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Fishing report, Biscayne nights - Everglades days, 22 January 2019

We were on the water in three different venues last week - one night in Biscayne Bay - then a day each out of Chokoloskee and Flamingo... Weather conditions (water temps..) were a bit on the low side but we managed to find a fish here and there...

Last Wednesday night I had Jonathan Wexler out of Colorado aboard for a night trip with fly fishing gear in pretty marginal conditions (the nearest water station showed decent temperatures but the areas we fished, a bit to the north weren't nearly as warm... and the wind was kicking out of the north as well..).  After checking quite a few spots and not seeing a single tarpon we finally found one small area that was holding a few fish that looked to be about 20lbs - and they were right at the surface for sight-fishing... We had them showing for about an hour and a half, managed to jump two of them - but just couldn't stay connected... When they finally disappeared we began working nearby docklights and once again saw very few fish...  Jonathan managed to get a few bites from the snook we found but only got one of them to the skiff... where it was carefully released.  We spent the last two hours that night visiting every spot I knew, but by then water temps, already marginal, were steadily dropping... Here's hoping my next night trip will be in better conditions....

On Friday I was over at Chokoloskee fishing Frank and Esther Schultz.  Once again the weather dictated our opportunities with a super low tide at dawn and pretty cold water temperatures... Within just an hour or so the shallows began to warm up and the fish were biting wherever we went.  That day it was mostly speckled trout everywhere with an occasional small redfish.  Here's a photo of Frank with one of the many trout we caught and released that day....
note the small leadhead with Gulp tail - the trout everywhere we went just tagged it on sight...

The following day I was back over at Flamingo with first timer (to the Everglades) angler Dr. Pan Hao and his lady, Mallory.  We had to do a bit of running around but finally found good numbers of speckled trout -as well as a few nice snook (very carefully released - it's closed season for them now...).  Here's a pic  of one of the snook we found that day....
and of course it was Mallory's fish - her first snook ever...

The doc is recently from Texas where he was used to using plug casting gear for redfish so I brought along a rod or two -while he brought his favorite plug rod... I enjoyed seeing someone using a plug rod since I don't see many anglers with them these days (I have a half dozen plug rods myself but rarely need them for charters..). It was a different story years ago...

The next six days, water temps look to be on the cold side again... If and when it finally warms up a bit the fishing everywhere should just take off... In the meantime the trout and redfish well be our daily fare...

Be a hero, take a kid fishing....
Tight Lines
Bob LeMay
(954) 435-5666


  • crackedconchcrackedconch Posts: 381 Deckhand
    Thanks for the report Bob!
    Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things!!

    Pioneer 197 Sportfish
    Suzuki DF150
  • ReelthiefReelthief Fort Lauderdale Posts: 124 Deckhand
    Another great report. Thanks Bob
  • GifisherGifisher Posts: 70 Deckhand
    edited January 2019 #4
    Great report as always, Bob!

    I saw in some of your previous posts that you prefer a wire weed guard on flies thrown at shorelines, snags, lumber, etc. I was wondering what size wire you use, and if you tie it in before or after the fly is tied. It looks like a single strand of #4 or #5 hard wire, tied and glued to the hook shank before the fly is tied, but I'm not sure.

    Any advice regarding your use of wire weed guards would be greatly appreciated...
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,622 Captain
    Yep all they are is a short piece of #5 wire for hooks that are size #1 on up and #4 wire for hooks smaller than a #1.. 

    That's not all there is to it though... You tie in place all of your tail work then add the weedguard before going any further.  The trick is that you have to bend a tiny hairpin end - and that's what will be tied into place (if you tried to tie in a single piece of wire it would flop from side to side - that's why the hairpin end... Here's a pic...

    the hairpin end is placed under the hook shank just behind the hook eye.. then tied into place with the pointed end of the weedguard sticking out in front of the hook.... This will take some learning and maybe a few bandaids until you learn to tie in body and finish out the fly - with that darned piece of wire sticking out... Once the fly is completed you bend the wire very slightly (just to get it away from the hook eye - then super glue the head lightly (I prefer Krazy Glue for this since it penetrates into the thread and really helps lock that weedguard down.... When everything is dry you bend the wire into position and clip it off at the hook's barb - then a very slight bend in the tip end of the wire and you're in business...

    Remember the only function the wire weedguard provides is to move the fly away from things it might snag on.  If you toss your fly into the bushes - a slow, smooth strip will allow it to slide over every branch until it clears the snag... I you jerk on the line (the way many do, trying to clear off of a snag...) - you'll defeat the wire and end up snagged...  One other thing to remember is that every hit from a fish or when you hit the fly against something - you've probably bent the wire out of alignment so make a point of checking it every time something (fish, tree, your boat, etc... ) comes in contact with it... A wire weedguard out of position really puts off fish.. When it's in position  - they never even notice it...

    Hope this helps
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • GifisherGifisher Posts: 70 Deckhand
    Thanks Bob-it really does help a lot. Appreciate the very detailed and quick response!
    The hairpin is a great idea which I will definitely use from now on. I was worried about the single strand wire guard flip flopping, so I wrapped it pretty tight and put a layer of super glue over it. Below is my first attempt (fly was tied last night before your response):

     I used Malin #3 coffee colored hard stainless steel wire (all I had at the desk). Will see how it does when the weather gets a bit warmer...
    This fly also has a small pyrex rattle which is why the head looks big.
    Thanks again Bob, and tight lines.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,622 Captain
    Many years ago I actually used to teach this stuff.... and still enjoy passing along what I've been lucky enough to learn...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • FishFactsTVFishFactsTV Miami, FLPosts: 56 Deckhand
    Great Report!  Really hoping to check out Everglades City and Flamingo in the coming weeks in my Jonboat
    Check out my page on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/fishfactstv
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