Category Archives: Saltwater

The Legend of Tarpon Bay

Saltwater Fly Fishing is a rapidly growing sector of the Fly Fishing “industry.” I am unable to put my finger on the specific reasons for this trend, however I assume it has to do with the allure of large fish, warm weather, soothing waves and recovering game fish populations in the southern United States. Fly Fishing the salt water is beyond doubt a unique challenge, certainly more difficult than bait fishing the ocean.

Sanibel Island is a special place for Fly Fishing, a fine vacation spot and a frequent haunt of the Moose Knuckle Fly Fishing team. The island is home to Norm Ziegler who authored the book, “Snook on the Fly.” My last time on the island was in 2014; it had been too long since fishing the beaches last. Owing to my international travel for work I had accumulated miles and was able to snag a free flight and first class upgrade from Delta.

The perks of a first class upgrade

The occasion for this momentous escapade was Mark’s 35th birthday, coincidently, the first time I came to Sanibel was for Mark’s 30th. Time flies when you are Fly Fishing the world and all. Typically the best time to target Snook in Sanibel is June and July, however a good trip for the birthday is always in order.

The gulf was basically un fishable here.

Arriving at Sanibel Island was a bit worrying with some brisk weather changes occurring which had an adverse impact on fishing. When we got there it was cloudy and a massive storm system had settled in that Mark refers to as an “eastern wave,” as the storm moves across Florida from east to west. Standing on the beach in the rain and fishing yielded one Sea Trout for Mark. The water was far too choppy for effective Fly Fishing.

When we awoke the next morning, the weather front was circling, with thunder boomers all night. It is easy to fish in the rain but not advisable in a thunder storm. The good news was that the rain cleared around 11AM allowing us calm water to fish. As soon as I cast a line in the water, I saw the bait out on the second bar. There appeared to be some mackerel and ladyfish out there. Since it was already past the golden hour for Snook I figured to tie on a glass minnow and give it a shot. Sure enough landed a nice mackerel and had a few bumps until they bit my fly off. The skunk was now off of the trip.

The next day was to be the highlight of my time on this expedition. Mark’s mom had given him a “Benny” for us to rent a canoe and head out on Tarpon Bay to hunt for Gator Trout, Redfish and Snook in the Mangroves. Well she probably just figured to go on a leisurely canoe ride. This boat ride was to be anything but a leisurely three hour cruise…

Attempting to cast under the mangroves.

We were trapped in a weather rut this week with the rain, thunderstorms, wind and rough gulf water. This was forcing a re-thought of the strategy landing us squarely at Tarpon Bay Marina a facility where Randy Wayne White worked until 1987. The marina rents out long canoes with a motor and paddles right on Tarpon Bay. This offers the opportunity to land a Redfish, Sea Trout and a Snook also known as an inshore slam.

Pursuing the Snook with a fly rod requires the correct fly pattern for the environment, which you are seeking a fish in. Typically a saltwater fly pattern’s effectiveness is color driven. This is why Norm’s Crystal Schminnow is the best fly for seeking Snook in the Sanibel Island environs. It mimics common baitfish and shrimp at the same time, exciting the predatory instinct of the Snook.

Heading out at 8AM after a run to Bailey’s for breakfast we were equipped with a Canoe, two paddles and a fully charged battery. The day was forecast to be a little windy though not unfishable. Mark used his shrimp bait and a popping cork to land a nice gator trout (large Sea Trout). I was using a tan shrimp pattern and sort of drifting it with small actions. I had a few little nibbles but no solid connections. The wind kicked up hard forcing us to move to the leeward side of some mangroves.

Mark’s Gator Trout caught using a popping cork and a live shrimp.

To pull Snook out of the mangroves with a fly rod you need to do a few things. First rig up on an 8WT rod and at least 30 lb shock tippet, this gives the angler the ability to tractor the fish out before wrapping up in the mangroves. Second, your cast needs to slide in under the mangrove branch or right near it, this takes some practice however it pays off when the Snook are in the nooks and crannies under the mangroves. Third, once you get the hook up, you need to lower your rod tip to the water and retrieve to prevent that Snook from tangling in the mangrove roots.

