Spotted Sea Trout

Hit the water early this morning, leaving the ramp around 7 AM. The wind was light, the skies were clear, and the tide was about to flood. I slowly poled the Adios northward, covering roughly two miles of water. Conditions were perfect for tailing reds. Man, I looked and looked all the way, but none were to be found. Damn it.

Redfish are scarce of late. And it has anglers worried. There has even been talk of the need for a hatchery. My friend Dave says it may just be a temporary down-turn in the population. I hope so. I miss those reds.

Bigger Spotted Sea Trout

Bigger Spotted Sea Trout

On the way back, I fished the sandbar on a rising tide. Good light, clear water. So I could sight-fish pretty well. But not much going on. About halfway home, I stopped at a favorite spot. Climbed out of the Adios and waded along the inside of the bar. To the left of a sand hole I saw a swirl, and dropped my fly nearby.

Released Sea Trout

Released Sea Trout

The take was instant. No it wasn’t a red; it was a big spotted sea trout. Here in Charlotte Harbor big means anything over 18″. Unfortunately we don’t grow them like they do on the Atlantic side. This one was close to 24″, and I believe my largest to date. It fought fairly well on my 6-weight. This pup should have weighted near five pounds, but it was a string bead, shaped more like a pickerel. Perhaps it is a post spawn fish. Still I’m glad to have found it.

 

Posted in Diablo Adios & Chupacabra, Fly Fishing in Salt Water | Leave a comment

Golf Cart at the Ramp

Some time ago I showed you a bicycle used to launch a kayak.  Cool right? I think so. Well I just saw another twist on the launch vehicle idea. A golf cart at the ramp. Yes sir. Yesterday, I meet a guy launching his inflatable dinghy from a golf cart. That’s a first!

Golf Cart at the Ramp

Golf Cart at the Ramp

He told me he has been doing it for fifteen years. Hey more power to him.

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Windy Weather

Well windy weather kept me off the water for a week. Damn. On top of that, April was the hottest ever recorded in my neck of the woods (make that palm trees). So summer is off to a roaring start here in southwest Florida.

Spotted Sea Trout

Spotted Sea Trout

I did get out yesterday, however. The tides weren’t in my favor, but it was high-time to wet a line. On the first of the incoming, I saw some big-ass tarpon. They popped up out of nowhere and zipped right by me within ten feet. It was great to see them, but I got zero chance to cast. Didn’t run into any reds or snook, which was disappointing.

Still there were fish around. Plenty of spotted sea trout cruised the sandbar, and decent size ones too. These good-looking fish may not be great fighters, but they are willing biters. So they can fill in your day.

Fishware’s Banditmask

Switching subjects here, let me mention a new product by Fishware Outfitters. It’s a vented buff. The ever-intense tropic sun has made buffs very popular in Florida, and for good reason. More recently buffs are gaining popularity even farther north.

They do protect you from the sun, but buffs can also be a nuisance. The biggest problem is they may cause your sunglasses to fog up. A real pain. Second, they can make conversation with other anglers difficult. This vented buff by Fishware helps solve both issues. They call it a Bandit Mask, and its runs as dirt cheap at $15. Good deal.

Posted in Fly Fishing in Salt Water | Leave a comment

Along the Water’s Edge

I’m pleased to say that my latest book – Along the Water’s Edge –  is now being offered by The Angling Bookstore .  This new option allows you to use a credit card. Please follow the above link to get the necessary details.

Book cover complete onlineNaturally, you can still get the book directly from me. Follow this link for details. The cost is $29.95, plus $5.00 priority shipping. All copies are signed. And I will inscribe them if you wish.

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A Ride to Pine Island

Yesterday I took a ride to Pine Island for a day on Pine Island Sound. Man, I would really like to know these waters better. The flats and back-country here are stunning, as good as it gets.

While unloading my Diablo, I meet a kayak angler coming off the water. He had been out there since 5AM! Naturally, I asked how the bite was. Shaking his head, he said it had been off for two days. Oh well, that’s fishing.

Pine Island Sound

Pine Island Sound

I decided to paddle south toward Cat Key, and then return, fishing with the wind at my back. The water was murky, but the tide was rising, bringing clear salt from the Gulf. So I figured things would get better as the day went on. And they did.

In the next couple of hours, I hooked two redfish, and two snook, one of which was tiny. Took his picture belong I let him go. Still overall the fishing wasn’t too bad. I ate a PB&J sandwich and sailed home, with the south wind shoving me along. It was a good day on Pine Island Sound.

Miniature Snook

Miniature Snook

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Did you Remember the Plug?

So you’re in a rush to get fishing. The alarm goes off. You down breakfast, then run out to the garage, hook the boat to the truck. Dig out all the rods, locate the tackle boxes, get the net, grab the anchor, pack a lunch, find the suntan lotion, find you lucky hat, call your buddy, get gas, fill up the cooler with ice, buy drinks, and then head to the ramp. Finally you’re ready to launch right? Did you remember the plug?????

Did you Put in the Plug?

Did you Put in the Plug?

At the ramp today I saw it happen again. Believe me it goes on all over the place. Folks launching their boats without putting in the drain plug. Ouch. Its not only embarrassing, its down-right dangerous.

Bailing the boat

Bailing the boat

This time it was no big deal. A few tense moments, but everybody is fine. But don’t forget the damn plug!

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Cabela’s CGR 7’6″, 7/8-weight, Fly Rod

Part three Took Cabela’s CGR 7’6″, 7/8-weight to the Florida flats the other day, lined with a 7-weight floater, a 10′ leader, and a size 4 fly.

