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Southern Saltwater

Fly Fishing Magazine Edition 5 March 2018

CLOSE LOOK Greater New Orleans

www.southernsaltwaterflyfishing.com


JOURNEYS OF SGI St. George Island, Florida

Editor Jimmy Jacobs jimmyjacobs@mindspring.com Publisher Don Kirk don@southerntrout.com Associate Publisher Claude Preston, III claude@southerntrout.com

40 E 3rd Street, St. George Island (850)927-3259 www.sgislandjourneys.com info@sgislandjourneys.com

Managing Editor Leah Kirk leah@southerntrout.com Assoc. Managing Editor Loryn Lathem loryn@southerntrout.com Field Editor

Polly Dean pollydean22@gmail.com

Contributors

Polly Dean Capt. John Gribb Capt. John Kumiski O. Victor Miller Southern Saltwater Fly Fishing is a publication of Southern Unlimited, LLC. It is produced in conjunction with Southern Trout Magazine and Southerntrout.com. Copyright 2018 Southern Unlimited, LLC All rights reserved.

ON THE COVER Photo courtesy of www.louisianaflyfishingcharters.com


From the Editor

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n March 14 I heard the news that Bernard “Lefty” Kreh had moved on to fish celestial waters. He had not been in particularly good health of late, so it was not a complete shock, but still a sorrowful turn of events. I can’t say I knew Lefty well, having only met him a few times, but on the other hand the man never seemed to meet a stranger. And, if you could stand a little good natured kidding and abuse, he often had time to help improve your casting and catching. An anecdote to back up that scenario happened a few years back at a fly fishing show. Polly Dean, our new Field Editor at Southern Saltwater Fly Fishing Magazine, had just been through a seminar on doublehauling at the show. Afterward she was telling friends she still didn’t feel comfortable with the technique. At the time Polly was just breaking into the outdoor writing field and was relatively unknown in fly-casting circles. Lefty happened to be standing nearby and overheard the comment. He stepped over and introduced himself (as if that was needed anywhere flycasters congregated) and offered to teach her right

1925 - 2018

there. He then spent about an hour giving her a oneon-one lesson in one of the unused back corners of the convention hall. That was Lefty Kreh – he heard someone he barely knew in need of help and volunteered his time. All fly-casters now and in the future have lost something with his passing. He will be missed. After the extreme bitter cold we endured throughout the eastern portion of the country this winter, anglers even in locations like Florida and southern Louisiana have, no doubt, suffered a bit of cabin fever. It’s hard to force yourself out on saltwater when temperatures are near freezing and wind is pelting you! Fortunately, we now are nearing the time of year when conditions improve markedly and we can shake off those winter doldrums. To help with that we deliver in

March 2018

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this edition a close look at the redfish action in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. Polly Dean describes the fishing action around the town of Buras, while we also offer resort, guide and watering hole profiles as well. Farther south, Capt. John Kumiski takes us into the interior of the Everglades National Park to pursue snook, tarpon and other species from flats boats, canoes and kayaks. Down in the islands Capt. John Gribb provides a tale of pursuing bonefish in the North Bight at Andros Island in the Bahamas. Rounding out the coverage, I give you a taste of seatrout fishing on the fly along the coast of Georgia, from Savannah south to St. Marys. Hopefully these options will get your angling blood flowing and get you back out on the water for the spring fishing! Jimmy Jacobs

Editor

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This Issue Editor’s Letter

3

Fly Fishing the Sea of Grass

8

Featured Fly Shop The Fish Hawk

20

Get a Grip Baby - Danco Pliers Everything You Need

28

Best Times for Andros Bone Fish

36

Rise Rods Level X Series

46

8

CLOSE LOOK: Greater New Orleans 53 Buras Redfish Bliss

56

Fishing the Sheepy 2018

64

Cajun Fishing Adventures

70

Changing of the Guard - Fishing with Capt. Grant Authement

78

Featured Artist Mike Williams

86

Seatrout Primer for the Peach State

96

8 Rivers Rods - The Lady Artist

108

Featured Fly Tier Jim Magee

116

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Bad Thinking 124 End of the Line Bar Hopping in Buras

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SweetWater Brewing Company • Georgia • SweetWaterBrew.com


Fly Fish Capt. John Kumiski

Fighting a fish as the sun rises over open waters of the Everglades. Photo by Mike Conneen

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hing

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ou find the largest wilderness in the southeastern United States in Everglades National Park. Brackish marsh, tidal creeks of all sizes, saltwater ponds, expansive bays, breathtaking beaches, grass flats, oyster bars, mazes of islands, the open Gulf of Mexico - the range of habitats here will astonish you. You sift through all these places as you watch the wind and tide, searching for snook, tarpon, redfish, and many other fish that make their homes here.

the Sea of Grass March 2018

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A kayak allows you to access tight, shallow aras like this one on Coot Pond. A motorboat could never reach such spots in the backcountry. Photo by Capt. John Kumiski.

Since Hurricane Wilma you find no lodging in the park. If you want to visit for more than a day you need to either camp or commute daily from outside the park. I stay in a tent when I visit. Be ready for biting insects! You can choose to set up a base camp from which to explore, or you can camp at various backcountry locations. Almost any type of vessel will work if you use it to its best advantage. I've used canoes, kayaks, jonboats, and flats skiffs as my transport mode through the years, and have enjoyed all of them. You can transport a paddle vessel aboard a skiff to the fishing area, then sight fish for snook and redfish from the paddle vessel in water too shallow for the motorboat. Skiffs offer fishing not available from a paddle vessel. On a recent trip with my son Maxx, we were able to find and target big tarpon with fly tackle, hooking five and boating one. We could not have reached this area in a paddle vessel in less than four days, and the chance of boating a big tarpon on any kind of tackle from a canoe is pretty small, not to mention risky. Boat choice is yours. Mike Conneen and I took a multi-day kayak camping trip a while back. On day two we paddled through a shallow, muddy pond, seeing and spooking snook periodically. We did not see the 10-foot crocodile Mike paddled into until it went water-skiing across the surface of the pond. Thankfully it was even more frightened than we were! Later that day we came across a place where a tidal creek emptied into a salt pond on the rising tide. The place was lousy with snook, and a few redfish and crevalle jacks crashed the party too. Even with muddy water the fishing was outstanding. March 2018

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Later on that same trip we fished a shoreline and grass flats in Florida Bay. The water was clear, the fish spooky. We had shots at lots of snook and redfish, only fooling a few. We found it challenging, yet satisfying. Popping bugs can provide some outstanding fishing. On one trip son Alex and I took the skiff and a canoe out of Flamingo. We anchored the skiff and paddled the canoe into a tiny, out-of-the-way pond. Baby tarpon rolled everywhere. They went crazy for a small, white Gurgler. Alex jumped a dozen or so, only landing two after battles where the fish spent more time in the air than in the water. One fish got hung in the mangroves, shaking off the fly after a minute, and forcing us into the mosquito-filled trees to retrieve line and fly. On another trip son Maxx and I took a canoe out from Flamingo on a sunny winter day, paddling it to a shallow bay. Snook cruised in water that barely covered them. They terrorized the local mosquitofish population. Maxx threw a tiny Crease Fly at those snook, and enough fish nailed it to give Maxx a very memorable day's fishing.

During a kayak camping trip, Mike Conneen paddles his kayak past a sandbar full of American crocodiles. Photo by Capt. John Kumiski.

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Maxx Kumiski with a good snook boated while fishing from a canoe. Photo by Capt. John Kumiski. .

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I love the everglades so much!

Let's end with a few notes on tackle. Most fly fishers use the standard 8-weight, floating line outfit. For shallow water fishing I find that gear too heavy (especially for baby tarpon), but go with what's comfortable. Big fish are found here and the chance of hooking a freight train is real. Big tarpon require big tackle - 10-weight minimum, 12-weight better.

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Alex Kumiski running the skiff, as the anglers head backcountry with a canoe on board. Photo by Capt. John Kumiski.

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l March September 20182017


For shallow water fishing 20-pound fluorocarbon tippets are best. Some fish will wear through it. You will lose some fish along with the fly. For baby tarpon 30-pound tippet is better. For big tarpon use a 60-pound bite tippet at the end of the 20-pound class tippet. Heavier tippets equal fewer bites, but you land more of the fish you hook. It's a balancing act. Flies range in size from little No. 6 mosquitofish imitations to 3/0 tarpon streamers. Be able to cover the water column. Have flies that imitate small fish, shrimp, and crabs, and have some attractors that don't imitate anything. The Everglades is a wild place, not for everyone. But be warned, if you visit you may be hooked. It's a wonderfully incurable disease. Capt. John Kumiski is a freelance writer and Coast Guard licensed fishing guide specializing in fly fishing in east Florida’s Indian River, Mosquito and Banana River lagoons, as well on the St. Johns River. He can be contacted at spottail.com.

September March 2017 2018

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764 Miami Circle, Atlanta, Georgia 30324| Phone: (404) 237-3473

www.thefishhawk.com


YOUR

ENRICH: NEXT MEMORY

Beaufort, S.C., is where you’ll discover new memories in one of the oldest towns in America. Full of legendary history, a variety of handson activities, one-of-a-kind restaurants and unique experiences along the shore, Beaufort is sure to be beloved by your whole family.

www.beaufortsc.org


THE FISH HAWK FLY FISHING - TACKLE - TRAVEL

AN ATLANTA TRADITION

T

here’s a fly fishing oasis in downtown Atlanta known as the Fish Hawk. Although they moved locations last year, just in time to experience the disaster of the I-85 bridge collapse, customers dating back to its original opening 3 year ago faithfully navigated their way the long way around to its new Miami Circle location. Although the Fish Hawk is a cool, cutting edge and well-stocked as any fly shop in the world, the quality and selection are only part of what brings customers through the doors.

