Fly Rod Fishing and Hooks

     Beach Fly Fishing In The Dog Days Of Summer

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About to head to your favorite beach for a summer vacation?   Well, here a few tips to help you land some fish in the heat and among the tourists.  Find a secluded stretch of beach for your best chance at sight fishing.

Don't plan on sleeping in on your vacation if you want to fish the prime time of the day.  Get out there as early as you can to avoid the crowds and families playing in the water scaring away all the fish.  Of course, you will still have to deal with the beach walkers/runners in the morning, but at least they won't be in the water.  Even then, try and find a stretch of beach that doesn't have many high rises or better yet, none at all, to distance yourself from the walkers.  The further away you get from people, the better your chances are of finding fish.  You'd be surprised at how close fish will swim to the shore and how many fish you will see when no one is around.  

As you walk the beach and distance yourself from the crowds, be sure to keep your eyes on the water. Both redfish and pompano will likely be hugging the bottom.  In my opinion redfish are much easier to find. They will be a silver color with a light blue tail cruising the shoreline.  A pompano is much more difficult to sight fish because of its slender shape.  The black color on the tip of its tail and dorsal fin can be a give away if you are able to spot one.  Both redfish and pompano could be single or with a small school.  I've had best results casting at schools.  The solo fish are very difficult to fool.  Once you have spotted some fish, be sure you give the fly enough time to sink before stripping.  Once you believe the fish is within sight of the fly, begin stripping.

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Redfish Caught In July From The Shoreline In Destin, Fl On A Sand Flea Fly.

If you are able to spot fish further out, or just need to wade out deeper in order to keep from having to stop casting so the beach walkers can walk by without fear of snagging them, you will likely be able to wade out to a sandbar.  Don't be afraid to cast back to shore even though you are out on a sandbar.  The disadvantage of wading on a sandbar is not having the height to spot fish that you have from the shoreline.  

If you are having trouble finding fish from shore and decide to wade, your best bet on finding fish are where deep cuts meet shallow water.  The deep cuts will most likely have bait funneling in and out which in turn will attract larger fish.  

Once the sun rises, the redfish are the first to leave the beach and head for deeper water. Pompano will still be nearby, just be sure to keep distance from the crowds that will now be huge.  In come the lady fish, jacks, hardtails, bluefish and Spanish mackerel.  I've caught all the above in the afternoon, all day long, in crowded beaches.  

If you are able to get out on a kayak or paddle board, the morning is again your best time to get out because once the wave runners and parasailing boats come out, good luck.  The stand up factor from a paddle board is a great asset for spotting fish.   If you are interested, tarpon frequent the panhandle and Alabama gulf coast during these summer months but are extremely difficult to jump due to constant boating pressure. 

If you do plan on fly fishing for them, bring at least a 10wt, a 12wt is ideal.  For flies, bring a plethora.  Just because a certain fly works in the Florida Keys doesn't mean that fly will work somewhere else.   

For redfish and pompano throw heavy flies and hop them along the bottom.  I prefer a sand flea or marbled sand flea. If they aren't hitting that then I prefer to cast heavy clousers in chartreuse/white or all white with some flash. The heavy weight will get the flies passed the ladyfish and other toothy fish and into the strike zone of the desired species.  For lady fish, hard tails, blue fish, jacks and Spanish mackerel, lightly weighted clousers stripped fast will likely get the attention of one of these fish. A little orange will help attract Spanish macs and bluefish.  

The crystal clear water of the emerald coast has humbled me many times and if you want to catch fish you have to play by their rules.  For redfish and pompano in the early morning I prefer to scale down to 10-12 lb tippet.  Be prepared to lose a bunch of flies if the ladyfish or bluefish are out that early though.  If you are targeting ladyfish, blues, hard-tails and jacks, you can get away with 20 lb. tippet but wire is better.

An 8 wt rod and reel is the ideal setup for surf fishing.  I prefer a reel with a sealed drag to keep out saltwater and sand. A weight forward floating line will work just fine, but I prefer an intermediate clear tip fly line to get the fly down and keep the waves from picking up the motion of the fly.  

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🐟  I Got Into Lure Building For My Spinning, Conventional, And Fly Gear — 

I ordered a lot of small items to fill out my return to lure building, a giant part of my site with a couple of fresh approached and Do-It-Yourself ways to save money and increase your stash.  The goal of my site is to give you choices. I enjoy dealing with  a few companies I will mention.

