The Trend in Fly Fishing toward Lighter Lines

Over the years, fly anglers have steadily moved to lighter line weights. Granted this didn’t happen overnight. It has been a slow progression. Still there is no denying it, amigo. Lighter line weights have been gaining favor for decades.

Here’s an example. Across the room from where I sit there is a 2.5″ diameter rod tube.  It houses two rods I bought eons ago to cover any and all trout situation. There is a 6-weight for small to medium size streams. And an 8-weight for larger rivers and lakes. They are 3-piece, 2 tip, Winston fiberglass rods and have served me exceeding well.

When I purchased this travel set, 6-weight rods were touted the best all-around trout tool. By 1990’s, however, a 6-weight was out of favor, considered too big. So the 5-weight became the king. Now get this: a few years back I overheard a knowledgeable angler extolling why he recommends a 4-weight rod as the right general purpose trout rod. Is the 3-weight next? Wouldn’t surprise me.

Frankly the same thing happened in the salt. If you asked me 30 years ago for the correct all-rounder in the Northeast brine. I would have immediately claimed it to be a 10-weight. Today, no question I would vote for a 9-weight.

Why has this trend taken place? I think there are several reasons, but the single largest is advancements in fly rods. Today’s 4 or 5-weight graphite rod is a wonderful tool, capable of handling a wide variety of trout situations with ease. Yes this is the golden age of the graphite fly rod.

Posted in Fly Fishing in Freshwater, Fly Fishing in Salt Water | 1 Comment

Do All Redfish have Spots?

Do All Redfish have Spots?

Back three years ago, I did a post asking how many spots can a redfish have. It was just an interesting conversation point. My friend Dave and I used to joke about it. Nothing much more. Well a ton of people read that post. It gets hit all the time. So I’m going to add a bit more just for the fun of it.

A Redfish with no Spots

Do all redfish have spots? Well yesterday I got a photograph from my friend Dave down in Florida. He’s laughing because he caught a redfish with no spots! And a few day earlier he got one with ten spots. Now he’s looking for one with eleven. Good luck! LOL

Remember that spotted seatrout and redfish remain catch and release only in Southwest Florida until may 2021

Posted in Fly Fishing in Salt Water | Leave a comment

Signs in the Winter Woods

Signs in the Winter Woods

A couple days back, during a warm spell, my buddy Scott suggested a walk in the winter woods. Frankly I was glad to get out of the adobe. Man, this pandemic is causing more than the usual amount of cabin fever. Turned out to be a good hike on some nicely maintained trails. And we saw many signs in the winter woods.

Signs of wildlife, you ask? Nope. These were manmade signs. Right at the trail head we were greeted with a coyote warning. Fair enough.  Yeah they are out there in increasing numbers, but rarely a problem, although dogs and coyotes can be a bad mix. The next sign I’ll show  really caught my eye. It revealed the multiuse of this preserve.  Man-oh-man, it was complex enough to be on an urban street corner. Don’t believe I have ever seen a sign in the woods quite like it. 

     Let me see. Bikers yield to hikers. Hikers yield to horses. Bikers yield to horses too. And horses yield to nobody. Yeah size matters. Okay, but do we need a traffic light during rush hour? Wait a minute now, what about the damn coyotes? Who yields to them? Umm, I guess we need a bigger sign.

Hey let me tell you about one more thing. Upon arrival, we met “Bud”, a pit bull mix. He was there for a walk and may not yield to anyone. But check out those glasses. His owner told us “Bud” likes to jam his face in a brush piles and gets twigs caught in his eyes. Which in turns leads to a costly trip to the vet. At first I felt sorry for “Bud”, but you know he looks way cool in those red goggles. 

Posted in On the Road, Outdoor Writing | 2 Comments

Charlotte Harbor is in Trouble

Charlotte Harbor is in Trouble

In 2013, I moved to Punta Gorda, Florida. At that time, Charlotte Harbor was listed as a pristine estuary, perhaps the healthiest in the state. That’s no longer the case as this article points out

Many of Florida’s coastal waterways have serious water quality concerns. Concerns that Florida lawmakers have failed to address. While naturally occurring, red tide (Karenia brevis) blooms have strengthened in recent years, most likely due to coastal eutrophication. Along with that issue, toxic blue-green algae has  made bold headlines, especially in Southwestern Florida. Both issues are not only killing enormous amounts of marine life, they threaten tourism and home values.

Green Algae November 2018

Between 2013 and 2019, I was on the water in Charlotte Harbor, often on a daily basis. I poled the flats on a standup kayak. Staked out and waded for hours.  This afforded me first-hand visual contact with the water and the bottom. During that time I witnessed a decline in water quality. Red tide, typically a two or three  week event in late fall, lasted a year 2017-2018. Along with it, green algae began to invade the flats I fished. This thick wool-like algae covered the bottom in areas, smothering the turtle grass beds which are an essential part of the ecosystem in Charlotte Harbor.

Floating Algae 2018

Cleaning up Florida’s coastal water ways is a herculean task that requires entire regions to rethink how they control both point and nonpoint source runoff. This implies a comprehensive approach, involving all parties from town planners, zoning boards, water resource engineers, marine biologists, natural resource mangers, developers, contractors, conservation advocacy groups, and above all the public.  Why do you need everyone at the table? Because only with universal cooperation can you make a truly effective plan. A plan that investigates the entire watershed and identifies all the problems. In Charlotte Harbor that means examining up both the Peace and Myakka Rivers. Some communities have already taken action to control the amount of fertilizer being used. One step in the right direction, but much more is needed. It will take widespread cooperation, gobs of money, and time to fix. Let’s hope the people of Florida are up to the task.

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Tailing Reds in Pine Island Sound

Tailing Reds in Pine Island Sound

My friend Dave and his buddy Andy caught some nice “tailing” redfish in
Pine Island Sound. If you’re unfamiliar with Pine Island Sound, it sits behind three islands -Sanibel, Captiva, and Cayo Costa – off the Southwest Florida coast. This is a pretty and well-known fishing destination for not only redfish but snook, and tarpon.

Dave with a Nice Redfish

Look at their faces! These dudes are happy campers. And why the hell not? Hunting for “tailing” reds is a wonderful game, full of challenges and pure excitement. Nice going guys. If I was there I’d buy you a beer.

Pine Island Sound benefits from its direct connection to the Gulf of Mexico. Water pouring places such Redfish and Captiva Pass help keep the Sound fairly clean. So the turtle grass beds here are in good shape. And as you likely realize, these grass beds are an essential part of this ecosystem. Without them the entire food chain would rapidly decline as it is doing next door in Charlotte Harbor. We’ll talk about that growing problem in the next post.

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