This article was originally written in 2004, but the tactics and techniques still hold true. It was recently reposted to the Florida Sportsman website with updated pictures, one of which being mine from a fishing trip in November of 2011. This is my first credited photo used in any publication and was very exciting for me to see!
Monday, January 21, 2013
Some persistent local red tide has kept me out of the saltwater lately. While I could travel an extra 30 minutes North or South to find some fish, I have more often found myself chasing panfish with my 3 weight instead. I have been having great success on a fly I have been calling the Shrymph, kind of a buggy looking grass shrimp that I will be doing a step by step on in one of my next posts. Here are some of the nicer gills I have grabbed...
Many a coppernose gill has fallen for this fly, along with a good amount of shellcrackers and stumpknockers. I have even landed a couple of largemouth and one channel catfish with this fly so far. It lends itself as a fair imitation of a grass shrimp, while sharing the buggy characteristics of spiders and nymphs
While tossing a popper on a recent outing, I managed my largest shellcracker to date. I have been surprised at the few shellcrackers I have caught on poppers, all have been larger specimen over 10 inches with this one touching 12. Had I taken a picture of this fish alongside a ruler I would have been eligible to receive "BigCatch" recognition from the Florida FWC.
The popper you see is a BoogleBug. These poppers are the most durable I have fished. I generally have hackles or rubber legs fall off of lesser poppers after a few fish, but these stay put. The blue popper in this fishes mouth has lasted me over a dozen trips now and countless fish, and is still tied to the end of my line.
As long as this red tide bloom lingers I will be doing a lot of fly fishing in freshwater. The unseasonably warm temperatures have kept the panfish feisty. I installed a tow hitch on my Volkswagen and can achieve 40+ miles per gallon while towing my kayaks, so I am excited to branch out and try some fishing down south along Alligator Alley as well as in some of central Florida's famous lakes.
Stay tuned for some fly recipes and more fishing pictures!