Fly Fishermen and Women need to be in Good Shape

Fly Fishermen and Women need to be in Good Shape

Too many fly fishermen, and women, don’t think they need to stay in shape. Well if you’re under 30 or do your all fly fishing from the couch watching YouTube videos, I’ll let you off the hook. If that is not the case, listen up. You’ll fish better, longer, and with less injury if you spend time keeping in shape. I’m in the gym 3 times a week for that very reason.

The three most typical injuries faced by fly anglers are: tennis elbow, shoulder issues, and low back pain. All three can be quite painful. Ouch! And all three can knock you out of the game. But all three can often be prevented by keeping in shape.

Preventing Tennis Elbow: The repetitive motion of fly casting can tear the tendons in your forearm, especially with fast action rods. To avoid this injury you need good muscle tone in your forearm. One of simplest way to go about it is squeezing a rubber ball. Do it palm up and palm down. Not only is this method cheap and easy, it can be done anywhere, even at work. Believe me it works. **** Here’s a tip. Between casts, loosen your grip on the rod. This gives the muscles in your forearm a chance to rest. They’ll thank you for it.

Preventing Shoulder Issues: Not only is casting a repetitive motion, it asks you, at times, to raise your arm upwards. Both movements put stress on your shoulder and can lead to pain or even a serious injury called a torn rotator cuff. Very bad news. To prevent it, build your shoulder strength now. A simple exercise with a resistance band is useful. Here is a link Be sure to watch this video too!  It will offer better insight into how the shoulder works. 

Preventing Low Back Pain: Low back pain is a real nuisance, especially if you like to fish from a kayak. Typically this type of pain is caused by being overweight, or having weak abdominal muscles, or both. Losing weight is the key first step for many anglers. Diet and exercise will do that. But strengthening your “abs” is critical too. Crunches and planks are effective, but an “ab” roller is even better. They are cheap ( I got one for $10 from amazon). Be aware that the smaller the diameter of the roller’s wheel, the harder you’ll work. And avoid rollers that come spring loaded; they quickly fail. But whatever one you get, it will work far better then either crunches or planks, but you must use it properly. Do not do full rollouts at first! Hell no, you’ll hurt yourself. Halfway is plenty until you are in good shape.  

Warning: The above advise is not intended for people who already have tennis elbow, or shoulder problems, or a bad back. If that is you, consult your doctor first, especially if you have swelling, serious aches, pain raising your arm, or a preexisting injury.

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Southwest Florida is Catch & Release Only

Southwest Florida is Catch & Release Only

Did that title catch your eye? Well release it. Its not 100 percent true. Let me accurize things a bit. Right now, in nearshore waters from north of Port Richey all the way south to Naples the principal recreational fisheries are catch & release only. What are the principal fisheries? The big three. Spotted sea trout, snook and redfish. How large an area is that? Its roughly a 200 miles drive from Port Richey to Naples, but in terms of coastline, man-oh-man. I’ll venture its at least 500 miles! Let that sink into your head. That’s a huge closure to harvest.

Catch & Release Area

Obviously this regulation is a concerted effort to save these stocks. Red tide, blue-green algae, and fishing pressure has taken a wicked toll, as I pointed this out several posts back. But you have to think tackle shops, marinas, boat dealers, and anglers are crying the blues big time. You can bet a lot of boats are up for sale. Even back a couple years ago when I lived there, guys were talking about dumping their boats.

Snook has been closed to harvest for sometime and will not reopen until September 2021 at the earliest. Spotted sea trout, once the primary winter recreational species, remains shut down too, and will be that way at least until May 31st of this year. Hell even five years ago catching a legal size spotted sea trout in Charlotte Harbor was cause for celebration.  Redfish are also limited to catch & release until May 31st. And if fisheries managers are wise, all three should stay closed indefinitely. 

Southwest Florida also badly needs regulations that protect fragile marine zones. Right now motor boats rooster tail up and down the flats all day long, spooking fish and ripping up essential grass beds. Crazy shit. Skeg scars crisscross everywhere. Awful. Pole and electric troll areas must be established and enforced! But don’t hold your breath. Florida isn’t known as an environmentally proactive state. Regulation like this catch & release business only arrive after the shit has already hit the fan. And I’ll bet pressure from the public will reverse these regulation by this summer.

