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Vol. 3 No. 4

Florida Fly Fishing Magazine

Only Florida - Only Fly Fishing What’s Inside? Capt. Rick Grassett’s Forecast...............4 Mystic’s Tremor Salt Water Rods..........9 T.J. Bettis’ Sprog.....................................12 Technique: Salt Water Dapping............16 Casting Tips............................................18 The Rod-Breakin’ Blues..........................20 The Whistler...........................................23 The Redfish Menu..................................39 Guide to Fly Shops.................................47 Guide to Guides.....................................50 Meet the Editorial Staff.........................52

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: (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: A redfish pushing a Gartside gurgler. Chase Hancock photo.


Capt. Rick Grassett’s Fly Fishing Forecast for May 2012 Tarpon time!

May is one of my favorite months of the year due to the influx of tarpon along our beaches. Tarpon fishing should be strong this season due to warm water and plentiful bait. You might also find cobia, tripletail, Spanish and king mackerel and false albacore (little tunny) in the coastal gulf. You’ll find snook in the surf or in passes this month. Re d s a n d t r o u t in skinny water and trout, blues, Spanish mackerel and more on deep grass flats should also be good options. Tarpon fishing should be strong along Sarasota and Manatee county beaches his month. With the water temperature already at 80-degrees in April and plentiful baitfish, all the right ingredients are in place. Early arriving fish may be more aggressive due to less fishing pressure early in the season. Look for tarpon along beaches and in and around passes. You may see them rolling on the surface or following edges of bars. Set up in these areas and wait to cast a fly in their path. I use 12-weight fly tackle with intermediate sink tip or floating fly lines depending on water depth. Top producing flies are Deceivers, Toads and a variety of bunny flies. Staking out or anchoring in shallow water on their travel route should provide some exciting sight fishing opportunities. The best angle is a “head on” shot, followed by a quartering away shot. A perpendicular shot may work if it’s timed perfectly, although casting too far beyond their line of travel will usually Tarpon should be agg spook them. I use a push pole with an occasional assist from a in the coastal gulf off trolling motor if I need to adjust my position to make a cast. The shallower the water, the more sparingly a trolling motor should be used. Snook season remains closed this month so any snook caught must be released. Use tackle heavy enough to catch and release them quickly with minimal handling. You may find them in the surf where you could sight cast to

them with a small white fly on an intermediate sink tip fly line. You might also find them in passes or in bridge channels. Big snook may feed on baitfish, small crabs and shrimp on the surface on strong outgoing tides in the evening, so wide profile baitfish patterns, such as Lefty’s Deceiver, Toads or large shrimp patterns fished on both floating and sinking fly lines may work. The area from Sarasota to Venice is usually a good area for snook in May. Reds should spend more time feeding on shallow flats this month due to higher tides and plentiful baitfish. Look for them around oyster bars and along mangrove shorelines when the tide is high, where they should be feeding on wide profile baitfish, such as pilchards and pinfish. Fly anglers should score with wide profile baitfish fly patterns, like Lefty’s Deceiver, and my Grassett Shallow Flats Bunny or Flats Minnow flies tied with a wider profile. You may be able to sight cast reds over shallow grass when conditions are good, but if you don’t see fish you’ll have to cast to seams where grass meets sand or mullet schools to find fish. Some of my favorite areas for reds and big trout trout in May are in north Sarasota Bay. You might find big trout in skinny water in the same places you’ll find reds. The best time is usually early in the day and the same flies and techniques that you use for reds will work for big trout in shallow water. You’ll also gressive in early May. Kirk Grassett, from Middletown, DE, jumps one on a fly find trout on deep f Sarasota while fishing with his brother, Capt. Rick Grassett. grass flats where they may be mixed with Spanish mackerel, blues or pompano. I like to drift and blind cast to find fish on deep flats. Also, focus on any surface or bird activity and seams where grass meets sand. Once you’ve located them you can shorten your drift or anchor on them. Wide profile baitfish fly patterns fished on intermediate sink tip fly lines should work well. An effective technique is 5

to make a cast that quarters ahead of the drift, so your fly swings to the side as the boat drifts forward while you strip the fly. Deep grass flats of Sarasota Bay that are close to passes or on bars or points should be good for trout and more in May. In addition to tarpon, there may be action with Spanish mackerel, cobia, false albacore (little tunny) and tripletail in the coastal gulf. I have encountered all of them while fishing the coastal gulf for tarpon. Cobia will sometimes swim with tarpon schools and your tarpon fly tackle will work well for them. I have also seen schools of albies blitz the beach while waiting for tarpon schools. It may pay off to have an 8 or 9-wt fly rod with a baitfish fly pattern for mackerel, albies or tripletail. Be alert and be prepared and good things can happen. I spend my time tarpon fishing during May, but if battling a 100-pound or larger beast isn’t for you there are plenty of other options. Reds, trout and more on both shallow and deep grass flats, sight fishing for snook in the surf or albies, cobia or tripletail as a sidebar to tarpon fishing in the coastal gulf are other good options. 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 and

Hotlinks to: Florida Tide Charts Florida Weather Radar SailFlow Winds

re a u q s e r ly o f m r s te ha a w a h d od i s r r e o a r l f F ke f a o h s s an c mile u o y ! g t n i u h o s fi it k c e h at. C


Dunedin, Florida Properties by Deborah Scott The Gulf of Mexico, Tampa Bay and Orlando at your fingertips

Looking north with the 2008 No. 1 Beach in America, Caladesi Island, in the foreground with Honeymoon Island reaching toward the horizon. The Dunedin Marina is Central Florida’s Gateway to the St. Joseph Sound, the Gulf of Mexico and world-class fly fishing.