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Its owner and founder is the legendary Gary Merriman, who by any standard is one of the best known and respected fishermen in the world. In 2017 he was the first person from Georgia to be inducted into the Southern Trout “Legends of the Fly� Hall of Fame at the first Atlanta Fly Fishing Show induction. Prior to that in 1984, while fishing in Hawaii, the Atlanta fly shop owner landed the largest Pacific blue marlin ever caught by a single angler. It tipped the scales at 1,649-pounds and is still on display at the new Fish Hawk. But among saltwater fly fishers, this legend is better known for having created the Tarpon Toad fly in the early 1990s. It was one of the first patterns to use the new style of neutral-buoyancy fly presentation that is credited with revolutionizing taking Florida Keys tarpon on flies. March 2018

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Merriman is a down to earth fellow and everyone coming in the door at the Fish Hawk patiently awaits their turn to say hello and query him for sage advice. It’s not that the excellent staff at the shop are in anyway lacking, which is far from the case as they are equally knowledgeable. It’s just that Gary Merriman is special. His brand of knowledge and ability is something everyone wants to see, touch and experience. It is part of the unique Fish Hawk experience. Merriman considers himself more of a sportsman than anything else. “I grew up hunting and fishing, doing it all. Of course, when I heard about the Florida Keys as a kid, all I wanted to do was go down there and fish. I drove my parents nuts with the idea until they finally said ‘Okay.'” And so began an unbroken string of tarpon and bonefish seasons that have taken him back there to test flies and strategies. Flies and strategies that have won him a designation as an important innovator in saltwater fly fishing. It also put him in position to win the Mercury Bonefish World Championship tournament in the Keys in 2002. The Fish Hawk was one of the South’s first fly shops, catching the wave even before A River Runs Through It created the fly fishing 22 l www.sosaltwaterflyfishing.com

craze. Atlanta is not only the largest city in the New South, but it also boasts a unique location. It is as close to cold water trout as is it to virtually unlimited saltwater fishing. When queried if the shop was more of a North Georgia fly shop that specialized on mountain streams and the Chattahoochee River, or was it more coast fly fishing split between the Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean, without blinking an eye, Merriman said “Yes.” “We are both,” he said with a big smile. “The Fish Hawk has whatever you need for mountain trout fly casting,

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to casting for big redfish in the grassy tidal flats, to venturing into the mangroves for tarpon. We carry rods, reels, lines, flies and everything else to literally fly fish for anything, anywhere at any time. The philosophy is if the customer needs it, we stock it. Otherwise, it is a missed sale. It means that we inventory a lot of stock, but odds are if someone is looking for something, we carry it. While we do not offer sponsored group trips, we can outfit you and book your trip to many destinations, include Patagonia, Belize, and the Bahama to name just a few of the exotic location

available to the Atlanta marketplace, which is famous for its high number of traveling anglers.” The big news at the Fish Hawk is its new location. A long time in the coming, it came to fruition last spring—two weeks before the 1-85 bridge collapsing right next door. Fortunately, the bridge was hyper constructed in three months. “The first couple weeks before the bridge went out store traffic was akin to Christmas,” Merriman said. “It was a pretty tough time until the bridge was replaced. Faithful

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customers needing leaders and flies found their way there, but new customers bided their time. ” The new location was worth the unexpected wait. It has the gigantic benefit of being over 800 square feet larger, but the new 5,000 square feet Fish Hawk is arranged in such a way as to make it possible to see its layout totally. Charming as it was at the old location, now you do not get the feeling of everything stacked to the ceiling. Another big improvement is parking. The Miami Circle location boasts ample parking. Better layout means better displays for fly fishing. All of the usual top-of-the-line items are available in abundance such as Simms and Fish Pond, as well as a forest of fly rods. Speaking of fly rods, since just before the move, the Fish Hawk took on a still relatively new line of rods: Douglas Outdoors. “Choosing rods is tough enough,” Merriman said, “And there are scores of well-made, quality rods on the market today. The challenge for every fly shop is what lines to carry. When I saw Douglas Outdoors’ 3-weight, sixpiece rod, I loved it. They are selling well as I knew they would. Give me an opportunity to put one of these versatile fly rods in your hands, and the odds of you taking it home are pretty strong.”

The Fish Hawk is a meeting place for all anglers. Store-based guides are available, and the shop has working relationships with fly fishing guides virtually anywhere you might wish to trek. They are able to make it happen. The shop offers fly casting instruction and during the winter offers fly tying classes. In recent years their vendors have begun “road tours” where they visit stores with staff and product. These usually begin in late summer when most of their new lines are available. The Fish Hawk is a scheduled whistle stop for these one- to three-day events. If you have not visited the new Fish Hawk, upon arrival you’re sure to be impressed. Be sure to say hello to one of the South’s living legends while there.


Where deadlines

are replaced by

fishing lines.

Whether you’re racing down the dock to catch a glimpse of passing dolphins or the last moments of a technicolor sunset, you’ll find that Mount Pleasant has a certain kind of beauty and magic that makes you want to stay awhile. Come on over, y’all.

For more information visit ExperienceMountPleasant.com


Get A Grip

danco pliers: Everything Yo

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ou’ve got the right rod, a prestigious reel spooled with the finest fly line money can buy. You have a UV protected tactical shirt, and your head is cover from your crown down to your neck. Ready set—you bet. What about the ever important fishing pliers? If you have outfitted for the flats in such a thorough manner, what is your choice of pliers?

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Baby

ou Need

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We at Southern Saltwater Fly Fishing Magazine know there are many options for acquiring these seemingly simple tools. Experience has taught us that no one offers more or superior varieties of pliers than those manufactured right here on the Treasure Coast of Florida. Another thing we learned is that you can spend a lot more for a lot less than the pliers offered by Danco Sports of Stuart. danco is an industry-leading manufacturer of pliers, knives, and accessories for anglers worldwide. Since their start in 2006, danco Sports has remained committed to providing affordable, high-quality products and outstanding customer service to anglers and fishing industry leaders alike. To accomplish this goal, they work side by side with the angling community to best understand the demands and complexities involved in the world of fishing, whether it is being done for sport or for profession. At the same time, danco works closely with its factories and suppliers by investing in state of the art technology and using high-quality materials to help drive the push toward better everyday products and that next great innovation. danco pliers carry a warranty against any defects in materials for the life of the product to the original purchaser or gift recipient. 30 l www.sosaltwaterflyfishing.com

They stand behind their product with honesty, respect, and loyalty; the foundation this company was built on and they trust their customers do the same. danco will repair or replace, at its option, any of their product or parts thereof which are determined by danco to be defective within such warranty periods. The toughest choice is deciding which of danco pliers best fit your individual needs. Admittedly it’s a matter of personal choice and preference. My favorite is the super wicked looking Beast Tournament Series pliers that in my opinion have it all and do it all. The Beast Tournament Series pliers are just that; BEASTS. They have a corrosion resistant anodized coating topped with a rubberized paint for maximum grip and slip-resistance, #304 stainless steel jaws and Tungsten Carbide cutters for cutting monofilament, fluorocarbon and braided lines. danco’s goal was to overbuild the Beast, just like any show-stopping bovine, with thicker shoulders and the ability to handle the limelight. danco plier’s “no fail line cutting system” prevents the line from falling beneath the cutters. Complete with a coiled lanyard with a maximum length of 36 inches, snap swivel and 180-degree swiveling molded rubber sheath, the Beast Tournament Series

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pliers are two steps ahead of anyone else’s top model of saltwater fishing pliers. “The game plan in designing and offering the Beast was to over-design and over-build a pair of plier that guaranteed top-flight performance in the heat of battle,” says Craig McMicken, Marketing Director for danco sports and the spokesman for their impressive product line that includes over a dozen plier choices, and 16 different gaffs and 14 fillet and bone knife models. When it comes to clean and trouble-free cutting of all lines from braided to monofilament to fluorocarbon, the Beast is a true workhorse that is up for any challenge. While I liked the Beast, danco’s top selling Admiral Tournament Series pliers are the favorite of Claude Preston, Southern Saltwater Fly Fishing associate publisher. They boast a corrosion-resistant anodized coating in 17 different colors topped with a rubberized paint for maximum grip and slip-resistance. Anodized, solid T66061 Aircraft grade aluminum construction makes for 5.4-ounce lightweight, reliable performance. With replaceable tungsten-carbide line cutters and #304 Stainless steel inserts for jaw strength, once the battle begins, the Admiral will not fail you.

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“In fact, I am in Venice, Louisiana field testing as we speak,” Craig McMicken said. “The 2019 season includes two new pliers that are completely different from the company’s current offering.” Along that line, the best is yet to come for danco sports as they plan to dominate the U.S. market. There are a number of makers of fishing pliers, but few are as focused on the needs and the challenges facing more saltwater fly fishermen. Designed for function and not for busting the budge, danco pliers are living proof you can go first class with buying the farm.

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B

The guides on Andros are skilled at finding fish and provide a friendly and fun day on the water. Photo by Capt. John Gribb.

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Best Times By Capt. John Gribb

for Andros Bonefish

B

onefish, the ghosts of the flats, haunt those of us who chase them. A bonefish is not a bad ghost, of course, but an elusive, evanescent, even spooky one. It is a little like when you catch a glimpse of a wispy, shadowy figure slipping through a doorway of a haunted house. You catch a glimpse and then it’s gone; maybe it wasn’t really there.