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Dave caught a Nice Tailing Red

Well, the Fish Whisper continues to be superman. At sunrise Dave was out on the flat during a ebbing tide, searching for tails. And lo-and-behold he caught & released a beautiful “tailing” redfish.  Go going Dave! As always a tip of the hat to him. He is one of those amazing anglers that finds and catches fish even when the fishing is poor overall. Just how bad is the fishing in Southwest Florida? Perhaps I’ll cover that in the next post.

Dave’s “Tailing” Redfish

Dave told me the tide was very low and the reds were moving out from the shoreline toward the sandbar. On their way off the flat, reds often do some last minute feeding, “tailing” especially where there is remaining current. Gradually they move toward the sandbar where along the inside edge a trough exists, formed as waves cross over. The depth of this trough varies greatly, but where deep, it provides pockets for redfish to hangout at the bottom of the tide. It is also a good spot to check during the first of the flood.

Kwan

Dave was using his trusty Scott STS 8 weight. Its an oldies but a goodie. I have an STS 6wt that I like very much. Those STS rods are great for sight-fishing adventures. Just the right action. At the end of his line Dave had a lightly weighted Kwan. Bead-chain eyes? And his Kwan sports rubber legs. I’m a big fan of them.

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Outdoor Photography Gear

Outdoor Photography Gear

Outdoor photography has long been a big part of life. Fishing photos, landscapes, seascapes, and beyond. Why do I love it? Well first off I love being outdoors. And cameras allow me to capture memories and bring them back home.

Tropical Twilight

Nowadays many fine outdoor photographs are taken with cellphones. They are incredibly good, especially the flagship models. Extremely convenient. And they shoot good video too. Amazing stuff,  and I imagine they’re perfect for 95 percent of you. But honestly they are not for me. Yes, I’m a dinosaur, sticking with my DSLR. Why? With a wide range of lenses and a large image sensor load with big juicy pixels, in my opinion DSLRs offer superior versatility, picture quality, and creative control.

Pelican Camera Case

For important location shots, such as travel destinations,  I lean on three lenses to do the work. They are a 14-24mm wide angle,  a 24-70mm mid distance lens, and a 70-300mm telephoto for long shots. They were selected to give me seamless coverage from 14-300 mm. I transport them, along with my trusty old, full-frame Nikon D700, in a Pelican 1500 case with adjustable dividers. This midsize case fits overhead on both domestic and international flights. (At least it did when I bought it.) It is water and air tight, and floats. Lockable, rust free, and indestructible. Besides the camera and three lenses, it transports a 60mm macro lens and a small backup camera such as a D3500. And if I leave the D3500 home I squeeze in a SB 800 flash. The underside of the lid has a pocket mesh that holds accessories such as flash cards, filters, folding gray card, straps, chargers, notepad, and such. Perfect. 

Connemara, Ireland

All of my equipment is long-in-the-tooth, but the Pelican case has kept it safe and in good working condition despite the many miles. Obviously I don’t truck that 1500 case up and down the beach or out in a kayak. For that work I use a  small Pelican case that holds a camera & lens and a few essentials.  And some times I ditch that case for a wonderful water-resistant lumber pack specifically designed for photographers. Thing is an absolute gem. Comfortably carries a decent amount of gear, while leaving both hands free. Slide it behind your back and it becomes a second carryon. Perhaps we can cover it next time.

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Rain in the Winter Woods

Rain in the Winter Woods

Rain in the Winter Woods

After a rain, the winter woods are a visual feast, a great time to break out your camera. Under gray skies, subtle earth hues intertwine in a quilt of tweed. Overhead bare tree limbs collide in an intricate mesh. While below tree trunks turn shades, some mottled gray others approaching black.

Lichen glows in the Rain

The rain also causes moments of color to erupt. Drinking in the moisture, the lichen on rocks comes alive, glowing cyan as if freshly painted. Wet leaves cover the forest floor in a carpet of reddish brown. And here and there, beech leaves, still clinging to limbs even this late in the late, call out in orange.

Beech leaves in the Rain

And if luck is with you, you may come across a yellow birch. Look for them near a creek or swamp, they like water. This tree’s unfolding bark is always remarkable, hanging in long curls like torn paper. But in the rain, the bark takes on a whole new leather-like quality that is difficult to describe.

Yellow Birch in the Rain
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