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www.FlaFlyFish.com 1

Vol. 3 No. 3


What’s Inside? Newbies on Board-------------------- 3 Capt. Rick Grassett’s Fly Fishing Forecast for April--------------------- 5 Ken Morrow - It’s Florida, baby!---- 8 Capt Jon Brett - Amberjack on Fly-- 20 Aaron Adams - And then time stopped.------------------------------ 26 David Ross - Fish Eyesight: Does Color Matter?------------------------- 30 Capt Craig Crumbliss - Fly Tying---- 36 Dusty Sprague - Are you spooking fish, wasting time ?------------------ 41 Spring Shopping Guide ------------- 41 Nikki Page - The Clouser Minnow--- 50 Guide to Fly Shops and Guides----- 58

Florida Fly Fishing Magazine

Only Florida - Only Fly Fishing A Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Conservation Blue Ribbon Sponsor

Florida Fly Fishing Magazine publishes articles about fly fishing in the Sunshine State. It is published on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico in Dunedin, Florida.

Editor & Publisher Edward C. Maurer Contributing Editors: Aaron Adams Joe Mahler Jeannie McGuire Ken Morrow Robert Morselli Dusty Sprague Capt. Craig Crumbliss Contact: editor@flaflyfish.com (727) 798-2366 A publication of Edward Maurer Consulting, LLC. Copyright 2012 All rights reserved. Actions, activities, travel, techniques, etc. seen within are examples of what others do and participate in and should only be carried out by qualified individuals. The outcome of your activities remain your own responsibility. Properly wear and use all safety equipment. If you’re afraid of the water, stay away from it.

On the cover: Tarpon by Aaron Adams. Photos by Aaron seen in F3M can be purchased by contacting him at http://www.fishermanscoast.com/photos/


Ed, Wading in....

Newbies on Board With this issue of Florida Fly Fishing Magazine we welcome two new folks to the F3M family, Captains Craig Crumbliss and Jon Brett. Craig takes over as our new fly tying editor and will introduce us to tying a variety of patterns, both new and old. Craig currently operates his NoMotorGuide Service out of Winter Haven. Being the first freshwater Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide in Florida, Craig offers a unique opportunity to fish central Florida’s lakes, rivers, and ponds. He will post fishing reports in the blog and articles about freshwater fly fishing, which too many folks don’t realize we have here in the Sunshine State - the “Fly Fishing Capital of the World.” If you have any particular questions for Craig send them to me and I’ll pass them on for you. Not formally a contributing editor, even though his participation amounts to that, Jon Brett has partnered with us to create and provide many of the exclusive videos you’ll see only in F3M and Fishbuzz TV. Jon is the creative being, editor, and chief cook and bottle washer of FishBuzz TV, which many of you already know. Fishbuzz TV provides web marketing solutions to an array of marine industry companies, which in English means FBTV is a studio that creates videos for companies, guides services and other operations. During BP’s Gulf oil disaster, Jon worked as an on-the-ground producer for the National Wildlife Federation and the Ocean Conservancy. He has a great amberjack video to go along with his article in this issue. So--welcome Craig and Jon--we know you’ll make us even bigger and better! Ed Maurer, Publisher

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http://waterworks-lamson.com


Capt. Rick Grassett’s Fly Fishing Forecast for April 2012

This is one of my favorite months for a variety of species. With the warm winter we had this year spring fishing is already in full swing. With more plentiful bait due to warmer water, reds, snook and trout should be on the feed. In addition to trout, look for Spanish mackerel, blues and pompano on deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay. Migratory species such as Spanish and king mackerel, blues, cobia and tripletail should be plentiful in the coastal gulf. False albacore (little tunny) should also be a good option in the coastal gulf in April. Look for early arriving tarpon along the beaches any time this month. With the mild winter that we had this year, tarpon are already showing up in our area. Early arrivals are resident fish plus some migratory fish. Look for residents along sand bars and deep grass flats near river mouths and the lower reaches of estuaries as they move towards the beaches. You may also find some early arriving migratory tarpon along beaches or moving in and out of bays. Both Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor and smaller bays in between, such as Sarasota Bay, should have some early season tarpon action this month. Early season tarpon may be finicky due to cooler water, but as the temperature warms towards 80 degrees they become more cooperative. Fly anglers should do well with 12-weight fly tackle, sink tip lines and baitfish fly patterns. My go to tarpon fly for the past several seasons has been a black Deceiver. Snook season remains closed this month so use tackle heavy enough to catch and release them quickly. You’ll find them staging along sand bars and feeding on shallow flats as they make their move towards passes. Snook will also be plentiful in the ICW especially Grassett’s Snook Minnow 5


around lighted docks and bridge fenders at night. Small white flies, like my Grassett Snook Minnow, or shrimp patterns fished on sink tip lines should work well. Baitfish fly patterns, such as Deceivers and EP flies, or Gurglers fished on a floating fly line and a 12’ or longer leader would be good choices for snook in shallow water during the day. You’ll need at least a 30-pound bite tippet when fishing water where catching a snook is a possibility. Fish peak tidal flows for the best action. Reds should spend more time feeding in shallow water this month due to the influx of pilchards and other small baitfish. Look for them on the edges of flats and bars and in potholes when the tide is low. They will follow the tide onto shallow flats where you may find them along mangrove shorelines or on top of sand or oyster bars. Fly anglers should do well with a floating fly line, a 12’ or longer leader and a lightly weighted fly. Since larger baitfish are more prevalent in April, I’m tying my Grassett Flats Minnow on a larger hook (#1) with a larger wing to match pilchards or pinfish. Wading may be more effective when fly fishing for reds which Look for big trout in skinny water this month. Capt. Rick Gra bar and caught and released this 6-pound trout on a Grassett will allow you to keep a lower profile and get closer to fish. Big trout may also be found in skinny water in many of the same places that you’ll find reds. You may find them in potholes or over shallow grass and they can be as wary as reds when they are in shallow water. I use the same techniques for big trout in skinny water that I use for reds. Avoid casting your fly line over seams where grass and sand meet in shallow water, instead allow just your leader and fly to cross seams and then lengthen your casts. Gurglers and poppers should provide some explosive action in shallow water! Shallow flats of north Sarasota Bay, lower Tampa Bay and Gasparilla Sound should have good action with reds, trout and snook this month.


You’ll also find trout, including some big ones, along with Spanish mackerel, blues, pompano and more on deep grass flats. I like flats with a good mixture of grass and sand and a good tidal flow, which are usually close to passes, points and sand bars. Fly anglers should do well drifting and casting ahead of the drift with lightly weighted flies on sink tip fly lines. You may need to add some heavy fluorocarbon tippet when toothy fish are plentiful. You’ll also find Spanish and king mackerel, blues, false albacore (little tunny), cobia and tripletail in the coastal gulf this month. Look for Spanish mackerel, blues or false albacore breaking on the surface where you can catch them with top water plugs, jigs or flies. My Grassett Snook Minnow fly works well for albies. I also use Ultra Hair Clousers tied on long shank hooks that leaves some hook shank exposed for mackerel and blues. In the absence of surface activity, you may find them over artificial reefs or areas of natural hard bottom. When fishing fish deeper in the water column, drift over structure and use a fast sinking fly line and a weighted fly. You might find cobia and tripletail on the surface around crab trap floats, buoys or flotsam where you can sight cast to them. You could use your tarpon fly tackle, including the same flies, for cobia but I wouldn’t use anything less than a 9-weight. An 8-weight fly rod with a floating or sink tip line and a lightly weighted, bulky fly should work well for tripletail. April is a great month with lots of variety and action. I like to fish both the coastal gulf and shallow flats his month. With early arriving tarpon, assett waded a Sarasota Bay sand that could make it even better. It’s hard for me t Flats Minnow fly with a 6-wt rod. to fish for anything but tarpon whenever they are an option. Whatever you choose to do, please limit your kill, don’t kill your limit! Tight Lines, Capt. Rick Grassett Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc. FFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor (941) 923-7799 E-mail snookfin@aol.com www.flyfishingflorida.net and www.snookfin-addict.com 7


KEN MORROW: IT'S JUST FISHIN'

This Ain’t Montana It’s Florida, baby!

Many great fly fishing stories are written about trout fishing on the mountain streams of the West, Salmon and Steelhead adventures, and even the pastoral spring creek fisheries of the Great Lakes region and New England. A quick Google search of top American fly fishing destinations, cities, or states will only mention Miami or the Florida Keys a time or two out of dozens of entries for Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Alaska, and Colorado – trout fishing Meccas, one and all. Run a more generic search on the topic of fly fishing and you really have to dig deep before you start getting into information about fly fishing in Florida. But ask a conventional tackle fishing aficionado for his list of top five states in the US for fishing and he or she is likely to have Florida on their list. Several media sources list Florida, Ft. Lauderdale, the upper Keys, or Miami as the number one fishing location in the country – depending on the criteria they used to rank their selections. For some reason, it is when you tack the word “fly” in front of “fishing” that Florida seems to drop off the map in the minds of many people. We all know why. It is because of the prevailing notion that fly fishing is a sport for trout fishermen…the cold, fresh water type of trout that live in creeks and rivers and mostly feed on tiny insects. When someone says “fly fishing,” few people have an image pop into their heads of a man standing on the fantail of a sport-fishing vessel with a blue water fly rod in his arms and braced firmly into a fighting belt against his waist as he battles a Marlin or a Yellowfin Tuna that took his fly in three hundred feet of water off the coast of Mexico. The image that immediately comes to mind is rarely of a man standing knee-deep in saltwater casting a fly to cruising Barracuda. No, the image that comes to mind for the vast majority of people is some guy in waders, a floppy hat, and fishing vest casting delicately to rising trout in a mountain stream. That’s why Florida gets overlooked. That is why even people who love to visit Florida to fly fish often find themselves saying, “Oh yeah, I forgot Florida,” after they rattle off their list of favorite fly fishing states. Florida is the crown jewel of warm and saltwater fly fishing destinations in North America. As such, the Sunshine