Located on the Gulf of Mexico between Homosassa and Boca Grande, Dunedin offers anglers the relaxed comfort of a top-rated small town combined with immediate access to the popular and highly productive St. Joseph Sound flats, tarpon-rich beaches of Honeymoon and Caladesi islands, fabulous Tampa Bay and the tournament-class lakes of Central Florida.

Deborah Scott

Realtor 727.204.0850 Van Hook Properties Inc. 949 Broadway Dunedin, FL 34698

Mystic’s Tremor Salt Water Rods: Versatile, Sensitive

Will easily win over even the most demanding salt water anglers By Robert Morselli My demands for an 8 weight fly rod: versatility in terms of what species I can bring in, enough backbone to rapidly and adequately get out a 4-to-6 inch needlefish pattern (or weighted crab or Clouser), a reasonable level of sensitivity and it should be comfortable to fish the entire day (something I wouldn’t expect from a 10 wt.). In addition is what I expect from all rods: a well-balanced and calibrated blank. Mystic fly rods have been in development for several years, but they’ve only been available since 2007. In the short time since then, Mystic Outdoors LLC has earned its rightful place among the big boys, and with good reason, the company owners are obsessive about their stable of products. Pull one from a rod tube for the first time and you’re likely to gawk – exclusive, stunning design and cosmetics abound. A quick glance tells you Mystic’s Tremor salt water rods are premium fishing instruments. Some rod specs include a higloss sapphire blue finish, multi-density cork endpiece, salt-resistant reel-seat that sports rubber o-rings on the up-locks, stainless steel stripper guides with matching blue ceramic inserts, color-matched wrappings and an ingeniously integrated hook-keep. I’ve mentioned in past articles that some manufacturers h ave been spending much effort in developing ideal, perfectly balanced rods by focusing on the middle of a blank. Let’s face it, every component of a rod has a direct bearing on overall performance, but what really completes a rod’s character is the midsection. It will dictate how effectively the rod carries the line weight, while also being responsible for much of the tip movement dynamics. The Tremor blank, which is an extra 3” over the usual 9-footer, is calibrated to have a wide appeal. The common pattern in salt water models is stiff butt accompanied by a stiff-to-moderately-stiff midsection and tip. The Tremors stand out primarily because the tip sections are a touch more supple than you’d expect in the standard salt water blank formula, and the midsection is a touch heavier than you’d expect, which may sound a little odd, but these variables line up perfectly and the result is an extremely sensitive yet powerful blank. Anglers often cite tip control as a problem and while a rod tip is a central component of a rod, it is in fact the 9

rod’s mid section that will have much bearing on the tip’s performance – a fact Mystic designers are fully aware of. An angler I lent the rod to (for about 20 minutes) found the tip just a little too supple, but conceded that it was an obvious plus for delicate deliveries and strike detection. Rather than losing needlefish patterns to small, roving barracudas (I did a little experimenting and decided not to use no stainless bite guards), I managed to detect the faintest of strikes and took in a couple before they could manage any serious chomping. Saltwater aficionados will appreciate the slightly oversized line guides (both the gauge and diameter) – however, bear in mind that this is a lightweight rod built to handle m o r e challenging small-to-midsize permit, bonefish, jack, barracuda and snapper. My #8 even took a little unexpected abuse when I was caught off guard and unintentionally hi-sticked a smallish jack which put a sharp bend in the rod. The rod survived, and I got a quick refresher on how not to handle a fly rod when fishing

Trusting Robert’s opinion, I picked up an 8wt Tremor Salt Water rod recently. While I haven’t had a chance to tangle with a large fish on it yet, the rod casts and otherwise behaves as Robert, and Mystic, said it would. I like the way it loads and carries line, its sensitive tip does telegraph pickups when fish lightly pick a fly off the bottom (it’s still imperative that the line have as little slack as possible) and it handles a fight very well. One of the attributes he didn’t mention are the alignment markings at the ferrules. Why don’t all rod companies do this?

Instead of just a dot, Mystic annotates the rod length and size, which is a pretty handy guide for not only aligning the pieces but also when several rods are packed together without separate sleeves. (The Tremor comes in a hard, fabric covered case with built-in sleeves.) And oh, okay, it’s a pretty rod, too. This is a good saltwater rod that’s hard to beat in its price range. Ed.

from a dock. The #8 Tremor tested lists at a reasonable $479. Hardware/cosmetics are comparable to anything you’ll see on rods twice the price and the blank is superbly balanced, meaning that you’ll enjoy using it for a wide range of fishing applications. Two noteworthy bits of design and finishing: the beautiful anodization on the reel seat, which sports an ingeniously integrated hook keep via two slots

facing forward on the reel seat. The advantage for this style of hook keep is that it protects the hook point so that it doesn’t snag anything (or anybody). Rod designers and builders have been after the holy grail of rod dynamics for a long time: making that 4-piece feel and act like a one-piece. These days, several manufacturers have attained this goal, and Mystic is one of them. The Tremor SW (salt water) rods will easily win over even the most demanding salt water anglers. Pros: Light, responsive, balanced blank. Top-notch manufacturing, materials and hardware. Rates high on the quality/price scale. Excellent for small-tomedium sized salt water species. Con: None! See the entire line of Mystic Rods at



