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Archive for the ‘Saltwater’ Category

Bonefish Fly – Goto 1

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Wilson’s Flats Fiend

Available commercially (though hard to find), but in my case tied with real hair and not craft fur-hair.  Tied in different weights with corresponding eyes, with a light cream body and wing, too mimic the sand of the Exumas.

fiend 1_DSC4377fiend 2_DSC4382fiend 3_DSC4384

and a group image …

flats fiend group_DSC4491

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/11/28 at 07:27

Bonefish Goto 2 – Spawning Shrimp

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I got my first bonefish on this, and I still serves well. If I did not have this pattern, I would probably have more small Peterson’s Shrimp tied small.

Starting with a close-up of 4 Variants – for the smallest flies, I like to go with rabbit.  This is white, but I also need to dye some rabbit off-white.

sp shrimp 1 DSC4397

Larger flies, I go with Polar-Bear and this case, some heavy eyes and crystal orange flash, to fish off the boat into some deeper water.

sp shrimp 3 DSC4395

But soft and thick, polar bear with seal and a soft pink heart. This is the colouring we found blend well, but still has some life to it.

sp shrimp 2 DSC4396

And with a little more flash to the heart.

sp shrimp 4 DSC4394

And a group, from top left to right – rabbit, pb-bear and tan rabbit.

sp shrimp g2 DSC4416

This series was inspired by Ruby Babikian, a fine tyer who owns the website > https://hiddenhookfly.com/collections/all-flies/products/spawning-shrimp > but I am not sure how active Rudy is now.

And yes, I will tie in Orange. In this case, I am using Yellow and Orange Seal and some hair from a fox’s tail.

closeup_DSC4441

orange sp shrimp_DSC4443

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/11/24 at 07:23

Scott Heywood Bonefish Flies

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I have more flies than we need for this years Bonefishing trip to the Bahamas, but never-the-less, it is fun to be inspired and tie a few more.  In this case, using Veverka’s Innovative Saltwater Flies book, I have taken a couple of flies from Scott Heywood.  Though the irony, neither fly is part of Scott’s current recommendation for bonefish.

With the Biclops Shrimp, I wanted a large unweighted fly with the light tone of the Exuma sand, which varies from very white (common) to tones slightly grey (less frequent) or occasionally warm.  I recall one flat on the warm side, where the bonefish where all-over close in and shallow.

I have used more sheep fleece than Scott, to enable a long body look.  I comb the fleece, but I rely on the end of  the (Romeny’s sheep) fleece that had not yet been processed into consistent manufactured buns, so I could keep the unkept curly hair in place.

I also went with a seal body with a monofilament ribbing versus mohair.

I am expecting a soft landing into shallow tailing water, with an initial retrieve.

heywood sheep DSC4403

Then there is the Eye Gotcha. As I dislike artificial craft fur, I used polar bear wih a thicker wing. If you live in the US, I would have used Calf-tail. In the field, I may cut back the mylar tubing mouth by 20%.

The pink heart is brighter when using the Pink Uni-Stretch Thread-Floss.

Heywood_DSC4401

As these are fishing flies, I was only using two coats of lacquer, so no glossy heads for show.

.. Post release add to illustrate better the long shape of the sheep fly

heywood2 _DSC4508

heywood 4_DSC4501

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/11/20 at 00:41

Tarpon Reels

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In a previous series of postings, I discussed my thoughts on reels for the intended use. I wrote this series, as I often see passion mixed with industry marketing override solid thought and analysis. Some of my key messages:

  • We over-worry about weight for trout reels, and should focus on something that is interchangeable and flexible, id est, get a reel that allows for multiple spools and should be about to get spools 10 years later.
    • If you are fishing with silk lines, consider a reel that is open with little backing.
  • The industry’s lack of on-going support for spools is sad. I am not a fan of planned obsolesce.
  • For Spey rods, many reels are too light
  • Sealed drags are good in tough conditions – Winter and Salt
  • Large Arbours are good for fish that run long – Steelhead, Bonefish and Tarpon
  • Anti-reverse reels have a real advantage with the drag control on the reel hand side, but they are heavier.

As of recent, as I have begun working with heavy line rods that are light, such as 12wt rods, I have added to expectations for these large reels for saltwater fishing.

  • Weight – please less than 10oz or 280 grams
  • Diameter of 112mm – while larger is better for retrieve, it does increase the momentum-twist the hand feels.
  • Backing that exceed 200m, preferably with 30# Dacron.
  • Open Spool – lets the backing dry.