State always seems relegated to the honorable mention and rarely gets the literary attention it deserves. This is a true story about a typical week in the lives of a few Florida fly anglers. It is a glimpse into the real world of Florida fly fishing culture as it actually happened just a few weeks ago. Nothing terribly spectacular happened that week. It wasn’t a week that stood out from all other weeks on the calendar. No, when all was said and done it was pretty ordinary. And that’s what made it so important for me to share it with you. You see, Florida has a rich and full fly fishing culture where rarely a day goes by when a fly angler cannot find a way to surround him- or herself with fellow anglers, go fishing, tie flies, attend a fly fishing or tying event, and so forth. In between, there is the hustle and bustle of … league sports or a leisurely breakfast, sitting on a park bench at the local marina and chatting with the captains, or buying an old veteran a beer at the American Legion post. It’s a tough life for a fly fisherman! Pick your poison: fresh water or salt, big game or small, exotics or native species. You can bike, walk, wade, paddle, or motor. Heck, I even have one friend who sails! If there are two things Florida has no shortage of is water and fish. They’re everywhere. That means there is no real shortage of fishing buddies, a plethora of fishing tournaments and shows, and a fair number of fly tying festivals, too. I hope you enjoy my account of this little slice of life from the Florida fly fishing scene. Down here, we tend to mix with the conventional tackle folks quite a bit, so don’t let that confuse you. The world renowned fly angler Stu Apte once said that he preferred to fly fish, but on any given day he was going to fish…period. If it was too windy to fly fish, or the fish were in water to deep to reach with a fly rod, he would switch to conventional tackle without hesitation; because he was going to fish. Stu lives in Florida, and that’s a pretty common sentiment in the Sunshine State. Captain Mel Carlos Santana sang “Black Magic Woman” as my SUV cruised onto the Courtney Campbell Causeway on a sunny Saturday just after noon. The spring-time saltwater breeze was fresh and warm as it ripped at the slightly lowered driver’s side window where I let cigarette smoke escape. A breeze blew up waves on the bay on the north side of the causeway, but not on the southern side. Pelicans, gulls, and ducks were scattered about doing what birds normally do along these long causeways you find all over Florida, and people lined the narrow beaches to sun, splash, cavort with friends and family, and to fish. I was en route to the Captain Mel Trout & Redfish Classic memorial fishing tournament awards presentation in Clearwater, and I was almost there. I was ready for the six-and-a-half hour drive from Savannah, Georgia, to be over. Half way across the causeway I picked up my cell phone and called 9


Neil Taylor, the tournament organizer and site administrator of www.CapMel. com. I got his voicemail and left a message asking for clarification to verify my directions to the bar and grill where the tournament events were going to happen. Neil and I have known each other for about five years. We have fished together a couple of times, had lunch once, split a few rounds at a beach bar, and talked a whole lot back and forth via email and the phone. We have a lot of mutual friends and acquaintances. And we have a lot in common. So we always got along well. When I found out about the Captain Mel tournament coinciding with the dates of my trip to Florida, I offered to put up some award prizes from Navionics and attend. It was short notice. It wouldn’t be convenient for me. But I knew a major marine industry name brand sponsor adding to the award pool would be good for the tournament, and I seemed to remember owing Neil a favor for letting me borrow a kayak on a previous

The author’s Freedom Hawk Pathfinder 14 setup at the CapMel tournament visit. It was also good outreach for Navionics, one of my sponsors. So I packed up Friday night, got up at zero-dark-thirty Saturday morning, and made a mad dash to Clearwater from Savannah for the Saturday afternoon festivities.


The phone rang and Neil answered my question: do I turn right or left at the intersection of Gulf to Bay and Highway 19? I had it from there. I pulled into the parking lot and quickly located Neil’s van with his Native Ultimate strapped to the top. I pulled up nearby as he suggested to unload my Freedom Hawk Pathfinder and other display items, and set up the boat display in the awards area on the parking lot adjacent to the patio. Then I parked the Ford Edge, grabbed the prize packages, and headed inside. The afternoon was fun. I got to meet a lot of people I had only interacted with via the Internet – some for a few years. I met several new anglers, including a few fly fishermen and a couple of manufacturers and retailers. I met a few charter captains from the Tampa Bay area whom I had never met before. I ate a pretty respectable plate of fried calamari and drank copious amounts of iced tea. Participating in the awards presentation was really cool. I especially enjoyed the junior division. The fly only division needs to be supported better by the area fly fishing clubs, but the sparse participation was a real boon to the four guys who entered that division. The winners in the various categories took home some serious loot between the two of them! And the no motor division was very impressive, with about a hundred contestants. The top three finishers in the combined length category were separated by less than 1” total between first and third place. The winner took home a Native Ultimate kayak…among other things. After the tournament, the crowd dispersed and I sat around with a couple of sponsors and Neil to catch our breath and chat a bit. Then I followed Neil to his place in Safety Harbor. The plan was for me to crash there for the next couple of days and do a little fishing. Kayak Fishing the Suncoast The wind and tide were such that I didn’t need to get an early start at all. So I slept in and goofed around all morning. Driving over to Palm Harbor, I launched the Freedom Hawk at Pop Stansell Park about one o’clock in the afternoon. I had fished this area a couple of times before, and I felt there might be a reason to mess around inside the bayou for a bit before heading out into the sound onto the flats – especially in that wind and with the tide still fairly low and just starting to come in. A typical trout from a deep grass flat in I setup and repeated a couple of drifts Florida’s St. Joseph Sound 11


across the small flat in the bayou and missed a good Redfish. I caught a small Sea Trout and a Pinfish. I didn’t expect to find a Pinfish in there, but I tucked that information away for future reference. I won’t explain why. Then I headed out into St. Joseph Sound. With the wind at my back I set a drift across the deep grass flat, casting to the edges of the sand holes as they came into range. I caught Sea Trout after Sea Trout in this manner, all of them between 15 and about 19 inches long, and fat. After about 800 yards or so, I sat down and paddled the kayak back to where I began. Two other anglers in kayaks had paddled in and were anchored up and fishing near where I had caught my first fish. I had to modify my drift a bit. No problem, the flat there is huge. I repeated this process with similar results three more times before four o’clock. Then I paddled back to the launch in the park, where I must have done the whole show and tell thing on the Freedom Hawk Pathfinder at least six times before I was finally able to load it up and drive away – a full two hours after I landed there. I finally asked a couple of ladies who were playing twenty questions with me about the boat to take some pictures for me, which they were all too happy to do. Monday, Neil and I went to breakfast at Paradise in Safety Harbor and then stopped by Bar Fly to chat with Jeff Harrell and Ed Maurer before we headed to the marina to check the water The author fishing off St. Petersburg in Tampa Bay conditions. We ran into Capt. Simmons at the marina and chatted with him for awhile, too…mostly about Snook. Then we packed up and headed for St. Petersburg to do some fishing together. Neil wanted to show me a new spot I hadn’t fished before. He knew there would be trout there, and suspected we might find reds nearby. Well, the Redfish didn’t cooperate, but the trout did. They were small, but we caught a bunch of them. It was a beautiful day and we had a great time. Best of all, there wasn’t another living soul around in a boat. That was a rare treat for Pinellas County fishing in my experience! Gasparilla Sound and the Way Inshore Slam Tuesday morning I loaded everything up, said my farewells, and pointed the Edge south toward Englewood. I had a couple of stops to make along the way. Namely, Freedom Hawk had a couple of dealers down that way that they wanted me to call on and show them the new Pathfinder. I had already contacted them and they were expecting me. With the stops behind me, I


pulled in to the Denny’s in Englewood for dinner and then drove over to my good friend Captain Al White’s house, where I would be crashing for the next few nights. Wednesday morning I launched the Pathfinder into Gasparilla Sound on what was supposed to be a sunny day with a slight chance of rain and a 6 mph easterly wind, but 6 mph turned into 20 mph after I had been out there for an hour or two. No problem. Living on the Georgia coast had gotten me used to 20 mph wind. On the Georgia coast, that is pretty much the minimum wind speed. I couldn’t see the Redfish on the flats, but I did bump a few as I poled my way across the flat or drifted on the wind. Eventually, the wind and tide were getting high enough that I gave up the stalking tactic and decided to stake out next to a large shell bed with an adjacent deep hole with mixed sand and grass all around. It is easier to spot cruising fish in this area and you can blind cast the deeper water when nothing else is going on. This spot consistently produces Redfish and Sea Trout at various tide stages. It’s sort of a grab bag spot that will also attract other fish now and then. It is at the edge of the flat adjacent to a fairly major creek channel. It’s just one of those very “fishy” spots. Once I let the wind push me half way and paddled the other half way to the shell bed, I anchored up there and went silent to let things settle back down. This is something far too few boat anglers do when anchoring up on a spot. What’s your rush? Fish have almost zero memory. Give them a few minutes and they’ll forget you showed up in a big boat, dropped an anchor, and disturbed their peace. Their wariness will disappear. That’s when you want to begin fishing. I always get a good drink and smoke a cigarette. A five to ten minute break will do the trick nicely. It’s like good camouflage. It 13


works, too. Nearly with the first cast, I laid into a nice trout! I caught a few more before THEY showed up. Yeah, you know who THEY are. The Sea Trout angler’s nemesis…Poseidon’s court jesters…the smartest fishermen on the seas…the dolphins! They ripped through my fishing spot and cleared it of all life forms except for me in about fifteen to twenty seconds. Then they left – leaving me standing there on a rocking kayak laughing at their antics and shaking my head in both admiration of their uncanny prowess and frustration with their utter lack of sportsmanship. “Ken, it’s Captain Al…night Snook fishing…tonight. Meet us…house…8:30. …dinner…” That’s all I got from my voicemail message, but I thought it would be all I needed. I wasn’t going to miss a night Snook trip with Al. The weather was gorgeous and Al said he had been getting into some huge Snook at night. I swung into the closest restaurant to woof down some food and head for Al’s house. I called and got Al’s voicemail. I left him a message. We played phone tag like this throughout dinner, but the gist of it was clear that we were hooking up at his house at 8:30 pm. The night Snook fishing trip was on! I was already exhausted. I was also wet from kayaking all day in the wind, and my arms were sore due to the activity flaring up my bilateral cervical radiculopathy. Yeah, but I was going night Snook fishing at Boca Grande with Captain Al! I ate my nachos at the Waterside Grill at Gasparilla Marina and jumped in the SUV, headed for Al’s house. We picked up a buddy of Al’s named Dick and were on the water a few minutes after nine o’clock. Since it was Spring Break, most of the dock lights in the area were on because renters were occupying the waterfront homes. A few people were fishing from docks and several were trying to catch shrimp. The current was really moving through the docks on a Captain Al White strong outgoing tide. Prospects looked good for Snook fishing, but we were going to have to go heavy and it was pretty windy. Casting would be a bit awkward and ugly, but that was okay. We weren’t out there to impress each other with our beautiful loops. I had brought an 8’ TFO Mini-Mag with a 350 grain Saltwater Streamer Express sinking line on it. This night was about getting a fly in a big Snook’s face and trying to haul it away from cover before it could break me off or spit out the fly. Dick was first up on the casting deck. With a floating line and medium weight flies, he just wasn’t getting his flies into the strike zone. He swore to