T.J. Bettis’ Sprog

As a full-time freshwater fly fishing guide in central Florida I get many opportunities to take kids out fly fishing. Whether they are down for a week long trip to Disney or local to the area there is no better way to start a child out fly fishing than with a light weight fly rod on a small bass and bluegill pond. Over the last few months I’ve had several of these memorable trips but one in particular comes to mind. Dennis and his now grown son, Jody, had been fly fishing together for years and our day on the water wasn’t so much to teach fly fishing but rather enjoy the morning and make sure Jody caught a couple fish on his new five weight fly rod before returning to Arkansas. We launched the boat on a small unnamed pond in Lake Wales that is right next to Highway 27. Dennis mentioned he had thought about fishing it but didn’t know if it held any fish. Being next to the highway he’d passed by the pond thousands of times over the years, and I had driven by it many times too. The Spring morning was nearly perfect, no wind, and just enough of a chill in the air to remind us that the Florida winter had not completely left. Dennis and Jody had matching five weight rods. I started Dennis with a yellow Sprog, and tied a small white foam spider on the end of Jody’s leader. The white spider has been my goto pattern on this pond catching plenty of bluegill and bass over the last few months. Dennis caught the first fish, a nice crappie, and then proceeded to catch a two more, a small bass, and bluegill, before I had the chance to switch Jody over to a similar yellow Sprog. For the next three hours we fished those matching yellow Sprogs and I don’t think we went more than five minutes between bites for the rest of the morning. At the end of the day I cut those original flies off their rods and

although they were battle worn they still had enough in them to catch a few more fish later in the weekend. The Sprog is a pattern developed by T.J. Bettis from Orlando Outfitters. A near perfect fly for all our warm water fly fishing in Florida the Sprog is small enough to hook any decent sized panfish, while still enough of a meal for a nice sized large mouth bass. Materials List Hook: Mustad 3366 Size 6 or 8 Thread: Ultra Thread, 140 Denier, Chartreuse Tail: Mini Marabou Feather, Grizzly Eye: Medium Black Mono Legs: Medium Round Rubber, Lime or Chartreuse Body: 1/8� Fly Foam, Yellow, cut into 3/8� strips Step - by - Step Secure the hook in the vise and wrap a layer of thread.

On the end of the shank tie in two mini-marabou feathers. The tips should extend out about the length of the hook shank.


Moving forward tie the mono eyes on the top of the hook shank. Leave a small gap between the eye of the hook and where you tie them on.

Tie your foam strip on the bottom of the hook shank just behind the eyes. Make 2-3 soft wraps before you cinch down the foam. Tie in a pair of legs on each side.

With your bodkin make a hole in the center of the foam just forward of the hook eye. Push the eye of the hook through the foam and fold it back over the body. Tie the top of the foam down on the same spot you tied the bottom down. Remember to make 2-3 soft wraps before you cinch it down.

Pull the foam and legs forward as you work your thread back to the end of the shank where you tied on the feathers. Then lay the foam in position and make 2-3 soft wraps and cinch it down tight. Whip finish and trim the foam to your liking.

You can be part of Florida Fly Fishing Magazine; here’s how! Writers and Photographers Guidelines

This is the preferred way of submitting copy [articles, etc.] and images [photos, etc.]. The easier it is for us to use them, the more likely it is we will! ALL submissions MUST be your original work or submitted with written permission of the creator. Old, historical works are very welcome but you need to inform us about their source. Upon submission you have, for all intents and purposes, certified that what you have sent is your intellectual property or of a historical nature. Copy: -12 point, left-hand justified ONLY. No fancy formatting, etc. -News pieces: 300 – 500 words -Articles: 500 or more words. Pieces that are more than 3,000 may be serialized—run in consecutive issues. Please tell me you’d like to consider that for your longer article. I’m very open to the prospect for worthwhile topics. -How-to, technique, fly tying articles: make these photo-heavy with explanations for each photo or diagram. -Travel: Include plenty of photos, etc. Consider including links to Google Maps. -If you have a particular placement for an image within the document, place its file name in brackets [redfish.jpg] where you’d like to have it placed. -By lines include your name and your town so we know where you’re from. Images: [ALL images—Includes photos, scans, diagrams, etc.] -100dpi, 1200 px wide minimum. Larger is better! I reserve the right (unless you specify otherwise) to edit images as needed. -Color preferred, but B&W, etc. are a welcome change when appropriate. -Large, crisp images are preferred to small ones. I limit image sizes in the publication, but large ones I can to reduce produce better quality. -Name each file, then provide important info and captions in a separate, clearly labeled document. If the images accompany an article, etc., list the info at the end of the document. Please email ALL inquiries and submissions to:



Technique: Salt Water Dapping

Remember your parents telling you to stop fidgeting? Well, take that advice with you the next time you find yourself wading. The rule of thumb we’ve all read and heard countless times is to approach your quarry carefully and cautiously in order to avoid scaring off everything with fins. Everything you do, even the tiny movements used to tie on a fly, is noticed by fish. Anne’s Beach (just south of Plantation Key), is a narrow beach marked by a gradual, 150-yard stretch of semi-soft base before you arrive at a well defined drop off. While wading somewhere between waist and chest-deep – well over 100 yards in and with swimmers safely behind me and after staying nearly motionless for just 3 - 4 minutes, I noticed something striking: I became ‘structure’. It’s a fact that fish love structure, it can provide a safe hiding spot, or a place to ambush prey from. It’s impossible to be entirely motionless while wading: doing the side-shuffle, casting, etc – but stay still long enough, and a community of fish will gradually build up right around you – and some of these fish might even be the quarry you’re tracking. The following four are the best examples: shark, barracuda, box fish and, to a certain extent, jacks. Some species, like snook or mackerel, are constantly on the move and behave like rockets in shallow water: you have at best just one cast to attract them, but other species prefer to circle around, combing and recombing small patches of shallow water. These are the fish that I find hard to resist - more so when their skittish cousins (bonefish, permit), want nothing to do with my crafty, delicate presentations. While it’s foolish to expect this sort of behavior from all species, many do have the confidence level to approach you and stay with you even while you’re casting: at times, a barracuda’s curiosity can be almost heroic, these fish often hang around and observe you for minutes before getting bored and darting off. I repeated my experiment several times and at one point there was so much fishy traffic around me that I was successfully dapping, with zero camouflage – in open water. Pointers: wear dull, sand colored apparel and be sure to conceal flashy metal implements. Some species, like sharks, require sinking patterns as they’re