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Fortunately we have eagle-eyed native guides to spot them and help us catch them. The guide’s directions often go something like this: “Fish at 11 o’clock coming at you, do you see them? Okay, 60 feet – cast. No – too far right, behind him – cast again. Good cast, strip, strip - he’s on it. Yes!” I have been fishing Bahamas bonefish for over 40 years and have found Andros Island offers an ideal combination of warm and wonderful people, large and numerous bonefish, relatively reasonable costs, easy enough access and, of course, the weather is tropical. What more could you ask! Andros Island is by far the largest island of the Bahamas, but very sparsely populated and home of one of the largest barrier reefs in the world. Access is through Nassau where connecting charters are available. Traveling with at least a partner, or better still a small group, is ideal, since guides are normally shared between two anglers, plus the evening banter at the bar and dinner table is more fun with a crowd. Most outfitters on Andros offer just fishing, so those who don’t fish really don’t have much to do.

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The fishing is best from October through May, with October through December being most popular and crowded. According to Charlie Neymour of Big Charlie & Fatiha’s Fishing Lodge, December is often the month for the most fish, while the largest bones are usually caught in February and March.

The author with a big Andros Island bonefish. Photo courtesy of Capt. John Gribb.

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Chasing bonefish is the big attraction for Andros Island visitors Photo by Capt. John Gribb.

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“In April and May we have large schools of bones feeding on the sea worms which we call ‘bibbling.’ That is something every self respecting bonefish angler must experience before they go to their eternal rest,” Ray Mackey of Tranquility Hill Lodge pointed out. We often travel with a group of 6 to 8 anglers to either Big Charlie or Tranquility Hill, both located near Behring Point. From there the guides generally fish the North Bight, which is an expansive shallow water estuary alive with bonefish. Almost all our fishing is from the front platform of a guide skiff poled quietly over sandy flats, along mangrove shorelines, and through sheltered bays or winding creeks. All the while the guide scans for fish. Most of us do not wade because it limits chances of finding fish, but there have been occasions when we have stalked bones on foot. Seeing the fish is paramount, so clouds are the biggest problem faced. The wind is constant, but mostly can be handled up to a point. If you can double-haul and cast an honest 60 feet of line in your backyard, you’ll be fine. If not, practice casting before you go. We typically catch 4 to 6 fish daily each, with most in the 3- to 5-pound range, which is larger than at most other bonefish venues. I almost always managed to land a good 6- to 8-pounder, and foul up on a double-digit brute.

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On one December trip Rick Dumaine and I had an okay first day in overcast conditions, but the second day we caught a dozen nice bones and broke off a few more. So the third day we tried for large fish, hoping for that elusive double-digit. I had shots and after hooking a large fish solidly, it quickly dragged the leader across a coral shoal and cut off. It was a big fish, but probably not more than 10-pounds. My next turn on the bow afforded another shot and hookup with the most powerful fish of the trip. This was the brute as it stripped over 100-yards from the reel, but I was still in control and in open water. Beginning to recover line, about half way back the still flexed rod stopped pulsating. The fish wrapped around a single mangrove sprig and was gone. Snake bit as usual! When is the best time for Andros? The fish are always there, but fall has hurricanes. Summer has lots of heat and frequent thunder storms, which are very scary as you try dodging them in a small boat. Our group has found May and after Thanksgiving very good, but I plan on adding February to my bucket list so I can finally get that double-digit weight bonefish. John Gribb is a freelance writer and photographer from Beaufort, South Carolina. He also is a licensed USGS charter captain, fishing and hunting guide, specializing in fly fishing and wingshooting. 42 l www.sosaltwaterflyfishing.com

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The outfitters with which I am most familiar are No. 1, Big Charlie and Fatiha’s Fishing Lodge, an all-inclusive destination located on Cargill Creek with easy access to the productive North Bight. Big Charlie Neymour is arguably one of the best bonefish guides in the world. He is a larger than life professional and a truly funny man. His wife Fatiha, who originally comes from Morocco, has a degree in hotel hospitality and speaks five languages, is the founder and developer of the lodge. Under her watchful eye the meals are wonderful and the well-stocked bar with hors d’oeuvres welcomes post-fishing camaraderie. Their website is bigcharlieandros.com. Next on the list is Tranquility Hill Lodge, which sits on a low rise overlooking the eastern entrance to the North Bight. Tracing back to legendary guide Ivan Neymour, one of the pioneers of Bahamas bonefish on the fly, the Mackay and Neymour families have welcomed anglers at Tranquility Hill since 1996. Conventional tackle fishing is available, as are snorkeling, bird watching and breath-taking scenery, but bonefishing is the main attraction. Family style meals feature authentic Bahamian seafood, chicken, ribs and steak presented by Chef Kora Taylor, also of the Neymour clan. Check them out a tranquilityhilllodge.com.

The North Bight offers miles of white sand flats for targeting the bones. Photo by Capt. John Gribb.

Places to Stay

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The new Level X Series is the Ferrari of the Rise Rod Company line up. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs.

I

t seems intuitive that a fly rod designed to battle

really big saltwater fish is going to be both rugged and stout. The first image that might come to mind is a fishing tool much akin to a broom handle that could also double as an instrument to fend off an angry alligator. That type prejudice quickly dispelled upon taking the new Level X Series, 9-foot, 10-weight from the Rise Fishing Company out on the water.

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Rise Rods Level X Series Field Test

I first laid hands on the rod at the 2017 American Fly Fishing Trade Association trade show in Orlando, Florida last July. Koby Fulks, the vice president for marketing for Rise Rod Company, had a knowing look on his face when he handed me the rod. At first touch, I instinctively looked to the base of the shaft to make sure I had the right one. It felt far too light to be a 10-weight. March 2018

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Apparently my reaction was one Fulks had witnessed before. That was probably because this super light-weight rod is built with a custom resin compound providing double the lifting strength of ordinary rods. Along with that it features extremely fast action capable of shooting line out with surprising force. Such features apparently take most anglers by surprise when first touching or casting the Level X. The Level X saltwater fly rods are the newest addition to the family of Rise Fly rods. With their roots in saltwater fly fishing, these rods are designed to be the Ferrari of Rise Fishing Company line up. All the Level X rods have anodized saltwater-safe seats and oversized, yet lightweight guides. The fighting butts and full wells cork handles are made from super-grade cork with composite accents. All the rods in the series are four-piece and come with a separated rod tube for traveling protection.

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The light weight of the Level X makes it ideal for all anglers. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs.

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Of course, most theories sound good, but do they work out when applied to the real world. To satisfy that question, I put the 10-weight through its paces in a couple of locations and situations. The first test for the Level X was on the beaches of North Carolina’s Outer Banks at Nags Head. There are few places in southern waters where you are regularly confronted by winds like the ones coming off the Atlantic Ocean here. Despite its light feel, the Level X was up to the task of shooting out 50 and 60 feet of line across these strong sea breezes. Whether with floating line, or the sinktip needed for cutting through the breakers, the rod stood up to the challenge.

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The next outing for the 10-weight was on the marshes of southern Louisiana to test its backbone against big redfish. Though these fish put a serious bend in the rod, it gave as much as it got. Even against a red topping 40 inches, I could put plenty of pressure on the fish to wear him down. The Rise Level X rods are available in weights of 5 through 10, along with a 12-weight model. All are in 9-foot lengths. Rise Rod Com-

pany’s stated mission is to create the best fly rods possible at a price that doesn’t discriminate. With price points ranging from $425 to $450, the Level X Series delivers on that promise. For more details visit risefishing.com.

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The 10-weight Level X has plenty of backbone for handling tough customers. Photo by Polly Dean.

These rods can stand up to a serious bend when a big fish makes a run. Photo by Polly Dean.

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DOGWOOD LODGE

HOPEDALE, LA

www.southernwaycharters.com

CALL (601) 466-0152 TO BOOK YOUR NEXT FISHING ADVENTURE SPORTSMANS LODGE VENICE, LA


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Buras Red by Polly Dean All photos by Polly Dean

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s one ventures south from New Orleans toward the lower reaches of Louisiana, groves of orange trees occupy the slender spits of land flanking State Route 23. The road parallels the mighty Mississippi River along its course toward the Gulf of Mexico. Along with flourishing citrus trees loaded with fruit are occasional reminders of the challenging times this area has faced. Remnants of buildings left behind by Hurricane Katrina, plastic crates and FEMA trailers used by storm victims or BP oil-spill clean-up crews remind us of the tenacity of the residents that return time after time to this Louisiana delta they call home. A great portion of these folks make their living off the fertile waters that envelope this region of Plaquemines Parish.

Releasing redfish.

