Saturday, 31 March 2012

Black Drum:


A close cousin of Redfish, Black Drum are aptly named for they somehow make a deep rattling noise when alarmed.  Amazingly this can often be heard or even felt in a boat.  A stealthy approach and good positioning by guide Chris Myers meant we could lay out long casts to reach a shoal of feeding drum.  And once hooked these highly prized fish punched well above their weight.  Anyone interested in experiencing the diverse fishing on offer in Florida should contact:


      ~Mr Machin beating the drum~                 ~Another hefty fish for John~

P1010478  P1010482

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Bass Thumb:


Neither Peacock Bass and Largemouth Bass have teeth.  Yet their inner jaws are armed with a hard, rasp like surface which helps prevent their prey from escaping.  The best way to land both species is by hand, using your thumb.  You know when it’s been an eventful day as your digits suffer from what is commonly known in these parts as “bass thumb”…P1010295

        ~Handling a fish correctly~              ~The hard interior of a peacock bass~









“Bass Thumb” a nice infliction to have…

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Beating the Drum:


Redfish go by the other name of “red drum or drum” and whilst they may not boast the sleek lines of bonefish they are without question an excellent sporting fish.  Feeding on worm, shrimp, crabs and small baitfish, in shallow water tails and dorsal fins betray their presence.  We headed into the Everglades searching for tailing fish and found them in abundance.  Spooky they may have P1010519been, yet a carefully placed cast encouraged them to turn and snaffle our flies.  Hooked fish didn’t yield easily so beating them drums took patience and skill.  Of course, we lost our share of fish too…









~A Redfish comes to hand on an inshore lagoon for John~















                 ~Nearly There~








~Drums like this are the pride and joy on Florida flats~


Monday, 26 March 2012

Aptly Named


Black Bass are more commonly referred to as “Largemouth Bass”.  Found throughout Florida this voracious predator is aptly named as their gaping jaws allow them to tackle all manner of prey including; frogs, fish, lizards, small snakes, mice and other rodents. Fly Fish Florida’s John Machin and I tried our luck on one of the many waterways that crisscross the state.  Using poppers and other surface lures are efforts were rewarded with a string of hard fighting fish. Up close, a decent specimen has a mouth that resembles a bucket.  Best of all not only do these revered fish pull hard they smash into your fly like no tomorrow. 


~Big bass are all head and shoulder~







~This thick set fish inhaled a size 2 popper though its jaws are capable of swallowing much large prey items~

Sunday, 25 March 2012

More than we bargained for:


~An alligator moves up ahead to the right~

Florida’s waterways are home to more than just fish.  Birdlife abounds, as do reptiles like snakes, lizards and turtles.  There’s also something a little more toothy that patiently waits undetected along the margins, ready to pounce on unsuspecting creatures. Alligators can be found in manP1010331y areas and some of them are a little bit more inquisitive than others. Chugging our bass poppers across the surface drew one out who quickly moved in for a closer look. If I’d have left the fly there a second longer there’s no doubt it would have been mashed up in rows of teeth. Thankfully, our skiff was more than a mouthful for even the most ambitious gator.  So, after giving us the beady eye this hungry beggar quietly slipped away.


Saturday, 24 March 2012

Game On:


It’s somewhat sublime to be pitching a fly towards the grassy bank of someone’s back garden then have peacock bass explode into life as you draw the fly away.  And once they feel a hook point all hell breaks loose.  Seriously, nothingSDC10766 prepares you for when a large bass ravages your fly-an arm wrenching jolt quickly followed by a writhing mass of green and yellow that’s doing its best to bury you in nearby snags.  A serious bout of side strain and slice of good luck is needed before you can finally admire what is surely one of the most striking species of fish we care to pursue with fly.








  ~An striking male Peacock Bass……


Friday, 23 March 2012

Urban Warfare in downtown Miami:


The Florida Keys might well have a reputation for producing colossal Tarpon, but there’s a whole lot more on offer in the most unlikely of places.  Take the Blue Lagoon in downtown Miami for example.  What with its skyscrapers towering overhead and the din of city life it’s the last place you’d dream of looking to tangle with exotic species.  And yet lurking in a quite corner of Florida’s inland waterways there’s a myriad of fish willing to latch onto fur or feather.  Butterfly Peacock Bass might well have been introduced (legitimately) in 1984 but since then they’ve positively thrived.  An aggressive predator they respond extremely well to all kinds of streamer patterns.  With P1010143guide Alan Zaremba and regular John Machin we set out at dawn to track them down.  A maze of channel ways led us to a series of lakes where this colourful adversary terrorises all manner of baitfish in some pretty quirky places.


~Peacock Bass set up home in the most unlikely places~


Monday, 19 March 2012

On Song:


It’s not often the season starts with a bang, but thanks to a mild, settle spell things couldn’t have gone better.  What with Large Darks, March Browns, Large Brook Duns, Midges and the odd monstrous Stonefly-trout have been spoilt for choice.  Granted, large stoneflies might well crawl onto dry land before emerging, but fish responded to all manner of duns struggling at the surface. Faced with such circumstances I for one needed little encouragement with regards to attaching a dry fly.



~This beauty nobbled a size 14 CdC dun~


Saturday, 17 March 2012

Opening Day Excitement:


For once Opening Day dawned mild and cloudy (on paper…near perfect conditions).  As ever, I arrived far too early. However, due to the relative warmth, thankfully the Eden’s Large Dark nymph population seemed eager to emerge with action underway by 11.45am.  Call me a purist, but there’s something about nobbling your first trout of a new season using a dry fly.  And with a few fish topping, adopting any other method just didn’t seem right!  Despite the gloomy weather, low clear water called for a patient, stealthy approach to avoid spooking trout.  Once in range a #14 CdC dry found the sweet spot making it difficult for fish to refuse.  Olive duns coming for a good couple of hours and obliging trout made this an Opening Day to remember.


~The first of a new season this butter bellied beauty couldn’t resist~



A Large Dark dun finds sanctuary on top of an otter spraint, an odd place to rest up before your maiden flight…

Monday, 5 March 2012

Slick new fly lines


A trip to Orvis H.Q. in Andover brought me up to speed with several new and exciting products available this coming season.  In particular their fly lines have been totally revamped.  A surprising amount of technology gets channelled into fly lines, all with good reason.  For despite hardware like rod and reel, it’s a fly line that ultimately delivers our imitations.  Aside from improved slickness, high floating tips and the microtexture surface (reduces friction and wear) the new Hydros range boast extra small, reinforced welded loops.  Reducing weight and hinging this infinitely improves presentation which without doubt is the be all and end all when presenting a fly!