nearly always nosing around the ocean floor. Barracuda are famous for taking surface flies, but will happily go for sub-surface offerings. Boxfish and jacks take flies at every level of the water column. Next time you wade, stop fidgeting for a few minutes and watch a community of fish build up right around you. It’s an experience you’re unlikely to forget as you so rarely get to visually track your fly in salt water, at such an intimate distance.



Casting Tips 1. Practice Makes Perfect. The single most important factor in improving your casting is practice. You simply cannot buy skill, it comes only with time and effort on your part, but, surprisingly not a lot of either is required to become proficient with a fly rod. Its important to practice correctly. If you practice wrong, as Gary Borger once said, it

will just make you perfectly wrong. If you don’t know how to make a good cast, get some solid instruction, from someone who is a good instructor. The Federation of Fly Fishers Certified or Master Casting Instructors in your area can provide the help you need. After you know how to practice correctly rig up a rod, line, leader and yarn fly and use it on the grass to practice accuracy and if you have room, distance as well. Keeping the outfit rigged up and hanging in the garage or house will make it easy to grab it and practice a few minutes each day. If you practice five to 10 minutes a day, three or so times a week you will be amazed at the improvement you’ll see.

9wt Scott Backcountry Special 7.5 foot fly rod, full sinking clea 1/0 purple rabbit strip worm in a small neighborhood lake. Not on fly fun nonetheless.

2. Dealing with Wind into the Casting Side A cool breeze can be a welcome relief from the heat, but, annoying winds can limit a fly casters accuracy and distance and can cause injury. Winds into your casting side are most annoying and dangerous since the fly can be blown into you on the back cast or forward cast. Below are a few effective casting techniques to deal with that annoying wind into your casting side: a. Cast sidearm, horizontally in both directions can keep the line and flies out to the side, low to the water, a rod’s length away. b. Make a low sidearm backcast then swing the rod tip around to come forward over the downwind shoulder ...a Belgian Cast. c. Turn away from your target to make a cast opposite the target, then, while the line unrolls, quickly turn to face your target for the forward stroke ...the Galway Cast. d. Cast over the downwind shoulder in both directions. e. Turn away from your target to make a cast opposite your target, then present the fly on the backcast. f. Learn to cast with the opposite hand. Keep these techniques in mind, maybe one or more will be useful when that nice breeze turns nasty.

3. Dealing with Head Winds Casting into a head wind can be frustrating since the fly, leader and line are most often blown back at you and miss the target. Two elements in casting are critical to deal with this situation -adding line speed and aiming close to the water. You’ll have to cast a good tight loop with more power to generate more rod bend and more line speed to penetrate the head wind. Hauling will help a lot. The added line speed won’t do it alone -- you’ll need to aim closer to the water’s surface to keep the fly from being blown back off target. When stopping the rod down low in front you must stop the rod higher in back to maintain the 180 degree rod tip path to keep the loops tight. Give ar intermediate line, fluoro 12lb tippet, it a try -- you’ll be glad you did. t huge….boga gripped at 6 1/4lbs…but



The Rod-Breakin’ Blues

75% of breaks are not related to fighting fish At one time or another in every fly fisher’s life he will find himself quietly looking down at a broken rod. That sinking feeling. Maybe it was a favorite, or maybe it’s the night before a bonefish trip. There are many ways to break a rod and, over the years, I have been guilty of more than my share. Sometimes the fault lies in the rod, but more likely it is operator error. If you buy a quality rod in today’s market, you can expect that i t w i l l come with a “no questions asked” guarantee. The rod maker will repair or replace your rod, but you will be out of commission for a few days o r a few weeks and you will pay a shipping and handling charge from $25-$100, depending on the manufacturer. Here are some of the most common causes of breakage and a few tips for keeping your favorite rods in service.  High Sticking It is estimated that 75% of breaks are not related to fighting fish. Of the remaining 25%, almost all can be attributed to highsticking. High-sticking occurs when the rod is raised to the vertical when fighting a fish or freeing a snag, placing undue stress on the tip section of the rod. It makes for a striking pose in oil paintings and catalog covers, but here in Florida it can quickly turn your fourpiece rod into a five-piece model.  A better choice is to apply side-pressure forming a deep bend in the rod. For freeing a snag try a quick side-to-side motion, or roll-casting toward the snag. If breaking off is necessary, point the rod tip directly at the fly and pull the line steadily. Another type of high-sticking is  better d e s c r i b e d a s “ h i g h gripping”. This happens when the angler grips the rod blank above the cork handle in hopes of gaining leverage during a fight. In many cases, this will hinder the action and place too much tension on the weakest part of the rod.  