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It is no surprise that sporting anglers also consider this a Mecca for hooking into redfish, black drum and speckled trout. Miles and miles of shallow estuaries are teeming with fish that can be sighted and cast to, many within just a few feet of the boat. This is what makes this region a destination that is ideal for those casting a fly rod. With so much habitat, it is not uncommon to spend a day on the water and never cross paths with other fishermen, even though big redfish can be found in mere inches of water. Cajun Fishing Adventures is a fishing and hunting lodge in Buras that’s front and center to this sanctuary, affording the outdoors person a large dose of what this “Sportsman’s Paradise” is all about. “Ten o’clock, about 20 feet. Let it fall - strip, strip. Woooohooo!” Our young captain, Grant Authement was clearly as excited as I was and apologized for “squealing like a little girl” as I fought the redfish for the next several minutes. I assured him that I didn’t mind the squealing and was surprised at the strength and fight in this fish that measured about 20 inches. “I was looking at a larger red,” Capt. Authement said, “but that one grabbed the fly instead.” Being the first fish of the day, I was allowing it a little more play, rather than “horsing” it in and risking losing it. Sight-casting to red drum, and especially having so many opportunities per 58 l www.sosaltwaterflyfishing.com

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Southern Saltwater Fly Fishing editor, Jimmy Jacobs, with a 42-inch Buras redfish

outing, is what makes this area so special. In a span of just a few hours, our captain, along with Cajun Fishing Adventures owner Ryan Lambert, spotted dozens of redfish, along with black drum and sheepshead. On many days, more than 100 is not an unrealistic estimate of the number of reds that are sighted. Here, it is just as common to see fish in the 30- or 40-inch or more range, as the smaller ones. Whether standing on the poling platform or down in the midsection of our Hells Bay boat, Lambert, with his trained eye, points out numerous fish to me and my fishing partner. I am able to see only a small percentage of them, and am getting a bit discouraged as I missed the mark or dropped my streamer way too close to them. There are too many fish that I don’t see until they are “running for the hills.” During a period of frustration, Lambert is literally calling out “two over there, three or four at four o’clock, one up front” and so on. I’m not proud to say, I was a little incredulous of all these fish that I couldn’t see, but sure enough – if my or my partner’s cast wasn’t placed where it should be, the tell-tale “V” wake - or multiple “Vs” – created by the fleeing fish would disclose the fact that indeed they had been exactly where Lambert said they were. Lambert suggested learning to look “through” the water, seeing the bottom – instead of “at” its surface. March 2018

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We never saw large schools of redfish, but instead pods of three or four and lots of singles. Some fish aren’t sighted until the boat literally glides over them as Lambert poles us across the shallows. If they don’t spook – and many won’t – these redfish can be caught with a quick, flip of the fly. Using shorter leaders of 6 to 7 feet helps in this situation. If the fish move on, cast again in front of them. They may still eat. This was the pattern of the day. We rarely had lulls in finding fish, but when we did have a slow period the captain knew where to go next. Water clarity, wind, temperatures, and cloud cover all play a role in this type of fishing. Most fly casters will tell you there is not much better than sight-casting to fish. This is the place to do it, but “sighting” the fish is everything in terms of success. 60 l www.sosaltwaterflyfishing.com

Ryan Lambert preparing to net a redfish.

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Sighting Fish

There are many ways to “see” fish. Most anglers think of tailing fish when they think of sight-casting for reds. When fish are actively feeding with their head tipped downward, backs, fins or tails can be seen protruding from the surface. While their attention is focused downward, place the fly close to get noticed. Common in these marshes, especially in shallow water that is cloudy or when it's overcast, it is easier to spot the fish by their movement. Cruising fish are easily spotted by their V-wake that pushes across the water's surface. Even though these fish may not be actively feeding, they will strike a well-placed fly. “Flies should be dropped a couple feet ahead and beyond the cruising fish,” Lambert emphasized. “Use subtle strips. Let the fly settle and then add a slight tug. These reds are opportunistic – not hungry. Make them think it's their idea to attack.” In slightly deeper water “muds” are a great indicator of fish. These are clouds of mud that occur as fish stir up the bottom while feeding. Often it's more difficult to tell the direction the fish are moving when a mud is sighted, but they are good clues for knowing a fish is in the area. Keep watching and note the direction of the current to know where the fish may be in relation to the cloudy water. Sight-fishing for redfish is possible year-round in Louisiana. Tides here only run about a foot and a half so anglers aren't limited to the smaller windows of prime fishing opportunities as in other locales. As in any endeavor, experience helps and even after a few hours on the water the ability to spot redfish and their telltale signs will improve. There are few things in our sport as rewarding as putting a well-placed cast in front of a giant redfish sighted in 18 inches of water and getting it to eat! Buras and the surrounding waters of Plaquemines Parish are the place to do it. Polly Dean is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer who has fished throughout the Southeast. She also is a Field Editor for Southern Saltwater Fly Fishing Magazine.. March 2018

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Greater New Orleans

Saving a Vamishing Paradise

Ryan Lambert, owner of Cajun Fishing Adventures is the ultimate host to the multitudes of anglers and duck hunters that visit his lodge every year. Lambert grew up in Louisiana hunting and fishing and has guided anglers for nearly four decades. A dedicated businessman, there is one passion of Lambert's that exceeds all others and that is to protect and restore the marsh habitats of this coastal region. This is no small endeavor and Lambert spends much of his time educating others about the area and his vision to convert it back to how it used to be. Every hour, portions of coastal marshland are eroding away. The comparisons of the amount of land a few decades ago to the lack of it today are staggering. This loss of habitat greatly impacts all wildlife. For the angler, this means that fish have nowhere to escape predation, especially the millions of fry that are eaten from a lack of protective cover. During my visit to Cajun Fishing Adventures, Lambert was busy hosting a busload of students from Tulane University. He educates others by taking them out on the water and showing them habitats that have eroded away over the years and what can be done to restore them. Grant money petitioned by Lambert helps to build terracing for collecting silt washed down from the Mississippi River to eventually create land mass. Creating diversions in levees also allows the silt to deposit in areas as it did before man-made intervention. VanishingParadise.org is an organization Lambert supports that is committed to the same passion of restoring marsh lands. Areas that once were solid marshes now have been eroded to just small patches of land.

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Fishing the

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ly fishing tournaments targeting bonefish, redfish or tarpon are not all that rare. On the other hand, such an event where the main target is sheepshead is another matter altogether. But don’t tell that to the folks down in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. They thoroughly enjoyed their Sheepy 2018 event! Founded by Miles LaRose and Greg Dini, this year’s tournament took place in Hopedale on February 24-25, drawing 18 boats with 36 fly anglers. Admittedly, as tournament organizer Capt. Lucas Bissett of Lowtide Charters LLC points out, the competition might be fierce, but it’s all in a spirit of camaraderie. The tournament kicks off on Friday evening with a pig roast, followed by a friendly hand of poker or two. But, of course, there just might be a bit of trash talk involved as the anglers get psyched for the fishing. Once they hit the water, the teams are trying to boat the most sheepshead on the fly, but there also are categories for the smallest redfish and the redfish with the most spots.

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Photo by Greg Dini

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After lines were out of the water for day one on Saturday and all the boats had returned from the labyrinth of the Louisiana marshes, there was some bragging about fish brought to the boat. There also were heads hung low after being skunked by the “Cajun permit.” According to Capt. Bissett, the successful fly casters celebrated and the others assuaged their sorrow over boiled crawfish appetizers and “ribeyes the size of a basketball player’s shoes,”

Photo by Greg Dini

Day two on Sunday dawned gloomy and promising foul weather. Undeterred, the boats headed back out in search of sheepshead. In the end the top team brought in a total of six sheephead, and that boat also took the award for the smallest redfish at barely 12 inches. 66 l www.sosaltwaterflyfishing.com

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Greater New Orleans CLOSE LOOK

The competitors then ran up to the town of Violet and Penny’s Café for the traditional closing ceremony. That consisted of a feast of fried fish, French fries and cold libations, as the prizes were awarded to the winning teams. Needless to say, there also were bold predictions bandied about concerning next year’s Sheepy 2019 that takes place on February 16–17, 2019. For information about that tournament, go to thesheepytournament@gmail.com.

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39 South Public Square Cartersville, GA 30120 770.606.1100 CohuttaFishingCo.com


N U J A C

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The Main Lodge at Cajun Fishing Adventures. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs.

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visit to Buras, Louisiana and the Cajun Fishing Adventures lodge puts you right in the middle of fantastic redfish action. It also is an area where you often have the water pretty much to yourself. Although more than a decade has pasted since Hurricane Katrina swept through southern Plaquemines Parish, the area still bears plenty of scars from the event. Many of those were inflicted on the psyche of the residents of this parish that stretches for 75 miles along the shores of the Mississippi River to the south of New Orleans. March 2018

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Greater New Orleans - Featured Resort The Swimming pool provides an inviting setting behind the main lodge. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs.

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The population is still 12 percent below it pre-storm size, and more importantly a large number of those residents relocated to the northern end of the parish, away from Buras. Over all, commercial fishing licenses issued in the parish fell 40 percent, while recreational licenses were down more than 50 percent. The one thing that did not change, however, was the presence of lots of redfish, with many of those reaching lunker sizes. “Speckled trout, redfish, ducks – that’s our main thing,” Cajun Fishing Adventures owner Ryan Lambert said. “We catch flounder, black drum, cobia and that kind of thing, but most of what we do is speckled trout and redfish.” His year-round operation is renowned for hosting anglers from around the world, as well as duck hunters in the winter. All those factors make Buras a great place for visiting fly casters to enjoy great fishing. There’s no better way to access that fishing than booking a stay at Cajun Fishing Adventures. Lambert has owned and operated the facility since 1980. Today there are three lodges on site that can host up to 35 quests.

