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notes on fishing & travel

Archive for the ‘Bahamas’ Category

Simms’ Flats Boots

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First and last: Recommended, but you must fit your boats in a store or be prepared to ship back boots!

I pick these boots up for saltwater fishing, but having using them extensively as my water boats launching, handling et cetera, Judy’s boat this summer, I have had enough time to “bond” with them. With the neoprene socks (ordered separately), they are great.

I would note that Judy’s Seadoo boats did not last 5 days in the Bahamas before they fell apart, but mine dp show some wear, but are in great shape, protect my feet, easy to walk in, and keep the sand out.

Any warnings or disappointments:

  • As others pointed out, Simms sizing is way out to lunch!  I usually fit in a size a Size 10 to 10 1/2 wide shoe.  In this case, I am in a Size 13 Boat and a Large thin Simms Neoprene sock.
  • Availability – though I live near a city of a Million People, there was no store that had any. I was able to get my, while travelling through Dallas last year at a Bass Pro.
  • Size again, no-one makes a boot for a small lady (my wife, hence the try with the poor Seadoo boot).

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Yes, this is a great boot and sock combination, but as others noted, the sizing information does not reflect what you may be wearing in shoes, boots, waders, et cetera. Find a store.

As a reference, this year, I also purchased a new pair of walking shoes (Merrell’s size 10) and dress shoes (ECCO, size 44 (10 1/2)), and the SIMMs are 13s.

I hope this helps.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/09/22 at 00:01

Scott Meridian 8wt

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I have not posted for some time, with the rain this summer and the deer eating my garden, I have little to post on the usual subjects. Never-the-less there are some updates, which I like to share.

I bought the Scott Meridian 8wt last winter as a backup rod for bonefishing, and now it is my preferred rod for Saltwater, Pike and Bass. It has displaced a 20+ year favoured Loomis GL3 and a more current Winston BL5.

Why has it gain such favour? It is light, responsive and I can really feel the bend in the rod, allowing me to time my cast well. It is fun!

It does not have the stiff body as my older Sage RPLXi, where you need to over-line the rod to feel it, but feels alive with the designated line weight. Beinf responsive, you can apply some complex setups with ease,

Like my new Meiser 13668 (previous post), and I suspect the Guideline in the picture below, it has exploited the new fast recovery graphite’s available to the rod designers.

Unlike other reviewers, I get no gain or advantage et cetera with any posting. I just share my thoughts, just as a individual with no pressure t produce and maybe help a person or two.

I do recommend (like the many fly fishing pundits), if you are looking for a 8wt, fresh or saltwater, get a Scott Meridan.

I did buy a second rod, for Judy and I.

 

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Is there any concern? Small one, maybe as a result of the mass of the flies, maybe an error in production or my cast, my sections do come lose after a few hours. You can use the standard spey two-hand long-rod technique of some wax, a little tape. or keep an eye on your rod.

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It is a light rod, so I encourage you to look for a light reel.  As I self declared earlier this spring, I prefer the engineering and supply stability from Danielsson, so on my rod is a L5W 8twelve, suited for the salt and any other other challenge I can put on her.

Right now, I am using the Airflo Beach 8wt for Bass and Pike. Once you get the head to the tip, the line just flies over the water.

airflo

And yes, I am using a Streamside Furled Leader. In some of the forums, I see debate (often not so kind and focus on the flotation issue) from several of the furled leader manufacturers, but Mike Moline at Streamside lays low and just delivers a very nice leader MADE TO ORDER, and suitable for a 8wt.

Judy more than I likes how these leaders cast too and presents a fly.

So another set of recommendations for my Meridian 8 wt – Airflo Beach and Streamside Furled Leaders

On furled leaders, if dry fly fishing, may I suggest you use the Phoenix Braided Leader and use a little Red Muclin to support it if you feel it is necessary. I would also contend, a leader that is under the surface and NOT dragging your dry fly under is better than a mono-leader on top when fishing slick water for trout. Maybe I have not spent enough time dry fishing on slick water to get annoy about leaders not floating and prefer the subtle look of a furled leader in the water.