Stringing up Some rods are broken before the fishing starts. When stringing up your rod, be sure to pull an ample amount of fly line through the tip and pull straight out while cradling the rod in the opposite hand. Pulling against the rod will result in a “U” formation in the top six-to-eight inches of the rod and likely cause breakage.  Nicks from weighted flies  Heavily weighted flies can be deadly on fish and equally deadly on fly rods. When a passing fly collides with the rod, a nick can occur, weakening the blank. This weak spot i s u s u a l l y discovered when fighting a big fish or making a particularly long cast. To avoid this, open your casting loop or use an elliptical or “Belgian-style” cast. Many top-quality rod blanks are coated with high-tech resins to resist impact. If you regularly fish with weighted flies, the extra money spent will be well worth it.  Improper seating of ferrules  Multi-piece rods come equipped with flexible ferrules to give the most uniform action. In order for them to perform, they must be securely seated. Loose connections will have a “wobbly” feel when casting and can possibly break from the inside out. To properly seat your rod, push together with guides ¼ turn off and then rotate into position. When taking apart, reverse by turning the rod sections ¼ turn in the opposite direction and then pulling apart. Keep ferrules lubricated by applying paraffin, candle wax, or bar soap. If your rod is hopelessly stuck together, enlist the help of a buddy. Each of you should place one hand on each side of the connection and pull apart. rods that are left assembled for extended periods tend to be the hardest to free.     Walking with rod in hand  To avoid breakage by “feeding” your rod to a tree or bush, simply carry your rod with the tip pointed behind you, leaving the rod strung. Many rod tips have been left behind by catching the top eye on a limb and pulling the rod apart and not having the line to keep it together.  Better yet, break your rod down when hiking through heavy brush.   21

Boating a Big fish When a big fish comes to the boat, things can happen fast. It is sometimes necessary to stick the rod deep in the water for a final dash under the boat. A rod under full load that touches the gunwale is likely to explode. Once the line is grabbed by hand immediately allow slack and plenty of it. From this point on, the fish should be hand-lined to submission, but be ready  if the fish makes another run.  Road Rage Car doors, trunk lids and tail gates have all claimed their share of rod casualties, but my latest close call came when I left my rod and reel on top of my car. Luckily, as I drove away, I saw my outfit hit the road out of the corner of my eye. Amazingly, it resulted in only a little “Road Rash” to my reel.  Hazards in the “Great Indoors”  I had always heard of rods falling prey to ceiling fans, but frankly I never really saw the danger. One day I walked into my family room, holding an assembled rod and looking toward the “Breaking News” on the television. News Flash: Ceiling fans do break rods. Sliding-glass doors, spring-loaded doors, narrow hallways, and lanai screens also pose potential hazards around the house. It is always best to disassemble your rod outside. And one last word of caution- DOGS LOVE CORK!     I hope you find these tips useful. Here’s wishing you and your rod many days of great fishing.

The Whistler

Dan Blanton’s Whistler needs little introduction By Nikki Page

Originally tied for West Coast stripers, it has become a standard pattern for fresh and saltwater anglers for a variety of species of fish around the globe. In Florida, this fly is a commonly-used deep water tarpon pattern. Tying the Whistler in various sizes and colors will cover most situations when you need to fish a baitfish pattern. The dressing that I have listed here is a great go-to pattern and it works well under many fishing conditions. It is what I would generically call an allaround baitfish fly. Typically I tie my Whistlers on a standard or heavy wire saltwater hook; I also tie a lot on tubes! After starting the thread behind the eye of the hook it is important to make touching turns of thread past the point of where you intend to tie on the beadchain eyes. This will give the eyes something to bite down and anchor to. Eyes, regardless of the type, have a tendency to slip if they are tied directly on to bare hook shanks. Starting with an even layer of thread will eliminate this slippage. Next, tie in the bead-chain eyes. The Whistler got its name from the whistling sound that is produced from the wind blowing through the holes of the beadchain eyes. Whenever I tie eyes on a fly, after making two turns of thread in 23

each direction to hold the eyes on the hook shank, I brush a small amount of head cement before tying the eyes down firmly. By doing this you will drive the cement over the thread, eyes and shank of the hook. See the Clouser Deep Minnow article for additional information on tying with dumbbell eyes: The flash material sticking out past the end of the tail is a signature of the Whistler and indeed on many of Dan Blanton’s patterns. When tying the tail

of a Whistler, select a clump of bucktail hair that is large enough to be tied around the entire hook shank. The clump can be sparse or thick depending upon what you are trying to achieve. A sparse tail will have a lot of movement in the water and will not drastically affect a fly’s sink rate, whereas a very thick tail will have less movement and may slow the sink rate of the fly. Tying with bucktail can a be a joy or a nightmare depending upon the tail itself. Under most tying situations I prefer the hair on the bucktail to be fine and long but, of course, these are the most difficult tails to come by. Large, coarse bucktail is most likely hollow which means two things: 1) during the tying process this hollow hair may flare much like when spinning deer body hair; 2) the hollow hair will cause the fly to be buoyant. To sum this up: If you would like a fly that sinks well and has a great deal of action, tie a sparse tail using thin bucktail hair. If you would like a fly that will suspend or sink very slowly, then tie a thick tail with thick, coarse bucktail hair. This is advice that I follow for any fly that requires bucktail in the dressing.

