Clearwater FL report - Fly Fishing Forum
Bonefish, Tarpon, and other Obsessions Turquoise water, silver demons on the fly

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Old 05-03-2005, 11:35 AM
SteelBoneguy SteelBoneguy is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: WI
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Clearwater FL report

I would like to thanks everyone for the advice I got before my trip. Especially the tip that lead me to honeymoon island. My guided tarpon trip at night was a bust unfortnately, the guide I had was a good tarpon guide, however I was disappointed in him when I suggested that we fish for other fish twice and each time he gave me a wishy washy answer that he felt since the tarpon were not hanging around the other fish would be gone as well, and not biting. Whatever.. I did catch a nice lady fish that hit my fly that was just sitting back behind the boat, fought hard considering it was on a 10 wt, I had to bass master style the fish to get him in as he was heading into the pilings. With the guide saw 3 tarpon had one good shot and cast at one around 60Lbs but no bite. Fished from 9pm to 2:30am.

Fishing by myself. With the tip about honeymoon island went and checked it out. A beautiful park, that you have to pay I think 5 bucks to get in per car. The only problem I had with the place was that you can't get in earlier than 8 am. I want to fish earlier than that!! One side of the island is beachy, and rocky. The bay side is mud/sand flats w/ mangroves, this is the side that I fished. I fished high tide each time. The first time I was out I found a really neat sand flat but I couldn't get to it with out swimming and I didn't want to do that. So I got as close as I could casting a clouser I caught a small lady fish. Fished several more hours with nothing dying to get on that flat as there was a ton of bait fish and mullet around the flat. Left went back the next day, tried to rent a kayak but they wouldn't let me put in on the bay side and I wasn't about to paddle all the way around. So I went back to where I was yesterday, and there was 2 guys wading in the flat that I couldn't figure out to get on. So I walked around and around looking for a way to get on w/o swimming and I couldn't find a way so I decided to sit and watch em. They were both bait fishing w/ spin gear. I saw one guy catch something. After 2 hours they came back in and I watched how they came in. They waded around a far side that gets chest deep but you don't have to swim. They were both really nice and told me they usually catch speck trout, redfish, jacks, and there fav is 3 ft black tip sharks. Both said the fishing was slow, and didn't see any sharks, or hook ups with big fish, each caught a couple of small speck trout. They gave me some advice on how to wade out there and told me to beware of stingrays, and BIG bull sharks So I started to wade out there and I almost turned back it was a errie wading up to my chest and not being able to see as the water was cloudy, the sinking mud bottom didn't help. But I said screw it and 40 ft later I hit sand and the water was a little below the knees much nicer wading conditions. There was mullett jumping all over the place and different sizes. I tried a popper at first and nothing, switched to a clouser and was casting to a shallow grass flat, I had a nice hit and turned a good size fish but it didnt stay hooked. Cont to fish the clouser and nothing, decided to down size flies and switch to a really flashy simple sparkley fly, was stripping in had a hit nothing, another cast, hit set the hook fish on then off, line broke.. I'm not sure what it was whether toothy critter or bad spot in my tippet I was using 12 lb. Then I looked in my fly box and I grabbed another clouser but it was different than the other one, I use it for steel and browns. Tyed on a size 10 extra wide gap chrt bottom, and dark olive top, I thought it would be good pattern for the grassy bottom. The only problem the hook is not particularly strong, I had a 12 lb steelie straighten the hook a little one time. I thought it would be fine for a S. trout. I cont to work the grass flat and it was getting around 4pm, decided I should start working back to shore. I worked a lot of the grass flat w/ nothing so I decided to try and cast the opposite of me where it drops off quick from the flat. One cast nothing, two cast nothing, 3rd cast was stripping in and then bang. A strong hard hit, and it stayed on it was thrashing deep, rod was really throbbing, then the fish ran. My super 8 was singing all my fly line shot through and then I head my backing zipping out. I'm not sure how much line went through on that the first run. The fish stopped that direction and then headed kinda at me at an angle. I reeled fast, and was walking backward, when i saw a 3 ft manta ray a ft away which scared the bejesus outta me. The fish changed directions and took off again. I was concerned about that fresh water hook, but thought whatever happens happens. I cont to fight the fish hard, and it was a battle, 5 different times I had reeled back into my fly line only to have the fish pull out to my backing. Finally I had the fish in some it was towards the surface looked like a jack. Fish took off again, reeled up saw it again, and I couldn't believe my eyes a permit!!! I thought it can't be. The fish finally was tired, and I was doing the fly rod behind the back thing trying to grab the line, very hard by myself, I was at the limit of my rod, got my line in my hand had to let go fish ran, got it in again, went for the tail, missed took off again, this time got the fish in reached down tailed grabbed hard, pulled it out of the water fish shook hard 3 times and relaxed. I est to the fish to be 10 lbs. She was beautiful!! Silver blue sides, had that gorgous yellowish color at the bottom. I looked for the fly and it was swallowed, cut my line, quickly revied the fish and it was gone. I wish I got a pic. but no camera as I had to wade so deep. And NO it wasn't a pompano. I am 100% postive it was a permit, I have seen both it person, my wife caught a permit in the keys on a spinning rod. I subscribe to a bunch of fly mags I know what a permit looks like. Totally made my year. As I waded back in I thought to myself if a shark ate me it still would have been worth it. I know I was blind casting and didn't see it, but that is AOK by me. I can't believe I caught a permit in Clearwater FL. Later folks.
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