Monday, April 27, 2015

Florida on the Fly

Every year we try to go down and visit my Mother In Law in the St Pete area of FL for a week.  I tend to work while there (such is the life of a coach - you're never "off"), play with the kiddo's as much as possible and try to fish in the evening after they hit the sack.  This year was no different... though I added to my normal saltwater flies with the flies I've been posting about lately... here is the box prior to the trip...

Here's the view from my mother in law's parking deck.  One good double haul and  your fly is in the waters of Boca Siega bay, which is a neat area of water off the western side of Tampa bay from the Gulf of Mexico by a slim strip of land called St Pete Beach.  You can see with Parking like this... that water access is not a problem :)

While you can walk to edge of the lawn and fish there (works well) I often walk over to a bridge on the edge of the property - maybe a quarter mile.  The walk is on a quiet road next to a golf course, before getting on the golf cart path to get below the bridge.  The bridge is great, because of some of the footings and the way it's base channels current.  It creates a fish highway.  Plus, you are likely to see anything.  For example, the last night we were there several large Ray's went by, a few sharks and a manatee.  I'd never seen the latter in the wild, and it was pretty impressive - what giant beasts!

Here's the first Snook of the trip.  It was easily the best snook trip I've ever had.  I lost count on night 2 after hitting 20.  It was just fantastic due to the early warmth they have had down there.   I snapped a quick pick while a fellow fisherman held him after helping me land him.  The snook I was catching were not giant, 20-30".  But let me tell you - like many salt water fish, a two foot fish on a fly is a heck of a battle!

This was a first.  As my clouser minnow cleared the edge between shallow and deep - a spot that corresponds to light and dark thanks to the golf cart path's lighting (something that draw's bait and thus, snook and other predators) - a weird fish shot in and ate the fly.  Weird only because I have not caught one on a fly before and I was shocked to pull up... a little flounder!  Crazy to do that on a fly - at least for me!

The fish below is a lady fish.  The one in the pick is about 26" long  I dont know why people act like these fish are "junk" fish.  I have found them to fight like mad and to take flies, but not easily.  I could catch these often and have a blast.  I learned this trip though that  when you see fish taking shrimp on a Florida night, if one sounds like a slurp it's a snook... if it sounds like a rip or slash it's a lady fish.  it got to the point, where, if I could launch my cast far enough, I could predict what I may catch some nights.  Slurp, land fly, snook.  Slash, land fly, lady fish.

This snook was not huge, but surprised me with an initial run, after a long cast from the bridge to a sandy point about 85 feet out to the north (side of the bridge, parallel with the current).  He ripped well into the backing after the take and jumped several times.  I thought he was a lot bigger until pulling him from the water :)  Thus, the photo op :)

 With good fishing reported, Rosemary decided to come down.  She has not been fly fishing much lately, so opted to use the spinning gear we have purchased and left in FL.  She started with a soft plastic shrimp, but then shifted to frozen shrimp and caught a bunch of snappers, an ocean catfish, lost a likely snook based on how it looked and caught her first speckled trout (in pic).  She was bummed she'd decided to sleep rather than coming down to fish on day's sooner.  

 Getting home is always good... but sad too.  Last night, after cleaning my 8wt and reel, I rinsed the flies, and will put them away tonight.  

Not sure when I'll fish the salt again... Probably this summer... but for now... It's time to hang with the family, work, take the MTB for a spin, do some trail running, turkey hunting and, break out the trout gear.

It's always funny to fish with the 2wt after a salt or warm water trip fishing with an 8 or 10wt :)... I'm looking forward to it though.

Be well


  1. I might have a better relationship with my MnL if she lived that close to great fishing. Looks awesome!

  2. That's funny Drew :)! I'm not a huge Florida fan... but when it comes to the fishing... man, it's great!

  3. Never caught a flounder on a fly.
    They are some of the finest table fare anywhere.

    1. You are not kidding Alan. I've caught them on spinning gear either with a jig, sea worms or a clam... but not on a fly.