Without a good flyshop within a days drive of me to allow me to test reels, I have to rely upon datasheets and experience to select a large saltwater reel with a sealed drag that I believe can take the stress.  My (our) choices are ….

Reel weight spool OD backing price
Danielsson L5W 8twelve 229 B 108 A 227
H5D 9thirteen 247 B 108 B 329
H5D 11fourteen 272 C+ 118 A+ 336
Henschel Anti-Reverse 3 306 D+ 98 A+ 540
Henschel Anti-Reverse 4 370 D+ 107 A+ 520
Abel SDS 11/12 282 A+ 115 A+ 1095
Tibor Signature 11-12S 371 B+ 128 A 785
Nautilus Monster 280 A+ 127 A+ 895

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Notes:

  • Reel with the H5Ds are Danielsson
  • Weight is in grams
  • Spool refers to strength and being “open”
  • OD is the Outside diameter of the spool in millimeters
  • Backing refers to the ability to carry 200+m of backing, with B implying you need to consider braid versus dacron.
  • Price is USD as of 2018-07-28

If money was no concern, you and I should look to the Abdel SDS, or a Nautilus Monster.

If money is a concern, look to the Danielsson H5D 9thirteen and if 200m is an absolute, spool on small braid, such as a Cortland Gel-Spun (in Pink too!) or Hatch Premium.

My answer: Danielsson H5D 9thirteen with Cortland Gel-Spun.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/07/28 at 23:43

Posted in Fly-Fishing, Saltwater

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Guideline RSi 11wt Review

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rods_DSC0437

I posted earlier my admiration for the Scott Meridan, but included a picture of a newer Guideline RSi 11wt (which was funded by frequent flyer miles). I deferred any comment, until such time I got some real-time fishing, and now I believe this rod has seen enough water for me to make some valid comments.

In summary:

  • A good 10wt rod that lets you feel well into the cast (bends) with a fast recovery that enables you to hold tight loops as you cast into the saltwater wind.
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  • I can quickly load the rod – within 2 false casts from the deck of a boat – shoot the line and consistently hit my target at 70′.
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  • I will keep it available for throwing large flies for pike or use it on the salt as a 10wt tarpon rod, (<40lbs), permit rod, et cetera ….
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  • I will keep available the following 10wt lines, using a Dianelsson L5W 8twelve reel, with
    • RIO Coldwater QuickShooter with Intermediate Tip
    • Guideline 3D Pike Taper – FHI
    • Cortland Tarpon 10wt

Supporting notes:

The rod is light and it *BENDS*, but this does not mean it is slow. It has a very nice quick recovery, but I found the 3 11wt lines too much weight with a strong cast (double-haul) into the wind, as I was constantly “hitting” the butt on the backcast (id est, over-extending the rod), and thus losing energy and accuracy in the cast.

I have tried multiple 11 wt lines from Monic, Airflo Tropic Punch and RIO Tarpon and all felt heavy, unless you kept the casts short. After which, I put on the 10wt lines – Guideline Pike and RIO CostalShooter XP.

Beyond design decisions, such as making lines heavy, there are always variances in production – rods and lines – I am not surprised or disappointed. Thus, I note spend the additional effort to ensure I have a good match.

With cork applied being lower grade, requiring filler was the one disappointment on the cosmetics, but otherwise the build quality and component selection is fine.

I did like the mesh bag, as it allows the rod to dry and consumes little space in multi-rod carrier.

Value:

As of today – May 7, 2018

  • Guideline RSi from Rheal Pitre – 650 CDN
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  • Scott Meridan from Bears Den – 865USD or 1115 CDN
  • Scott Tidal from Bears Den – 495 USD or 638 CDN
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  • Sage Motive from Bears Den – 499 USD or 643 CDN
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  • G Loomis – Asquith – L’Ami Du Moucheur – 1550 CDN
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  • Temple Fork BVK – – L’Ami Du Moucheur – 393 CDN

It is light and fast and makes a good 10wt rod, properly priced.

Will I keep the rod at hand?  Absolutely yes!

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/05/08 at 04:35

Posted in Fly-Fishing, Saltwater

DIY – Bonefish Exumas

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One of the flies that got a lot of attention, our Polar Gotcha.

polar gotcha IMG_1328

Some do it yourself, hints and ideas for bonefishing in the Exumas.