The majority of the time when I tie a fly that dictates tying a body like the Whistler, I prefer to tie the material on closer to the eye, then wrap the material towards the tail and then back towards the eye and then tie if off. This adds more mass to the body and helps create a thicker profile. In addition, it completely covers the under-wraps of thread and makes for very neat tying. By brushing a small amount of head cement on the shank before wrapping the material will help make a more durable fly. After completing the tying procedures on this fly, I always cover the thread wraps around the bead-chain eyes with Liquid Fusion, a polyurethane based glue that dries clear. Like epoxy, Fusion requires being dried on a wheel. Of course, several coats of varnish or a coat of epoxy will work, as well. The Whistler Hook: Standard or heavy wire saltwater hook Thread: White Danville’s Flymaster Plus (210 Denier) Eyes: Large bead-chain Tail: Silver holographic Flashabou, white bucktail, two grizzly cock hackles Body: Large pearl cactus chenille Collar: Large webby grizzly cock hackle Tying steps Step 1: Start the thread behind the eye of the hook and wrap towards the bend in touching turns; continue past where you will place the bead chain eye. Tie on the bead-chain eyes with tight thread wraps. Once the eyes are secure, wrap the thread towards the shank in touching turns and stop at the hook point.


Step 2: Select a bunch of strands of Flashabou and tie it on halfway between the strands with several secure wraps.

Step 3: Fold the Flashabou over top of itself. Pull on it to force it tight against the hook shank and make several tight thread wraps to secure it in place. Do not cut the Flashabou to length yet.

Step 4: Cut a clump of bucktail hair and pull out the short hairs. The length of the bucktail should be approximately twice the length of the entire hook shank. Tie it on with several loose wraps of thread. Roll the hair with your fingers; the Flashabou should be in the center and bucktail completely surrounding the Flashabou.

Step 5: Brush the ends of the bucktail with head cement or use a drop of Zap-A-Gap.

Step 6: Tie the ends of the bucktail securely to the hook shank.

Step 7: Tie on one grizzly cock hackle feather on each side of the tail.


Step 8: Move the thread to a position approximately halfway between the bead-chain eyes and the tail. Tie on a piece of cactus chenille.

Step 9: Wrap the cactus chenille toward the tail, stopping when the material reaches the tail, and then wrap the chenille back to the tie-in point. Tie off the chenille and trim the waste.

Step 10: Tie on one large grizzly cock hackle feather directly in front of the cactus chenille.

Nikki Page owns Flies of Fancy, a premier fly tying operation offering a wide assortment of custom premium flies.

Step 11: Palmer the hackle forward in touching turns. Stop when you reach the bead-chain eyes. Tie the feather off and trim the waste. Make several wraps of thread over the last turn of hackle to protect the feather’s stem.

Step 12: Whip finish the fly. Trim the Flashabou so it extends at least a quarter inch past the end of the tail. Complete the fly by covering the thread wraps around the beadchain eyes with several coats of head cement or a coat of epoxy or Fusion.

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Skinny Water Culture Chas ’s e Ha ncoc captur k ed this series a red ch of asing a gurgler Never did say . if it too or not. k More of his photo follow. s ...





The Redfish Menu


If You Want to Figure Out What Fly to Throw, Understand the Habitat Fly anglers who pursue redfish are simultaneously blessed and cursed because the redfish’s diet is so varied (scientific studies recorded more than 60 species of prey in redfish stomachs). We are blessed because we can choose any number of flies that, with the correct presentation and a hungry fish, will pique the interest of a redfish. But we are cursed because redfish can sometimes focus on one prey type exclusively, and with such a large variety of potential prey we can go home frustrated and fishless.

These were the thoughts going through my head as I picked through my fly box for the fourth time in the evening. The tide was perfect - early incoming after a strong low tide - and winds were calm. Tails were popping up across the shin-deep grass flat as far as I could see. But despite what I thought were some good casts to tailing fish, each of the flies I used was ignored. The fish were tailing so intently that after multiple refusals I was able to sneak up on a few and touch their tails with the rod tip. I solved the puzzle only once that evening, with a small mud crab imitation. If you’ve fished long enough for redfish, you’ve certainly experienced this same frustration. While we can’t have all the answers all the time, we can use what we know about redfish, their habitats, and their prey to at least get a more level playing field. We could fill a whole book with discussions of what redfish eat in any number of situations, but when attempting to figure out my strategy for a particular day, I usually start with habitat. 39

Redfish are able to tolerate a wide range of salinities (salt content in water), from almost fresh to full ocean, which makes them perfectly suitable for estuarine and coastal waters, and is the reason we can fish for them everywhere from backcountry creeks and ponds to coastal beaches. Their ability to use just about any habitat means that you may find redfish in just about any coastal area you can cast a fly rod, so the trick becomes figuring out what prey they’re eating in these different habitats. A challenge to fly anglers is choosing flies appropriate for the situation at hand, but doing so from a reasonably sized fly box. In this article I’ll concentrate on the most common prey species eaten by redfish in a handful of coastal habitats. Seagrass Beds Anglers are able to fish for redfish in seagrass beds throughout much of the Gulf of Mexico, the southern half of the east coast of Florida, some portions of the Outer Banks in North Carolina, and Virginia. In Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, Turtle Grass (Thalassia testudinum) and Shoal Grass (Halodule wrightii) make up the grass beds. In North Carolina and Virginia, it’s all Eel Grass (Zostera marina). Both Turtle Grass and Eel Grass are generally confined to protected areas because they can’t tolerate a lot of wave action. And although they require areas shallow enough for light to penetrate so they can grow, their root systems can’t tolerate frequent exposure at low tide. In contrast, Shoal Grass can tolerate more wave action and more frequent low tide exposure to air, so can grow in shallower water than Turtle Grass. Why might this information be important to fly anglers? In simplest terms, we can use the locations of these grasses to clue us in to typical low tide marks. And why is this important? In the example of tailing redfish I gave above, I concentrated my efforts on areas where Turtle Grass transitioned to Shoal Grass because this is typically the first place redfish begin to tail once the tide starts to flood. So what are redfish most likely to be eating when they’re in seagrass beds? The list is long (almost anything they can get their mouths on, at times), but a handful of prey are consistently at the top of the list. Here are the top three groups of prey I try to imitate when fly fishing in seagrass beds.

