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Bonefish, Tarpon, and other Obsessions Turquoise water, silver demons on the fly

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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-18-2003 03:46 PM

... made it back from the Keys a few days earlier than I had anticipated. The wind was something to contend with, that's for certain: 15-20 knots nearly all week, which made it next to impossible to get any sort of decent casting accomplished. I managed to catch a few fish, though, mostly jacks and snappers, with the odd cuda here and there. Saw an enormous bone tailing on a flat near the drop-off of Shark Channel outside the mouth; it must have been a doozy of a fish, because the water depth in that area was around 12" and the upper lobe of his caudal fin was a good 4" out of the water. Unfortunately, I was out with three other guys and there was no way I could have safely gotten a cast out to that fish with the wind blowing so hard. The permit were in the flats, churning the bottom pretty thoroughly, but didn't hook any. Hopefully I'll get back down there in the next couple of months and have better success.
02-04-2003 07:24 AM
Tony Petrella
rod weights

A 10wt is always rigged up in my boat just for cobia. The only time I give a client a 10wt for tarpon is if he/she simply can't reach the fish with a 12. My philosphy is that they'd rather hook up and lose the fish by being under-gunned than not hook up at all.

So, it's 8wt for everyday snook, redfish, etc; 9wt for jacks, or windy days chasing bones in the Keys (nearly every day, unless you get into a lee by fishing Big Pine Key or further west); 10wt for cobia, sharks, 'cuda or kingfish; 12wt for tarpon.

Check out the Temple Fork Outfitters 4-piece saltwater rods. I use them on my boat, and you can buy all of the abovementioned rods for a total of $780. They cast GREAT, and have a lifetime warranty.

02-03-2003 08:28 PM

Is there anything in-shore I'm likely to run into that will require a 10 wt.? For instance, will the 10-wt. tackle tarpon that head into that area, or am I better off with a heavier rod, such as an 11-wt.? Just thinking about shark, big jacks, and so on. I was under the impression that Cobia like to hang around vertical structure in fairly deep water, likely to be relatively far off-shore much of the time.
02-01-2003 09:29 PM
Re: webs, wives and fish

Originally posted by Tony Petrella
ps--let me know about your thoughts relative to my participation in various aspects of your site.

It's already been a pleasure, and it will become a privilege for us to have you as our sponsor! I will contact you with details.

02-01-2003 05:10 PM
Realizing that there's no way...

... that I'll ever tie enough flies for my own liking by Tuesday night (leaving here Wednesday), and knowing how bored I'm likely to get at night while on the trip, I'm re-organizing all of my tying materials into a pair of old tackle boxes so I can take it on the road and tie in the evenings. Looking through it all and seeing everything that came off and out of my bench, I'm sitting here thinking, "Man, where did all this stuff COME from?". I should be able to tie a few thousand flies with it all!

CapT - will tie a few shrimp flies in the manner you described, though I may have to substitute peacock herl for the black krystal flash... would you believe I don't have any? I think it's time I invested in a decent digital camera so I can start taking photos of my meager tying efforts. Saw a book on tying contemporary saltwater flies today at the LFS, those flies make mine look pretty rotten. Honestly, if I could tie flies that looked as good as the ones in that book, I'd have them all locked away in a safe!

Juro - I'll contact Captain Ben when I get down to the Keys, probably Friday.
02-01-2003 04:54 PM
Tony Petrella
webs, wives and fish

JURO--So, you're telling me that "all's well that ends well"???

Hey, I've been married to the same Saint Kate for the past 32 years. I hear that divorces can get quite spendy, but fortunately don't have any first-hand experience with it. Of course, Kate says that 32 is merely a hypothetical number, since I've been off covering sporting events, hanging out in fly shops or fishing rivers all over the US at least HALF that time. Maybe she's right (as usual?).

Unseasonably cold is a very generous way of putting it. Florida's weather has been more like what North Carolina usually gets. But, it's warming up and we had a tremendous time in Sarasota Bay yesterday. Couldn't keep fish off the fly (REALLY!!!!).

Tight Loops,

ps--let me know about your thoughts relative to my participation in various aspects of your site.
02-01-2003 04:23 PM
juro Chris -

Make sure you talk to our friend and sponsor Capt. Ben Iannotta

I spoke with him on Friday and he says it's been a cold winter but things are warming up.

I will be fishing on his new boat in early May if everything goes as hoped.

CapT -

I had the pleasure of meeting Jefferey at his shop quite a long time ago. I was toying with joining Mike Tucker and Greg McDermid in Fort Collins for the Virtual Flyshop gig at it's inception and happened to be in Key West so I popped in to introduce the Virtual Flyshop concept to him before anyone had ever heard of it. At my family's urging I was convinced not to leave employment at a large aluminum bird maker in Seattle to start a flyfishing website in Fort Collins CO... AAaaarrrGGGhhhhhh!!

Actually, I have no regrets and I kinda like the way things turned out. I am still very happily married and I have the Forum to hang out in!
02-01-2003 03:50 PM
Tony Petrella

When you talk with them, feel free to mention our "discussion". Both Jeffrey and Christina are good pals of mine. Not that it really makes a difference--they treat everybody great.

Have you tied the "craft fur" shrimp? Try it using tan Hi-Viz (marking it alternately with brown and red sharpie markers), tan dubbing with a touch of "sparkle" or "flash" mixed in, loooooong black krystal flash antennae and your choice of burned mono, bead-chain or lead for eyes (depending upon water depth and desired sink-rate).