Guides – Recommendation – Garth Thompson

double DSCN0936s

One of the two doubles that Garth got us into, and I believe this was Judy’s best fish of the trip.

I still believe in guides, to help you understand the fish, water, how to see, the water, et cetera. So with this, I can highly recommend Garth Thompson whose instructions are well timed, his directions clear and his sight is amazing.

Guides – NOT – Stevie

Stevie (bonefishstevie) – In a display of territorial aggression Stevie charged me in his boat at speed, I was on my feet on the flats so I was at a significant disadvantage. Once the unfriendly encounter was done, he roared out, ensuring our spot was ruined for the day.

Judy’s note, “he is probably a good guide, but just not a good person”.  See TripAdvisor, but, please note Bahamas regulations limit the number of people on a guide’s boat to 2.

stevie review

Enough said, but I dislike negative reviews, but several indicated it was worth noting on this occasion.

Next time when I see a boat charging me, get the camera out, video tape and post it on YouTube.

Kayak or SUP

Yes, a kayak will substantially improve your access, as often there is a deep channel at the shore, before it opens up the cays and flats. In our case, the channel in front of our stay in the middle of the Airport Flats is walkable, though deep.

In the past, I have found kayak’s painful – literally – and this was no exception. Next time, I am bringing an iSUP.

view in the morning IMG_1271

The view from our front step, as the sun rises at high tide.

Logistics – Car – a necessity

Simple: Berlies Car Rentals and if you are looking for a larger car to move kayaks, consider a Jeep and bring your own ropes.

Berlies is located just outside the airport, they will pickup you as you exit the small airport and drop you off.

Logistics – Flights

The Exumas is an out-island, so the infrastructure is downsized. Daily flights from southern Florida or Nassau are present, but otherwise few long-haul flights are available.

In our case, we flew in by Air Canada from Toronto (that comes in-out on every Saturday) to George Town on a small jet. To make the early morning flight out easy with reduce risk (de-icing, weather), we arrive the night before and stay in Toronto (at the Airport Alt Hotel).

Logistics – Food and Alcohol

Yes, we are on an out-island, where the food comes in by ship on Tuesday or Wednesday, so if you land on a Sunday (Air Canada), expect limited food availability.

We stayed at a very nice cottage on the Airport Flats, booked through VRBO, with a small but complete kitchen, so what were the essentials we brought or should have brought:

  • Cliff’s Oatmeal Bars – withstand the heat well, when you are fishing!
  • Ground Coffee and UHT Milk – we even bring our steel French press.
  • Asian Noodles – Breakfast with Poached Eggs (bought at the convenience) . Alternatively, any canned-dry goods you want for 2 days if you arrive on the weekend – Peanut Butter, Granola, et cetera

And when the week comes, you can go to Prime Island Meats north of George Town, and then swing back through George Town to Exuma Market to pick up anything else. When stocked, you will fine better greens and fruits at the Exuma Market, but the Chicken and Crab salad at Prime Island makes great sandwiches.

Kalik is a great beer. I would note for Canadian’s – Beer is more expensive, but alcohol is cheaper than what I can buy in Ontario. Like Ontario, Alcohol sales is controlled and there are limited retailers, we acquire ours south of George Town at the turn off to the old airport (before Cheaters)

For restaurants, definitely recommend ….

    • Santana’s (get the Grouper), also stop next door into Mama’s Bakery on Little Exuma
    • Shirley’s north of Georgetown (get the side dish of fried plantain)

shirleys IMG_1322

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plaintain IMG_1262

Oh yes, my preference was to stay have dinner at the cottage, letting us fish the flats to sunset.

Logistic – Maps

Google Earth is better than Google Maps, as Google Earth Satellite shows the unmarked roads!

Best interactive map of key locations around the Exuma is courtesy of a unknown person who created > https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1rWCO5UyeQGR4OLZ1VVdpjI6YQJg&ll=23.438098271246115%2C-75.60763117177737&z=13

Cameras – GoPro 5

Just before the trip, Judy’s GoPro 4 died and we bought a replacement GoPro 5. The images from this camera is amazing and I hope to post some of her videos soon.

If there is any negative we found with the camera, is that the GoPro 5’s audio does not work well with Gimbals.