Captain Al there weren’t any Snook at the first dock we anchored up near. “Are you sure, Dick?” Captain Al asked. “I’m sure,” Dick replied. “That’s what I wanted to hear. I needed to know you were convinced there are no Snook on this dock,” said Al as he picked up his rod and stepped up onto the casting deck. I sat on the stern, knowing what was about to happen. Captain Al cast a sinking line with a heavily weighted fly upstream of the dock outside the halo of light from the dock, allowing it to sink. He then let the fly drift down current along the edge of the dock. At the downstream edge of the dock, the line went tight in the blink of an eye and Al set the hook. The rod bent to the max, straining in the butt section as Al’s arm muscles went taught and he quickly widened his stance on the casting deck to maintain his balance. He immediately shifted the rod orientation to dip the rod tip well under the water as the big Snook ran away from the dock, stripping line out of his hand and then from the reel. The fish was heading for the adjacent dock about thirty yards away. The Captain moved on the bow to get a better angle on the fish without lifting the rod tip out of the water and the Snook began to slow and turn away from the dock toward open water. Suddenly, the fish changed angles and made a run toward the dock we were fishing. Al quickly changed the rod angle to oppose the fish’s line of travel at a right angle, but it was too late. The big fish was already traveling away from the boat and toward the dock. There was no way to turn its head now. Adding to the drag, Al put the rod tip back under the water. He got down on one knee to put more rod under water, trying to force the fish to come up. But it wasn’t working. The big fish slowly pulled line off of the reel as the Captain watched the inches of fly line slip through the guides on his fly rod and the reel turn, as if in slow motion. He could feel the fish’s tail waving in the water and bumping the fly line as it struggled directly away from him – and under the dock from which it had come to take his fly. And as quickly as the battle had begun it was over. The line went slack and Captain Al’s body relaxed. He bowed his head for a second, and then he looked at us with a huge smile on his face and said, “So there are no fish under that dock, huh, Dick?” The night became an epic adventure in the annals of “the ones that got away.” Between Al and I, we struggled with and lost six fish like that. We 15


got a look at two of the ones I hooked. The smaller of those two probably measured two feet in length. It jumped into the air and spit out the hook about twenty feet from the book in the dock lights. The larger was at least thirty inches long, and had surfaced on the run just off the bow of the boat shortly after I had hooked it under a bridge. Dick landed the biggest Snook of the night, which probably weighed ten pounds. It was the most fun I have ever had while hooking up with multiple fish and not landing any. That includes the day I jumped two Tarpon. My only regret is that we didn’t get a picture of Dick’s fish for him, but he said it was more important to get it back in the water quickly than to dig out a camera and get a hero shot. It had been a long fight. He was concerned that the fish was overly stressed. We pulled in to Al’s driveway at four in the morning. I went to sleep and didn’t wake up until noon. I spent the afternoon cleaning tackle and the kayak. Captain Al and I watched an NCIS marathon that night. Friday morning Al had to play a couple of softball games to finish out his league season. Living in South Florida comes with certain responsibilities, you know. I like softball and there are ponds full of bass and pan fish in the park next to the ball fields. Being a good buddy, Al let me borrow a TFO 3 weight Finesse rod set up and a couple of black marabou micro-jigs and I tagged along. I caught a few Largemouth Bass and then watched most of both games. After the second game we hit the boat ramp and were into Gasparilla Sound ahead of the incoming tide. The first grass flat we fished only produced a couple of light hits, but no hook-ups. After working it over pretty hard we moved on to another spot. This second spot was a large, shallow grass flat that a lot of boats can’t get on to at low tides. It is interspersed with large sand holes. The flat is expansive, but it is protected on three sides by thick forest and Mangroves. So it is well protected from the wind. While there was a pretty stiff wind blowing on the open water, there was only about a ten mile per hour breeze blowing across this flat from northeast to southwest, the same general orientation of the length of the flat. It was perfect for drifting and sightfishing – the most stealthy way to sneak up on Redfish. It was about two o’clock in the afternoon. So the sun was high enough to give us good visibility and casting a short shadow back in the direction we had just passed. The chances for success looked pretty good. This type of sight-fishing requires patience. If you drift along blind-casting, you lose the advantage of stealth. The fish on the flats hear (or feel) you coming. You may get lucky and hook up with a fish by accident, but this isn’t taking advantage of the strengths of fly fishing. It is playing right into the weakness of fly fishing: the lack of the ability to cover a lot of water with the lure in the strike zone in a short period of time. That is the advantage of the conventional tackle angler. The fly angler’s advantages are stealth and delicacy of presentation. Patience and keen observation are a fly angler’s virtues.


Drifting along on the wind, we approached the first large sand hole. Captain Al, fishing from the stern of the boat, pulled up his fly and said, “You’re going to get two or three casts at this hole if you do it right. And there is going to be a big trout laid up along the edge of this hole somewhere – probably a Redfish or two, too.” I made a cast parallel along the leading edge of the sand hole over the grass. Nothing. As the boat drifted over the sand hole, I made my second cast to the far edge of the sand hole and stripped the fly back across it at an angle. A little bump – probably a Pinfish. My third cast was back to the far edge of the sand hole into the grass about fifteen feet where there was an uneven edge. There was movement and a strong tug. I was hooked up. A silvery flash told me it was a good size trout. On my seven weight TFO BVK, the hefty trout was putting up a lively struggle. As the fish crossed another edge of the hole, a Redfish began to follow it around. When the trout began

to calm down and I got it close to the boat, the Redfish took off. We made another drift down the flat on a different line. About three quarters of the way down the flat, I saw a group of large Mullet, Redfish, or both heading toward the boat at an oblique angle. I made a cast toward them that fell short. I just let the fly sit until they got to it, taking up the slack that 17


built up from the wind pushing the boat toward the spot where the fly had landed. I twitched the fly twice and then stripped it in. Nothing. I cast again behind and beyond the wake of the school of fish and began stripping the fly. There it was! A nice Redfish took my fly. Relentlessly maintaining enough pressure on the fish at all times to force it to fight, we tired and landed the Redfish in under five minutes on the seven weight TFO BVK and Wulff Bermuda Triangle fly line using sixteen pound tippet.

Redfish Hero I was two-thirds of the way to an Inshore Slam with two good size fish. The tide was no coming in and flooding the flat. So we headed for the Mangroves to try and pick up a Snook to finish the slam. After an hour of banging the Mangroves hard with a small gray-over-white Deceiver, Al and I decided it just wasn’t going to happen in the time and energy we were willing to spend on it that day. The wind was picking up and we were tired and hungry. Besides, I pointed out to my friend, the captain, that I had already caught a slam of sorts that day. I had caught what I jokingly called the Way Inshore Slam: a Largemouth Bass, a Sea Trout, and a Redfish. “Oh yeah! I forgot about the bass. A Way In-shore Slam. Is that what you’re calling it?” and the Captain chuckled as he fired up the four-stroke Honda motor on his flats skiff.


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CAPT JON BRETT: VISUAL DYNAMICS

Amberjack on Fly

Prepare to get your ass whipped If I had a nickel every time I’ve heard a fly fishing “expert” explain that a fly reel is the least important part of your setup…I’d have enough for a PBR. Regardless, I’d bet the farm they haven’t caught an Amberjack on the long rod. These aggressive fish don’t just pull serious drag, they bust your knuckles and flat out whip your ass. Amberjack, or Reef Donkeys, are plentiful in the Gulf of Mexico year round and move closer to shore during the warmer months. If you want

A fish like this average size amberjack will give any reel a good workout. The bearings in inexpensive or undersized reels just won’t take the punishment. to target a true stud (AJ’s get well over 100lbs) it’d be best to search in deeper (80-120 feet) waters. Like many other species, AJ’s tend to hang on structure because that’s where the food is generally concentrated. I got my first AJ on the fly about 5 years ago, which was a juvenile at 30lbs, and will never forget the experience. At the time, my fly fishing trips were pretty much limited to the 1 – 6 feet of water that my skiff was


accustomed to, so I was a bit curious when Capt. Brett Norris – of Rock Bottom Charters – told me to grab that ‘funny looking long rod’ and head offshore with him. A few beers later I decided it would be a good change of pace, and cautiously agreed. After all, it didn’t sound like much of a challenge to chum a wad of fish to the surface in a feeding frenzy, and stick a few. Brett explained that the spot we’d be fishing, which was about 25 miles off Tampa Bay, would be full of 20-30lb fish with the occasional 40 pounder. Even though Brett hadn’t tried to feed one a fly, he was pretty optimistic it wouldn’t take long to get an eat. We loaded up my pops Bertram with beer (and my other buddy Trip and his girlfriend) and headed out. It was a fairly calm, scorching hot summer day. Within 5 minutes of dropping anchor, we had a feeding frenzy off the stern. I couldn’t believe my eyes! The ferocity at which these fish feed was absolutely astonishing.