The Snook that I wrestled from under the mangroves with my 8WT fly rod.

As we pulled around the leeward side of the mangroves the boat aligned with my typical casting distance and I fired out about 60 feet of line. The schminnow unfurled on the water, sliding right into the mangrove, at a point I worried it would become stuck. I performed two small strip retrieves and the fly just stopped hard, Snook on! Next I moved the pole for the set and lowered the line tip into the water, keeping the tension on at all times. My finger began to burn from the fast stripping and tension, however I did not give up. The Snook had some nice runs in it putting up quite the fight and punishing my hand. Finally the Snook was in the boat and we had success!

We turned deeper into the mangroves and I had a few quick battles with smaller Snook but the wind started to get worse and our electric motor was acting up. Taking the safe decision we set off towards the marina to have the boat fixed before continuing, it was lunchtime after all. As we pushed across Tarpon Bay in the direction from which we came the motor continued to lose thrust. Each section of the journey we backtracked over became increasingly difficult to head against the wind. Not helping the matter is that the wind speed itself was increasing while clouds gathered in the distance.

As the entire situation began to seem hopeless, the marina gave us a ring on Mark’s mobile advising us to return and seek cover. Upon hearing of our predicament the marina sent out a rescue boat, which was very welcome. Thanks to the rescue, we made it back to the marina and did not get blown out to sea!

Calm Water for Fishing on the day I departed.

Sanibel 2015 Take II

A short but sweet trip with my lady Danielle and our good Moose Knuckle buddy Mark, we hung around the beach in search of some fun red fish and the rather elusive snook! To our surprise and amazement we came across something so much more enchanting and fun that we couldn’t believe it until it happened 2 days in a row! Check out the pictures below to enjoy the fun we had!

My fisher lady!
My fisher lady!

 

Little Snook
Little Snook
Jack on the Fly
Jack on the Fly

Check out some of the fly rods we used on this trip over at Best Rod Fishing.

Summer’s End

Like a blink of an eye the 2015 summer lip ripping session has come and almost gone. A solid year of bass, trout, beers, and bonfires. Lets take a few minutes to highlight some of our favorite moments.
(Also 2 ice fishing pictures that never made it into the mix yet, and, not to brag, are my first 1 of each fish caught!)

Starting out we turn to Maryland for the shad run. Accompanied by my good MKFF buddies Mark and Dave, we truly made an impact on the fishing scene; The river and the bars.

Flipping Shad
Flipping Shad
Well behaved shad
Well behaved shad
Heading home scenery
Heading home scenery

The following weekend was also spent in Maryland, while we prepared the family boat for the upcoming warm weather sailing season. Dave and I set-up behind the boat with some hot dogs on the lines and sat and waited. Here are the results.

Dave with a nice sized cat
Dave with a nice sized cat
3 foot eel!
3 foot eel!

Maryland out of the way we can focus on some close to home fishing!!

We head to Lake Hopatcong with some fun hybrid striper fun with my buddy Mark and his son Mark. Here’s our outcome!

Me with my first hyrid
Me with my first hyrid
Little Mark with his trophy!
Little Mark with his trophy!

And onto some local fishing with a local pond and beautiful Paulinskill river!

My beautiful girlfriend Danielle sporting her new rod and outfit!
My beautiful girlfriend Danielle sporting her new rod and outfit!
Same spot trout
Same spot trout
Same stream just 100 yards up. Paulinskill small mouth bass.
Same stream just 100 yards up. Paulinskill small mouth bass.
Local pond Large Mouth Bass!
Local pond Large Mouth Bass!

Now let’s head to some deeper water with an unexpected, typically cold temperature, guest! Off the tip on Montauk we took our friends boat out a little bit in search of Stripers! Unfortunately, we came up shore but we got a few surprises instead!

Sea Bass with a beefy hump!
Sea Bass with a beefy hump!
Unexpected shad. We caught about 25 of them the beginning of August, 125 feet down.
Unexpected shad. We caught about 25 of them the beginning of August, 125 feet down.
Our newest member, TJ, with a big Blue Fish.
Our newest member, TJ, with a big Blue Fish.

Now, the finale, those two new fish promises! Introducing for the first time ever by this blog, and this angler in particular….