WHERE THE ROAD ENDS & THE FLY FISHING BEGINS! There’s nothing like the feeling of reeling in that big catch. Discover St. Bernard and experience the excitement over and over again fishing the most abundant waters in Louisiana. St. Bernard, where we’re reeling in the fun! Only 5 miles from the Historic French Quarter Visit www.visitstbernard.com or call (504) 278.4242

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Greater New Orleans - Featured Resort

The Main Lodge can accommodate 18 people in eight bedrooms consisting of six double and two triple occupancy rooms. Each room has a bathroom and shower, as well as separate HVAC units for your specific preferences. The Great Room has three couches, rocking chairs, flat screen entertainment center and pool table on one end and the dining room and kitchen on the other. Just beyond the Main swimming pool area lies the Back Lodge, which has a capacity of 11 guests in two triple occupancy rooms and an upstairs room that accommodates five. The Back Lodge is just steps away from the Main Lodge and pool, but provides added privacy for a smaller groups that need their own space for business meetings or other non-fishing and hunting related activities. The FlyHouse Lodge is a high-end, exclusive option that accommodates six visitors in three double-occupancy rooms. It has its own pool, living and sitting 74 l www.sosaltwaterflyfishing.com

The spacious Great Room has a common area and dining room. Photo by Polly Dean.

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Featured Resort - Greater New Orleans CLOSE LOOK rooms, as well as kitchen and dining rooms. Customers booking the FlyHouse have an option of their own catered dinner, thus not having to come over to the Main Lodge for their evening meal. All morning meals are served at the Main Lodge since that is the launching point for your fishing or hunting day. To accommodate anglers the lodge has 15 guides, three of which guide fly fishermen. In a pinch, Ryan Lambert also takes to the water to guide fly casters. The fly-fishing vessels are 18-foot Hells Bay flats boats. Though you are welcome to bring your own gear, each boat also is outfitted with a pair of 9-foot, 8-weight custom-made Cajun Fishing Adventure RL series rods and reels. The tranquil waters surrounding the lodge are teeming with shallow-water, sight-fishing opportunities for redfish, black drum, sheepshead and spotted seatrout. Your guide will push you through the vast shallow water marshes and bays of the lower Mississippi River Delta. These fish do not see the volume of fishing pressure that other great fishing destinations incur, so the fish are typically receptive to a large variety of fly patterns. After the fishing, the kitchen staff stands ready to provide delectable meals with a south Louisiana flare at dinner time. Fresh fish, shrimp March 2018

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Greater New Orleans - Featured Resort

After the fishing, the kitchen staff stands read to provide delectable meals with a south Louisiana flare at dinner time. Fresh fish, shrimp etouffee and other local delicacies often grace the table. You also get a hearty full breakfast before the fishing and box lunches to take along on the boat. If you have non-anglers who want to tag along on the trip, they will find plenty to do at Cajun Fishing Adventures. Besides hanging out at the swimming pool, birding, eco and wildlife tours can be arranged. So why should we have a visit to Cajun Fishing Adventure on our bucket list? Ryan Lambert has a ready answer for the question. “It’s an entertainment business, it’s not a fishing business and we understand that,” he explained. “We want to make sure everyone has a great time. It’s one of the top five lodges in North America (as picked by Sport Fishing magazine) and its sitting in the best fishery in North America. So, it’s a no brainer.” For complete details on Cajun Fishing Adventures, visit their website at cajunfishingadventures.com.

J-BAR SPORTSMAN’S LODGE 504.657.8195 Lodging & Inshore Fishing in Buras, LA

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Featured Resort - Greater New Orleans CLOSE LOOK “Forged in Rugged Spectacular Country; Built to be Fished Anywhere.”

TM

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Duane Redford: “Fear No Water” 8 Rivers Fly Fishing Pro Staff Lead Senior Fishing Guide Colorado 3 Time Best Selling Author

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Greater New Orleans - Featured Guide

Changing of the Guard

Fishing with Capt. Grant Authement

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Featured Guide - Greater New Orleans CLOSE LOOK

Capt. Grant Authemont on the poling platform Photo by Jimmy Jacobs

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ften you hear fly casters discussing guides they’ve fished with over the years. Some of the best of those are described as crusty old veterans of the sport that are not opposed to telling you just what a poor caster you are. We tend to cut them some slack and even tip them in spite of the abuse, if they also are very good at putting us on hungry fish. But, such characters aren’t the most pleasant to share a boat with, particular if fish are not being caught. Fortunately, there’s always a younger generation coming along with a desire to establish themselves in the sport. They instinctively seem to know that providing a fun atmosphere on the water is almost as important as catching big numbers of fish. A prime example of this new breed is Capt. Grant Authement, who fishes out of Cajun Fishing Adventures in Buras, Louisiana.

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A day in his boat finds him on the poling platform ready to chase redfish across the grass flats and shallows around marsh islands, often for hours at a time. Add a breeze blowing across the water and having a younger man poling becomes a real blessing. Another bonus is that newer guides tend to be some of the most enthusiastic and get really excited when you hook up. Grant fits that description perfectly. He also provides advice regarding casting or fighting fish in an encouraging manner. Slow times in the fishing are filled with entertaining observations or stories, all of which make the day on the water a pleasant one. All that being said, Capt. Authement’s ability to find the fish in the region stretching from Buras down to Venice is what seals the deal. Like most saltwater guides up on the platform, he too has the uncanny knack for spotting cruising fish and directing you to them. Grant Authement is no stranger to the south Louisiana marshes. He grew up on a 3,500-acre plantation composed of sugar cane and swamps near the town of Luling in St. Charles Parish. It was there on the local ponds and streams that he first began fly fishing. His targets in those early days were bluegill and bass. Eventually he entered junior college where he played on the baseball team and feels that timing associated with hitting proved very useful to him in improving his casting. Both sports, obviously, have much in common with regard to eye-hand coordination. 80 l www.sosaltwaterflyfishing.com

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Sheepshead are another fish that shows up on these flats. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs

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The main fly rod target in the waters around Buras are the redfish. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs

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The defining moment in his fly-fishing career happened when he and his family did a trip to Buras for fishing at Cajun Fishing Adventures lodge. There he met the owner and his future mentor Ryan Lambert. Soon he was taken under Lambert’s wing, learning the fishing on the local salt waters. That led to the opportunity to begin guiding out of the lodge and a new focus on fly fishing. The long-rod sport was just getting hot on local waters, with more anglers showing up wanting to fly cast. “Ryan Lambert told me I’d be the 12th in line for conventional guide trips, but would be first for fly fishing,” Capt. Authement explained. Needless to say, Grant pursued the latter. Now entering his fifth year of professional guiding, he specializes in putting clients on the redfish that are so abundant around Buras. The generally clear water of this area allows for sight casting to the reds, ordinarily with 9-weight gear. Those fish could be anywhere from 18 to 40 inches long. If, however, the water muddies up, he heads for the very shallow areas around marsh islands. In those places the reds give away their position by pushing wakes as they cruise those edges. If you get a fly right in front of them, the fish can be caught even under those conditions. March 2018

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Capt. Authemont put Polly Dean on this redfish at Buras. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs

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“They are relentless,” the captain said of the redfish, once hooked. Many times other reds will follow the hooked fish. “They like to do that,” Authemont added. According to Capt. Authemont, the redfish are not particularly fussy about the fly patterns. “Size matters more than color, but chartreuse and purple are the best,” he offered. “Any crustacean – crab or shrimp – patterns will work.” The other fish that are most often encountered on these flats are black drum and sheepshead. While the drum can be taken using the same tactics as redfish, the sheepshead are a tougher proposition. They can be skittish, but will take flies. “Small purple crab patterns with sparkle are the flies to use,” Capt. Authemont noted, with regard to both those species. For a laid-back and productive day of fly casting to the redfish, black drum and sheepshead of Buras, you can arrange a day of fishing with Capt. Grant Authemont through Cajun Fishing Adventures at cajufishingadventures. com.

504.564.9300 30482 Highway 11, Port Sulphur, LA 70083

lematidorainn.com


Featured Artist

Mike Williams GreenBusDesigns.com

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Michael Williams teaches art and history at the secondary level in Oscoda, Michigan, but his passions are for painting and chasing steelhead, king salmon and brown trout on the Au Sable River. Those twin vices led him to found Green Bus Designs to market his angling art, much of which appears on custom designed streamer boxes. Here Southern Saltwater Fly Fishing Magazine caught up with Michael to talk to him about his art. When did you first discover your talent for painting and other art? Early on I remember sitting in my great grandpa’s lap working on drawings together around the age of five, but it followed me into my elementary years. In like 2nd or 3rd grade I won a contest for drawing Clifford the Big Red Dog. At that time, I was proving to be one of the best in my age bracket. Does that count? The problem was, I was also a band kid though, so I wasn’t able to take art classes until I reached the high school level. At that point, my ability started to show through. I could draw quite well and spent lots of time drawing what I saw. Every step of the way though, seemed to be a setback in regards to confidence. I remember being at the top of my class in high school and then stepping into college tpo be just blown away by the talent around me. I felt like I knew nothing and constantly compared myself to those around me. I didn’t have much direction at this point and certainly no style. I was chasing every avenue of inspiration and simply trying to copy the things that I enjoyed the most. What early experiences in your life helped steer you in the direction of becoming a professional artist? The most influential person in my life at that time, was my high school art teacher. I knew I wanted to do something art related, but there weren’t a lot of opportunities or at least opportunities that I felt fit me best. I considered designing cars or at least clay modeling for a long time, as we were a big General Motors family and a lot of my relatives, including my parents, worked for GM. I didn’t have the math skills though to do a lot of the things that fit into this category. After watching my art teacher, I just knew that education and trying to impact students as she had, was the route that I wanted to pursue. Did growing up where you did influence your interest in art? My artwork wasn’t influenced as much by where I grew up, as much as it was the people that were around me and the experience in the outdoors. My great grandpa and mom, were both really great artists. I mean they just flat out had natural talent or ability, although they rarely created art. March 2018