All of these recommendations-comments has been based on months to years of use, so hopefully this helps, if you are searching for a new rod for Bonefish, Bass or Pike.  It is a great rod, for fresh or saltwater.

Oh yes, the 11wt Guideline RSi Rod in the above picture is new, and has not seen the same usage as the Meridian. I like it, but it has not seen the same level of punishment as the 8wt, so I reserve any recommendation until it has seen a season or two.

Last comment for today and to close up the opening message. It has been a cool and wet year, so it has been a banner year for our local tree frogs.  I scared this one our of my Lemongrass pot on the deck, in the back.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/09/20 at 02:17

Light and small crab bonefish flies

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Most commercial crab fly patterns for bonefish are big and heavy – great to cast off a boat into 2-6’s water.  And yet, when you are walking on the flats in shadow water, when the fish are spooky, you need something that is small, light, still sink and will lay down softly.

From left to right, we have

  • Wilson’s micro-crab – size 8 hook – 0.21grams
  • Commercial Blue Yarn Crab – size 6 – 0.80grams
  • Commercial Veverka’s Corsair Crabby – size 4 -1.44g
  • Commercial Borski’s Crab  – size 2 – 1.79grams

So what is important?

  • Small hook – Size 6 or 8
  • Body material that will shed water and not imped sinking – EP Brush
  • Trimmed wide body shape.
  • Small to medium bead chain eyes

As this is for shallow water, with the expectation the fly is being pulled away from the bonefish, one needs to consider the view will be low and from the back.  If necessary, you can trim the top flat, but as I saw many crabs position themselves up, I did not believe this was a critical feature.

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So what is the recipe:

  • Size 8 Hook
  • Pink Thread
  • Krystal Flash – Optional – think hybrid shrimp-crab pattern
  • Grizzly Hackle Stripped – Optional  – length of body
  • Hen Hackle splayed open – natural – similar to fly
  • Small-Medium Bead Chain Eyes – Consider Black – mounted at back of fly and such that the hook rides up
  • Small Hen hackle – Yellow , Orange, Pink or Chartreuse – Wrapped around shank.
  • Prepare shank with a tapered body of pink thread.
  • EP (Shrimp Dub) Brush tightly wound from back to eye.
    • Trim body to shape
    • Trim base flat

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I would like to have a lighter colour Hen Hackle.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2017/02/02 at 09:41

Light Bonefish Flies – some Principles

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So I have been doing some experiments, since our return from the Bahamas. A couple of lessons learnt was:

  • The common and promoted synthetic “Craft Fur” is lifeless in water.
  • I need, as DYI fisherman walking the flats, a greater selection of light flies.

So I wanted to know how light can I got, so some experiments were under-taken.  My conclusions:

  1. Stay with the traditional size saltwater hook – size 8, such as a Daiichi 2546.
    1. I tried tubeless and found it is possible to tie a fly too light (it floated). Eventually, I got to a sinking fly, but I saw no advantage gain with a tube fly, so I reverted back to a traditional saltwater hook with the small bead chain eye. (no picture)
  2. If using anything more than a few hairs, use a bead chain weights. The final target dry weight for a spare fly should be 0.28grams.
    1. If you want to use no weight, stay with feathers!
  3. In experimenting with eyes, I will continue with my homemade eyes – lower cost and better looking. (See picture, and you judge for yourself).
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  4. Rabbit will have more life sitting in the water, but it will float on a lightly weighted fly, until it is soaked.  So, if you are holding a fly in your hand, as you scan and hunt for bonefish, you maybe casting a fly that will not get to the sea floor.

So what will I tie for small and light spawning shrimp, other than using Rudy’s:

  • Daiichi 2546
  • Small bead-chain weight
  • Black Pupil Eyes – splayed
  • fine crystal flash – 4 strands
  • tailing feathers – 3 pairs stagger in length
  • hair casing, such as deer tail

A fly in construction in my vise, showing the splayed tailing feathers.  Two changes in the final build is smaller bead-chain and use my own black pupil eyes.