Lake Trout from the Adirondacks, NY.
Lake Trout from the Adirondacks, NY.
Northern Pike from North New Jersey.
Northern Pike from North New Jersey.

So, this concludes a quick update of the ventures and fish caught by the MKFF crew. Hope you enjoyed viewing them as much as we had catching them! Come on back soon for some more updates, pictures, and good times!!

Some upcoming blogs will cover the Pulaski Salmon run in October and another awesome trip to Sanibel Island!

SANIBEL, SNOOK & SAND FLEAS

Dave caught this nice Snook just before we departed.
Dave caught this nice Snook just before we departed.

NE winds under 5 knots.   It doesn’t seem like an important weather condition, but when visiting Sanibel Island it can make or break the surf Snook fishing.   Sanibel is shaped like a boomerang but unlike most barrier islands, it goes from East to West, instead of from North to South.   A few days with a NE wind and the surf will lay down & clear up so that you can spot the grey ghosts as they meander through the trough between the first two sandbars.

Zach and Kuhn cross swords for America.
Zach and Kuhn cross swords for America.

The MKFF crew was lucky on our latest adventure to Sanibel Island in June.   We had a few days of light NE winds which gave us opportune conditions to fish the beaches for Snook.   We also arrived during the summer Solstice king tides, which are some of the largest tides of the year.   The heavy current created by these tides causes bait, shrimp & crabs to flush through the passes with the larger game fish lying in wait for an easy meal.

Needle Fish released from the cast net.
Needle Fish released from the cast net.

It is hot in Sanibel during the summer with average temps well into the 90’s with heat indexes pushing 105-110 degrees.   For fish and fisherman alike, the conditions are nearly unbearable during the midday which means our days start early.   Most of the successful fishing is done by 10 AM and then restarts around 5-6 PM depending on when evening thunderstorms move in.

A clear evening sky is not always the weather pattern.
A clear evening sky is not always the weather pattern.

During the early summer, hoards of glass minnows invade the beach and schools of these fish can be as large as a football field.   These fish are too small to be caught with a cast net. Within these glass minnow schools are usually some larger Pilchards or Spanish Sardines (whitebait) which can be caught in the net to use as bait.   We also used a seine net to weed out the smaller glass minnows and found some smaller whitebait that way as well.   Snook and seatrout are the most common game fish on the beach at this time of year and arrive each summer to gorge on the massive bait schools. But you will also encounter Jack Crevalle, ladyfish & Spanish Mackeral with an appearance from an occasional Redfish on the beaches.   The trick to this style of baitfishing is to differentiate the bait on your hook vs the rest of the school. Like all predator fish, Snook & Seatrout will go after weakened or injured fish first.   My rule is to fish the edges of the bait schools as they pass, since the injured bait fish on your hook will be easier to for the game fish to see (and eat) on the outside of the bait school.     We found out quickly that most of the snook we saw were slowly following & snacking on the bait schools as they swam down the beach.   Not every school of bait had snook on them, but your best chance to catch was by fishing and following the schools of bait.

Mark's first Sea Trout of the Day.
Mark’s first Sea Trout of the Day.

Fly Fishing has become increasingly popular on Sanibel’s beaches as well.   The small size of the bait these large Snook are eating is perfect for a fly fisherman to imitate with a Clouser or Schminnow fly. The trick is to work the edges of the 1st and 2nd trough.   The Snook are cruising right against the shoreline in as little as 1 foot of water.   You have to be very stealthy as these Snook have good eyesight and are extremely weary in the clear shallow water.   I have been instructed by the locals to not even get your feet wet.   Another option is to stand on the 2nd sandbar and cast back towards shore.   Once it gets a little hotter out & the beach becomes more crowded this is my preferred method of fishing these Snook.

Nick's first Snook on the fly.
Nick’s first Snook on the fly.

The MKFF crew caught about 15 Snook off of the beach through 5 days of fishing. Amongst the 15, we caught 3 beauties, each about 15 lbs and 35-36 inches long.   Snook on the gulf coast max out at about 40 inches and 20 lbs but do get bigger on the East Coast of Florida as well as down in Central America and the Caribbean.   The Florida record is 47 lbs.