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Being in Michigan, I did have some amazing opportunities visiting the Upper Peninsula and even Ontario, north of Sault Ste. Marie. These places did drive my artwork and that was because I was fortunate enough to spend time there with my grandpa Jack. The scenery and animals drove me to want more, and were always something that snuck into all of my pieces in one way or another. What are some of your favorite subjects to paint? This is so silly, but I was raised on Bob Ross. I truly enjoyed everything about that man and what he did, and more importantly, I appreciated the fact that we loved the same things - small cabins away from society and in some setting that just blew your mind. To me, it was like flying to Alaska on several occasions and looking down on these mountain lakes and streams, just knowing that there were monster fish waiting in these areas where most humans had never even thought of going. Those landscapes that Bob Ross painted, were that to me - landscapes of “trouty” type places or solitude. What would you regard as your best received works? So, I got into doing angling art by accident. I had been watching a couple of people who were dabbling and receiving warm reviews. Being someone who is pretty competitive, I knew that I could maybe do better than some of them, while still not even close to some of the others. So why not throw my hat in? Add to that the fact that a student had requested I help him draw a Rapala lure, which turned into me doing one of my own and then, “well, I guess I should try a few of my favorite flies.” Next came my wife pushing me to get stickers made and the rest is sort of history. The reason I say all of this, is because I was really influenced by people like Ty Hallock and Jorge Martinez who were doing artwork that was functional and creating these beautiful streamer boxes. I think part of this to, was my love for streamer fishing at this time and it just sort of drove me to try it on my own. 88 l www.sosaltwaterflyfishing.com

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Michael Williams studied Art Education at Michigan State University and has been teaching 6th12th Grade Art and U.S. History for the past 15 years. Once he began his teaching career, his art projects included requests from friends and colleagues at school, project examples for students, and t-shirt designs for various clubs and organizations. It wasn’t until one of his students

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I didn’t want to be the guy who just painted on things though and that’s sort of what it has become. Currently I am working on custom hats and those have been very popular, but at the end of the day, I would like to get back on canvas and start doing more than just streamer boxes and hats. I have also found that my flies are typically received better than my fish. I think part of this is because there aren’t a lot of people just focusing on doing flies or contemporary takes on them - or maybe it’s because my fish aren’t as good! Do you prefer oil, acrylics or watercolor? I prefer oil, if given the chance and the perfect world. Here is the deal though, I am one of those artists, and I guess many of us are, that use what I need to complete what it is that I am doing. I am using lots of different mediums on every project or at least using that mindset. Now that I think of it though, watercolor does offer up a lot in regards to the addition of it to some other mediums. How many pieces do you typically produce a year? I am not doing nearly as many as I would like. If everything were to run smoothly, I could do two to three a week, but again this is more of a hobby at this point than a profession. We recently added another child to our family in August, with the birth of my daughter Edie. That slowed me down for a bit and then I got into a groove with getting things out. On the 29th of December, she unexpectedly passed away and now there is a slump. As of late, it just seems like it is one step forward and two steps back. I don’t want to make this “work” yet. I want art to be my outlet and as soon as that changes, I see myself just stepping away. I don’t want art to ever be work - or at least have the often negative implications surrounding it that work often does. Not saying I wouldn’t do this professionally, I just don’t want to get to the point where it doesn’t excite me. I’ve actually experienced that and spent about 14 years after college staying away from creating, but instead just teaching it. I will always do art, in one capacity or another, but this Green Bus Designs endeavor is something that comes last after family and sometimes, as you probably know, having a young family dictates life. March 2018

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Do you do commissioned work? All of the pieces that I am putting out at this point are commissioned. My hope is to work on things this year and get some prints done, as well as some apparel maybe, but we just aren’t there yet. What is the most challenging thing about creating fishing art? I believe in order to draw or paint the particular species, you have to actually put your hands on the fish. For me, the biggest issue I have had is working with those fish that I haven’t actually caught yet. Each fish is constructed of layers upon layers of imagery and color. I approach each fish in that manner. For example, if you have never caught something chrome, you truly don’t understand the different colors that come with that chrome - as with a steelhead or something of that nature. That is not only silver, but you get these wonderful purples and light blues in the fish that you would never understand from just looking at a picture. What advice do you have for would-be artists? Be grateful, humble, and confident. I went into a lot of conversations the first year as a “professional” not having a lot of confidence. I didn’t feel like what I was doing was all that special or different and in many ways, I still don’t get the initial appeal - other than just being a little different in my approach with drawing flies over other things. There were a lot of other artists who sort of took me under their wing, even if just for a short conversation, to give me guidance and did so with a great deal of force. They knew I wasn’t as confident as I should be or perhaps charging like I should have, and let me know it. There are a ton of rookie mistakes that I made, as did so many others, but for the most part, the community has been very supportive and helpful in making sure I don’t have to learn the hard way like they had. 92 l www.sosaltwaterflyfishing.com

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As always, don’t take yourself too seriously. Also, share with those you trust ideas, approaches, techniques - or don’t. Those individuals I trust or who work with similar materials have been super helpful and I try to give back to them when I can. Of course, I have also been burned in doing the same thing. As always though, collaboration to me is much more fun. What else would you like to share about your art or passion for art? In the Phish song “Waste,” there is a line “don’t want to be a painter, because everyone comes to look.” It took me about 37 years to finally be comfortable with people looking. In the past I wasn’t the type of artists who cared about completing projects and most of the stuff I did was thrown away. There is excitement in people looking at my work these days and a great deal of responsibility too. The pressure now is to keep on improving and refusing to let my art get stale. 94 l www.sosaltwaterflyfishing.com

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The hardest part for me at this point, is just maintaining my career as an educator, my role as a husband and dad, maintaining my hobbies, and then with my free time, making art. Art is important to me for sure, but as someone who isn’t a full-time artist, you just have to keep everything in perspective. There are still a number of milestones that I am trying to reach with the art that I am creating, people that I need to meet, gear I need to buy, trips that need to be taken, and fish that need to be caught. So far, art had done all of those things for me and I like where I am at with that!

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Seatrout Primer I

f you consider the entire South Atlantic coast of the U.S., unquestionably the most often targeted fish in saltwater is the spotted seatrout, or speckled trout as it is often called. These fish are plentiful, seemingly always ready for a fight, and quite palatable when eaten fresh.

Several small tidal creeks enter the Savannah River on Tybee Island. Photo by Liz Thornton

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for the

But once you narrow the question down to just fly casters, the trout seem to fall from grace. Though often caught on flies, they are not regularly targeted. Rather the trout are hooked when we present a fly in search of another species.

Peach State By Jimmy Jacobs

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That circumstance is a shame since seatrout readily take flies and put up a head-shaking fight on the surface. Also, if you are into chasing a trophy catch, finding and hooking a “gator” trout is more difficult than sight-casting a 25-pound redfish along our coasts. Exactly what constitutes a gator trout varies from region to region. In Texas or Florida’s southeast coast it might be one of double-digit weight, but here in Georgia a fish of 5-pounds qualifies.

For numbers of seatrout, the 100 miles of the Peach State coast are hard to beat. The sounds, inlets and tidal waters fringed by miles of marsh grass shores and islands abound with the species. Small boats easily reach most of the trout “drops,” while the fish also can be caught in some spots from the shore.

The mouths of tributaries are good places to target for seatrout. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs.

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Seatrout show up virtually anywhere along the Georgia coast, so we’ll just highlight a few spots that are easily recognized. Starting on the northern end of the coast at the port city of Savannah, the jetties along the north side of the ship channel at the mouth of the Savannah River can be a hotspot. When the top of the tide is moving either in or out, water flowing over the rocks creates eddies that attract the trout. Positioning your boat to run a bait fish imitation through these shoots can be productive.

To the south side of the river along the north shore of Tybee Island the river offers a long stretch of sand and thick oyster bars dropping into deeper water. As the tide falls or rises it is possible to walk along the shore and cast over these shell beds. There also are a few small tidal creeks that empty into the river as well.

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Near the middle of the Georgia coast lies the other important port city of Brunswick. This area features the state’s Golden Isles of Jekyll, Sea and St. Simons. The Marshes of Glynn are one landmark feature here that was highlighted in a poem by Sidney Lanier. Another major feature is the Sidney Lanier Bridge spanning the ship channel of the Brunswick River. The south shore of the river around the bridge often has trout lurking at the edge of the marsh grass points during high tides. But, be aware the huge tides on the Georgia coast fall quickly, and you can become grounded for hours in this shallow area if you don’t pay attention to the flow.

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At the south end of the coast the colonial seaport and fishing village of St. Marys rests on its namesake river. The town is the jump off point for reaching Cumberland Island. That national seashore isle offers two tidal creeks that produce seatrout. At the northern end Christmas Creek is on the ocean side, separating Cumberland from Little Cumberland Island. At the southern end Beach Creek intrudes into the island from the Cumberland Sound on the shoreward side of the island. Both offer excellent habitat for trout fishing.

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The south shore of the Brunswick River beneath the Sidney Lanier Bridge often holds trout.

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Once in these locations, for what should we be looking? There are three location factors that often point to trout drops. Oyster shell beds, mouths of smaller tributary creeks and marsh grass points along the shore or at the ends of islands all are good places to start a search. Over the years I’ve asked a lot of

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guides how they pick out a shell bed or creek mouth to fish. To paraphrase the answer, it’s the one where the fish are. Schools of trout move around, so there is no guarantee they will be at a certain place. But, they are likely to be in one of these type situations, so checking several is often the answer to locating trout.

