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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My last outing was last Sunday night, fishing John Clouser (no relation) and his two sons... We were looking for the baby tarpon (20 to 40lbs) that can be found at night under the bridges and in docklights in the urban areas of Biscayne Bay between Miami and Miami Beach... Our primary tools were to be an 8 or 9wt fly rod, backed up by a light spinning rod and sight-fishing at fairly close quarters our tactics...



My preferred rod for this is a 9wt - but that night it let me down. While I was checking out the fly and the leader it became apparent that the largest stripping guide was damaged - and that a crack in the frame had allowed the ceramic insert to fall away... Back in the rod rack for that item - and with a choice of either an 8 or a 10wt - we went with my old Sage RPL+ 8wt - not very pretty to look at but very functional with many, many good fish to it's credit...



We went on to miss a few bites on fly, then jumped one fish on spinning gear (at night with spin a DOA 3" shrimp is the standard...). Still no luck - and few fish were being found at one bridge or other. We were working on a long frustrating five hour trip when we went back to the one bridge where we'd seen quite a few fish. By that time the outgoing tide had just about quit but we still found one more fish - this one a bit big for an 8wt... The young man made a perfect cast and we all got to see the fish fall off the shadow line and follow the fly a few feet before gulping it down right next to my skiff. Pandemonium is the only description I can provide for the first five minutes after we hooked up - before I was finally able to lead the fish through the bridge and down current away from all that terrible line shredding concrete... Here's a pic or two....





First tarpon on fly - about 20 minutes into the battle...





towards the end of the fight - now on the rod for about 30 minutes - a good 40lb fish on an 8wt - an outstanding catch in my book...



After I leadered that fish three or four times it finally wore through the bite tippet and went on its way - a pretty good release all told...



A few days before I had Montana fly angler Cody Ham aboard (he posts on this site as Drifter...) for a trip out of Flamingo, sight-fishing for redfish in the interior shallow coves along wild mangrove jungle shorelines... That day was frustrating since Cody is very skilled and can really deliver the fly wherever we needed it. We found reds - but not reds interested in eating much of anything at all... Since Cody had his own skiff down at Flamingo the idea was to provide leg up on where to find them so that the following two days on his own he'd have some idea of how to fish them - and that we did.... But some days you just go home talking to yourself (at least that's was my deal on that day...). Still, we did catch and release a few small snook and other species - here's a first for Cody, a small goliath grouper on fly that exploded out from under an overhanging mangrove branch and tried to take the fly home with him...





from the smallest to the largest the goliath grouper wherever you find them might just be the toughest fish around... they never give up the fight and will take most anglers to school, given half a chance.. one of my favorites in the backcountry of the 'glades...



A quick note for anyone coming to south Florida for the big game.. if you're also hoping to book a fishing trip before or after the Super Bowl... book now or face the very real possibility that everyone you call is booked up...



Be a hero... Take a kid fishing...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nothing good -if you’re aiming at tarpon...since it will take quite a bit of warming to draw big tarpon back inside. But everything else will be moving farther and farther up inside.
Fish can’t stay shallow as night falls so they move into deeper waters. Come morning on a nice sunny day and shallow mud bottomed areas will become very attractive since they’ll warm up quicker than anywhere else provided they’re sheltered from the wind...
At least that’s how I figure it.
 

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Great stories. I have two RPL+9's I use primarily for stripers. Two of my most favorite rods. Love those and also the XP models. Can't afford anything newer!
 

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Captain Lemay, we are looking forward to fishing with you in early April. A Sage RPL 6 weight was my first rod, purchased it from LL Bean for 1/2 price as it had been returned. Still my favorite rod and I swear I could kill a grizzly with it and a wooly bugger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Wooly buggers will still be catching fish everywhere - long after most of us are fishing in the sky....
 
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