You’ll see, and hear in the video, this Orvis reel screaming as the AJ takes the fight to Jon testing rod, reel, line and angler. (Editor’s note: See the video at http://fishbuzz.tv/reef-donkey-long-rod) After a dozen or so casts I came tight – to what I thought was a small submarine – and the donkey had me into the backing of my 12wt’s reel within seconds, and didn’t stop peeling drag until he busted me off on the structure below…It’s okay though because I let him keep my fly. At that point, I realized it was time to take off the gloves, lock down the drag, and get some revenge. 21


www.jeffharrellart.com


After another dozen or so casts I was again hooked up. Brett, Trip, and Jenny had all landed one on spinning gear, so I decided it was time to put one in the boat. After the longest 30 minute fight of my life, I was soaked in sweat and bloody knuckled – but victorious – and decided she could join her buddies in our fish box dance party. Following my second battle royale, I cracked the most satisfying Natty Light ever created, and passed the long rod to the next contestant. My buddy Trip ended up landing one shortly after, and was in similar condition as I. He passed the rod over to an eager Brett, who flopped the line out and hooked up immediately. After a while, he told us he saw color and a few seconds later, I heard what sounded like a twelve-gauge going off. Turns out ol’ Capt. Brett high-sticked my rod to death, modifying my beloved 4 piece Helios into a 10 piece, and continued to fight the fish with just the reel and bottom guide. That didn’t end up panning out, as it wasn’t long before the AJ muscled him down to the seafloor and wrapped him around the structure. In the end, my knuckles healed, the rod was replaced, and the smoked fish dip was the real deal! The only piece of advice I’d give to the first-timer targeting AJ’s on the fly is to wear your big boy hat, and make sure to bring a celebratory beer (or 2).

Florida Fly Fishing Magazine supports the Adaptive Fly Fishing Institute, Operation Still Waters, Project Healing Waters, Casting for Recovery, Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, Coastal Conservation Association of Florida, Federation of Fly Fishers, The Snook Foundation, Ocean Conservancy, and many other fine efforts to enhance the lives of others and our

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Jon Brett on the bow. Chris Hargiss photo 25


AARON ADAMS: THE CONSERVATION ANGLER

When Time Stops

And then time stopped. Everything suspended in place. And with it, a suspension of disbelief. Gravity didn’t exist, and light stopped traveling. For an instant, since there was no time, light could not travel, and so the image stayed frozen – but continued to exist, alive. And because light did not travel, and could not disappear into space, everything was clear. No soft edges. No blurs of motion. Every detail crisp and clean. Magnified. And for this moment, there was no sound. It was not an absence of sound, not a vacuum. The sound was still there, trapped by the light, caught in mid-stream, piling up behind an invisible veil of light.  Palpable, pressure building, waiting to explode. But for a moment, sound, too, was still. And then time starts again, rushing past in a shock wave, blasting through with the force of light and sound bursting through time. It’s always the sound that escapes first, somehow slips through cracks in the veil of light. Briefly in the distance, almost gray. Then explosively closer. Then crashing through like a sudden hurricane. The switch was turned, and time starts again.  In an explosion of sound and a shower of silver and white, the big tarpon crashes back into the water, that frozen moment of time disappearing through the hole in the water left by the crashing tarpon. Fly line hisses as it zips through the water.  The reel spins, screaming, at the speed of light. The big tarpon greyhounds off the bow, ever farther away. Time is back on its own terms, dragging us behind. And so it goes. ***** This doesn’t happen always, only some fish, on some days.  But when fishing for tarpon it happens frequently enough to cause addiction, to keep us coming back for more.  Sometimes, soon after being hooked, a tarpon makes a first jump close to the boat. For most fish, it is the first spectacular jump of many, initiating a brief struggle between angler and beast.  But a few special tarpon are able to make time stand still, for just a moment,


as they suspend themselves in mid-air to survey the madness above the water; skiff, wide-eyed angler, outstretched rod, jumping fly line. When time stands still, you have to wonder who is looking at whom. My guess is that with 50 million years experience swimming the oceans, in these moments tarpon have the upper hand. There’s really no way to know how long the moment lasts. It doesn’t really matter anyway, to those encased in that moment. An hour would feel the same as a minute, as a second, as a day. In reality, it’s probably only a few seconds to those not involved, but who really knows. What I have noticed is that if you’re not involved, you are blind to it, locked out of that moment. Yet another nod to the tarpon in control. I remember my first big tarpon jumped on the fly. I remember the fly, the place, the time of day, and how long I had the tarpon on before it spit the hook. But even more vivid are images of tarpon since that time. Tarpon that were special, who stopped time. Each of these moments is etched in my memory. If I’m lucky, before I die, before the images grow fuzzy, someone will invent a device that will allow me to download and print these images for others to see. These images aren’t really part of a story.  How things got to the moment are pretty much immaterial. What happened after the moment is only peripheral.  That’s the beauty of these moments, each one comes on its own, without notice, and then ceases. Sure, with some thought I can recall the general story around the fish, but usually not much in the way of details. The image of the moment, on the other hand, stays clear. I’ve noticed that some people try to recreate these moments, but that’s foolish. It can’t be done. Each event that time stops is unique, unreplicable. And if you pursue these moments, they will elude you. It’s best to let them happen, experience them when they do, and stow them away. These are a few moments etched in my mind, the ones that pop to the surface most often. I am standing on the bow of the skiff, 12wt in my right hand, clear intermediate fly line in my left hand, a half-dozen coils of line at my feet. The rod is pointing toward 12 o’clock, fly line disappearing into the glassy water surface. I’m looking to the port side. Ten feet from the boat the fly line is angling up out of the water, fleeing toward the stern, water droplets framing it on all sides.  A tarpon, perhaps 110 pounds, hangs vertically, head skyward, tail five feet above the water surface. The tarpon is sideways to the boat, its eye peering back.  It is eye-to-eye with Doug, suspended motionless on the poling platform, white push pole trailing into the water off the starboard side. Doug’s feet are pointing forward, but his body is twisted left, facing the tarpon only 10 feet away.  It is mid-morning with clear skies, but the light is not bright. It is somehow clear but subdued.  The tarpon’s 27


scales sparkle at the edges. It’s emerald-green back glows, injecting color into the water suspended in mid-air all around it. The yellow fly gleams in stark contrast to the shadow of the gaping maw. I am standing alone on the deck of the skiff, between the center console and the bow’s casting deck, facing the bow. The wind is calm. The water surface is slick, but crossed with snakes of underwater streams carrying the tide seaward. To the left the streams boil all at once to the surface, then submerge. Small dimples mark the surface, revealing the locations of the paddle-like backfins of small crabs riding the tide seaward to spawn. Failing dusk light filters through a high ceiling of thin clouds, and bounces off thunderheads scraping the horizon, casting a burnt-orange glow. The white deck of the skiff glows a soft orange as it drifts stern-first with the tide. Most of the 12 weight fly line is stripped off the reel, and 70 feet of it is scattered across the deck around my feet.  The rod points toward the bow, each guide catching the dusk light in sparkles of orange. The fly line is an extension of the rod, passing through a spot five feet above the bow, connected to a tarpon flying high enough to have wings. Suspended parallel to the water, it hovers eight feet in the air.  I look up at the largest tarpon I have ever hooked, its large scales each a glimmer of the fading orange sun, the black pupil of its massive eye the center of an orange orb. The brown, tan, and purple crab fly drifts inches outside of the tarpon’s mouth. Already, the tarpon is free again. The tarpon’s head rises out of the water, so its eyes and jaw are exposed, mouth open. The blue-over-white deceiver falls into the dark cavern of the tarpon’s mouth, accompanied by two yellow-billed sprat (sardines).  A dark ball of sprat surround the tarpon, 20 feet on all sides, shimmering flecks of silver in the dark green mass of


panic. The tarpon’s head is framed by a halo of clear water vacant of prey, and a crown of silver panic hovering above the surface. The yellow fly line lays across the water, undulating with the small waves bouncing off the beach, continues up the beach, and to the rod tip. Loose fly line drops off the reel and loops across my feet. I stand barefoot, in board shorts and t-shirt, only 40 feet away. Time doesn’t stop for other fish. At least never for me, and not for anyone I’ve talked to. This doesn’t take away from what other fish have to offer. A big snook taking a fly in six inches of water on a sand flat, and going airborne is a fantastic memory, but time never stopped. And even permit, bonefish, redfish, and striped bass – they all have their strong attributes and I have some vivid memories of each. But none can make time stop. There is something magic about tarpon. I don’t know how they do it, but they can make time stop. I’m looking forward to the next time, but I promise I won’t try to force it. When I was ready to put this piece on the web site, I began to go through my photos to pick out pictures to paste into the story. But as I tried to match photos with the story, it became evident that I couldn’t. Not that some of the photos wouldn’t have gone well with the story. It was that no photograph can really do justice to those moments when time stops, no matter how good a photo, no matter how close to the description a photo might be. These moments can’t be captured by a camera. A note to the reader: many of Aaron’s photos seen in Florida Fly Fishing Magazine are available for purchase at http://www. fishermanscoast.com/photos/stock_photos.html

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Fish Eyesight: Does Color Matter? by David Ross

Read this article and you may never look at your flies the same way again. IS COLOR IMPORTANT? This is a serious question for fly tiers and fly fishermen to ask. Some anglers maintain that the choice of color is critical, while others say it is not important. Scientifically speaking, there is evidence to suggest that both points of view may be correct. There is good evidence that picking the appropriate color or colors will, under certain conditions, improve your chances of attracting fish, but science can also show that in other situations, the color of your fly is of limited value or no importance whatsoever. Fish have been around for more than 450 million years and are remarkable creatures. Over the thousands of centuries, they have made many superb adaptations to survive in the marine environment. Living in the world of water is not easy, but it does present some environmental opportunities as well as serious challenges. Sound, for example, travels almost five times faster and much better in water than it does in air. The ocean is actually a very noisy place. Fish capitalize on this by having an excellent sense of hearing, using both their inner ears and lateral lines to detect prey or avoid enemies. Water also contains unique chemical compounds that fish utilize to identify other members of their species, tell when reproduction time has arrived, find food, detect predators, and perform other functions. Fish have evolved a remarkable sense of smell that is thought to be about one million times better than that of humans. Water, however, presents a serious challenge for fish and fishermen when it comes to vision and color. Many characteristics of light quickly change as it moves through water. The first thing to realize is that the color of your fly in the water is almost always different from what it is in the air. I have to be a little technical to explain this, but I think if you bear with me, you’ll have a better understanding of how fish perceive color and how this impacts the flies we tie and use. And while I mostly refer to fish and fishing in salt water, these same principles apply to the freshwater environment.


