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Hey guys,

Yesterday, I was fly fishing in Tampa Bay with a friend of mine. We had about 6-8 big reds follow the fly then at the last second dart off. We even had one dart off then come back to the fly. I have had this issue many times in the past when fly fishing in Tampa Bay and I would like to get it figured out.

Any one out there with some advice or experience with this?
 

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Hard to say without seeing the actual refusal. Several things could be a factor.
1. Got too close to the boat.
2. Fly was too big (or small) or not imitating something they are looking for.
3. Retrieve isn't making them eat. I see this a lot. For example, guys are using a crab pattern but fish it like a baitfish.

The good news: There is something you can do for all three of the above issues

4. They just aren't eating.

The bad news: Isn't much you can do about this one. Just keep changing things and keep throwing to fish. One or two things will happen. You'll finally find a fish willing to eat or you'll run out of time.
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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Hey guys,

Yesterday, I was fly fishing in Tampa Bay with a friend of mine. We had about 6-8 big reds follow the fly then at the last second dart off. We even had one dart off then come back to the fly. I have had this issue many times in the past when fly fishing in Tampa Bay and I would like to get it figured out.

Any one out there with some advice or experience with this?
Good fly selection to get follows like that. Not the best color/movement or flash/no flash or bite tippet/leader combination not small enough. With the right combination, you can get a following fish to eat.
 

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First of all...you are behind the 8-ball the moment you step on a skiff...with a fly rod....and all the right flies....because Tampa Bay redfish are ASSHOLES! Secondly.....I'm going to need a precise location of where said encounters occurred so I can try to replicate the follows...LOL!! Finally, if a red is a player (meaning his body language is conducive to hunting and looking for food in a calm manner) I use a pop-tick method. I lead the hell out of him and hope his ADD doesn't kick in and he changes his track...once he gets somewhat close, I'll pop the fly to get his attention and then do small ticks to imitate a shrimp or crab trying to bury itself in the sand. This is also dependent on the red not being spooked by its 5-10 bodyguard Sheepies he swims with, that blow out the second you breathe which then causes the red to blow out too. I've had many a red fall for this method and have passed it on to others who have had success. I have also had many a red track the fly for what seems like forever with his method, only to have it turn off at the last second giving me the big F-You as it swims away.
 

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I can't speak to Tampa Redfish, which I've heard are like a cross between a Permit and a cat in a room full of rocking chairs, but what I've found in my home waters in Texas is that for winter Redfish you take the smallest redfish fly in your fly box and try to tie one half that size.
 

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First of all...you are behind the 8-ball the moment you step on a skiff...with a fly rod....and all the right flies....because Tampa Bay redfish are ASSHOLES! Secondly.....I'm going to need a precise location of where said encounters occurred so I can try to replicate the follows...LOL!! Finally, if a red is a player (meaning his body language is conducive to hunting and looking for food in a calm manner) I use a pop-tick method. I lead the hell out of him and hope his ADD doesn't kick in and he changes his track...once he gets somewhat close, I'll pop the fly to get his attention and then do small ticks to imitate a shrimp or crab trying to bury itself in the sand. This is also dependent on the red not being spooked by its 5-10 bodyguard Sheepies he swims with, that blow out the second you breathe which then causes the red to blow out too. I've had many a red fall for this method and have passed it on to others who have had success. I have also had many a red track the fly for what seems like forever with his method, only to have it turn off at the last second giving me the big F-You as it swims away.
I always end up with a school of 5,000 10" mullet between me and the fish. The second you flick your rod tip, the mullet blow up and take the Redfish with them.
 

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Never fished reds in Florida, but have trout fished north Ga mountains for 20 years and seen the same thing with refusals. I had one trout look at my fly, swim off, and come back with a sign that read "BEEN THERE DONE THAT"
Yep, some fish want to mess with you.
 

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Fishing here sucks...don't know why people keep doing it...

That said, don't be afraid to go all the way down to 10-12# tippet.
 

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If they are getting too close to the boat before they commit there's not much you can do about that.