FLY FISHING AND ROD BUILDING — Three good stores on line are Jan’s Net Craft is excellent for Lure and Rod building, of almost anything, and so is J.Stockards…specialists in Fly Fishing  —  The loyalists who love ORVIS products appreciate the quality of what they sell and they have excellent tutorials and most of the real secrets are really out in the open for you.   

Locally in Tampa Bay on the Tampa side we have:  There are lots of good guys around about a half dozen who do the right thing. If you are in Tampa Bay on the Tampa side vacation or a Resident, may I suggest:

🐟  Tampa Fishing Outfitters.  Numero Uno

You walk in and take a breath, it’s Alice In Wonderland for fishermen, huge and stacked  to the ceilings with every conceivable piece of gear made.   And a really smart staff who know what going on.  More on them later.  They are fishermen.

If you go there bring food and water, the store is huge and they got it all.   The place blew me away when I went there the first time.  These are also Good Places for the unusual parts — Where and what to buy if you are fortunate enough to enjoy the personalization building your own.  

Tampa Bay has about forty to fifty places you can buy tackle — and or bait —  These are some of the best stores on both sides of the bay,   just search engine or Google “ their name, a website map will appear. N-E-S-W indicates side of the bay.

🪰 Indicate they carry and sell fly casting gear. I know these shops —  Tamp Fishing Outfitters, St Pete Fishing Outfitters and Tarpon Fishing Outfitters are affiliated and have a great newsletter with real locations and hot spots. E.W, NW are compass points around the bay.  East  is the Hillsboro or Tampa side, St.Petersburg is the West side, etc 

🐟  —  Where Else Do I Shop,  Frugality Is An Issue, Economics Are Critical — 

AMAZON  —  So I inquired of big names in Fishing Parts that sold retail on line,  plus I do a lot of business with Amazon because of my age and health to avoid 93-100 degree days and 85% humidity and a funeral.  With gas prices rising  to the  obscene four and a half dollar mark, travel starts to get expensive and Amazon has an expanded selection but beware of deals that are too good.  

CHINESE JUNKS  —  Again one must be cautious, on line, I am a touch and feel person, many of the items on line are not what I call first class or the best possible choice.  Both Amazon and eBay selling stuff similar to the Chinese Cruise Line “ Le Junk” says it all. If I recommend a place you can be assured they are first class.

FORTUNATELY,  I AM LUCKY, I HAVE SOME SKILLS AND ONE WHO BELIEVES IN HORSE-TRADING and got some really nice deals, some fairly good deals, some learning on line,  and enough tools and  junk around to make a lot of my own gear.  

I fish pragmatically,  and that includes bait, my small bait, mostly small fresh and salt water type on light gear, is Sam’s Warehouse frozen salad shrimp, because it sucks in a salad but great for the dock species like sheepshead and other smaller salties. I repacked them into 25 pieces and I can grab and go anytime I want.   I’ll  do the same when the sand fleas hit.  

I tie my own flies, including Tenkara and Ocean streamers, spinners and have about 600 homemade lures and they work just as good as some store bought.  Ugly but for some reason they work, in fly fishing you try to imitate bait but predators think differently sometimes make mistakes and some of my ugliest, gross-est streamers caught fish.  I also learned don’t boat a Barracuda.   They are one mean SOB. 

LARGER WAL-MART'S —  Have small stuff  like terminal gear by some brand names, but the biggest percentage are price items.  All their rods and reels are low-end discount, thats their market.   Chinese and Le Junk brand.  But Sinkers, brand name hooks, worms,  soft lures, good prices in a pinch and they are open till eleven at some of their stores. Good for kids gear, and late night changes in the next day. The bigger ones allow you to fill your Yeti with Food and Drink the night before.

WE SUFFER FROM GAS PAINS —  My prediction came true as the gasoline problem is already here.  When we went out on my friends 38 footer,  the two hundred gallon tanks at two dollars supporting the three Yamaha 350’S was $400.00.   Today at the MARINA 4.50+.50 per gallon = 1000.00  —  So we go with five guys and split it.  If one can afford a $450 - $600.00 dollar boat, gas is not a problem.  I passed a new operation called a Used Boat Lot ( Consignment) similar to a used Car Lot. Sign of the times. 

THE PLACE WAS LOADED WITH BOATS.  Many were not saleable because they owed more than the value of the boat to the bank, it’s called being upside down. You may expect charter fishing pricing to go up with the cost of fuel and much shorter or closer off shore runs so as to conserve gas.

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