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More pictures and some weights.

Dry – from top left:

  • Shrimp – Craft Hair casing – 0.47g
  • Deer Hair casing with medium bead-chain eyes – 0.30g
  • Rabbit Fur casing with small bead-chain eyes – 0.25g

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Same flies, but in water and looking into the fly, as would a chasing bonefish would look.

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Some other flies – dry and reference dry weights – from left to right

  • Pop’s Bitters with medium bead-chain and epoxy head – 0.45g
  • Gorel’s (?) Feather Hackle with large bead-chain – 0.47g
  • Rudy’s Spawning Shrimp with small bead-chain – 0.37g
  • Small Antron Crab with small barbell weight – 0.76g

 

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and a Daiichi 2546 Size 8 hook weighs 0.10g.

Oh yes, use fluorocarbon tippet and wonder if a intermediate airflow leader would assist.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2016/12/26 at 06:21

Bonefish Flies – Acklins, Bahamas

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The following comments reflect what I learnt about the specific conditions on Acklins we found.

  1. Sand and Tan is the dominant colour, and add a splash of orange or pink to the fly.
    1. The need for green, brown, orange and olive is limited.
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  2. For DIY – focus on ightly weighted or no weight.
    1. On the boat have weighted flies.
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  3. Focus on shrimp and then small crabs patterns.
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  4. Despite its wide historical use for Bonefish flies, forgo synthetic craft hair, for it has no life. I would consider it as a body in a streamer for its shape, but for small flies, move to natural hairs from rabbit, squirrel, deer, fox or other!
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  5. Bonefish are easily spooked, but they are more receptive to flies than trout, so selection of a fly is simple ….
    1. Minimize the splash down.
      1. Lightest weight fly that will get to the bottom in a seconds,.
    2. Then select a fly the colour of surroundings.
    3. Sharp debarb fly.
    4. If Bonefish refuses, change colour of fly.
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  6. Sharp hooks!  The mouth of this fish is tough and will not spit out a fly quickly, like a trout, so the hook set is done after it has started its run, but the hook must be sharp to penetrate their hard mouth.

The Flies

First up, the only pattern I fished that I did not tie.  A fantastic tie by Rudy at Hidden Hook Fly, and do recommend it, but place your order early, as he may be out some adventure fishing. (Oh yes, in the video from Rudy, this is also Fedel (our guide and teacher)).

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A fly that shall a lot of action is this Wilson variant of the spawning shrimp. I would consider a few notes …

  • Replace the craft hair with a natural hair (see next fly).
  • Reduce the dark mouth band, id est few darker hairs mixed with white hairs.
  • Eyes are perfect .. created using 12b hard mono with a burnt end, plus amber bead and over-coated with epoxy.

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Another spawning shrimp is below with the above pattern, adapted from my crawfish pattern for smallmouth bass. I had one hook-up with this pattern, but lost the fish about 30 seconds in the fight on his first run.  Was this a poor hook-up on my part or a function using the jig hook?

Other than the lost fish, I like the feather front with polar bear hairs and the deer hair wing.  In this case, the deer hair also provides a mild weed guard, as it is pushed up by the “bushy” chennile body.

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And a darker variant showing the fish’s view, with a clear illustration of the feather front.  The chennile is finer, so the wing (squirrel tail) rides lower and provides less weed-fouling protection to the hook.

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Though, I am mentioning weeds, Acklins does not have many weed or turtle grass beds.

Another spawning shrimp variant – Petersen’s – showing the larger weight variant with the light small shrimp, but using fox.  Typically tied with rabbit, but here I am using fox.

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and then another successful fly, Petersen’s tied with Rabbit.  I will be tying more.

Now a shout-out to Henrik Larsson who took a few flies and hope they brought him good luck, but as a good fisherman – he does not need luck!  Henrik of Göteborg also stayed with Fidel Johnson on the Acklins, so we enjoyed dinner, conversation on fishing and my home away from home – Sweden.

