Jacks can Save the Day

Jacks Can Save the Day

Got out early Thursday morning before the sun and before the eventual wind. Carefully I poled a mile of flat looking for “tailing” reds. Conditions weren’t great yet I did see three “tails”. Unfortunately all of them were at long range. And by the time I got into position each of them had disappeared. Damn!

Jack on a 6-weight fly rod

After my search for tails, I poled the sandbar as the wind slowly increased. Quite a few catfish and mullet were busy swimming around. But still no sign of reds. So I climbed off the Adios and walked the bar northward. Then up ahead I saw a dark shape coming at me.  Quickly I dropped a crab fly directly in its path.  The fish shot ahead and nailed it hard, taking off on several strong runs. Not a red or a snook, mind you but a decent jack. Sometines jacks save the day.

 

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Windy Days can be your Friend

Windy days are often a nuisance. Every effort to cast becomes an ordeal. Waves slam into you as you wade. Or the boat is rocking and rolling. Nothing seems to be going your way. But hang on amigo. Windy days can be your friend.

Down here in Charlotte Harbor we lack strong tides much of the year. So the tidal range is typically no great shakes. And there are even days when the tides only changes once and barely moves. As a result, rips are rare. Now that puts us folks fishing Charlotte Harbor at a disadvantage. Why? Current revs up predatory fish to feed. And we don’t have those currents. 

Windy Day Redfish

This is where the wind comes in. A windy day in Charlotte Harbor can crank up the action. Let me give you a good example. In my location we just had a week of piss poor tides. Terribly weak, no water moving. But we also had gusty sea breezes pushes a continuous line of waves over the sandbar, each of them crashing onto the inside edge of the bar producing both current and turbulence. The net result was active feeding fish both on the bar and flat. The redfish above is a good example as is the spotted seatrout below. So learn to fish in the wind!

Windy Day Spotted Seatrout

  

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The Farnsworth Fly Returns!

The Farnsworth  Fly Returns!

Great news! The famous Farnsworth Fly is back in production – and better than ever.

My friend Phil designed this deadly fly many years ago back when we fished the New England coast. It quickly became a go-to pattern especially for striped bass feeding near the surface. As soon as we heard stripers “popping” sand eels or silvesides we slid a Farnsworth Fly over their heads. Wham – instant hookup.  It also worked as a searching pattern. The wake it creates on the surface inevitably draws fish up to investigate. In both types of fishing, the fly produces a surface strike. And we all know surface strikes are double the fun.

I use the fly mainly with a “hand-over-hand” retrieve to produce a steady “v” waked across the top. Fish love it. But you could also “strip” the fly back causing it to lightly “pop”. In a rip you even have a third choice. Simply allow the Farnsworth Fly to swing downcurrent on a tight line with a slow retrieve. Expect violent strikes.

The original fly was  built with a bucktail tail. It worked okay, but face it, bucktail doesn’t have much action. The new Farnsworth Fly employs has a soft plastic tail that wiggles, vibrates and churns up the water. All of which cranks up the action. And that new tail can be swapped out and replaced if need be. Cool idea. Moreover, unlike the original fly which came in silver or white, the new fly is available in a wide range of attractive colors.

How many different species can you catch on a Farnsworth Fly? Endless. I know from personal experience it will catch Atlantic bonito, false albacore, striped bass, bluefish, redfish, snook, spotted seatrout, tarpon, largemouth bass and pike. Besides the Farnsworth Fly’s website, you can see the new fly on Instagram and Facebook

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Spotted Sea Trout Fishery has an Emergency Regulation

Spotted Sea Trout Fishery has an Emergency Regulation.

Yesterday Florida Fish and Wildlife imposed a new restriction on the spotted seatrout fishery along the Gulf coast. Trout are very sensitive to red tide and because of it their numbers are way the hell down. In fact in Charlotte Harbor it is extremley hard to find a fish over 11 inches these days.  This is a sad story for what is likely the most sought after fish in my water.

Released Spotted Seatrout

Here’s the new regulation for spotted sea trout. (Please note that last night the local nightly news incorrectly annouced that the entire trout fishery was closed.)

“Currently, anglers may harvest a single spotted seatrout per day that is larger than 20 inches. Starting Friday, Feb. 22, recreational anglers will no longer be allowed to harvest any spotted seatrout over 20 inches total length when fishing in state or federal waters from the Pasco-Hernando county line south to Gordon Pass in Collier County. This rule change will remain in effect through May 10, 2019. Red drum and snook are currently catch-and-release only in this region through May 10 as well.”

As noted, at this point the redfish fishery is closed to harvest, as is the snook fishery.  And legal size spotted sea trout are pretty much nonexistant in Charlotte Harbor.

 

 

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Redfish Love the Bone Jovi

If you’re a bonefish addict, I’m sure you have a Bone Jovi or two in your fly box. Granted they’re rarely the right choice on a shin deep, crystal flats where a sparsely tied number 8# fly is king. But where the water is touch deeper the Bone Jovi is a proven killer, especially for bigger bones. You know: those monster gray ghosts. They often enjoy a fly with some meat on bone.

Bone Jovi

This season I discover by accident that redfish love the Bone Jovi too. One day it caught two nice “tailing” reds – pretty much back-to-back. Makes sense, doesn’t it? The Bone Jovi is a shrimp imitation and reds eat shrimp. There you go. But what seals the deal is this: Typically I hook reds in the lip. These two reds, however, over ran the fly, swallowing it deep. Clearly they really, really wanted it.

“Tailing” red on a Bone Jovi

Nothing super fancy about the Bone Jovi. Its a drab colored fly, barred wing, with rubber legs and a lead eye. Be sure to tie the wing full and the legs long. Both help the fly land softly. That can be very important in many situations. When fishing for reds in knee deep water, I suggest a size 6# or possibly an 8#. In thigh or deeper water, I would go with a size 4# simply because it sinks faster.

This is an easy fly to tie. But if you’re looking to pick them up, I purchased mine from Discount Flies.  Excellent quality and a very friendly price.

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