[an error occurred while processing this directive]
|Email story||Comment||Letter to the editor|
A quintet of fly patterns will handle most fish on the North Suncoast.
By DAVID A. BROWN, Times Correspondent
Published November 17, 2007
Die-hard fly fishing purists will tell you that theirs is the only angling method of any repute. Those unfamiliar with the skinny sticks often chuckle at what seems like a lot of esoteric nonsense. Somewhere between these divergent thoughts lies this slice of angling strategy: Notwithstanding the challenge-and-achievement factor, fly fishing offers an undeniable advantage in the stealth department. With the exception of poppers designed to draw reaction strikes much the same way as you would by jerking a cork rig on spinning tackle, fly presentations are typically silent and nonintrusive.
For those enamored with this graceful angling form, every aspect of tackle and technique demands intense analysis. At fly-tying benches throughout the area, tendrils of skill and passion interlace with dedication.
Fans of this game are driven by inherent perfectionism and guided by the proverbial match-the-hatch wisdom - an idiom traced to mountain trout streams where fly patterns mimic every stage of insect development. Presenting patterns that match the current hatch state proves imperative for fooling savvy fish.
That's for folks who are really serious about their game. Do homemade patterns produce? They surely do - but don't count yourself out if tying flies requires more time, effort and/or interest than you possess. Fly shops and online retailers carry vast selections.
Now, the North Suncoast's briny shallows are far less demanding than those trout streams of upper latitudes. Nevertheless, locally applicable patterns have to look like something a coastal predator would want to eat.
Productive patterns are many, and various fly tiers will have several color and structure options. But a handful of basic selections will cover your bases with the shallow water gamefish found in area waters.
We've intentionally omitted big game flies such as those used for tarpon, sharks and other large fish because that's a different game.
For now, we'll focus on an assortment of fly patterns that'll work on the same fish you'd catch on medium-action spinning rods with 8- to 12-pound test.
Fish these flies on 7- to 9-weight rods and sink-tip fly lines.
Line it up
Whatever pattern you throw, remember proper line management. When loose loops lay at your feet, tangling with shoes, toes and cleats, that becomes a surefire way to lose a fish. Collapsible line keepers, which expand to about waist height, offer a simple method for corralling fly line as you strip it toward the reel.
Wading anglers might opt to simply let the line lay atop the water, but even that has its hazards. If any mangrove shoots, oyster bars or other obstructions poke above the surface, Murphy's Law will invariably lead your slack line right across that problematic point when a hooked fish makes its run.
Tackle retailers sell commercially produced wading belts with line keepers, but fashioning a homemade version with a plastic storage bin offers an inexpensive option.
[Last modified November 16, 2007, 21:14:15]