Friday, March 27, 2009

wind, wind, go away and don't come back!

Since I left you last the wind has been blowing and don't mean breezy, I mean bllllowin'! Not only have I lost a bunch of charters but, the ones I did do were tough. Don't get me wrong we caught fish everyday but I don't consider a few snook here and a few baby tarpon there a very good trip. When we have these Bermuda highs and the wind blows hard out of the east and southeast for weeks on end it is tough on a guys psyche and health, excessive coffee in the morning and beer in the afternoon. On a positive note I have found some extra time to tie flies, yesterday I came up with what I hope to be a cool new tarpon fly. It is a half toad (marabou tail) and half bait fish with a flash blend collar and big eyes. Our tarpon are different from the Keys fish, sure they like crabs but once they are moving through our area they like to eat mullet, sardines, pilchards, and glass minnows, so baitfish patterns seem to work the best here.

For the first time in a long time the long term forecast looks good with calm ocean conditions starting Monday, hopefully these conditions will last through the week so everyone who is coming to the film tour can have good fishing conditions. I am scheduled to fish with Pat Ford on Friday morning before the big event. This will be my first time with Pat in the boat and I certainly hope to give him loads of photography opportunities. Since I brought up Pat's name I should mention that not only is he coming to our film tour he also put together a slide show of some of his best photos. I have already previewed Pat's show and I will tell you that the slide show alone is worth the ticket price. Myself and Mike Holliday are also putting together a slide show of our photos and after seeing Pat's we both decided it was best to show ours at the end of the show, when people are walking out of the door!

If you have not gotten your tickets for the film tour get them now, the event is only a week away. Here is a little more incentive, if you need it? One of the film makers from World Angling, Dave Teper is going to be in attendance and he is bringing an additional film that I am sure will have some insane saltwater action from the Keys. Their film "DRUM" is in the line up for the tour, it is a crazy look at huge redfish in Louisiana, with some even crazier personalities.

In case you have been living under a rock, here is the information again. April 3rd at the Lyric Theatre in downtown Stuart. The doors open at 6:00pm and the show starts at 7:00pm, it will last until 9 something? We obviously will have incredible films to watch, cool photos to view and also tons of giveaways. A Crowder flyrod, a Hatch reel, and a pair of Oakley shades top the list. Also, we are going to try and have a fly swap. I am just officially announcing this today so I am not sure what the turn out will be but here is the gist of it. You bring 2 identical flies that you tied or bought. You put both in a fly box that is located at the Southern Angler table in the lobby and you take one out that you like. During the intermission we will give away the fly box full of the remaining flies. Hope to see everyone there.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New found quest

I sent my buddy Rob all my photographs from yesterday and check out what he came up with! I told you the dude is creative.

Yesterday I set out on my charter like any other day. I was fishing with Alec Estes and his 10 year old son Thomas. We managed a few snook and jacks inside before we headed out of the inlet in search of giant jacks and whatever else might bless us with their presence. At first I must say I was a bit disappointed at the water clarity and the general color of the water. We have had a few days with some rough seas and that has a tendency to stir things up a bit but, other then the water clarity the beach was calm and I knew I should be able to find something. As I headed down the beach we did not see much of anything for the first few miles, then to add insult in injury a flats boat heading back to the inlet stopped and gave me the universal thumbs down sign and proceeded to tell me that nothing was on the surface and that everything was down deep. I didn't know who that was in the flats boat but it really didn't matter because I don't trust anyone's eyes but my own and after explaining that to my clients I pushed on. It could not have been more then a mile when I saw my first school of giant jacks, "you see what I mean?" I said to Alec. I had Thomas throw a topwater plug into the school and he instantly hooked up and after a few runs the jack had broke off, splitting my loop in half. So we relocated the school to give them another shot, this time we were denied and I had another boat sitting outside of me waiting their turn, I guess? Yeah right, let's get one thing straight, because I know some people that read this blog fish here, it is NOT okay to move into someone else's school unless you are invited in. It is just good etiquette. I should have a posting on just beach etiquette since we are getting into the season and every year it seems to be getting worse and worse. Okay, I am getting side tracked here, focus John.

Here is where the story get interesting, I know you were waiting for that. On my third attempt at the school I position the boat and wait for the school to come to me. This time I decide for whatever reason that I should get a pilchard ready, this is odd for me because I rarely throw bait at these guys but, I really wanted young Thomas to catch one. He was so excited to see the fish and had been a great sport all day. As the school got into range I saw a tarpon roll behind the school of jacks. I pitched the bait right in front of the jacks, handed Thomas the rod and explained to him that when I tell him to reel he needs to do so fast, we were using a circle hook. I saw the line jump so I knew the bait had been eaten but I could not tell by what? I told Thomas to start reeling and to be ready for the line to come tight. Once the line came tight the drag screamed and a 100 plus pound tarpon shot out of the water. Once again the fish gods were on my side. I must be living right, okay somewhat right! Thomas fought that tarpon very hard and did a great job before handing it off to his dad to end the fight. You see Thomas hooked it and fought it now he wanted to land it because his dad promised him a mount if they caught a tarpon. Alec, thinking it was early March probobly would have taken that bet anyday. If he had read my blog he would have seen that just last week we landed one, see it is good to actually read my blog not just look at the pictures. Either way they were both very excited, neither of them have ever even seen a tarpon before except on TV. Boy, if I had a dime for everytime I heard that.

During the fight I tried to do my best Pat Ford imaitation, in my opinion he has the best tarpon jumping shots around. As you can see by the pictures on this post I have a long way to go, however, considering the light I think I did okay. Here is where the new found quest comes in. I am now on a mission to get the perfect jumping tarpon picture. As I have written so many times before it is very hard to photograph while on a charter but, I think jumping tarpon shots are very doable. I have tried tarpon shots in years past but this is the first season that I have a camera with 6 frames per second and some more knowledge about photography. So stay posted and hopefully you will se the progress right here.