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As noted, I was not thrilled with synthetics, for wings, but there was one exception – EP Saltwater brushes that become a fine veil, like a grass shrimp, when wet. Below is a picture of the fly dry and wet, and also teaches a lesson when tying with this material, pay attention to how the body will look when wet.

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The only crab pattern we fished was the Pop Bitters.

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And a pattern I had and liked, but never fished as it was too dark was my pheasant top crab fly. So I like to create additional flies using this recipe, but I must find a light top shell feather with the right marking, maybe from a silver pheasant or a hen.

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And what was missing in my box? Answer, I needed some small light flies. These size 8 flies would have been fine if they had light bead-chain eyes. So next trip, I would tie 9 of these flies with light eyes and a lighter tan body.

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Writing these lessons learnt help me, and may some one else to.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2016/12/20 at 02:21

Bonefisher Leaders – IMHO

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There are constructions, formulas, et cetera, so mine is just another voice in the wind. But as the conditions we are dealing with does need to manage wind, my formulas are based on turn over into a wind and acknowledging material preference.

Materials

  • RIO – Hard Mono Saltwater for the body.
    • Available in
      • 0.019″ for 30#
      • 0.017″ for 25#
      • 0.015″ for 20#
      • 0.013# for 16#
      • 0.011″ for 12#
    • Masons is well known and it is stiffer, but it is harder to straighten which is further aggravated by the small spools they use.  If you do buy Mason’s, tryto get it in loose coils.  (also takes more effort to get a tight knot).
    • Maxima Chameleon – Absolutely great material from 12lb and up, but it is brown, so I will keep it for steelhead.
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  • Seaquar Blue Fluorocarbon for Tippet
    • Using
      • 0.011″ for 15#
      • 0.009″ for 12#
    • Years ago, I had some break offs steelhead fishing and then began a detailed review of product.  Maybe it was a bad patch or me, but in the end, I learnt to trust Seaquar Blue.  The alternative is P-Line.
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  • All formulas are based on
    • Expect the first fly to reduce the leader by 4-6″
    • The top end has a Perfection Loop and length includes the loop.
      .
  • Formula 1 – Wind with Strong Tippet – 7.5′ (90″) – 15#
    • 42″ Section – 0.019″ – 30# with Perfection Loop – RIO Hard Mono
    • 10″ Section – 0.017″ – 25# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 10″ Section – 0.015″ – 20# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 10″ Section – 0.013″ – 16#  – RIO Hard Mono
    • 18″ Section – 0.011″ – 15# – Seaquar Blue
  • Formula 1 – Alternative – 7.6′ (92″) – 12#
    • 42″ Section – 0.019″ – 30# with Perfection Loop – RIO Hard Mono
    • 8″ Section – 0.017″ – 25# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 8″ Section – 0.015″ – 20# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 8″ Section – 0.013″ – 16# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 8″ Section – 0.011″ – 12# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 18″ Section – 0.011″ – 15# Tippet – Seaquar Blue
  • Formula 2 – Standard – 15′ (180″) – 12#
    • 84″ Section – 0.019″ – 30# with Perfection Loop – RIO Hard Mono
    • 24″ Section – 0.017″ – 25# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 18″ Section – 0.015″ – 20# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 12″ Section – 0.013″ – 16# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 12″ Section – 0.011″ – 12# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 30″ Section – 0.009″ – 12# Tippet – Seaquar Blue
  • Formula 2 – Alternative – 14′ (168″) -15#
    • 84″ Section – 0.019″ – 30# with Perfection Loop – RIO Hard Mono
    • 24″ Section – 0.017″ – 25# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 18″ Section – 0.015″ – 20# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 12″ Section – 0.013″ – 16# – RIO Hard Mono
    • 30″ Section – 0.011″ – 15# Tippet – Seaquar Blue
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  • These formulas are similar to the guidelines that Chico Fernandez’s uses and also reference by Rod Hamilton.  There are other formula’s, such as Bruce Chard’s or Jim Vincent’s that has a slow progression, but I have chosen to go with stronger butt and a more rapid dropped to the tippet and fly.
    .
    Why?  The fly should be stripped away from the fish, so the leader is on the far slide, so getting a straight layout ready for stripping on landing is more important than a very fine tippet.  Anyway, that is my opinion – right or wrong.co Fernandez leader formula

Written by raspberryfisher

2016/12/16 at 20:45

Bonefishing – do not (sun) burn

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Forget the shorts and short sleeve.