That fly was tasty.
That fly was tasty.

We also had some luck drifting Gulp Shrimp tipped jigs through the passes in the evening. The Snook are in full spawning mode during the king tides and full moon, both conditions which we had during our trip.   They were stacked up in the passes and we caught 4 or 5 drifting lures until we could no longer take the sand flea bites.

Mark caught this beauty mid day.
Mark caught this beauty mid day.

Sand Fleas…. These little devils are the one big negative when it comes to fishing calm mornings and evenings during the summer time in Florida.   They are everywhere, they bite and it hurts!   Even with bug spray, they will still bite you in force.   The only real way to defend yourselves against the fleas is to wear long sleeve shirts and long pants, or go into the ocean and fish from the water.

The next day Mark caught this one early in the morning.
The next day Mark caught this one early in the morning.

Overall it was a very successful trip and we are looking forward to next year’s Sanibel Adventure.

If you are real lucky, you can even spot a Sea Turtle nest early in the morning.
If you are real lucky, you can even spot a Sea Turtle nest early in the morning.

Tight Lines,

Mark Beardmore

Zach caught this beauty on the day we left.
Zach caught this beauty on the day we left.

P.S. If you are ever down in Sanibel, make sure to go to Bailey’s General Store for biscuits and gravy and the Lazy Flamingo in Santiva for conch fritters & grouper sandwiches.

Cast netting is a major skill set for Sanibel locals.
Cast netting is a major skill set for Sanibel locals.

The Shad Run

A Patriotic Fish

Shad are an anadromous species of fish native to the east cost of the United States. In decline for most of the previous century, due to improvements in water quality, driven largely by a decrease in farming and industrial activity combined with the installation of fish ladders in the northeast United States, the Shad now return each year to their home rivers.

Mark pulled this beauty out just before we headed to the hotel.
Mark pulled this beauty out just before we headed to the hotel.

Long before the arrival of the British Colonists to North America Shad were important to the Native American Indians. After a long hard winter, the Shad returning to the rivers signaled the beginning of spring. The Indians built fish weirs across rivers in order to capture the Shad for food. In some places, remnants of these structures can be seen. The Shad were even a major source of food for the Continental Army in the Valley Forge area. So important were Shad that the story is told that the British ran a large seine net across the Schuylkill river to prevent the Shad from replenishing George Washington’s army.

Just enjoying some quality time with the Shad.
Just enjoying some quality time with the Shad.

Sport Fishing

Originally prized for their easy usage as an abundant food source and valued for the roe, Shad have morphed into a popular early spring sport fish. They can be obtained on a spin rod using brightly colored shad darts and properly weighted spoons. With the growing popularity of Fly Fishing anglers have figured out how capture the Shad on a fly. Sink tip line and brightly colored weighted flies tend to do the trick.

Shad have sharp underbelly fins, be careful how you hold them prior to release.
Shad have sharp underbelly fins, be careful how you hold them prior to release.

Water Temperature

As an anadromous fish, similar to Salmon, Shad use certain indicators to enter the river. You will only find Shad in the river when the water temperature rises above 39 degrees; their peak movement into the mouth of the river corresponds with a temperature of 55 degrees. Peak movement for sport angling occurs between 62 and 71 degrees. There are various fishing reports available based on fish ladder data in the area that you will be fishing.

Hickory Shad grow to around two pounds, American Shad grow to four. This is a larger Hickory Shad.
Hickory Shad grow to around two pounds, American Shad grow to four. This is a larger Hickory Shad.

Location

Shad will stack up at slack points in the river before a more challenging obstacle in the river. The best example is a pool or river mouth in front of a dam or fish ladder. They also congregate at the head or tail of deep pools, as they mill around you can attract their attention with the flash of a spoon. Other places to consider is mid river boulders and islands, the Shad will stack up in the slack water. The water temperature will determine their progress up the river.

Shad put up a serious battle, getting them to stay still for a second to get the hook out is a challenge.
Shad put up a serious battle, getting them to stay still for a second to get the hook out is a challenge.

If you have a moment in the next few weeks, you should step out and wet a line after some Shad. They put up quite a fight and often reward you with some aerial maneuvers.

