I got bit by the fly!

twirptwirp Posts: 1,128 Officer
I'm new to this section, but not to fishing! I grew up in southern Palm Beach Co. when it was still cattle farms and swamp. I fished canals as a kid, offshore with my uncles as soon as I learned to swim, local lakes, ponds and from the beach. I've had a boat of some kind ever since I was 9 or 10 years old...I love to fish! I moved to Jacksonville, FL 20 or so years ago, and have continued my passion for fishing....although it has changed, and been "refined". I specifically target red's, it's an obsession! I stalk shallow water, drift across grass flats, pick them off in the surf as they beach themselves chasing bait and so on. All with conventional fishing gear and baits.

Several months ago I loaded up and with my buddies and and took off from the ramp....while maneuvering to our spot, they were assembling their fly gear as they usually do, but I've never thought much of it...it's something they do on ocassion when we fish together. When we arrived at the creek mouth near the area we were going to stalk our quarry for the day, we were greeted with dead low conditions, with a soon to be incoming tide. The reds were still in their winter pattern, big schools! We rounded a corner in the gin clear water, and a school of about 25 fish was working right to us. We didn't want to move, let alone peg them with a 1/16oz jig head/ paddle tail combo. We were busted before we had a chance! We let the breeze ease us off the flat and into the spartina grass, we did not move or shift, so as not to send a pressure wave from the boat.

The fish began to forage again, as I stood on the bow watching, waiting to make a perfect cast onto the near mud bank and slowly slide my lure into position....then it happened! I hear zip, zip, zip....ziiiiiiiiiip....zip, zip, zip. My buddies were stripping out line on their fly rigs getting ready to do work on this school. I gracefully bowed out, this was their time to shine, their show! I slowly ducked down as they were getting line out, enough to make their presentation. "whip, whip, whiiiip......line racing through the quides, one time, two times....bingo! They both made beautiful casts on either side of the school with their "crabs". The reds worked around, tails in the air provoking us like they do...one turned on Scott's bait, a little tickle of the fly line, not a full strip and BOOM!!! This red crushed it like nothing I've ever seen. He looked like old school Hulk Hogan trying to body slam a little person, overkill for such a small bait! My buddy was hooked up and in for the fight....ziiiiiiing.....ziiiiiiiiiiiing and so on. In all the comotion and excitement, my other buddies "crab" got picked up by an equally nice red. The school was dancing side to side, but not too worked up. I was clearing the deck, getting the net ready and manning the camera.

After a few minutes the reds were landed, one at 25 1/4" and on at 26- 7/8". I managed to pick up a few around the next corner or two, I landed three in two hours. It was a quick trip for me, as I had to be some where for lunch that day. I left the ramp feeling like a bully beating up elementary school kids. No skill, no technique, no disadvantage. I can cast my paddle tail 70 or so yards with in an inch of where I want it, in almost any condition....it's what I do and have done for 30+ years. I can hit the palm of your hand 100' away 8 out of 10 times, true story. There is still no glory in that....I cheat, I use top notch gear and have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of casts under my belt. That day I watched my two fishing and drinking buddies, my life long friends do something beautiful, artistic, it was zen like (I'm not into that zen crap either). It set me back....I watched these two knuckle heads elevate themselves to another level, one on the fly for nearly 40 years, the other a few months. It was along ride to lunch that day....I disected my game, my tournament days, why I love to fish and what it does for me personally. I thought about fly fishing every now and then and that it might be cool to try....but this day, Scott and Nate caught not two reds, they caught me.

I picked up a 9/10 custom rod from a guy here on the forums, it's all Pac Bay, a nice set up and in new condition. I also picked up a Reddington Rise 9wt, with Rio Outbound and new backing, all brand new, I got the reel and line for the cost of the reel new, shipped. I was hooked! I am an avid believer in learning something such as golf, bowling, tennis, boxing, fly fishing etc. the proper way from the get go. No time to fix bad developmental habits down the road....plus it saves on frustration in the future. I have since spent many a nigt at my buddies house throwing across the lawn, at the recycle bin, and other objects in the yard....Then I went out on my own, to a pond with just leader, no hook, to learn the feel of the water and water loading. There were turtles all over that day, and I used them as targets. I would cast to them and strip from them as they chased my piece of yarn....it was such a great feeling! I was making good casts and had something actually chasing my "bait"! So much more gratifying than conventional gear and more fun too!

I have since put my stick together and gone to local docks and piers, with intentions of spotting that unsuspecting fish and strip setting my first on fly. I have yet to see anything to cast at, but I look. I suppose I'll hook the boat up and make an attempt there soon. I imagine the trolling motor on the bow will be an obsticle in and of itself. Not to worry though! I'm not perfect, and I have lot's to learn on the new direction my fishing has taken. I look forward to frequenting this section of the forum now, and hopefully will have some reports soon! I'm going to try to make my first on fly a cobia in the very near future. As Nate said, Fly fishing is the gentlemens game. It's a whole new level of skill and it's all you against you. It's simply amazing! Had I known it would be this much fun, I think I would have got into it sooner....but, then maybe not. It may have taken me getting a little older, a little more patient to truly appreciate this sport for what it is.

And that's my story.....Thanks for reading, if you're still here.


  • DJ GeoffDJ Geoff Posts: 188 Officer
    You're going to have so much fun...It's addictive.....
  • mtd885mtd885 Posts: 1,159 Officer
    As Mel would say, I envy your joy of this discovery.
  • saltybumsaltybum Posts: 1,581 Captain
    Now all we gotta do is get you addicted to tying your own flies. Do your buds tie?
    Be sure to post up some photos.
  • twirptwirp Posts: 1,128 Officer
    They do tie, and he made me some nice redfish flies.....I won't use them because I'm sentimental like that. I'll use any other ones he makes me though, but not my first set. I hope to pass those on the my kids one day, along with my first fly set up.
  • anejo22anejo22 Posts: 1,511 Officer
    gonna be able to catch fish that would shy away from the plastics and topwaters now good luck
  • DogmanDogman Posts: 450 Deckhand
    Great story. I too got hooked on fly fishing after seeing a couple of guys fishing for reds. I had always thought of fly fishing as a guy standing in a small creek hunched over tossing tiny flies. I'm so hooked now I rarely grab my spinning gear when heading out. Welcome to the addiction :D
    2013 Native Watercraft Slayer 14.5 (Sand) - His
    2010 Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 (Mango) - Hers
    Lost Fishing - You know it's where you'd rather be!
Sign In or Register to comment.