Forget the tan.

Your are in the sun for 8-10 hours for days, so cover-up.  The only part of our bodies that was exposed for hours was the tip of our fingers, but otherwise we were covered up from head to toe. Sun-burn is not fun, and something we have to take seriousily personally as Judy’s last skin cancer operation was July.

So my observation on clothing ….

  • Boots
    • I (David) had the Simms ZipIts which protect my feet well.  Web reviews complain they are heavy, and given the slow pace and I do walk in heavy hiking boots (not fishing), I had no issue with the weight. I do recommend these boots.
      .
      I used neoprene socks with thin liners or the thin liners with hiking socks – with both solution as being fine. but I think I had a slight preference to the latter.
      .
      One recommendation, when the boot drys out, the fine sand from the flats becomes cement, so after the day is done, flush the boot well, clear the zipper, gusset and let it dry with the zipper partially close OR leave the boots in a bucket of water.
      .
    • Judy represented a challenge with a Women’s Size 6 foot and trying to find a fishing-flats boot from the usual suppliers was impossible. As fishing is treated as a “man’s past-time”, clothing options are (sadly) fewer for women. Her new Ski-Doo boots started to fall apart after Day 2.  Not impressed.
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    • Sandals – as the flats (our flats) was mostly sand, good sandals fitted with a neoprene sock would be a good choice.
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  • Pants – what ever you like that are happy to walk in – all day – where you are wet from ankle to knees.  I prefer tan to reflect the colour of the sea bed floor and keep “solar loading” down.
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  • Long-Sleeve – A lot of good tropic shirts out there – LL Bean, Simms, Patagonia, Columbia, et cetera. I have not made up my mind which I prefer …
    • The traditional multi-pocket and pleated shirt, which is cooler flapping in the wind (and noiser) OR
    • the standard long-sleeve crew neck, warmer but I do not hear it flapping in the wind. I will probably stay with the crew-neck, especially is I migrate to a sling pack in the future.
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  • Head and Neck Sun Blocker – I highly recommended the Simms Sungaiter.  It is better than the popular Buff as it is fitted and has fine holes for breathing.  Oh yes, it can be wore high, covering your ears and actually help keep your glasses secure. Judy also had some second skin cut to shape, to fit on her nose, as another layer of protection, as the remaining skin (from the skin cancer operation) and scar tissue is still easily damaged.
    .
  • Hat – I prefer a tan wide brim hat with a dark under side that protects my ears (I use also for gardening), but also keep your standard long bill fishing cap for those windy days.I also found the wide brim hat was a little harder to hear with, impacting my fishing from the boat when the guide was quietly giving instructions.
    .
  • Polarized Glasses – Dark Grey or Blue.  I found little difference in performance between Maui Jim and Costa del Mar. With the Simms Sungaiter, I ditched my standard cable glass retaining strap.
    .
    The one thing I was missing was a small bottle of glass cleaner, to wash off the salt mid-day.
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  • Gloves – TFO Mangrove Gloves – hard to find (I buy from feather-craft), but they are light, good, thin et cetera …. strong recommendation after we have tried many.
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  • Last tips ….
    • Before breakfast put on lotion on your checks and nose, then wash your hands.
    • Avoid the insect repellant.
    • Fishing bag, sling …. which-ever.  What ever is comfortable for you. Unlike trout fishing, you are not carrying much for fishing, the big items may be your rain-jacket, lunch, snack and water.

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and last, as we left, we were able to get a bird-eye view of where we fished

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Written by raspberryfisher

2016/12/16 at 02:00