Mud crabs (family Xanthidae) feed along the bottom, and hide at the base of grass blades, burrow into the soft bottom, or scurry under a shell when chased. As their name implies, they are most often associated with soft bottoms. They are present throughout the year, so flies to imitate them can be particularly good patterns during winter when many other prey are absent. Flies to imitate mud crabs should never be given much action. A good pattern is appropriately shaped and gets to the bottom quickly. A good presentation, very close to the fish, is a must for these flies. I’ve found that round-bodied flies, such as wool patterns, are good imitations. Swimming crabs (family Portunidae) are pretty well known to most fly anglers, and are the type of crab most imitated with flies. As their name implies, they are able to use their rearmost paddle-shaped legs to swim. Swimming crabs are voracious predators and scavengers, and always seems to be on the move. When pursued by a redfish, they usually try to bury in the bottom or hide. They may try to swim away before the redfish sees them, but usually dive for cover when pursued. Crab flies imitating blue crabs are best presented by giving them action until the red drum sees the fly, then letting the fly dive for the bottom. Del Brown’s yarn crab (aka Merkin), tied with a weedguard, is effective, as is its most recent variation the Kwan. Juvenile mullet (family Mugilidae) are most abundant in seagrass beds in fall through early winter. In many areas the juvenile mullet will migrate out of the estuaries and southward for the winter, and fishing during these fall runs can be spectacular. But before they migrate out of the estuaries, juvenile mullet will feed many redfish. Redfish feeding in seagrass beds will often interrupt their tailing to ambush a school of passing juvenile mullet, and can be suckers for Jeff Harrell photo


subtle surface flies like a Gartside Gurgler. Other common redfish prey in seagrass beds include snapping shrimp, common shrimp, mantis shrimp, blennies, gobies, and pinfish. Mangroves and Marshes Although redfish will also feed on swimming crabs and mud crabs in mangroves and marshes, they love to eat fiddler crabs (family Ocypodidae). One of my f avo r i t e f l y p a t t e r n s t o use along black mangrove shorelines and in salt marshes is a fiddler crab imitation. Fiddler crabs comprise 52% of the diet of South Carolina red drum less than 21� (Grass Shrimp are 19%, Mud Crabs are 11%), and 19% for larger fish. And my own examinations of red drum stomachs from black mangrove shorelines in southwest Florida revealed that fiddler crabs are also a common prey item in this habitat. Fiddler crabs dig burrows in soft ground in the intertidal zone, or just above the high tide line, mostly in areas protected from wave and heavy currents. In the subtropics, they are most common among black mangrove pneumatophores or above the high tide line of a red mangrove stand. In salt marshes, fiddler crabs are common in low marshes that are routinely flooded at high tide, and along the banks of tidal creeks that crisscross the low marsh. Fiddler crabs usually are out of their burrows feeding during low tide, and retreat into their burrows during high tide. But the burrows may be shallow enough or some fiddler crabs may remain active enough at high tide to be found and eaten by red drum. Sometimes fiddler crabs will climb the stalks of the marsh grass


during high tide, and I’ve heard some theorize that red drum purposefully bang into the grass blades as they swim through, hoping to knock fiddler crabs into the water. Whether by a purposeful act of the redfish or not, I have seen fiddler crabs knocked off the grass when the grass is bumped by a passing redfish. In this situation, a good ‘plop’ of the fly in front of a red drum feeding in a flooded marsh is part of a good presentation. Killifishes (aka mudminnows, family Fundulidae) are also common prey for redfish in mangroves and marshes. Killifish are generally small (from one to as much as 7 inches long, but typically 2-3”) and earth-toned in color. Among the most common killifishes in mangroves and marshes are Mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus), Gulf Killifish (Fundulus grandis), Sheepshead Minnow (Cyprinodon variegatus), Longnose Killifish (Fundulus similis), Striped Killifish (Fundulus majalis), Bayou Killifish (Fundulus pulvereus), and Marsh Killifish (Fundulus confluentus), with the species varying by location and habitat type. Fortunately for fly anglers, killifishes are similar in size, shape, and color, so the same flies should work throughout the red drum’s range. My favorite fly for these situations is a Mangrove Muddler, which should be fished slowly, with short strips and twitches. Other common items on the redfish menu in mangroves and saltmarsh include mojarras, mud crabs, swimming crabs, snapping shrimp, common shrimp, and grass shrimp. Oyster Bars Snapping shrimp (Family Alpheidae) live in burrows and are very common on oyster bars. Sometimes you can hear an oyster bar even if you can’t see it – the snapping sound of hundreds of snapping shrimp passes from the water through the boat hull, giving their location away. Although they can vary in color, drab earthy greens and green-browns are