Attenuation of Light The light that humans see is just a small part of the total electromagnetic radiation that is received from the sun. We see what is called the visible spectrum. The actual colors within the visible spectrum are determined by the wavelengths of the light: the longer wavelengths are red and orange; the shorter wavelengths are green, blue, and violet. Many fish, however, can see colors that we do not, including ultraviolet. When light enters water, its intensity quickly decreases and its color changes. These changes are called attenuation. Attenuation is the result of two processes: scattering and absorption. The scattering of light is caused by particles or other small objects suspended in the water — the more the particles, the more the scattering. The scattering of light in water is somewhat similar to the effect of smoke or fog in the atmosphere. Coastal waters generally have more suspended material due to river input, material stirred up from the bottom, and increased plankton. Because of this greater amount of suspended material, light usually penetrates to a lesser depth. In relatively clear offshore water, light penetrates to a greater depth. Light absorption is caused by several things, such as the light being converted into heat or used in chemical reactions such as photosynthesis. The most important aspect for fishing is the influence of the water itself on the absorption of light. The amount of absorption is different for different wavelengths of light; in other words, various colors are absorbed differently. The longer wavelengths, such as red and orange, are absorbed very quickly and penetrate into the water to a much shallower depth than the shorter blue and violet wavelengths. Absorption also restricts how far light penetrates into the water. At about three meters (about 10 feet), roughly 60 percent of the total light (sunlight or moonlight) and almost all the red light will be absorbed. At 10 meters (about 33 feet), about 85 percent of the total light and all the red, orange, and yellow light have been absorbed. This has a direct bearing on how a fish perceives a fly. At a depth of 10 feet, a red fly appears gray, and it eventually appears black as the depth increases. With the increasing depth, the now dimming light becomes bluish and eventually black when all the other colors are absorbed. The absorption or filtering out of color also works in a horizontal direction. So again, a red fly that is only a few feet from a fish appears gray. Similarly, other colors also change with distance. For a color to be seen, it must be hit by light of the same color and then reflected in the direction of the fish. If the water has already attenuated or filtered out) a color, that color will appear gray or black. (Fluorescent colors, which I will come to shortly, behave a little differently.) It should now be clear how the depth of the water or distance from a fish affects the visibility of your fly. In extremely shallow and very clear water, 31


colors may look similar to their appearance in the air; as your fly gets just three feet deep or three feet away from a fish — or less if the water has limited clarity — the colors will start to change, often with surprising results. What Do Fish See? Scientists really do not know exactly what fish see, or in other words, what images reach their brains. Most research on the vision of fish is done either by physical or chemical examination of different parts of their eyes or by determining how laboratory fish respond to various images or stimuli. Making broad generalizations about a fish’s vision is complicated by the fact that different species may have different vision capabilities and that laboratory results may not represent what happens in the real world of an ocean, lake, or river. Physical studies of the eyes and retinas of fish show that the majority can obtain a clearly focused image, detect motion, and have good contrast-detection ability. A limited number of experiments have shown that a minimum level of light is necessary before a fish can recognize colors. Another finding, but one that needs more study, is that some fish favor a specific color. This point may contradict or affirm your own fishing experiences, but remember that the attractiveness of your fly is a combination of many things, including its motion, shape, and color, as well as the scents in and depth of the water. Most fish have an adequate sense of vision, but this is usually not so impressive as their sense of smell and ability to detect vibrations through their lateral lines. Fish usually use their sense of hearing or smell to initially perceive their prey, and then use their vision only in the final attack. Most fish can see in low-light conditions or dirty water, and a few can see objects over moderately long distances. Fish such as tuna have especially good vision; others less so. Fish are usually nearsighted, although it is believed that sharks are farsighted. The majority of fish have developed eyes that will detect the type of colors typical of their environment. For example, inshore fish have good color vision, whereas offshore pelagic fish have limited color vision and detect only a few if any colors other than black and white. This is not surprising from an evolutionary point of view, because nearshore waters are lit with many colors; offshore waters, on the other hand, are mainly blue or green and contain few other colors. The actual ability of a specific color to attract or even repel fish has fascinated both anglers and scientists. While there are no uniform answers, scientists have conducted experiments on this interesting question. For example, studies of sticklebacks during their spawning season have shown that males, which then have bright red coloring on their bellies, become very aggressive to decoys that also have bright red bellies. Similarly, decoys


with extended bellies, which look like females carrying eggs, attract the males. But it isn’t that simple: it wasn’t just the case of a perfect decoy imitation, but rather the color or shape of the decoy. In addition, it was noted that a passing red car, seen from the fish tank, also excited male sticklebacks. Color Suggestions This is perhaps the most important point to remember: Most gamefish detect their prey by seeing the contrast of the forage against various colored backgrounds. The level or type of contrast depends upon many factors: time of day, type of bottom, transparency of the water, whether it is cloudy or sunny, and perhaps even the time of year. I wish I could be more specific, but such scientific information is not available. The best I can do is provide some general suggestions and information; determining the right color or color combinations will take a lot of fishing and experimenting under various conditions. Keep these ideas in mind the next time you tie or select flies. Try to consider what the colors in your fly will look like at the depth you are fishing, and chose appropriately. For example, since red is the first and blue is the last color absorbed, it makes more sense to use a blue fly when fishing deep. If you are trying to match a particular bait, the color of your fly should match the color of the bait for the depth you are fishing. In other words, try to match the underwater color rather than the color of the bait in air. Many fish feed by looking up toward the surface of the water. In doing so, however, they have difficulty distinguishing specific colors, and the contrast of the prey against the surface becomes more important. When a feeding fish is looking up, a dark silhouette, even against a dark night sky, provides the maximum contrast and is attractive to predators. Selecting a fly based on contrast, rather than on specific colors, is often the key to enticing a fish to strike. Black is the least transparent color and gives the best silhouette at night. Black is probably the most visible color under most conditions. If your fly has two or more colors, the darker color should be over the lighter colors. Almost all baitfish have this color arrangement, and dark over light usually produces good contrast. Different colored flies may be equally effective or ineffective simply because they are similar in color at the depth the fish see them. If you are fishing your fly in deep water, the motion and any noise or disturbance it makes might be much more important than its color. Increase the contrast of the fly if the water is dirty; decrease the contrast if it is clear. A good profile is important when vision conditions are low (nighttime or dirty water). Black and red flies offer good profiles. 33


Some colors, such as chartreuse, always seem to work better than other colors. Yellow-and-white and chartreuse-and-white are also favorite pairings. Red and white, which provide good contrast under many conditions, is a popular combination for many anglers. Understanding Polarized Light Recent research shows that many fish sense polarized light. Humans do not have the ability to separate polarized from regular light. Regular light vibrates in all directions perpendicular to its direction of travel; polarized light, however, vibrates only in one plane. When light is reflected off many nonmetallic surfaces, including the ocean surface, it is polarized to some degree. This explains how polarizing sunglasses work: they block out the horizontally reflected polarized component of light from the ocean surface which causes most of the glare but permit the vertically reflected component to pass through. It is not fully understood why some fish have the ability to sense polarized light, but there are interesting possibilities. Being able to detect polarized light might help fish in their migrations and ability to swim closely with others of the same species. The ability to sense polarized light must certainly be related to the fact that when light is reflected off surfaces, like the scales on a baitfish, it is polarized. Fish that can detect polarized light have an advantage in finding food. Polarizing vision can also enhance the contrast between almost transparent prey and the background, making the prey easier to see. Another conjecture is that having polarizing vision can let fish see objects that are farther away — perhaps three times the distance — as fish without this ability. If this speculation is correct, it may answer the question why some fish can feed under very low-light conditions. And there is more polarized light at dawn and dusk, which might explain why some fish, such as striped bass, seem to feed more aggressively at these times of the day. If the ability to sense polarized light helps fish to find food, then it follows that flies that reflect polarized light should be more attractive to such fish. Some natural fly-tying materials, such as polar bear fur, are especially good reflectors of polarized light. Bucktail, on the other hand, is a relatively poor reflector of polarized light. There are artificial materials that simulate fish scales and various tinsels that claim to be excellent reflectors of polarized light. Flies with irregular surfaces may reflect more polarized light than smooth flies. I suspect that in the coming years, as we learn more, there will be an increased use of polarizing materials in flies and lures. Fluorescent Colors Increase Visibility Fluorescent colors, especially chartreuse, are very popular with saltwater fly fishermen. I almost always start fishing with a chartreuse Half & Half, even if it’s just to see if there are any fish in the area. Under the right conditions, fluorescent colors, which are not naturally found in nature,


can be very visible under water and seen for considerable distances. A fluorescent color is one that will be bright when exposed to light having a shorter wavelength. For example, fluorescent yellow appears as bright yellow when exposed to ultra-violet, blue, or green light. Alternatively, fluorescent yellow does not appear yellow when struck by red light that has a longer wavelength. Because of this unique characteristic of fluorescent colors, they do not have as dramatic a change of color when they are fished deeper. The fluorescence of fluorescent colors is mainly due to ultraviolet (UV) light, a color that is invisible to us. Humans cannot see UV light, but we can see how it brings out the fluorescence in certain colors. Ultraviolet light is especially dominant on cloudy or gray days, and when UV light hits something having fluorescent material, its color becomes especially visible and vibrant. On bright sunlit days, the fluorescent effect is considerably less, and of course if there is no light, there will be no fluorescence. Research shows that fluorescent colors are visible and distinct for longer distances than regular colors, and that a fly with fluorescent materials often attracts fish. To be more precise, a fluorescent color having a slightly longer wavelength than the color of the water has better long-distance visibility. For example, in greenish waters, the brightest colors would be fluorescent green or chartreuse. As good as fluorescent colors may be, they will usually not work if the fish are actively feeding on a specific bait, since it is highly improbable that the fluorescent color will resemble any color in that bait. As you can see, light and color can get pretty complicated. But let’s not forget what we are trying to do: have our flies imitate pieces of fish food. Fish are not very clever, and they attack prey — or flies — as an instinctive behavior motivated (or so we think) by one or more stimuli. These stimuli include movement, shape, sound, contrast, smell, color, presentation, and certainly other things unknown to us. Successful flies should probably include some of these stimuli, and then we need to consider other variables such as the time of day, the tide, and the presence of other fish or fishermen. This is a complicated venture, of which color can sometimes be an important aspect, but only if the fish can see the color. Dr. David Ross is a scientist emeritus at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the author of The Fisherman’s Ocean (Stackpole Books). He is also a regular columnist for Saltwater Fly Fishing Magazine. He can be contacted at DRoss@whoi.edu. This article first appeared in Fly Tyer Magazine. Copyright © 2005-2006 Dr. David A. Ross and Fly Tyer Magazine. This article was shared with us by our friends at MidCurrent magazine, http://midcurrent.com Ed. 35