Get Your Striper On

striper1
Block Island, RI

I love stripers.  It had been almost a year since I hooked up with one, but my recent annual family trip to Block Island, RI, reminded me how fun they are.  Striped bass, stripers for short, are a migratory fish that inhabit the coastal waterways of the mid-Atlantic and northeast.  Stripers have a range from North Carolina to Maine.  They are aggressive predators who fight hard and can grow quite large.  Their annual migration pattern along the most heavily populated part of our country inspires fisherman up and down the eastern seaboard.  Strict commercial and recreational restrictions and limitations have brought the fishery back from near extinction in the 1980’s.  You can catch stripers all year long; however, the prime time is May-October.

striper2

Pursuing stripers on the fly just might be my favorite type of fly-fishing.  I don’t think any other fishing gets my heart racing like seeing a striper blitz occur on the surface.  Any decent trout angler expects to catch trout every time they hit their favorite river; it is just a matter of size and numbers.  This is not true with stripers, and even the best are fooled and puzzled by this amazing game fish.  Chasing stripers is a great way to break into saltwater fly fishing without having to pay the big bucks needed in tropical environments pursuing bonefish, tarpon, or permit.  Other game fish, such as bluefish, flounder, false albacore, and bonito, also inhabit the same vicinity as stripers, and they are just as fun to catch.  My blog post today is intended to help the newbie saltwater fly fisherman get started chasing stripers.

Setup

Rod:  Medium to fast action 8-9 weight rods in the 9-10’ length.  You want a rod that will turn over large flies and not tire your arm out.  You will also need a stick that can mend and reach over crashing waves.

Reel:  Large arbors with a decent drag system.  A solid drag will help you tame the powerful bursts of energy that the stripers can display.  A large arbor reel will also help you pick up line more quickly when fighting a fish.

Line: Intermediate.  This line will cover 99% of all your striper fishing.  I also think this is the most important part of your setup, and I highly recommend paying top dollar on this piece.  Get a quality coldwater salt line like RIO’s Intermediate Outbound.  Also, you should have around 150-200 yards of solid 30lb. backing attached to your fly line.  All saltwater species will push the limits of your tackle.

Stripping Basket: This is the second most important piece of equipment, in my humble opinion.  It will keep your line in one place, help you easily shoot casts, and fish more efficiently.  You can buy these from any online fly fishing retailer; however, I made my own about 4 years ago with material from Walmart for a total cost of $10.

Leader: I have three different leaders I use given the conditions.

  • For the crashing surf, heavy rips, or rocky turbulent structures, I surgeon loop both ends of a 2’ strip of 50lb. mono.  Then I attach one end to my fly line, the other I will loop to loop connection to another 3’ foot section of 25lb. mono.
  • For calmer back bays, salt ponds, or tidal creeks.  I take the leader mentioned above, and then I will blood knot another 3’ section of 15lb. fluorocarbon to the end of 25lb. mono.
  • For the flats or extremely picky stripers, I will switch to a store bought 9’ 12lb. bonefish leader.

Flies:  Deceivers, Half and Half’s, Snake Flies, and Saltwater Poppers.  These flies will get you into the game and as you progress you will branch out.  However, the most important thing to keep in mind is size, color, and shape.   Use these three characteristics and then work backwards.  For example, at Block Island, the main bait or forage in the area are sand eels; moreover, this calls for slender, long, olive/green/chartreuse patterns, i.e. a skinny Half and Half.  In New Jersey, menhaden are the main bait, and this calls for large Deceiver style flies with more colors, such as blue and pink.

Match the hatch and use your brain just like you would for trout.  Also, in regards to color, the standard dark sky/ dark fly rules apply, so have some all black flies for dusk, dawn, and night.  Finally, I always use a non-slip uni-knot to connect my fly to my leader.  Lefty Kreh has called this the best way to attach a saltwater fly.