typical. They move slowly along the bottom or over oysters, and often retreat into shelter when they see a predator approaching. Snapping shrimp patterns should generally be fished slowly, and adding a small rattle is not a bad idea. Gobies and blennies are bottom-dwelling fishes that rest on their pectoral fins, and dart about to feed or to chase off competitors. They generally don’t move great distances, and typically hide, rather than swim away from, feeding red drum. The gobies and blennies eaten by red drum range from brown to dark green, and are typically around 2” to 4” in length. Gobies are round like a pencil, with a larger head tapering to a more narrow tail. Blennies have a large head and slender tail, and are taller than they are wide, so from the side they provide a high profile. Dark clousers or weighted goby and blenny imitations fished around the edges of oyster bars are good bets. Grass Shrimp (family Palaemonidae) are common in most shallow, protected coastal habitats, but can be especially abundant on oyster bars. Although they are small (less than 2” long), and mostly clear, they can be common in red drum stomachs. This is especially true during winter and early spring, when they are most abundant and other prey are less abundant. There are days in winter and early spring when red drum will ignore larger shrimp flies in favor of small flies that imitate grass shrimp. The Common Grass Shrimp (Paelomonetes pugio), and several related species that are indistinguishable by all but experts, is the most common species. Small, light-colored shrimp patterns work well, with my preference being unweighted or lightly weighted (beadchain eyes) patterns. A Fly Box for Every Occasion? Even within similar habitats, the effect of season on redfish diet differs by region. Redfish in the northern Gulf of Mexico, for example, tend to eat more fish in winter, while in southwest Florida crustaceans are high on the list during winter. This is mostly due to prey availability. Crabs and shrimp are available year-round in southern Florida, but are absent, in low abundance, or dormant (buried in the mud) during the cold of winter in the northern Gulf. Redfish off the coast of Louisiana gorge on menhaden in the fall, whereas redfish in south Florida miss out on this all-you-can-eat buffet. This doesn’t mean anglers have to have a completely different fly box for each location they fish, but rather a 45

good selection of flies that represent the major groups of prey eaten by red drum. Presentation Presentation is an important component of fly fishing for redfish. Very often, the fly must be cast very close to the redfish to be noticed. Although some may think this is because redfish have poor eyesight, it may also be because of their feeding behaviors. In seagrass beds, with their noses down in the bottom, they are surrounded by tall grass blades. Chances are that a poorly placed fly is never seen because it is tucked behind a grass blade, out of the redfish’s sight. Similarly, when feeding in thick stands of marsh grass, it’s tough to see more than a few inches. In this situation, a more pronounced ‘plop’ when the fly lands often causes a redfish to investigate the commotion and to find the fly. Finally, the water in many coastal habitats can be rather murky. In these situations, a small rattle added to a fly, or flies that move water, are more likely to be found by redfish in search of a meal A version of this article appeared in American Angler magazine in 2008.

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 environment.

Stop, shop, and let them know you found them here! We have them all mapped out for you at BOCA GRANDE: Boca Grande Outfitters 375 Park Ave., PO Box 1799, Boca Grande, Florida 33921

KEY WEST: Saltwater Angler 243 Front Street, Key West, FL 33040-8371 (305) 294-3248

KEY WEST: The Angling Company 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


MIAMI: Fly Shop of Miami

Fishpond, Simms, and Ex Officio. 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,

NAPLES: Mangrove Outfitters 4111 E.Tamiami Trail Naples, FL 34112 239-793-3370

NOKOMIS: Flying Fish Outfitters www. 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 2814 Corrine Dr., Orlando, FL 32803 ph: 407.896.8220 fax: 407.896.8244 tj@orlandooutfitters. com

Sanibel: Norm Zeigler’s Fly Shop 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 charters for fly, spin, and conventional fishing. We offer fly casting instruction. We also carry a wide selection of spinning gear and bait. Our most important product is information. We will send you to the best spots and provide you with the best flies.

VERO BEACH: The Back Country 1800 US HWY 1 Vero Beach, Florida (772) 567-6665 At the corner of 18th Street and US-1 tbackcoun@ 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 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 AMELIA ISLAND: Capt Lawrence Piper (904) 557-1027

BOCA GRANDE: Boca on the Fly - Capt Al White (941) 830-1375

COCOA BEACH: Cocoa Beach Fishing Charters - Capt. Doug Blanton 321-432-9470

JUPITER: Capt Ron Doerr, Bite Me Charters (561) 5125560 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 Home: 954-565-2457 Boat: 954-383-0145

RUSKIN: Capt John Hand Phone : (239) 842-7778 Fax : (866) 592-1149 Email :

SARASOTA: Capt Rick Grassett, F3M Pro Staff Email snookfin@aol. com (941) 923-7799 Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc. is your one-stop 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 Jon Brett - FishBuzz TV Charters 727-804-0735 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. 

ST PETERSBURG: Capt. Pat Damico, F3M Pro Staff 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.

TARPON SPRINGS: Capt Rodney Ristau (727) 838-3780 Port Tarpon Marina 531 Anclote Rd Tarpon Springs, FL 34689


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. Aaron promotes this philosophy through his work with Tribal Bonefish – a movement toward creating responsible anglers. 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:// 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. A note to the reader: many of Aaron’s photos seen in Florida Fly Fishing Magazine are available for purchase at 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.


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 for Trout”, Essential Knots and Rigs for Salt Water” and most recently illustrated “Performance Fly Casting” by Jon Cave. In addition to Florida Fly Fishing Magazine, Joe’s articles and illustrations appear in magazines such as Fly Fishing in Salt Waters, Salt Water Sportsman, FLW, and American Angler. Joe is the creator of the popular fly pattern “The Strawboss” for use in both fresh and salt water. He lives in Southwest Florida and is currently a member of the Sage Pro Staff. Some of Joe’s fine work can be seen here in Florida Fly Fishing Magazine. 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: 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.”


Vol 3, No. 4  

Florida Fly Fishing Magazine Vol 3 No. 4