CAPT CRAIG CRUMBLISS - FLY TYING

Crumbliss ‘s Jerk Minnow

Fly fishers in Florida really need truly weedless flies, whether you’re casting into mangrove shorelines or fishing through lily pads and hydrilla there are thousands of ways to snag a fly in our Florida waters. There are several ways to tie weedguards with either a mono loop, double, or single mono post that can be effective as weedguards but also unfortunately are “fish guards” as well, often preventing a solid hook set. Popular flies such as the Clouser Minnow, which are tied to ride hook point up, are also

effective in steering clear of the weeds. My idea when designing the Jerk Minnow was to tie a pattern that was effectively weedless on its own. This is accomplished by using a worm style hook made by Eagle Claw and sold by DOA lures. This hook has a little longer neck than similar worm hooks so it allows the tier to have space to tie the fly. I use Steve Farrar Flash Blend because it has the perfect amount


of stiffness and texture while incorporating flash as well. For this article I’ve tied the Jerk Minnow in Gray over White but there are many color combinations that will work. The Jerk Minnow is true to its name and swims like an unweighted soft plastic jerk bait. The fly’s profile can be trimmed to match any size baitfish, or thinner for a more wormy profile. I fish this fly on a floating line to cover the upper 6”-18” or on a sink tip line to get it down a little deeper. Materials List Hook: DOA Long Neck 3.5/0 or 5/0 Thread: Mono Body: Steve Farrar Flash Blend (Gray and White) Eyes: Enrico Puglisi Solid Plastic Eyes 1. Wrap a base of thread from the eye down to the bend.

2. Tie in the first clump of material (gray) on the top of the hook shank near the bend of the hook. You will want to tie down the material right in the middle then fold it back similar to tying an EP minnow.

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3. Tie in the second clump of material (white). Similar to the first clump tie it right in the middle. Make a few wraps then pull half the forward facing half over the top of the hook shank and secure with several wraps.

4. Repeat this process again only this time cut the clump of fibers in half as you don’t need as much length. Tie in the half clump of gray on the top.


5. Repeat the same with the white as you did in step 3. Again I’ll cut my clump of fibers in half for this step.

6. Add another clump of gray material to the top in the same fashion as the first two.

7. Form a nice head and whip finish. Trim the body to your desired profile and if desired add marking with a sharpie.

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9. Glue on the eyes with Zap-AGap Goo

Remember, when tying with most synthetics, like Steve Farrar Flash Blend, less is more and thinner flies usually will have better movement and catch more fish. The Jerk Minnow has become my go-to pattern when bass are chasing shad but it will perform well whenever baitfish are on the menu. Capt. Craig Crumbliss, No Motor Guide Service Email: nomotorguide@yahoo.com

Premium Flies, Indvidually Crafted Flies of Fancy by Nikki Page http://www.fliesoffancy.com


Are you spooking fish, getting tired, and wasting time ?

ON THE LINE WITH DUSTY SPRAGUE

There could be several reasons but one is too many false casts. Many anglers spend more time with their fly in the air than in the water. False casting is essential for a number of reasons but many of us over-do it. We take too much time extending line, adjusting stroke, rod arc, power application, and trajectory, trying for the perfect loop. By the time we’re ready to put the fly in the water we’ve lost sight of the fish, or the fish or boat has moved too far or the angle has worsened or the fish has been alerted by the line or reflection of the sun off the line. You’ll do much better in many respects if you learn to present the fly with no more than three false casts taking no more than 7 seconds. To reach that goal consider the following: Don’t strip the fly all the way back on the retrieve; leave as much line on the water as conditions permit. You’ll consequently need fewer false casts to extend line on the next presentation. Learn and practice shooting line on both the forward and back cast. Recall -- shoot line after the rod has stopped in each direction -- stop the rod - let the line go (through an O-ring formed by the thumb and Dusty with a striper during a recent St. John’s trip. index finger of the line hand). If you let go to shoot line before the rod stops you’ll inadvertently unload the rod too soon and kill the cast; if you let go long after the stop, you won’t get a good long shoot. Keep your eye on the fish during false casting and observe the line loop coming into view as it unrolls toward the fish on the forward cast....adjusting your power application, rod arc, stroke length, and trajectory based on what you see unrolling out front. Drop that fly no later than on the fourth forward stroke or, better yet, on the third. Jeff Harrell photo

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AQUAFLY FLYBOX I’ve been using an Aquafly Flybox for a few months now and it’s been just the perfect thing for carrying flies in my wading bag or kayak. The box is easy to open and close, holds a good selection of saltwater flies, is waterproof and it floats. It really is a good box for the size and price. I highly recommend it. http://stoneflypress.blogspot.com/2011/10/ ultimate-flybox.html

New Buff® Sport-Series Water Gloves Ideal for anglers, this minimalist new Buff® design blends sun protection with a high-grip silicone palm. Providing exceptional skin protection and ultralight performance, the top-selling Buff® Sport-Series Water Gloves will be back on shelves for spring at retailers nationwide. As the newest Buff® glove design, the SportSeries Water Gloves are substantial enough to provide added grip and UPF 50+* sun protection, yet lightweight enough to provide a nearly-naked feeling for high-dexterity tasks. The Buff® Sport-Series Water Gloves utilize a high-breathability stretch fabric that provides UPF 50+ protection in both wet and dry conditions. www.buffusa.com.


Howler Brothers Pescador Longsleeve Shirt We set out to make the perfect all around fishing shirt; one that works on the boat and in your waders but doesn’t make you look like a giant tropical fruit that got into a knife fight when you go get a beer on dry land. So, we kept it simple and made ours out of quick drying poly-nylon blend that provides all day UPF 15 protection, with hidden pockets under the mesh lined vented front yokes that are easy to access via pearl snaps. The bottom hem is cut straight and vented on the side and the fit is relaxed for ease of movement. Available in Piscine Plaid-Ash and Piscine Plaid-Aquamarine. http://howlerbros.com/products Airflo Clear Tropical Fly Lines After the incredible launch of the Airflo Ridge Clear freshwater floating line, our inbox rapidly filled with requests from top guides and seasoned anglers, asking when a saltwater version was going to be available. Saltwater fly fishing breeds a group of anglers with very specific ideas on what they need for their own fishing situation, and the requests quickly split into two camps- completely clear or a clear tip- with many arguments from those concerned over which directions to go. In the end we decided to do both, a Crystal Clear full line and a 12’ ClearTip with a mid-vis main body. I use the 8wt Clear Tip Tropical and have been very satisfied with it. It casts well and the clear forward section essentially extends your leader length by a dozen feet. Ed. http://www.rajeffsports.com

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Sage Opala Guide Shirt Need a shirt that fishes just as well as it wears out to dinner? Look now further than the technically featured nylon Opala that has a super soft hand that wicks and dries just like your favorite fishing shirt should. http://www. sageflyfish.com/Opala_Guide_Shirt.html

Redington: Recharge Short or Pant Don’t leave home without either these pants or shorts for summer fishing excursions. They wick, dry quickly and are very comfortable to wear for any fishing adventure. http://www.redington.com/ Recharge-Short.html http://www.redington.com/ Recharge-Pant-30-Inseam.html

Fishpond Nimbus Guide Pack This pack is already very popular and recently won the Field & Stream Best of the Best award. Some favorite features are the Air LTE lumbar support which moves air throughout the waist belt, the built in net slot and the fact that it has water bottle holders and cinch straps on the bottom for extra gear. http://www. fishpondusa.com/nimbus-guide-pack.cfm


Cheeky Double Haul Casting Shirt Let’s get technical: whether you’re stalking the flats on a scorcher or shaking ice out of your guides on the Skeena, don’t be without your Double-Haul Casting Shirt. Weighing in at a feathery four ounces, this long-sleeve combines insane moisture wicking technology with ultra UPF sun protection to keep you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold.  The Double Haul Casting Shirt will tame the elements allowing you to focus on the fish. http://www.cheekyflyfishing.com/content/double-haul-casting-shirt ExOfficio Men’s Rain Logic™ Jacket I wear this jacket and it lives up to the quality and smartness of design you expect from ExOfficio. Here’s more from them: A rain jacket so smart we named it Logic. Completely waterproof, highly packable and breathable so you can stay dry and active without overheating. It’s light enough to take anywhere, so throw it in your bag and you’ll be ready for weather in every language. Shell constructed from 2.5 layers: A low-weight face fabric (first layer) to block water, a polyurethane laminate (second layer) to block wind, and a protective inner layer (a sheen considered a half-layer), which provides a touch of slickness to slide over clothing and abrasion-resistance for durability. Fully seam sealed; two-way mechanical stretch nylon for maximum mobility; fully adjustable drawstring hood with brim; two-way waterproof front zipper; two front welded pockets with waterproof zippers; two-way pit zips for ventilation. Lightweight, Quick drying, Breathable and Windproof. http://www.exofficio.com/products/details/mens-rain-logic-jacket

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Thanks to C Find him at


Capt Allan Zaremba for these photos. t http://www.floridapeacocks.com 49


The Clouser Deep Minnow By Nikki Page

A fly box that doesn’t have at least one Clouser minnow is not a complete fly box! This is one of those fly patterns that just works and it works well, regardless if you are fishing saltwater or freshwater. This is a fly that you must have in your arsenal.