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The other factors to consider when targeting seatrout in Georgia are water conditions. You definitely want to have moving water. That can be on either a rising or falling tide. At the peak of the ebb or flow the fishing is going to slow or completely end.

The old seaport of St. Marys is the jump off point for reaching Cumberland Island. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs

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The other crucial factor in Georgia is finding clear water. With tides that can feature 9-foot swings in the water level, a lot of current is generated, bringing with it a lot of mud out of the marshes. When the water muddies up, the trout leave. Peach State trout fishing often is just a search for clear water. Due to the dark waters on this coast, being able to see 18-inches into the water is considered clear.

Seatrout readily take flies along the Peach State coast. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs.

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Finally, during or just after heavy rains along or just inland of the coast, fresh water entering the estuaries can kill the trout fishing. In these periods you need to target areas closer to the ocean inlets to find salinity levels more suited to the seatrout. Checking out these and similar locations with the right water conditions can lead to some fun and steady action for Peach State seatrout. Jimmy Jacobs is the editor of Southern Saltwater Fly Fishing Magazine and the author of Fly Casting the South Atlantic Coast. The book is available from the book store at jimmyjacobsoutdoors.com

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5 States 38 River Systems $21.95

9 States 46 Tailwaters $19.95

Trout Fishing Guidebooks For The South By Jimmy Jacobs

80 Watersheds On Public Land $15.95

Autographed copies available.


The Lady Artist

Just in from the design studio at 8 Rivers Fly Rods is a versatile rod for the ladies.

T

he first reaction to 8 River’s Fly Rod was “I thought you made rods named after the eight rivers portion of West Virginia.” Obviously, the company’s name is something of a misnomer, but then the Mountaineer State’s rivers all wind up in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, which the last time we checked are saltwater, so mystery solved.

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“8 Rivers Fly Rod Company was born out of a desire and sense of duty to promote the well-being of ALL anglers and their families,” said Matt Holtsclaw, founder of the innovative fly rod making company. “By creating a true sportswomen specific fly rod we are recognizing women specifically by welcoming them into the sport of fly fishing.”

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So what is unique about this particular fly rod and what does it bring to the table that other rods do not? Perhaps most important is the fact it is designed in part by a true fly fisher who happens to be a woman. Her name is Mandy Hertzfeld and she guides full time in the Rocky Mountain region. She is anartist who paints fly fishing scenes and truly “lives the life.” So, the aesthetics of the rod, including down to the color of the thread as well as it basic attributes, were requested by her from the beginning. So, what are the basic attributes of the rod? A moderate action that is not too stiff but yet has the backbone to fight and pull in the large fish that is caught on a regular basis in the Rockies. Accuracy out to a medium distance of 70 feet or so was very important. Although many fish are caught within the 40-foot range, Holtsclaw wanted something that would stretch out to be able to fight the wind somewhat and perform inshore salt fishing as well. A specific saltwater version is set for the future, a bit more stiffly build with a slightly different graphite and a larger weight. It will be possibly a 9- or 10-weight with a swing weight that feels like an 8-weight. When asked how many types of this model he has on the planning board, Holtsclaw responding by saying, “Just the 5-weight at the moment. More will follow through. I see the market for fly rods directed specifically to sportswomen as limited. 110 l www.sosaltwaterflyfishing.com

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“I venture to say because the builder is limiting itself to creating a niche product,” Holtsclaw states. “However, here at 8 Rivers Fly Rod we recognized on many levels that it was past time to do so. When we say ‘The most Advanced, High Performance, Comprehensively Designed Ladies Fly Rod in the World.’ we mean just that.” The blank itself was several years in the making, In a nutshell, it is made like a state of the art, high priced sports cars. Each 8 Rivers Fly Rod contains the same prepreg carbon fiber technology used in these supercars. Just available the company’s Lady Artist 9-foot 5-weight is a true worldclass piece of sports equipment. “We wanted something women could call their own and connect to nature with that was unbeatable in technology and design,” Holtsclaw said. “Also if they wanted, they could have a chip on their shoulders about it--you know, be able to let the guys know girls could kick their butts out there fishing too, all in good fun and serious competition!” Southern Saltwater Fly Fishing’s staff was quite impressed the with the rod’s stunning looks and its performance. Among our favorite features on the rod, we could not help but notice the looks immediately. Everyone loved the combination of thread color choice paired with Titanium stripper guides. It may as well have “Pick Me! You won’t put me down!” written on its sides. The color of the blank was pleasing, the atheistic reel seat design was not only very pleasing to the eye but was also up to the rigors inflicted on saltwater fly rods. We loved Yacht Hardware Grade PVD TiCH plated single guides, and drooled over handles crafted from Flor Grade Cork sourced from Portugal. It is stunning. However, our favorite feature is the fact that the performance of the Lady Artist matches its looks. Not that long distance casting is the most important feature, but it is talked about quite often. Therefore it should be known that an intermediate caster will cast this rod 70 feet easily and consistently with two or three false casts. March 2018

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Accuracy testing was a pleasant surprise. We were delighted that the Lady Artist was spot on because of just the right amount of feel… not too stiff--not too parabolic or “slow.” The swing weight performance provides balance to make the ease of operation spot on. Exceptional swing weight is noticeable immediately…light in the hand, as our team of four concluded. According to Holtsclaw who designed the fly rod, the Lady Artist is completely saltwater rated. He even used corrosion proof medium size stripper guides for that purpose, along with a small fighting butt to complete all situations. Saltwater and beginner fly fishers sometimes instinctively reach for a handle. One of Ms. Hertzfeld’s requests was to put a fighting butt on the 8 River Fly Rod 5-weight Lady Artist. It’s an addition that is something not always considered the norm, which according to Hotlscraw is fine because 8 Rivers Fly Rod loves to be innovative and excel at such things. This versatile rod can easily be pressed into service for inshore and freshwater environments. ”The Lady Artist fly rod originated through the love and respect for family,” Holtsclaw explained. “My mom, my wife, my daughter, and all of the emotions and ties that run through those relationships are found in the designing, building and ultimately being able to present this fly rod to the fly fishing world and specifically, to sportswomen everywhere, merge together in the Lady Artist. I am humbled to make it available and consider its introduction as possibly 8 Rivers Fly Rod Company’s greatest achievement to date.” 114 l www.sosaltwaterflyfishing.com

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Featured Fly Tier

J

im Magee of Ocean Springs, Mississippi is a fly tier of local renown on his portion of the Gulf Coast. Taking a look at his tying and fishing career has a timely feel to it. Originally from St. Marys County, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay, he has been heavily influenced by Lefty Kreh, which is yet another example of how that legendary fly caster will be missed.

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Jim Magee

“My father enjoyed being on the water and fishing was certainly a part of our lives, but it was my sister Sue’s husband, Charlie, that showed me that fishing was more than a pastime – it was an obsession,” Magee explained. “Another influence was Lefty Kreh. My family subscribed to the Baltimore Sun when Lefty was outdoor editor and I loved reading about his exploits, and more importantly his advice and tips.”

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Because of the area in which he grew up, Magee quickly gravitated to saltwater fishing. He cast for rockfish, as striped bass are called in that area, around Cedar Point on the Patuxent River and bluefish at the mouth of the St. Marys River. Later he expanded his range to include such iconic spots as Tangier Sound, the Target Ship and Hooper Island Light on Chesapeake Bay. “I didn’t start fly fishing until later in life,” he noted. “I bought my first fly rod outfit in the late 1990s at McLellans Fly Shop in Hughesville, Maryland. It was a 9-weight St. Croix with a click and pawl reel that I quickly burned up. While getting a complimentary casting lesson with the rod, Mr. McLellan told me he had been fly fishing for 40 years and was ‘starting to get the hang of it.’ I guess I still have some years to go before I get the hang of it.” Once into the sport, it was a Christmas gift from his wife that got Magee into the next phase as a fly tier. “The Christmas after I bought my first fly rod

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outfit, my wife Chris bought me a laptop tying desk and some basic tools – thread, hackle, bucktail, bobbin and one pair of scissors,” he recalled. “So she’s responsible for all the money I’ve spent on fly tying material and tools. “I am a self-taught tier,” Magee continued. “I would buy flies at shops and reverse engineer them. I started buying books on the subject. One of my first purchases was Lefty’s Saltwater Patterns. I still have that book. As I accumulated books, my Clousers and Deceivers began to look better. Then I purchased a book that changed my approach to fly tying – Bob Popovic’s Pop Fleyes. Once I got the hang of tying with epoxy, I began seeking out bluefish instead of avoiding them. More importantly, the book brought home the importance of improvisation and matching the hatch.” The next twist in Jim Magee’s career came when a job offer brought him to Ocean Springs and the Gulf Coast in 2004. It also proved beneficial to his fishing and tying.

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“I really enjoy sight fishing the barrier islands of the Mississippi coast,” Magee said. “The environment is constantly changing, which in turn affects the types of fish encountered. You never know when a 20-pound jack will take the fly you just tossed where a pompano skipped!” Those fishing experiences have convinced him to always have a mixture flies in his box on this part of the coast. One pattern is the Pompano Rocket tied with yellow, pink or orange bucktail and gold or silver Mylar braid

for catching pompano and redfish. Another is the standby Clouser Minnow for all species. He ties them in both light and dark hues, but always has white-over-orange ones to imitate ghost shrimp. Epoxy Surf Candy also will be in his fly box. Those are tied in olive or gray with a red belly to match the red minnows when they are running. It works well for Spanish mackerel, bluefish and ladyfish. He also carries crab patterns in olive and brown, with blue or orange accents. These tempt any species that is feeding on the bottom. Finally, his arsenal includes the venerable Lefty’s Deceiver tied with natural material for fooling cobia, jacks and even sharks. 120 l www.sosaltwaterflyfishing.com

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“I still enjoy tying Deceivers and Clousers using bucktail and hackle,” Magee pointed out. “The flies just look so natural to me. And they must look natural to the predators, because they’re still catching fish. They just don’t look as tapered and natural to me when tied with synthetics.”