Oh yeah, we did land the tarpon. An estimated 125 pounds and yesterday afternoon I meet Alec and his son Thomas up at New Wave Taxidermy to order their new trophy. Check out the website for New Wave, they are by far the most talented artist around when it come to fiberglass fish mounts. How great is it that you can get a killer piece of art for your house or office and still let the fish swim free. As a matter of fact, I decided to order my 40 pound permit that I have been wanting for the last two years. I also went to Stuart Photo yesterday and bought an additional battery grip for my D300 and now I have 9 frames per second. Pat better watch out, yeah right, remember I am just a guide with a camera and a computer. I am fishing with Pat the morning of the film tour so you can bet I will be picking his brain on tarpon photography.

Between all these photos and now the mount being made this could be the most popular tarpon I have ever had a client catch.

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my photography website

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fly Fishing Film Tour- Limited Edition event t-shirt from Bug Slinger

My buddy Rob McAbee always amazes me with his creativity. A while back he told me he was thinking of designing a shirt just for our event in Stuart. My first thought was how cool can you make a shirt for a film festival? As you can see by the picture these shirts are awesome and better yet he is going to sell them for just $20. These shirts are 100% ring spun cotton and are very comfortable. They are a limited edition shirt with only 48 for sale, so get there early and get your shirt before they run out. The design was so good that we printed local posters for the event with his design. Just a reminder doors open at 6:00pm and the show starts at 7:00pm, ticket sales have been very strong so far so if you don't have your ticket get it now. The whole theatre is reserved seating. See you April 3rd at the Lyric Theatre

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

big game beware!

Spring has arrived and summer is knocking at the proverbial door and I couldn't be more excited. I love this time of the year, giant jacks, cobia, permit, tarpon, need I say more? To make it even better, this is just the beginning of the excitement, there will be months worth of great fishing ahead. Even though Florida is not as cold and dreary as most parts of the country we still get the winter time blues. You have heard me report over the last few months that the fishing is fun and we are catching trout, ladyfish, pompano, some snook and redfish but, it is now time to take your medication. This time of the year is not for the faint of heart, big nasty flies, big rods and the need for a reel with a good drag system.

My new Hatch 12 plus and my tarpon fly.

A month or so ago I was invited to be part of the Hatch fly reels pro staff and without hesitation I jumped on board. I must admit my decision would have been different just a few months earlier. I thought I was "in the know" when it came to anything in the fly fishing industry but man was I wrong. Apparently I have been spending way to much time on the water. You see just a few months ago I had not even heard of a Hatch reel, until my good friend Rob brought one down with him in late January. He had explained to me that they are the newest, greatest thing since sliced bread, and like anyone that hears such high praise of something I was skeptical but yet very curious. At first glance I was very impressed but like so many things in life you can't judge a book by its cover. The next morning Rob and I went out and we had his Hatch reel mounted on a 12 weight ready to go. I thought, "hopefully I can find something that will put this reel to the test!", well it wasn't too long before we found a nice school of tarpon and Rob was hooked up. The reel worked flawlessly even though the fish threw the fly on the second jump. The next day a cold front blew in and that was the end of the fishing, so Rob left the reel behind for me to use. For the next few weeks we were hit with front after front and I had no real opportunity to put this reel to the test. I would fiddle with it in the house and every time I was amazed at how strong the drag could be set but again I thought, "a lot of reels can be set with a heavy drag in the living room, how will it react when it has been heated up by a fish after a 20 minute fight?". Finally, some nice weather hit and I had my morning to hook up with some giant jacks. Wow! this reel rocks was my first response after landing a 28 pound jack. Okay, I'm sold, I have to get my hands on some of these reels. My buddy Rob shared my response with the owner of Hatch and the rest is history. I am now the newest member of the Hatch prostaff and I could not be happier with my decision. Hatch has been making reels for 4 years now and I just wish I hadn't been living under a rock all this time. Take the time to check them out I know you too will be as impressed as I am.

Here is a quick side note. I did not get into the details of their enclosed drag system, which in my opinion make this such a superior reel. For details contact John at Hatch 877-634-4343 or check out their website at he can explain it for better then me. I just know I can kick a fish's ass with it.
If the link above does not work it is because you are trying to view it in Internet Explorer, and they are trying to fix the problem. Here is an alternative link that will get you in on another page.

This tarpon was landed, I had to put down the camera to grab the fish.

Thanks again for every one's support. The blog is getting almost 100 hits a day and the ticket sales for the fly fishing film tour are looking like we might be heading towards a sell out. I have not done a fishing report lately but I will keep it simple it has been good! I will let some of the photos speak for themselves.
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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tickets go on sale today!

Today at noon the tickets should be ready for purchase at the Lyric Theatre Box office 772-286-7827 or online at The show is April 3rd, doors open at 6:00pm and the show starts at 7:00pm. Tickets are $22. There will also be a bar available at the Lyric Theatre, drinks are not included in the ticket price. However, giveaways are included, your ticket stub will act as a raffle ticket for many giveaways like; hats, shirts, fly lines, flies, fly boxes, artwork, and I know of at least one fly rod being given away by Crowder Rods. I will remind everyone that this venue is reserved seating so get your tickets now to assure the best seat. Myself and Mike Holiday are hosting this event and I know I can speak for both of us when I say, thanks for your support and we can't wait to meet everyone at the event. Sorry for the short post but I am on my way out the door for my charter and I just wanted to post it here first.
ps. It is damn cold here this morning!

my guide service website
my photography website