In the mid 80’s Bob Clouser created a fly pattern to imitate baitfish for the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania, his home water. After time on the water and at the bench perfecting his design, the Clouser Deep Minnow was born. The fish loved it; as a matter of fact the fish loved it so much that word spread in the fishing world and fly anglers began using the fly to target many different species. And it worked! So well, in fact, that the fly has become a staple pattern for anglers around the globe. Two major factors give the Deep Minnow its effectiveness. First, the dumbbell eyes are tied on top of the hook shank, thereby causing the fly to swim hook point up. This reduces the possibility of snagging on the bottom. However, it won’t save the fly from fouling up in weeds, so if you plan on fishing weedy areas consider tying on a weedguard as well. Second, the weighted eye causes the fly to constantly be in motion; it simply never stops moving. A great way to imitate injured baitfish!


When it comes down to it, the Deep Minnow is a fairly simple fly to tie, once you get the proportions correct and consistent. Once you have a hook in the vice visualize it in three parts and tie the dumbbell or bead chain eyes in at the first third part (see photo #2). Once you are comfortable with consistently placing the dumbbell eyes at this location, the rest of the fly falls into place. I should also note that before cranking on loads of thread wraps to tie on the dumbbell eyes tightly be sure that they are level and straight on the hook. This means checking the position of the eyes from all angles before locking it on with thread. Once you have the eyes in position, brush a small amount of head cement or Fusion or even Zap-A-Gap, and then lock the eyes down tightly with thread wraps. The traditional tying of the Deep Minnow is with bucktail as the main material for the tail and wing but don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun tying Deep Minnows with other materials! Marabou for the wing and tail works great on smaller patterns. Craft fur, polar fiber or pseudo hair are all very supple material that have lots of movement, as well as the various flashy materials that are readily available to the fly tiers. There really is no limit to the styles and combinations that can be created with a bit of imagination and a selection of tying materials. The version of the Deep Minnow that I dressed here is bulkier than the traditional slim style. The fly can be bulked up a bit with extra tail and winging material, as well as layered materials with flash between the layers. The bulkier the fly, the slower it will sink so if you need to get the fly deep fast, consider using a sinking leader and, or, a sinking fly line. You can tie this dressing in any color combination you wish. The Dressing Hook: Daiichi 2/0 saltwater Thread: White Danville’s flymaster plus Eyes: Large white lead dumbbell Tail: White bucktail Belly: White bucktail Under wing: White bucktail topped with pearl krystal flash, silver holographic flashabou & pearl saltwater angel hair Over wing: White bucktail Head: Loon UV Knot sense

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The Clouser Deep Minnow Tying Steps Step 1: Wrap the thread to about the first third portion of the hook shank and tie a small bump.

Step 2: Tie on dumbbell or bead chain eyes.

Step 3: Prepare a clump of bucktail hair by cutting it off at the base of the fibers and pulling out the short hairs. Measure to the desired length and tie on the clump directly behind the eyes.


Step 4: Move the thread to a position in front of the eyes. Tie on clump of bucktail hair in front of the eyes by following the step 3.

Step 5: Move the thread to a position behind the eye. Press the fibers down against the hook shank and make several wraps to secure the material.

Step 6: Move the thread to a position in front of the eyes, being careful not to make thread wraps over the material that is tied on.

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Step 7: Prepare a clump of bucktail hair as in step 3 and tie it on behind the eye of the hook.

Step 8: Take 6-8 pieces of Krystal Flash that when folded extend past the end of tail; fold the pieces under the shank of the hook and tie down with several wraps of thread. The flash should be positioned on each side of the wing.

Step 9: Repeat step 8 using Flashabou.


Step 10: Tie on a long clump of saltwater angel hair in the center.

Step 11: Fold the remaining portion of the angel hair over the wing and tie down with several wraps of thread.

Step 12: Brush head cement on the head portion of the fly. This will ensure a durable wing.

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Step 13: Tie an over wing of bucktail hair (see step 3).

Step 14: Form a neat head and cover the head and the thread wraps on the other side of fly with epoxy.

Step 15: If using a UV epoxy, cure with UV light. If using an air-dry epoxy, dry on a epoxy drying wheel.

Nikki Page owns Flies of Fancy, a premier fly tying operation offering a wide assortment of custom premium flies. http://www.fliesoffancy.com


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Stop, shop, and let them know you found them here! We have them all mapped out for you at http://g.co/maps/43vy4 BOCA GRANDE: Boca Grande Outfitters http://www.bocagrandeoutfitters.com/ 375 Park Ave., PO Box 1799, Boca Grande, Florida 33921

KEY WEST: Saltwater Angler http://www.saltwaterangler.com/ 243 Front Street, Key West, FL 33040-8371 (305) 294-3248

KEY WEST: The Angling Company http://anglingcompany.com 333 Simonton St. Key West, FL 33040 305.292.6306 Welcome to the Angling Company website. It is my pleasure to not only be a part of the Key West fly fishing community but also to supply the tools for any angler to enjoy a great day, both on and off the water. The Angling Company was created to fuel the passion of the local guides, their clients, and the local anglers who call this island home. I have worked hard to provide a store with everything any professional fisherman may need fused with the comfort and knowledge to get even the most novice fisherman hooked up. Fly fishing is a sport that I care about deeply. The store number and email address are there to serve you. Please feel free at any time to call or write me personally. I would love to answer any questions, arrange special orders or trips, or purely help out in any


way I can to contribute to the love of what I think is the greatest sport on earth.

MIAMI: Fly Shop of Miami http://www.flyshopofmiami.com 8243 S. Dixie Highway, Miami, Fl 33143 (305) 6695851 We offer you top name brands, excellent service and expert rigging of tackle for all saltwater fly fishing situations. Find a full range of saltwater & freshwater fly fishing equipment and clothing for Florida and worldwide destinations. Buy top name brands including: Sage, Loomis, Thomas and Thomas, Winston, Temple Fork Outfitters, Redington, St. Croix, Hardy, Tibor, Nautilus, Abel, Ross, Shimano, Scientific Anglers, RIO, Cortland, Fishpond, Simms, and Ex Officio.

NAPLES: Mangrove Outfitters http://www.mangroveoutfitters.com 4111 E.Tamiami Trail Naples, FL 34112 239-7933370

NOKOMIS: Flying Fish Outfitters www. flyingfishflorida.com 820 Albee Road West #1, Nokomis, FL 34275 (941) 412-4512 Flying Fish Outfitters is more than a store—it is a full-service shop that helps you have an excellent day on the water. We carry a diverse selection for the fly and spin angler, and our specialty is providing our customers high quality products for any budget. Our ever-expanding selection of fly tying materials includes all the locally desired products but we are also happy to special order other items for you as well. In addition to supplying rods, reels, lines and etc., we are committed to education and offer a variety of programs - most free of charge. Please visit us in person 7 - 7, 7 days a week

Orlando: Orlando Outfitters http://www.orlandooutfitters.com 2814 Corrine Dr., Orlando, FL 32803 ph: 407.896.8220 fax: 407.896.8244 tj@orlandooutfitters.com

Sanibel: Norm Zeigler’s Fly Shop http://normzeiglersflyshop.com 2242 Periwinkle Way, Unit 1, Sanibel Island, FL 33957 239-472-6868 We are a full-service fly shop offering the finest fly fishing equipment, apparel, flies, books, artwork, and accessories. We feature Sage, Redington, Rio, Seaguar, Umpqua, Temple Fork, and other top brands. Our flies are tied by local experts. We book guided

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VERO BEACH: The Back Country http://www.verobackcountry.com 1800 US HWY 1 Vero Beach, Florida (772) 567-6665 At the corner of 18th Street and US-1 tbackcoun@ aol.com We are a locally owned and operated, fishing and outdoor store. Specializing in Fly, Spin & Light tackle equipment and supplies. We stock one of the best selections of flies, fly tying materials, lures, rods and reels in Southern Florida. THE BACK COUNTRY IS MORE THAN JUST A FISHING STORE - IT’S A UNIQUE PLACE TO SHOP!

Attention Guides and Fly Shop Owners and Managers Join these fine guides and fly shops as part of our listings pages. We offer the information listings you see here as well as interactive maps to help your customers locate you when they are traveling or planning a trip. For more information, email us at info@flaflyfish.com or call (727) 798-2366 today!


Give them a call, go fishing, and let them know you found them here! Find them on the map at http://g.co/maps/pw2ca AMELIA ISLAND: Capt Lawrence Piper http://theanglersmark.com (904) 557-1027 lwpiper@comcast.net

BOCA GRANDE: Boca on the Fly - Capt Al White http://bocaonthefly.com (941) 830-1375

COCOA BEACH: Cocoa Beach Fishing Charters - Capt. Doug Blanton 321-432-9470 captdoug@indianriver.cc

COCOA BEACH: Native Fly Charters - Capt. Willy Le http://www.nativeflycharters.com (321) 303-7805 nativeflycharters@gmail.com Less than an hour away from all of the attractions in Orlando lies the Indian River Lagoon, the Banana River, and the World famous Mosquito lagoon. In these waters we have miles of mangrove shorelines, shallow grassflats, and numerous spoil islands that your captain will pole along in search of Redfish, Spotted Sea Trout, Snook, Tarpon, and a variety of other inshore saltwater species. Along with that, you will witness an abundance of wildlife including alligators, manatees, porpoises, and a variety of

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JUPITER: Capt Ron Doerr, Bite Me Charters http://captainronbiteme.com/index.html (561) 5125560 fish@captainronbiteme.com Come fish for a variety of species on fly. We have the resources to catch up to 15 different species a day, to include Spanish Mackerel, Kingfish, False Albacore, Snook, Jacks, Sharks, Dolphin, Pompano, Black Fin Tuna, Cobia, Tarpon, Blues, Sail Fish, and more! I run two boats, a 32’ Twin Vee accommodating up to four flyrodders at a time and an 18 foot Egret for near shore and back waters. Let’s make some memories!

