Heart-stopping topwater strikes don’t have to be followed by casting fatigue or an aching elbow or wrist. Fly casting, if your mechanics are poor, can cause physical pain. Throw a big ol’ popper into the mix and it can get worse. But that is avoidable—all it takes is some adjustments in both the construction of a popper and in the way you cast it.
False albie. Bonito. Football. Hardhead. Bomber. These are only a few of the nicknames for the little tunny. All around the Florida coastline, from the northern Gulf of Mexico to the Florida-Georgia line, this small member of the tuna family can be caught in good numbers on fly tackle.
During this FS Seminar, Rick Ryals ventures 60 miles offshore of Jacksonville Beach in search of fast-moving pelagics. Bruiser blackfin tuna, wahoo, and dolphin gobbled hard-plastic lipped diving plugs, in favor of natural presentations.
I remember vividly the day I discovered the pleasure of fishing water with current. One day, on a whim, I took my boys—they were very young then—to the Santa Fe River north of Gainesville. We found gin-clear springs spaced perfectly for swim breaks. Eel grass waved in the current. Silver mullet darted, while golden shiners and snails slowly foraged on the algae growing on the blades of grass.
Flounder—the southern and Gulf varieties— are the ultimate bottom-dwellers, shuffling into sand or mud to lie in ambush. Flatties, or “doormats” when they get big, like their meals low and tight, so you’ll do best to keep a tempting bait in their zone.
I have long used tandem rigs, both in fresh and salt water. If you’ve ever fished topwater poppers and bugs and dealt with half-hearted strikes, it may have been during cold weather or when the surface was flat-calm under a high sun. That’s when a dropper fly can seal the deal for you.
It was easy to see the advantage of the device immediately, but I’d guess even Oliverio at that time had no idea just how successful the product would become. Not only are power anchors now standard equipment on all well-equipped flats boats, but most tournament bass boats sport a pair of them on the transom.
You stopped being a snorkeler the second you left the surface and entered a new realm and a sport that will challenge and reward you and combine three of your favorite things: hunting, fishing and diving. As with any other sport on the water, there is a lot to learn and safety is the number one priority with anyone wanting to go past the snorkeling phase.
Spoil the reed and spare the fish. Let’s face it. Dropping even the smallest anchor in a tidal creek or wilderness canal can turn off the fish. Whether it’s the splash, or simply because fish sense your presence, they can be frightened by anchors, particularly in tight quarters.