Friday, September 11, 2020

New Orleans Bull Red(s) 2019


This may be the shortest blog entry....ever!

Our group of 8 anglers were scheduled to fish the Biloxi Marsh, in February, 2019, but the weather had other plans.  

The wind blew and the rain fell....every day!

Our guides were as frustrated as we were, but decided to give up on sight fishing, and cast sinking lines to likely areas with the off chance that we might get lucky.  When that failed, we actually got out on shore, with the plan to fish a deep channel that dropped off quickly from the shoreline.  Again, we were using fast sinking lines to get down deep.

As I walked up the shoreline, preparing to strip out line and start casting, a huge red tail poked through the muddy water, in less than a foot of water, right in front of me....and disappeared!  I was shocked, and excited, to quickly get my fly to the spot, as you can imagine.  As I was about to cast, I caught a glimpse of movement to my left, about 30 feet away, amidst the muddy, choppy waves, crashing on the shore.  Since I was ready to shoot the line, I redirected my cast immediately to a second massive red tail, guessing where the other end of this bull red might be located.  Instantly, I was hooked to a big red, and the fight was on!

Minutes later I beached this beautiful bull red, that weighed in at 33 lbs.  

Yes, this was the only fish I caught, or saw, the entire week.  

Thankfully, it was a memorable fish and experience!

The fly has been my favorite for bull reds, for several years, and the dark black/purple profile was exactly what was needed in the stained water!

Lee's Bull-et Fly

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Alaska Coho Salmon

With our house located on the banks of Yakutat Bay, views in any direction were spectacular!

Each day our group of 10 guys filled the Otter bush plane, for a ride to a nearby river, somewhere along the Alaska coast!

Most "runways" were grassy fields, or sand bars near the river.

Huge snow capped mountains flanked us every day, although the weather kept most of the beauty behind a cloudy curtain.
This particular day was simply incredible.  A massive mountain framing the river....and many hooked coho salmon flying through the air!

One of many silvers I landed, over 10 lbs.

Jeff with a nice coho!


On one cloudy day we didn't even reach river before spotting silvers rolling in the shallow lagoon.....

....but most flies used were just too heavy, and would catch moss on the bottom, frustrating everyone.  However, a change to a Pink Neutralizer, sinking, and suspending, just under the surface, proved just the right stuff!  A full limit of 40 big silver salmon joined us on our flight back to Yakutat!!

Most of our fish were taken with this neutrally buoyant fly!

Pink Neutralizer

After a long day of fishing, and dragging our fish back to the pick up point, to catch the plane,
we were all tired and happy!
Oddly enough, no bears were sighted the entire week!

Matt's silver topped our catch on this small Alaska river.  
Right at 14 lbs.

A face only a mother....and a fly fisherman, could love!


Mount St. Elias was our evening companion, on this
beautiful evening!

Our deck sunsets were spectacular!

Many thanks to Jeff, George, Steve, Phil, Travis, Mark, Matt, Wayne, and Dan, for a fantastic week:  cooking, washing dishes, cleaning guns, mixing cocktails, and telling tall tales of Trips, Flies, and Fish gone by!


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Isla del Sabalo-2019

The beginning of a new day, and hope for a great trip!

Every morning we were treated to glassy, calm conditions
and rolling tarpon!


Our first day day took us far offshore to search shallow, turtle grass
flats, for cruising tarpon....

....and it didn't take long before our group was hooked up with 
high flying tarpon


Typcial Isla del Sabalo tarpon

I used a new version of my Foxxy Griz Minnow, offshore.....

....Foxxy Griz Minnow-red & white

Although most of the tarpon ranged 15 to 25 lbs., we did find some that were larger!

Tidal flow is critical along the mangrove coast, as low tide brings the tarpon out of the "back country", and the super low tides, we experienced, were even better.  Our guides knew exactly when the tide would make these fish available, and we all caught tarpon!

We fished along the mangrove shoreline and in the river systems, finding tarpon along the way!

I was excited to try a new adaptation to my 
the ever-popular 

Foxxy Griz Minnow...

...which has been a "go to" pattern, at Isla del Sabalo, for many years.
In fact, the Foxxy Griz Minnow was "born" in Campeche, and proven
on the rivers around Isla Arena (Isla del Sabalo), in 2005.  

The new Floating Minnow BT was my primary fly for the rivers and along the mangroves, and took many tarpon during our trip!

Floating Minnow BT-olive

Technically, this fly does NOT float, and sinks slowly....
....however, when stripped, it rises to the surface, 
creating a seductive action that tarpon simply can not resist.  
I fished this same pattern at Tarpon Cay Lodge, just 3 weeks prior to our trip to IDS, and the results proved this fly a winner!

Floating Minnow BT-light orange


Hunting for tarpon along the mangrove shoreline....

....and in the rivers!

The weedless Floating Minnow BT, was the perfect choice for these tree lined rivers!

The new Floating Minnow BT in action!


Archive picture from 2005, fishing the "new" Foxxy Griz Minnow!

As with tarpon fishing everywhere, long and accurate casting is critical to success, and our group reaped the rewards!

Many thanks to Marco Ruz, and his talented guides.  

Also, thanks to Doug, Dana, Danny, David and Jimmy, for making this trip "one for the ages"!

Gracias Dios!

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Tarpon Cay Lodge-2019

After many years away from Tarpon Cay Lodge, I was excited to return, and tangle with the incredible volume of tarpon that live in the rivers and flats along the coast.  I was pleased to find that little had changed with the lodge or with the fabulous baby tarpon fishery!  Many kudos to Marco Ruz, our outfitter!

Runnning out to the local flats, minutes from the lodge, we discovered huge pods of tarpon, and although they were, initially, not interested in eating our flies, that would change by the end of the week!

 Hi Flying Tarpon!

Everyone in our group was into fish, and although most had not fished for tarpon, they quickly adapted to the flies and technique, to be successful!  We found fish just about everywhere we fished, and there was very little idle time on the deck!

Doug and a typical TCL tarpon!

Jeff with a nice "baby"!

Jay with his first tarpon!  Man, can this guy cast!

Barry and a Nice Tarpon!  His years of fly fishing and casting, paid off!

However, we encountered grass choking some of the more western creeks/flats, and this created a different situation for us.  The tarpon were there, feeding under the grass mat, and we needed just the right fly to attack these fish.  

Grass choked river!

 Floating Minnow-BT

My new Floating Minnow-BT was the perfect fly for the grass mats!  It is light, totally weedless, and a cast onto the grass could be stripped across the mat, and into an open hole, where the tarpon, were feeding!  Wham!

Our guide thought it impossible to fish the grass mats, but the Floating Minnow-BT proved up to the challenge, and changed our approach.  In one river, we noticed a tarpon feeding in a small opening, not larger than 3' wide, and my partner, Barry, dropped a cast beyond the opening, and stripped it to the hole....Wham!  He did this 3 times, and the 4th time Barry was into a nice tarpon!  It was a highlight for the trip!
I did the same thing a bit later, driving the fly into a "mangrove cave", beyond the grass, and caught another nice tarpon!

Mangrove Cave!


With great weather and calm seas, we motored up the coast to search for larger, migratory tarpon; and although the big tarpon eluded us, we did catch a number of tarpon around 25 lbs., searching around the fresh water cenotes!

Mark with a nice "Cenote" tarpon!


 Excellent food, everyday!

 Our "Gang", guides and staff.  
Great Job Marco!

The end of another great day at Tarpon Cay Lodge!