MIAMI: Capt. Carl Ball http://awolfishingguide.com Home: 954-565-2457 Boat: 954-383-0145 CaptBall@awolfishingguide.com

RUSKIN: Capt John Hand http://www.redfishlandingguideservice.com Phone : (239) 842-7778 Fax : (866) 5921149 Email : tomatoesjh@yahoo.com

SARASOTA: Capt Rick Grassett, F3M Pro Staff http://www.flyfishingflorida.net Email snookfin@ aol.com (941) 923-7799 Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc. is your onestop shopping source for quality, shallow water light tackle and fly fishing adventures. Capt. Rick can provide guides and accommodations for any size group.

ST PETERSBURG: Capt. Pat Damico, F3M Pro Staff http://www.captpat.com Email: pat4jaws@hotmail. com 727-360-6466 My base of operation is the St. Pete Beach area of Tampa Bay and I can trailer my 17’ Maverick flats boat to other areas as needed. My boat is equipped with both spin and fly fishing gear should you choose not to bring your own.


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Meet the Editorial Staff Aaron Adams - Environmental Aaron has long been an advocate of the philosophy that information is key to success. This is the primary motivation behind his effort to translate fish science into terms that anglers can use. You can benefit from this effort through his articles in this magazine as well as his books: Fisherman’s Coast and Fly Fisherman’s Guide to Saltwater Prey, and his chapters in Chico Fernadez’s book Fly Fishing for Bonefish. http://fishermanscoast. com. Aaron promotes this philosophy through his work with Tribal Bonefish – a movement toward creating responsible anglers. http://tribalbonfish.com. As a researcher at Mote Marine Lab, Aaron studies gamefish and their habitats so resource managers have the information they need for fisheries conservation (http://fishermanscoast.com/research/FHE_summary. html). And as Director of Bonefish & Tarpon Trust since 2006, he oversees research and conservation programs on bonefish, tarpon, and permit that are essential to the long term health of these fisheries. http://www.tarbone.org. A note to the reader: many of Aaron’s photos seen in Florida Fly Fishing Magazine are available for purchase at http://www.fishermanscoast.com/photos/stock_photos.html Capt Craig Crumbliss - Fly Tying Captain Craig Crumbliss grew up in Miami, FL and began fly fishing at age 11. He quickly became engrossed in every aspect of the sport, chasing fish throughout the Everglades, Keys, and Biscayne Bay. After spending three summers guiding and opening the Edwards, CO location of the Orvis Fly Fishing School in the Vail Valley of Colorado he returned home to Florida and began to apply similar “trout” tactics and entomology to the freshwater bass and panfish of central Florida. He authored his first book titled Fly Fishing Central Florida’s Freshwater hoping to give insight into the vast local warmwater options for Florida’s fly fishers. Craig currently operates his NoMotorGuide Service out of Andy Thornal Company in Winter Haven, FL. Being the first freshwater Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide in Florida, Craig offers a unique opportunity to fish central Florida’s lakes, rivers, and ponds from a western style driftboat. The driftboat offers a great advantage being able to sneak into tight spaces while still allowing two anglers to stand and fish at the same time. “Fly Tying has always been a large part of my success on the water, whether it be matching the hatch with bugs in the waters of Colorado and Florida, or unique ways to tie flies for our fresh and salt water. I look forward to sharing many of my favorite patterns through the pages of Florida Fly Fishing Magazine.”


Dusty Sprague - Casting Dusty’s passion is teaching fly casting and shallow-water fly fishing. He began fly fishing in the late 1950’s; tying flies and teaching fly casting in the 1970’s; and guiding in the early 1980’s. He has fly fished for fresh or saltwater species in much of the lower 48 states, Belize, Mexico, the Bahamas, and Canada, and has guided in Alaska. He is a senior instructor for Ascension Bay Bonefish Club in Mexico and has conducted saltwater fly fishing schools and hosted groups in pursuit of shallowwater species in the Bahamas, Mexico, and Belize. He is the former manager of two fly fishing shops and a fly fishing guide service at the Broadmoor, a five-star resort hotel in Colorado Springs. He has been a featured presenter of fly casting demonstrations at numerous fishing shows and has appeared on NBC’s Today Show and ESPN’s Fishing Across America. Dusty is a Federation of Fly Fishers’ Master Certified Casting Instructor and serves on the Casting Board of Governors of the FFF’s Casting Instructor Certification Program. He is a member of the Scientific Anglers Pro Staff. Jeannie McGuire - Fly Fishing Jeannie is a gypsy girl who likes to fish. A lot. Anywhere, anytime, fresh or salt, flats, inshore, offshore and even with, insert shudder and dread, bait. Alaska, to Canada, trout streams all over the US, bits of Europe, good chunks of the Caribbean and great spots in Central America, fly rod always in hand. Mostly she just fishes the flats of the Florida Keys from her little seaworthy vessel, the SS Salt Fly Girl. A pretty blue kayak that’s rigged and righteous. Jeannie probably wades way more than her mother likes and occasionally even casts feathers from the deck of a motorized vessel. A self confessed hack and total scrub, she professes near zero expertise. She just catches fish. Jeannie fishes for the zen, the beauty, the challenge, the occasional heart stopping adrenaline and for the pure joy of the sport and because … well…, it’s fun. “Sight casting for sport fish in salt water is to me ... the best of hunting ... the best of fly fishing... and the best of being on the water... all rolled into one...and the addiction of my life.” Jeannie, the Salt Fly Girl.

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Capt Jon Brett - FishBuzz TV Videos Captain Jon Brett is the director of FishBuzz TV and has teamed with Florida Fly Fishing Magazine to provide our videos. Jon is a 3rd generation Floridian who’s grown up fishing the Tampa Bay area. After graduating from Rollins College in 2006, he started FishbuzzTV, which provides web marketing solutions to an array of marine industry companies. During BP’s Gulf oil disaster, Jon worked as an on-theground producer for the National Wildlife Federation and the Ocean Conservancy. After spending a few months in the tainted Louisiana swamp, he was anxious to return home and get back to fishing Florida’s healthy and dynamic fishery. Jon started fly fishing at the age of 12, and currently serves as a field tester for the Orvis company’s saltwater fly fishing division, and the Gulf Coast Director for the Snook and Gamefish Foundation. Whether you’re interested in a fly or spin fishing trip, Jon’s skill and passion is all about stalking highly coveted saltwater gamefish in the shallows, such as; tarpon, redfish and snook.  Joe Mahler - Illustrator A native of Indianapolis, Joe Mahler has spent his life fly fishing for “anything with a tug” and teaching others to do the same. He is the author and illustrator of “Essential Knots and Rigs Trout”, Essential Knots and Rigs for Salt Water” most recently illustrated “Performance Fly Casting” by Jon Cave. In addition to Florida Fly Fishing Magazine, Joe’s articles and illustrations appear magazines such as Fly Fishing in Salt Waters, Water Sportsman, FLW, and American Angler. Joe is creator of the popular fly pattern “The Strawboss” u se i n b ot h f r e sh a nd sa lt water. H e l ives Southwest Florida and is currently a member of the Pro Staff. Some of Joe’s fine work can be seen here in Florida Fly Fishing Magazine.

for and in Salt the for in Sage

Ken Morrow - Fly Fishing Ken Morrow is a Certified Adaptive Fly Fishing Practitioner and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Angler Educator who serves as the President of the Adaptive Fly Fishing Institute, Inc. With over three decades of fly fishing and paddle sports experience, Ken specializes in fly fishing instruction and opportunities for people with a variety of disabilities. The adaptive sports philosophy of helping participants to achieve the highest level of independent function they can without compromising their safety drives Ken’s approach. He has been featured in award-winning films like “We All Live Downstream,” on TV and in print from ESPN’s Outside the Lines to Florida Sportsman Magazine, is a frequent conference and event presenter, and has held a number of staff writing and editorial positions as an outdoor journalist. Mr.


Morrow is a member of both the Freedom Hawk Kayaks and Navionics pro staffs and the Peak Pro Fly Tying Team. Before moving to Florida, he served as a member of the board of directors of the Gulf Coast Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers and founded both the Adaptive Fly Fishing Institute and the Heartland Region of Project Healing Waters. Robert Morselli - Fly Fishing Robert is the research director for the television show How It’s Made (Discovery Channel), seen world-wide, in 180+ countries. The show is translated in over 20 languages and reaches an international audience of over one hundred-million viewers per week. He recently wrote two television documentaries featuring under-water robotics and forensic investigation technologies. Upcoming projects include a documentary on the logistics of creating and setting up a Cirque du Soleil show. As team lead (way back in the 90s), Robert created award-winning websites for General Foods, Lipton (soup) and Hummer vehicles. “My creative portfolio is diverse by intention, I insist on that because diversity is what drives me – and fly fishing is a foundation, in a sense. Not a day goes by that it doesn’t cross my mind in one form or another. People who are completely absorbed by fly fishing will know exactly what I’m talking about, and I try to convey that affection every chance I get – to fly fishers and non-fly fishers alike.” He is currently preparing a 16-part travel/documentary series on fly fishing around the globe and can be reached at: 3weight@gmail.com Ed Maurer, Publisher After retiring from the US Air Force Ed conceived the idea of publishing a magazine about fly fishing in his home state of Florida. It took a decade for computer technology to develop to the point where Ed could effectivly produce a magazine without the prohibitive cost of print publishing. It took a couple more years for both technology and Ed to advance to a nexis where an effective, attractive and hopefully stimulating Florida Fly Fishing Magazine could be published in the format you are reading it in now. “I owe a lot to the many folks like those on our editorial staff, past staff member Stuart Patterson, tech advisor and mentor Bernadetter McCarthy and the many other friends and contributors who have given of themselves to make this effort successful,” said Ed, “and much of the thanks goes to my wife, Deborah for her constant support, encouragment and eagle eye.”

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Vol 3, No. 3  
Vol 3, No. 3  

Florida Fly Fishing Magazine, April, 2012

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