Fishing the Airport Flats – Leaders

Go with long leaders – 10-12′ – with a 8 lb or 10lb fluorocarbon.

bonefish DSCN0960

Judy was using a traditional Bonefish Line with a 10+’ leader and did well. I was trying a clear tip line with an intermediate poly-leader. I do not believe there was any benefit with the clear tip (it still have mass), but the setup still work.

Having dealt with good and bad fluorocarbon, I now only use Seaguar Blue.

Yes, there is wind, but with a 8wt rod, we were fine.

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Fishing the Airport Flats – Tides

The tides are about 90-120 minutes behind those reported at Steveston and George Town.

Fishing the Flats – Walking

The flats are mostly sand, so you can walk barefoot; and when the bottom is more mud than sand, it is better to walk barefoot as the feedback help you to respond so much better to the changing conditions.

My SIMMs booties with neoprene socks continue to serve we well.

As noted last year, Judy as a smaller women can not find a boot from the traditional fly-fishing OEMs that will fit her. Last years Ski-Doo boots died within 3 days, but this year she found some Akona boots at a Dive Shop that worked.

Please remember to cover your feet when you are out in the open (out of the water), as burn feet are not fun.

walk flats DSCN0955

Fishing the Exuma Flats – Flies

Light colour flies, as most of the sand is white with a grey tinge, I would suggest white to a light ecru.

Images of flies in a water, with sand from the flats under.

flies in water IMG_1344

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flies in water IMG_1343
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Judy’s last fish of the trip.

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judy fish DSCN0969

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sunset in water DSCN0976
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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/03/31 at 22:52

Posted in Bahamas, Saltwater, Vacation

Keeled Jerk

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closeup keeled jerk DSC1566First lets credit those who have developed this pattern.

  1. I have always wanted to try Dave Whitlock’s Sheep Minnow Streamer pattern, which has a long body and hook point up for “weedy” water.
  2. As noted in an earlier post, I really like Gunnar’s Youtube videos, including his keel jerk, see video below, which has the long body and hook up look that Dave’s fly has.

Now, I offer my observations after tying a few flies:

  1. (I) Prefer Steve Farrar’s Blend over Craft Fur.  The former has volume without bulk, and allows for a light clean taper baitfish. The latter has a lot of junk at the base that needs to be clean (lots of prep) and difficult to build a long base. I may revise this after a summer of fishing, but I want to step away from Craft Fur.
    1. As you may recall, I already stated I have moved alway from Craft Fur for bonefish flies.
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  2. The excellent materials that this pattern has introduced me include:
    1. Ahrex PR380 Texas Predator Hook – sharp and well built: A+
    2. Ice Dub Shimmer Fringe – creates a nice veil: B
    3. Tear Mender as a rubber cement: B+
    4. Pro Flex UV Resin, I will do some testing latter and report, but it is a good resin, that is “hard and flexible”, as it works into the material (thin): A.
      1. Oh yes, I do use my cactus to hold the flies in the Sun to help set the UV Resign.
  3. As far as eyes are considered, get a set of 8mm and 10mm. I also suggest you will get better value if you purchase these in bulk from ebay or another supplier.

And now for some images, but first Gunnar’s video.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch

From the web, another individual trying this pattern for the first time. He/She has done a marvelous job (better than me) in layering the craft fur or the central tail. If there is a lesson for me, thicker tail and less craft fur.

keeled jerk nme

Now, I do recommend you buy flies from Gunnar. All of the Shad (Grey-White) Flies are from Gunnar, and are very well done as illustrated below.

gunnars DSC1560

So here is my attempt with Craft Fur, and develop my handling skill with UV Resin.

The head in front is with a thicker Solarex Flex UV Resin, and eventually standardize to the thin Pro Thin Flex. In review, I would look to less craft fur and more internal tail (in this case, bucktail).

As you can see, I also use ties (and moisture) to hold the hair in, as I work on the fly.

green keeled jerk in cactus_DSC1535

green _DSC1561

And then moving to Steve Farrar’s blend.

blue DSC1557

which has a hollow, translucent look to it.

blue backlight _DSC1563

So what is next?  I am liking the path with using Steve Farrar’s blend and the Pro UV Thin Flex, but will consider some of the following tweaks in future:

  1. Stagger the fibers more (the blue stack is to uniform).
  2. Given it translucent qualities, add a touch of red on the inside. Consider more inner tail.
  3. Play with lengths – should the blue top be shorter? Never-the-less,tIt does pull to a nice taper as is.

last blue_DSC1567

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Written by raspberryfisher

2018/01/03 at 04:09