Cabela's CGR 7'6", 7/8-weight, Fly Rod

Cabela’s CGR 7’6″, 7/8-weight, Fly Rod

I found the rod fun to fish, but a couple issues came up. We had a sea breeze during the flood, and I was casting into it. As you might imagine, a full-flex glass rod isn’t the best tool straight into the wind. By lengthening my backcast and my casting stroke, however, I was still able to stay in the game.

20150320_0399 As I waded deeper, however, my long backcasts were occasionally touching the water. Granted some of that was my fault. Yet this rod’s fairly slow action and short 7’6′ length were contributing to the problem. By raising my elbow and stopping the rod high during the backcast, the issue was remedied.

Overall, I like this rod, and feel it was a super buy. Granted, it isn’t going to be the most versatile rod in your arsenal. You’re going to have to pick and choose the right situations. Still where it fits, you’ll enjoy this glass stick, especially with a fish aboard.

Posted in Fiberglass Fly Rods, Fly Fishing in Salt Water, Fly Rods | 2 Comments

Redfish Anyone?

In my little corner of this world, anglers are complaining. About what? The dearth of reds. Even the high and mighty guides are grumbling in their growlers. Where have all those beautiful, bronze battlers gone?

20150322_Dave's redfish_0391Here is an old saying in the brotherhood of the angle. It goes like this – ten percent of the anglers catch ninety percent of the fish. Lotsa truth in them words. Believe me. When things get tough, the tough get going, only the smart survive.

20150322_Dave's redfish_0397ARan into Dave today – the maestro of my locale flats. Guess what? Dave has been catching reds right along! Good ones too. Damn. Well, he has been wading these waters for thirty years. And its shows.

Understanding wildlife is no simple task. You have to learn the wind, the moon, and tide. Always ready to look, and listen. Ready to stand in the sun, the stars, and rain. And even then you have to expect the unexpected. Dave knows. Redfish anyone!

Posted in Environment, Fly Fishing in Salt Water | Leave a comment

Cabela’s CGR 7’6″, 7/8-weight, Fly Rod

Part Two In the last post we looked at the makeup and appearance of Cabela’s CGR, 7′ 6″, 7/8-weight fly rod. Now its time to put a reel and line on it.

I tried several reels to see how well they fit the reel seat. Those reels included a Hardy Princess, a Ross Canyon, a Pate Bonefish, and a Tibor Riptide. All were secure. However I noticed something right off. Even though this rod is 4.75 ounces, its short length makes it very light in the hand. But heavy reels such as the Pate and the Tibor quickly made it feel unbalanced. If you need a large diameter reel look for a light one. ( Medalist 1498?)

20150319_CGR Reel Seat_0388All my casting was done with a leader and a piece of yarn. I had a 10 knot crosswind tailing from the rear. Nothing too serious. Full-flex rods will usually accommodate a fairly wide range of line weights. So I began with a WF 5F. The action was medium-fast and the rod felt underlined, but would work if I pushed a little. Next came a WF6F. The rod was easier to work, but still cast off the tip-section.

With a WF 7F the rod slowed, working into the midsection, and felt very much at home. With a single backcast, it easily launched 70′ of line, plus leader. Nice. A WF8F forced the rod to flex into the butt a bit. If you’re looking for a traditional glass rod feel, this might be your baby. (A fly will slow things further). Lastly I tried a WF9F. Slower yet, the rod nevertheless cast surprisingly well, especially in close.

Short rods are very accurate, and this one is no exception. Its capable of pinpoint deliveries. And at 7’6″ you can make those deliveries low to the water.  As a result, from a boat this rod will be a good choice when working the wooded shoreline of a lake. You’ll be able to drop flies under tree limbs all day long.

In the next post, I add a fly and take the rod to the water. We’re bound to learn more.

 

 

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Cabela’s CGR 7’6″, 7/8-weight, Fly Rod

Part One A few years back Cabela released their line of 50th Anniversary glass fly rods (CGR). At 99 buckeroos the prices were reasonable, so I got one, a 5’9″, 3 piece, 3-weight. It turned out to be a fine little rod and well worth the money. In April of 2011, I reviewed it on this site.

Recently Cabela introduced a new line of fiberglass rods, that resemble the original Anniversary models. That got my attention. Making matters more interesting, Cabela had placed these rods on the market, for a limited time, at 79 bucks each. Remarkable, and irresistible. I had to pick one up.

Cabela’s CGR 7/8 Weight Glass Fly Rod

Last time, I chose the smallest rod they offered; this time I took the biggest. It is Cabela’s CGR  7’6″, 7/8 -weight, glass fly rod. So let’s do a review. In this post we’ll look at the basic construction and appearance of the rod. Next time we’ll chuck some line with it.

Like the Anniversary models, the 3-piece blank (E Glass) is green and made in China. It weights in at 4.75 ounces, not bad. I don’t have a direct comparison, but this might give you some idea. A typical 9′, 4-piece, graphite, 8-weight would tip in around 4.60 ounces.

The CGR 7/8-Wt weighs 4.75 ounces

The CGR 7/8-Wt weighs 4.75 ounces

The rod has a single up-locking aluminum reel seat, with an attractive bead-blast finish. It also has a permanent 3/4″ butt extension. The grip is a 7″ full wells. It is properly shaped and the cork seems pretty darn good. There is only one stripping guide, followed by 6 snakes guides and a tip-top. All wraps are black, a few of which are tipped in silver. The rod tube is a grey nylon, and measures 34 1/2″. Which means you’ll likely be able to carry it on most airlines. Sorry, no rod sock, but the tube has an interior divider.

Overall, the rod looks fairly nice, and is light in the hand. And the spigot ferrules (no alignment dots ) fit snugly.  So far I’m impressed, especially given the sweet price.

 

Posted in Fiberglass Fly Rods, Fly Rods | Leave a comment