Stripping Basket: 1 Utility Belt 1 Plastic Storage Container 6 Zip-Ties
Stripping Basket:
1 Utility Belt
1 Plastic Storage Container
6 Zip-Ties
By varying colors and sizes on Lefty Kreh's Deciever, you can mimic about 99% of all bait encountered on the Northeast coastline
By varying colors and sizes on Lefty Kreh’s Deciever, you can mimic about 99% of all bait encountered on the Northeast coastline
When fishing for stripers, you will no doubt encounter bluefish.  They get a bad rap; however, they are hard fighters and will pounce on a well placed fly.
When fishing for stripers, you will no doubt encounter bluefish. They get a bad rap; however, they are hard fighters and will pounce on a well placed fly.

Approach

This might be the most intimidating thing for a freshwater fly fisherman to wrap their brain around.  When you get to the coastline, your jaw might drop and wonder how you are going to locate fish in this entire ocean, especially if you are fishing without a boat like me.  Here are some rules to help guide you and increase your chances:

  • Stripers love structure, just like any other predatory fish.  Structure creates competing currents, eddies, and rips.   This creates a natural trap for bait and easy pickings for stripers.  When you get to your coastline, look for jetties, sandbars, rocky outcrops, and tidal coves.  Anything that can create an ambush spot is game.
  • Break everything down. Attack these structures in segments like you would any trout stream.  Be methodical, and take casts on the face of a clock working from 9 to 3 o’clock.  Work the drift, and let the currents present your fly in a natural manner.
  • Know your tides.  Tides create moving water.  This adds more character to the structure you have already located.  When fishing on foot, I find the two hours before and after high tide to have the greatest chance of hooking up with stripers.
  • Dusk and Dawn.  I find these two times of day most productive.  There is less boat traffic to put fish down, and predatory fish hunt during these low light conditions.
  • Hand over hand.  After I have cast and when I am starting my retrieve, I put my rod under my armpit and do a hand over hand retrieve stripping line into my stripping basket that is around my waist.  This position will seem unnatural to most fly fisherman; however, in my mind, it is the most efficient way to fish by foot along the Northeast Coast.  It also allows for constant connection of you to your fly so you do not miss any strikes.  You don’t have to worry about your line tangling around your feet or rocks.  And it adds distance to your casts.
  • Do your homework.  There is plenty of information out there on striper fishing and spots to hit up.  These two books are my favorite and will cover you from New Jersey to Maine. Fly Fisher’s Guide to the Northeast Coast and Fly Fisher’s Guide to the New England Coast: Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine
  • Stay positive.  Saltwater fly-fishing is a pure dedication.  It’s a little frustrating watching a guy a next to you cast a plug 200 feet out on a convention surf rod.  As a fly fisherman, casting distance may seem like a huge handicap; however, I view it as an opportunity.  The 20-40 foot range is where most of my hookups with stripers occur.  Conventional guys are too concerned with getting their plugs out a country mile that they never fully work the close structure.  This is where you can shine.  Your biggest pro will be that you can present a more life-like fly (besides live bait) to these fish.  Conventional guys say stripers are not picky.  I say that is bull.  I had a great view one calm morning this past week as 5 different stripers followed and then refused my fly.  These fish are not stupid.  Measure success not only in fish landed, but also in fish that you rolled on your fly or any missed strikes.  Kelly Galloup says if you can get the fish to roll on your fly, you are doing everything right.  There will be plenty of skunks, but one successful day will make up for it.
Rough seas and choppy surf are some of the best conditions when fishing for stripers.
Rough seas and choppy surf are some of the best conditions when fishing for stripers. Asbury Park, NJ
Switching to a all black Half and Half paid off near dusk this past trip to Block Island, RI.
Switching to a all black Half and Half paid off near dusk during this past trip to Block Island, RI.
Stripers can be caught throughout the year.  This on was taken the day before Thanksgiving in Asbury Park, NJ
Stripers can be caught throughout the year. This on was taken the day before Thanksgiving at Shark River Inlet, NJ.

It took me over a year to land my first striper.  Looking back, I didn’t have a clue to what I was doing that first year.  But I eventually, got my bearings and learned through the school of hard knocks.  I even had my best trip to Block Island this past week with 8 stripers and 3 bluefish landed, breaking off another 3 fish, and about a dozen and half missed swipes/rolls/refusals on my fly.  My time hitting the salt has been paying off.