Still, Magee does experiment with new materials and patterns. “I’m getting into synthetic materials, like EP Anadromous and Foxy Brush to tie larger streamers,” he said, “especially eel imitations for cobia and high profile flies for jacks. And, I’ve enjoyed some success using Fish Skull Sculpin Helmets with flashy materials like EP Tarantula or Crustacean Brush. These heavy flies kick up sand when stripped and both red and black drum go after them readily. I’m also tying smaller bait patterns with UV Minnow Wrap and Chewed Skin.” March 2018

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Although Jim Magee does not tie commercially - “I’m too slow” - he is available for tying classes and often does demonstrations for fly fishing clubs along the Gulf Coast. Also, he has never entered any competitions, Magee says, “My award is fooling that pompano into taking one of my flies.” He offered a final bit of advice to beginning tiers. “You can never outbling a pompano,” he said. “Seriously, be innovative. Don’t tie a pattern because ‘that’s how it’s always been done.’ Try adding marabou if you don’t like hackle or add UV. Never say ‘that will never catch fish’ until you try it. Finally, don’t be self-conscious – a butt-ugly fly may catch a surprising number of fish. If it doesn’t, go back to the table and innovate.” To contact Jim Magee for tying demonstrations, e-mail him at jamagee@ bellsouth.net.

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Bad T by O. Victor Miller

There's nothing eithe believe Hamlet and n

E

very dozen steps we flush stingrays, which rise from the silty bottom and fly off like gray moths the size of dinner plates. Agustin, my guide, has told me to wear my chews and shuffle my feet, but the waterlogged Docksiders are abbreviating my breath, wearing me down. Soon there's the faint pulse of oncoming angina, softer footsteps getting heavier. The stent my cardiologist installed before I sailed to Mexico was working fine until the girl jumped ship in Isla Mujeres, leaving me with the two Boykin spaniels to argue with. We hit a reef off Bahia de la Ascencion, which is what I get for arguing with dogs: they say the girl flew home to find a real life.

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I get barefoot and tie my shoelaces together. A stingray barb has to be less lethal than a heart attack, unless, exhausted from dragging my feet, I stumble headfirst on one and take a hit between the eyes. Agustin stalks our quarry like a cross-country skier, hardly glancing down. His Mayan ancestors used stingray barbs to pierce tongues and genitals for sacrificial bloodletting while consorts knelt to catch the offertorial drippings in a bowl. You come from a line of folks like that, and you don't worry so much

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Thinking: Part 1

er good or bad but thinking makes it so, at least if you not the dogs - or the bonefish.

about your feet. I've had plenty of time to read up on Agustin's ancestry while I wait for a blacksmith to hammer out a prop that looks like the lid of a C-ration can hacked open with a bayonet. I mostly blame the dogs. My guide turns to see what's holding me up, wagging a finger as I hang the chews around my neck and spray a cold mist of nitroglycerin under my tongue. "You aren't wearing yours," I remind him. "Si, Veektor, but I have deed thees before." Impatient with my pace, Agustin smiles faintly. He must think the pink nitro is to sweeten my breath. Maybe he's insulting me so I'll make him take me back. Or maybe I'm being paranoid. It's true, this is my first time out for bonefish, for macabi. From experience I know jilted lovers and novice fishermen can be touchy. To be fair, my guide's under no particular obligation to fawn. He's used to sportsmen thrilled to death to fork out big bucks for the chance to shuffle around in mangrove flats up to their nuts in stingrays. No fool, Agustin knows my cracked and occluded heart ain't 100 perMarch 2018

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cent involved in this exercise. I appreciate the gesture, but I've never been much of a saltwater man in the first place. When I run out of canned tuna, I drag a church key with a hook wired to it behind my sailboat Kestyll: meat fishing. By the time I notice something white skidding around in my wake, it's drowned and inflated. Big ones still kicking I shoot with a Colt Woodsman. If they flop after that, I pour rum in their gills. The girl fought fish on a nice saltwater outfit she trolled off the stern rail. I'd head up so she could play them. I admit, it was sort of fun to watch her. She'd get so excited, she couldn't keep her little feet from dancing. I haven't fooled with her tackle since she left: too much trouble to mess with alone. Agustin slows his stalk and I moonwalk behind him, my knees 126 l www.sosaltwaterflyfishing.com

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bumping his hip pockets every time he pauses to scan the glare. A flushed ray hooks around to hide in our smoke. It grazes the top of my naked foot, and I climb Agustin. "Ess too hot!� he says of the water, squirming out from under me. "Vamanos a los manglares." He gestures to a mangrove patch with his 9-weight. "Over there maybe I show to you some caimanes." "Do what?" Caiman is a polite misnomer for crocodile in these parts, which translates into a heap more than a souped-up gator with an attitude. The first one I messed with down in Panama broke my thumb after I'd emptied a .44 magnum into it. I don't want to mess with any caiman with a 6-weight Orvis, though I'm no coward. I've even considered suicide as a respite from my latest rejection, maybe leaving a note on my Web page so the world won't view March 2018

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my leaving as just another absentminded blunder. I've fantasized hurling myself off a rocky cliff in Guatemala, where I was headed before engaging the reef. Maybe I'll just sit tight right here in Punta Alen until the next hurricane comes along, but even in my darkest hours of despondency, being torn apart to putrefy piecemeal in a crocodile den yaws far alee of my romantic musings of demise. I'm not afraid of death, just crocodiles, though I suspect Agustin is trying to spook me back to the skiff so he can go home to eat beans. "Let's go back to the skiff," I suggest. "I've seen caimanes, plenty of them." To be continued

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR O. Vic Miller retired from a career as a remedial English teacher at Darton College in Georgia. He then set sail in the Kestyll to Panama, where he spent the better part of a decade living among the Kuna Indians, fly fishing, hunting crocodiles and communing with nature. His writing has appeared over the years in both Gray’s Sporting Journal and Sporting Classic magazines. While most freshwater fly casters discovering bonefishing in the tropics consider the action to constitute an adventure of a lifetime, Professor Miller proves that one man’s dream just might be more akin to another’s nightmare. That’s especially true when the venture is shared with an overbearing guide and a pair of judgmental Boykin spaniels. Here’s Part 1 of this three-segment cautionary tale of bonefishing in Mexico.

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End of the Line

The Black Velvet Oyster Bar & Grill lies off the main highway in Buras, Louisiana. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs

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fter a day on the water in Buras, Louisiana, you may have worked up a yearning for a cool libation. If that yen grows into the desire for a bit of bar hopping, it won’t take long. Your choices are very slim in this small town in Plaquemines Parish. Fortunately, you will have the option of dropping in at the Black Velvet Oyster Bar & Grill.

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End of the Line

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The grill offers both table and bar seating. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs

The Black Velvet is located on State Route 11 in “downtown” Buras, offering cold drinks, good food and a friendly atmosphere. According to Byron Marinovich, who owns the establishment along with his wife Kelli, the bar’s name came from an earlier honkytonk in Buras. That business washed away in Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Thus, as with much of Plaquemines Parish, the present Black Velvet opened for business during the cleanup after that disaster. Also like much of south Louisiana, the Black Velvet is just quirky enough to be considered unique. For instance, a Thompson submachine gun hangs over the bar! But, not to worry, it is only a decoration. Still, it does allude to another eccentricity of the establishment. In the upstairs floor of the building Byron Marinovich does operate Marinovich Firearms, a gun shop selling firearms and ammunition. You often find Byron, who is a former Buras city councilman, in the Black Velvet, ready to taut the restaurant and the town in general. Upon entering through the non-descript entrance that’s flanked by palm trees, you can expect to see some visiting fishermen or other tourist, but also local residents. It is the quality of the food that keeps bringing those patrons back to the Black Velvet. March 2018

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End of the Line Whether seated at the restaurant tables or on a stool at the bar, you have a wide choice of flat iron steaks, chicken, burgers or especially seafood from which to choose. Much of the seafood has a Cajun and creole flair. One item on the menu that prompts rave reviews is the seafood stuffed baked potato. While that may sound like a side dish, don’t be fooled. The size of the potatoes and the amount of stuffing make it a meal in itself. The giant spud comes with boiled shrimp, lump crab meat, and a special house cheese sauce. That’s topped with cheddar cheese, sour cream, bacon bits and chives. Another favorite dish are the Velvet oysters. The shellfish are sautéed with bacon in an olive oil mix, then topped off with parmesan cheese. They come with a side of French bread rounds for dipping up the sauce. Regardless of what you choose to eat, you can match it with beer, wine or a cocktail from the full bar. Bottom line is when in Buras, you might want to drop by the Black Velvet Oyster Bar & Grill, and as Byron Marinovich describes it, “get velvetized.” Check out their website at blackvelvetrestaurant.com. 134 l www.sosaltwaterflyfishing.com

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The entrance to the Black Velvet is rather non-descript amid the palm trees. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs


The seafood stuffed baked potatoes are the house specialty. Photo by Polly Dean.

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Southern Saltwater Fly Fishing Magazine Spring 2018  
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