Archive for February, 2008

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Friday, February 29th, 2008

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The 8-Weight Debate

Monday, February 25th, 2008

8-weights.jpgSix and 7-weights are all the rage, and 9 and 10-weights have a growing share of proponents among the striped bass and tarpon gang, but the venerable 8-weight is still the staple rod among anglers who fish the skinny salt. Check out this comparison test by good folks over at Yellowstone Angler, who whipped the air madly for days to come up with their verdict. Controversial? Yes. The last word in evaluating rod quality and performance? Well, no. But the guys who did the testing are an accomplished bunch, the criteria for assessing each rod is impressive in its scope, and the detailed analysis (including dissenting opinions) makes for a solid resource for anyone considering a new rod purchase. Oh, and if you’re looking for a specialty rod for targeting smaller inshore species, check out their recent 5-weight shootout, as well.

…Know what you love, and protect it.

Monday, February 25th, 2008

nedsmall.jpg Captain Ned Small is an Everglades backcountry guide with a sterling reputation as a conservation-minded angler. He recently sent me these comments in response to a short article I posted on big snook: “The future of the sport will be a function of each of us taking the ‘long view.’ Catch and release is a form of giving back. We don’t keep any snook on my boat, that’s my decision…a quick photo and back she goes. As a wise man once said, “To know yourself, know what you love, and protect it.” Preach on, brother. A peerless sightfishing guide, Ned specializes in light-tackle pursuits, with an emphasis on fly fishing. If you’re planning a trip to the Glades to fly fish, he’s highly recommended. Check out the fly-caught fish on his gallery. Oh, and nice shirt, Ned.

Top 10 Reasons Why Snook Whip Ass

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

ornerysnook.jpgHad a couple of beers tonight, and I figure it’s time to start some crap with other anglers who are passionate about their game fish of choice. So soak this up, chump-diddles: my fish is badder than your fish, and I can prove it. I give you the…

Top 10 Reasons Why Snook Whip Ass

10. Racing stripe. Need I go on?

9. You don’t catch snook. You earn them.

8. Snook remind me of leaner, meaner, faster, stronger, more cunning version of striped bass. On second thought, they don’t remind me of striped bass at all.

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Nothing like a good paddling

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

glades-aerial-thumb.jpg Captain Charles Wright of Chokoloskee Charters reminds all “low profile” anglers that the Fourth Annual Everglades Kayak Fishing Paddle-In takes place this Saturday, February 23. Participants will launch (for the first time) from Park Headquarters at daybreak, and ride an outgoing tide to any number of fishy spots on the “outside”. Wright describes the event as “a great opportunity to meet new friends who enjoy paddling the area, learn a bit of the colorful local history and experience a wonderful part of Florida.” Last year more than 170 ‘yakkers made the trip. For more information, go here.

Fishing Tip: work the edges on low tides

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

edges.jpg When fishing shallow-water spots on very low tides — the kind that keep you from actually getting onto flats or into skinny-water areas — remember that gamefish are likely nearby, waiting for the tide to flow back in. Where do they stage when the tides are so low? Quite often, they sink into the deeper channels and cuts that border the extreme shallows, running up and down these natural “ledges” looking for shellfish and baitfish. A drop of a only a foot or two is all that’s required to hold fish. Work deeper sections with sub-surface lures like jigs or diving plugs, and work the actual transition points between deep and skinny water with floating plugs or flies. This approach is especially effective when fishing the last stages of a falling tide, as the last surge of moving water pushes baitfish, shrimp, crabs, etc. off the shallows and “over the edge”…often into the waiting mouths of predatory fish.

Equilibrium

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

equilibrium.jpgThe “rough cut” of a new short film titled “Equilibrium” made its way to my mailbox yesterday. It’s a noble effort that proves this group of anglers and ecologists has their heart in the right place, doing their best to stave off or (ideally) nix a proposed mine site that could jeopardize the long-term health of Alaska’s legendary Bristol Bay area. The film features moving footage of wild rivers, surly bears, sweeping wilderness shots and — yes — big fish, including massive rainbows catching air and missile-shaped pike unloading on topwater flies. If you fly fish, it will get your blood pumping while sparking outrage against anyone or anything that would compromise such an amazing resource — which is, naturally, what Equilibrium’s designed to do. Bristol Bay is a long way from SW Florida, but we should all empathize with anglers who are fighting to preserve a natural treasure. Consider investing a few bucks (or more) into this worthy cause. Visit the Castaway Films site for a preview, or to purchase your own copy. For more details on the mine and its implications, visit Felt Soul Media, a wonderfully irreverent blog that also features some outstanding photography.

Poons arrive early?

Monday, February 11th, 2008

poon-release.jpg Just saw another report indicating that many tarpon are being spotted just offshore in the Everglades — about a month or so earlier than they normally appear in numbers. Soon it’ll be time to tangle with one of the big silver streaks. Most of my tarpon have come serendipitously while targeting snook and reds. This year I may devote a trip or two to poons alone…and especially to my goal of taking a large, “sleeping” tarpon in a quiet back bay on a fly rod.

“Secrets to catching really big snook?”

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

hawgsnook.jpgEach month I field a question from a reader and answer it as best I can, focusing on those inquiries and responses that I believe will be of general benefit or interest. I recently received this email from Jonathan in Ohio , who asks: “Are there any secrets for catching really big snook?”

Yes, there are. There was a time when oversized snook were my single-minded focus. For a number of years I was obsessed with catching monsters on artificial lures, and I’ve been fortunate enough to land more than my share. (Click small image to left for a closer look at a plug-caught 46-incher). I stopped targeting them years ago, however, after a friend convinced me that I should avoid putting pressure on the large (primarily female) fish that are so important to producing little snook. I now see big fish as an occasional surprise to be enjoyed, not as a primary goal. In fact, I prefer to catch fish in the 30 to 35-inch range, since they tend to be far more explosive than 40-inchers. So yes, there are secrets that can significantly raise your odds of catching huge snook, but it’s not something I share or promote. Note: I can’t say that I wouldn’t enjoy besting a true giant on a fly rod – something I’ve never done. But if it happens, it’ll be in the course of a normal fishing day, not the result of a “big fish hunt.”

Fishing Tip: don’t stress your push pole

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

polegunnel.jpgIf you own a push pole, remember to take it out of the gunnel holders once your boat is stored. Why? Because the holders on your boat are designed to create flex in the pole so that it stays put while you’re underway. The few hours you use it while fishing are no big deal, but if you leave it stored that way, the constant tension can create stress cracks that eventually result in a weakened or broken pole.