This post is not the end all of fly fishing for stripers; however, it is merely intended to cut down the learning curve that I experienced.  Once you feel the power of the strike, the pull of the fight, and the joy of landing a striped bass.  I promise you will be addicted.

Bob's Banger is a great saltwater popper.
Bob’s Banger is a great saltwater popper.
This is bluefish is one of the biggest fish I have ever caught on the fly at 37" and approximately 19lbs.
This is bluefish nailed a Half and Half outside Atlantic Highlands, NJ.  It is one of the biggest fish I have ever caught on the fly at 37″ and approximately 19lbs.
The only downside to bluefish is that they will destroy a fly with their sharp teeth.
The only downside to bluefish is that they will destroy a fly with their sharp teeth.

For further inspiration, read The Blitz: Fly Fishing the Atlantic Migration.  It’s a great book of two fly fishermen who for one year followed the entire Atlantic migration from North Carolina to Maine.  They documented the places they went, the people they met, and the fish along the way.  Here is also a link to their ten-minute you tube trailer of the book.

Spring Travels

Down by da beach boiiiiiii
Down by da beach boiiiiiii

This spring I’ve been incredibly fortunate to do quite a bit of traveling in a short time.  It all started towards the end of April when my girlfriend I met up with my brother and some of his friends for a double birthday and fishing extravaganza in Florida.  See my brothers blog for his tales of the trip to Sanibel Island.  I had never done any Saltwater fly fishing prior to this journey so I didn’t really know what to expect…it was unbelievable.  Every fish we pulled out, I had no idea what it was, but they put up a hell of a fight.

Dave feeding a bird some bait fish
Dave feeding a bird some bait fish

The flies we used were way less intricate then some of the trout flies that I normally tie, but all you really needed down there was the schwminnow and a glass fish.  Our first day Jourdan ripped the most fish out of the Gulf and I struggled a bit to read the water.  What I learned was there is a lot of waiting for the birds and tides during the day time or just hire a guide and they will take you to where the fishing is on fire.

Celebrating Jourdan's BDAY
Celebrating Jourdan’s BDAY
Jourdan with a Sea Trout
Jourdan with a Sea Trout
Sunset on a boat
Sunset on a boat
Ripping snook up after dark
Ripping snook up after dark

 

Flying back to SLC
Flying back to SLC

Once Jourdan and I arrived back in Salt Lake I had the opportunity to drive the delivery van for the ski shop back to Colorado for the summer.  I brought my fishing and snowboard gear along for the ride.  The snowboarding did not work out, but the fishing did.

Sometimes when you have to drive 500 miles in a day you have to set out at 4 AM to get a half a day of fishing in
Sometimes when you have to drive 500 miles in a day you have to set out at 4 AM to get a half a day of fishing in
Traffic jam in route to the fishing
Traffic jam in route to the fishing

 

The "Gold Ribbon" stretch of the Frying Pan
The “Gold Ribbon” stretch of the Frying Pan

Fishing in Colorado is way different than fishing in Utah.  Stream access is not nearly as good.  There are some assholes in Utah trying to ruin our stream access, but that’s a whole different story.  I stopped by Taylor Creek Flies for some advice before hitting the stream.

There knowledge worked.  There are a ton of fish in that river, but also a ton of people.
Their knowledge worked. There are a ton of fish in that river, but also a ton of people.

After some nymphing and some midge dry fly action I had to pack up and continue on Frisco.

The road to A Basin
The road to A Basin

The next morning I woke up and dressed to go snowboarding up at Arapahoe Basin.  However, my pass that was lined up for me fell through so I had to fall back on my back up play to do some more fishing before catching my ride to Denver International to get back to Salt Lake.

Another small stream with a shit ton of people
Another small Colorado stream with some snow still lingering
However, there were some nice fish to be caught.
However, there were some nice fish to be caught.

Once home, Ted and I went to some more familiar territory for me.

A moose spying on me
A moose spy
Ted with a fat Rainbow
Ted with a healthy Rainbow
Tala and Jefe
Tala and Jefe enjoying the beautiful weather
Healthy Trout
Healthy Trout
This adventure comes to a close, but there will be more.  Fishing and the sites you see is awesome
This adventure comes to a close, but there will be more. Fishing and the sites you see is awesome