02-01-2003 02:27 PM
flyfisha1 Roger CapT, will do. Stopped in at the Saltwater Angler last July when we were there, but didn't get to meet Jeffrey. I'll try contacting him as well as Christina. We spent most of our time fishing in Shark Channel last year; jumped one massive tarpon but lost him. The rest of the fish were cuda, jacks, and snappers. Historically, I have little patience to chase fish that have the reputation as being spooky (such as bones and permit) on the flats, but I'll certainly give it a shot. Tying up various crab and shrimp patterns, as well as surf candies, squid, crease flies, and bangers. I think that should cover most of the territory. I'll be in touch shortly...
02-01-2003 02:04 PM
Tony Petrella
Keys contact

Best advice I can give you for the Keys right this minute is: "Think Cuda"! Water inshore is 59o, and just 64o outside.

If it warms up quickly, you'll see some bones and permit. Try a #1 or #4 crab in tan or cream. Shrimp also in the tan/cream mix.

Air temps down there have been pleasant the past few days, but water, as I said, is still a tad chilly.

Once you get down there, contact Christina at Sea Boots Outfitters on Pig Pine Key. She's usually there, and will give you the straight dope. Jeffrey's out a lot, but if you can catch him at Saltwater Angler in Key West there's not a more knowledgable Key West guy down there.

You'd think they'd have considerably warmer water than we've got up here. Strange winter!

02-01-2003 01:19 PM
flyfisha1 I must admit, I'm actually going to be targeting crevalle with the 9-wt., tied up several Bob's Bangers for just that. Last year I had some tremendous action from these jacks on top, enough to make me try to hook up with a few next week. Nothing over 10 lbs., but they fight like a lot of fish three times their size. I had already planned on an 8-wt., and possibly a heavier stick as well; I imagine I'll be building both 8 and 10 weight rods within the next 18 months. I'll give you a call sometime this week... Thanks again. By the way, what are the hot patterns in the lower Keys at this time of year? Not so much for bones or permit, but for other fare.
02-01-2003 10:01 AM
Tony Petrella
Florida trip

Flyfisha1--That 9wt will be fine for the Keys, where it seems that the wind always blows.

Once you get to Ft. Myers, an 8wt probably will become your day-in, day-out stick. That's what I give my clients to use. I always have a 9wt rigged with wire and a popper for jack crevalle, and a 10wt rigged for cobia. But the 8wt gets the lead-eye "minnows" out there fine, and has enough backbone to handle these strong fish and still make it fun.

See ya' soon.

02-01-2003 08:43 AM
flyfisha1 Thanks again for info - I'm no stranger to Florida fishing, but I must admit I've never spent any time in the SouthWest region fishing; all that's about to change! For this trip, the only fly rod I'm bringing is a 9-wt. with various lines. I figure that for all around action, that rod should suit my needs. It's a Loomis IMX paired with a Redington RS2; any thoughts?
We're definitely going to have to get together once I get down there. I'll be in touch otherwise shortly.
02-01-2003 08:23 AM
Tony Petrella
Florida flats fishing

Congratulations, Chris, on winning The Prize behind Door Number One--the Fishing Extravaganza of a Lifetime!!!!!

If you like flats fishing, then you're going to LOVE living down here, my friend.

I guided a couple from Michigan the past two days. Thursday, in Lemon Bay (the ICW at Englewood), they had pretty good action and went home grinning.

By YESTERDAY the water had warmed and we (they) NAILED so many trout and ladyfish that when we were talking about it on the drive back from Sarasota Bay we all agreed that we couldn't even come up with a number of the fish they landed, lost and simply "missed." It was an awesome day. Mostly trout. Mostly in or above the 15-20" "slot" limit --although this was all catch-and-release fishing. Some very large ladyfish (second cousins to tarpon that like to jump a lot when hooked--but in the 20-30" range).

So, if we can just keep Old Man Winter from losing his way and wandering South again, you should have a tremendous time while you're here. You can e-mail me, or give me a call at 941-496-4289 (Venice) and I'll give you the scoop on the Ft. Myers area as well as the keys. I spend a lot of time down there and will be happy to steer you in the right direction.

Tight Loops,
02-01-2003 07:00 AM
Aw Yeah!

CapT - Thanks for the info, I'll be looking you up, you can count on it (probably this week if I have time). We're taking delivery of a 21' TranSport flats catamaran this week, then I'll be headed straight down to Key West end of next week. This is all company research, so I'm very fortunate in that sense. I figure that the move will happen in the October - December time frame, though May has also been mentioned; I imagine I'll be down looking at real estate in the Ft. Myers/Bonita Springs area sometime before. I've got three days to tie like mad before I have to make the trip to pick the boat up, but then several months to get stocked up. Very much looking forward to chasing anything on the flats!!!:eyecrazy: By the way, we'll be looking for guys such as yourself to help us (the company) out with some product testing in the area of fishing (all "top secret" at the moment, but I'll reveal all as we get closer).

Juro - Yeah, Florida Clave sounds good to me. There must be quite a few members in the region that would make the trip for that. Heck, there are probably people in New England that would like to get away for a few days for a "meeting of the minds":hehe:
Thanks guys for your help!

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