It sounds like the movement/retrieval or they're getting too good of a look at your fly/knots. Describe your tippet/knot setup. If I have a fish homing in on my fly I try to take it away from him at the last minute, I don't mean snatching it away from him, but as he gets closer I slightly pick up the pace of whatever I am doing, but a lot of times I leave a fly alone until the fish is close enough to see it before I start any movement (it's prey, it should act like prey, ie going about it's normal business until something comes along that might eat it). In my experience it triggers their instinct of that this thing is fixing to get away if I don't smash it. Some fish are foragers and some are predatory, Redfish feed in both ways. If the fly is in any bad position that will cause it to be pulled toward the fish in any way your best bet is to just not touch it.

Leave a rag on the floor..cat won't touch it, slowly drag it along at the same pace they might mess with it, try to take it away at the last second every time, the claws come out.

If I still have blatant refusals on the same fly I will change size/color. As others have said sometimes they are just curious and have no intention of eating, but I think trying to elicit that involuntary predator response ups your odds.

Good Luck!
 

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I don't have much to add other than be sure you are not stopping the fly. It must flee! Try varying the retrieve and using the most natural fly you can find. Once back in 1999, I fished FL (Mosquito Lagoon) for a week, then Abaco and then Galveston......I was truly a beginner but those FL redfish were snobs, the Bahamas rocked and Galveston surf gave up limits of trout in June under a light N wind:) I like reading these reports to remind myself why I rarely travel to FL any more:).
 
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[QUOTE="Matts, post: 544810, member: 9507"]I don't have much to add other than be sure you are not stopping the fly. It must flee! Try varying the retrieve and using the most natural fly you can find. Once back in 1999, I fished FL (Mosquito Lagoon) for a week, then Abaco and then Galveston......I was truly a beginner but those FL redfish were snobs, the Bahamas rocked and Galveston surf gave up limits of trout in June under a light N wind:) I like reading these reports to remind myself why I rarely travel to FL any more:).[/QUOTE]

This is flat not true. I fish a crab pattern often and once the fish sees the fly i will give it very short ticks on the bottom and sometimes let the fly just sit on the bottom and the fish tail on it and suck it in.
 

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[QUOTE="Matts, post: 544810, member: 9507"]I don't have much to add other than be sure you are not stopping the fly. It must flee! Try varying the retrieve and using the most natural fly you can find. Once back in 1999, I fished FL (Mosquito Lagoon) for a week, then Abaco and then Galveston......I was truly a beginner but those FL redfish were snobs, the Bahamas rocked and Galveston surf gave up limits of trout in June under a light N wind:) I like reading these reports to remind myself why I rarely travel to FL any more:).
This is flat not true. I fish a crab pattern often and once the fish sees the fly i will give it very short ticks on the bottom and sometimes let the fly just sit on the bottom and the fish tail on it and suck it in.[/QUOTE]
Well of course, crab patterns should be fished differently. My bad. I don’t fish crabs all that often. I’ve sure seen many an angler lose the fish’s attention by getting nervous and stopping the retrieve. In general, it seems like fish like to see a prey item moving away from them but no doubt, crabs are different.

Not sure how I messed up the quote tool but the “This is flat not true.....etc was not my statement but a quote. Didn’t want anyone to
Think I was being hostile.....it’s just fishing:)
 
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If you learn the body language of redfish you will know before your fly lands which fish you have a decent shot at. Don't get me wrong I cast to all of them, but some fish are players and others are never going to eat. Low hydrogen had a lot of good info. If you are trying to move the fly towards the fish in any way your success rate will be poor. Even knowing all of this it can be difficult to present the fly correctly due to many factors including wind, light, natural obstacles, shadow, pressure waves, direction the fish is facing. As if that's not enough retrieval pace, fly color and size all contribute to the equation.

I tie many of my redfish flies with minimal to no flash. I feel like the more flash the fly has the more likely it will be rejected.
 

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Wish'n I was Fish'n!
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We had about 6-8 big reds follow the fly then at the last second dart off. We even had one dart off then come back to the fly.
I think you're adrenalin spike makes you strip your fly too fast and the fish recognize the speed and/or jerkiness of your retrieve as unnatural then bail.

I'm also thinking that you stopped stripping after that one fish darted off, so it came back and then you started stripping too fast again.

Try slowing down and even stopping next time for following fish to give them less time to eye your fly.
 

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Probably common sense but if they are intrigued by the fly.....DON'T stop or slow down. If anything a real prey would flee or swim faster if chased.

I think sometimes I feel like I need to slow down and let the fish catch up and that certainly doesn't work.
 
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