search of a hawg.

My rewards for hitting 8-inch holes in the duckweed from 15 feet:

Deer Hair

Tying with deer hair and my wife's TV preferences -- not so different.




Saturday, October 5, 2013

7venth Sun Mangrove DIPA

Although there isn't a cool fishy label, I've got to include a beer named after one of my favorite habitats to fish, because after a day beating the shorelines for snook and untangling flies from branches, you might appreciate this one's mighty 10% ABV.

7venth Sun is a local craft brewery that specializes in small-batch barrel-aged beers, and I recently had a chance to try its Mangrove Double IPA at Olde Bay Cafe and Fish Market, which is located right down the street from the brewery, in Dunedin, Florida. The beer itself is one of the most tasty I've ever had. I'm not exactly a beer geek who knows all the correct terms to describe its flavor profile, but I will say that after finishing one and then taking a sip of Miller Lite from the community pitcher, it made the mass-produced beer taste like fizzy toilet water by comparison.

7venth Sun beers may not be too widely available, but if anyone out there is in the Tampa Bay area and has the chance to try one, I'd highly recommend it.