Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What Makes a Great Tarpon Fly

Twenty five years ago we were throwing Lefty Kreh's Deciever in sizes up to a wopping five inches tied on a 7/0 hook.

That was alot like tossing a small house cat!

Don't get me wrong Lefty's Deciever Fly is a great pattern and has fooled many fish, fresh and salt.

But we all found that Mr Tarpon likes little bitty flys also and more often a 2 inch fly tied on a 1/0-2/0 hook will get his attention.

Pattern's vary as do colors, Mylar, Chicken feathers, Peacock, Bunny fur, cow tail, Marribo, plastic, rubber the list goes on and on.

Some of the best Tarpon fly's are the simplest, a good friend and one of the best saltwater guides
that still fishes uses a small bit of sand colored bucktail tied in a 1/0 hook about 2 inches long, thats it and that fly is about all he uses for Tarpon.

I use about six differant Tarpon Fly's tied on 1/0-3/0 hooks and they vary from 1 1/2 inch ti about 3 inch in lenght.

I like Mylar a lot, but on the flat in clear shallow water if the sun is up high, Mylar usually will run the fish.

Bunny is nice and has earned its place on the Tarpon menu in the last few years.

But nothing is as important as proper fly placement

Many, many times I have had an angler turn and say to me " why did'nt he take that?"

" must be this fly!"

Well it could be but, more often the fly wasn't in the grab zone.

Tarpon a big lazy slow eater, rarely turning out of their way to gobble your secret Bunny Fly.

Remember when the Vet trimmed Bowser's ear's and he had to wear that cardboard funnel around his head so he wouldn't scratch at his new pointies?

Bowser couldn't see much when he had the cone on, had to be right in front, right or left a little,
up and down a little!

If when you make your presentation again to Mr Tarpon you pretend he's wearing a Cone like Bowser's.........Now you get it!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Key West Tarpon Spring Forward

No doubt about it, today smells like spring time Tarpon.

The winds head ESE and the barometer heads N as theTarPoons head to the shallows nearer the lower Florida Keys.
We found some Bonefish and Permit on the flats, even a good Cobia sliding up in front of us
but, the real target was Tarpon.

We found a few local yocals early on that we not in the mood soooo we went looking for some Gulf side Tarpon that might be looking for a snack.

One of the backcountry rivers had a couple of fresh schools that must of moved in overnight.

A good cast with a Mylar Minnow put a 60 lber in the air for 3-4 jumps and fell off when Ray didn't quite get the rod tip down quick enough.

That was fine with us as we planned on taking advantage of the enthusium of the early AM bite and try to put another Tarpon in the air.

Ray trout lifted the next fish and he head shook right off.

We landed a nice little Bonefish latter in the day and scared a few Permit half to death with a big green Toad Fly that only a mother toad could love.

Great day lots of animals swimming around and sure looked like the last day of winter.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Key West Fishing Guides? Hold the Anchovies.

Shopping for a Good Salt Water Light Tackle/ Fly Fishing Guide?

These are the guestions you need to ask!

Who will I be fishing with? Bait and Switch?

Did you book with a "professional guide service" and found that the man they assigned you to, has been guiding ever since he arrived in Key West.... last fall!

The year before he was......in school........ renting jet skis......waxing cars.

He will back at the old job next year, he's only paid $10.00 a hour.

Hopefully he'll go back to school.

Who's getting the rest of the cash?

Your not renting a bicycle, your day will cost 400-500 dollars.

Thats a lot of cash to spent your day with a pizza delivery boy.

It will take 5 years to learn the lower Florida keys Flats fishing , 150-200 days a year.

It is tempting when you are a guide to " sell the overflow"

Having said all that, there are some booking agents and tackle shops that use
professional, knowledgeable guides.

Most ( shops and outfitters, Internet booking agents) are using the least talented guides.

Hotels are worse!

Spend a little time looking for the real guide, its the guy that answers his own phone!

Or has to call you back because he's......FISHING

Real professional guides will refer you to other professional guides,

at no extra cost to him or you!

We count on each other for referrals. .......I'm sure you get it.

It makes me nut's after guiding all my adult life, to see the "Carny's" drifting in the Key West Harbor among the cruise ships and jet ski tours and selling this as a guality flats fishing excursion.

Call me, I'll give you a list of ...... fishing guides.

Key West Tarpon Fishing A GO-GO

"Calling all Tarpon"......Let's get it on!

Now we are ready for the big tusker's, the waters warming up and the winds are sucken in the sticky air from down south that, brings the big boys out of the Gulf.

My fly fishing guy's are waxing their 12 wt's and putting on new lines, the spinning rod anglers are ready to spring with braided line and super sharp circle hooks.

The late winter fishing for Cobias, Pompano and Baracuda is begining to slow up a bit as Permit fishing and Tarpon fist fights become the daily objective.

Winter is probably over in Key West, maybe ? a few small cool fronts left.

I always look forward to my Tarpon army, the same guys show up every year, helmets on, swords drawn, Advil and Gator Aid at hand.........show them a big Tarpon doin the "Jelly Roll"
and watch their eye's pop out of their heads.

Some of these Tarpon nuts have been with me for over 20 years and measure time in Tarpon seasons, the same way we all use holidays, birthdays and marrage anniversaries.

"Remember the year I caught the 160 lber on fly?" Ya wasn't the same year you were in the plane crash? " Yes I guess your right, I had a cast on my hand ...... I forgot about that!"

Tarpon Fags.........thats what we are.........most wives don't understand.

( don't mean to offend anyone.......honey!)