A new report from Blackfly Lodge

Blackfly Lodge

This is a re print of an Country Pleasures Fly Fishing blog post, thank you for all the kind words.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Black Fly Trip Report

We just returned from 2 weeks at Black Fly Lodge in Abaco, Bahamas this past weekend.This year we did two separate, back to back, hosted weeks. Our first group arrived at BF on March 29, fishing the subsequent 6 days. Our arrival coincided with the tail end of some pretty awful weather that they had been experiencing for a few days. This resulted in our first two days being kind of a fight with light (or lack thereof).

Blackfly Lodge

After the first couple of days, Mother Nature started to look more kindly upon us with more sunlight and stable weather patterns. Fishing improved right along with the weather. A couple of double digit Bonefish were landed during the week with quite a number of fish 5 pounds and over landed. One of our group, who we`ll just refer to as “Lucky Les”, continued his Black Fly tradition of losing a couple of truly huge Bonefish.

Everyone thinks of Bonefish when the Bahamas are mention but Abaco is a very viable Permit fishery with some huge specimens kicking around. Five Permit were landed in our first week with one fish lost. One of the Permit came in at around 40 pounds.

The meals were maybe better than last year, which we would have never thought possible. Oh, and they still hold the title for best fishing lodge beds and showers in the world!
Bonefish Pin

Our second week saw a continuation of very nice weather to start. I had the privilege of fishing with an old friend who is enjoying his first year of retirement. We had some pretty decent Bonefishing with shots at some very big fish.

Mid-week brought us a present from the north in the form of cloud, high wind, and dropping temps. Wednesday we headed out with expectations of a very pleasnat boat ride and horrible fishing. All of us ended up getting a ton of shot at big Bonefish. Unfortunately, they were the most uninterested fish I think I have ever seen. Fly reactions ranged from complete disinterest to absolute panic. Obviously it was a head scratcher.
Bonefish

As an added bonus, there were a ton of shots at tailing Mutton Snapper in very skinny water. tailing Muttons pretty much put Permit to shame in the spooky/difficult department.

The last few days brought improvement and the last day saw unbelievable Bonefishing. And just to top things off, there was a 4:05 PM, just about ready to quit, last cast Permit landed…perfect!

Great big thanks to SD, DP, TS, LG, and TH (you all know who you are). And a big thanks to whole cast and crew at Black Fly!

Permit

Mark your calendar for April 18-25, 2015! We’re going back!
Driftwood
Here is a link to the original post on their blog.

Tips for Fishing to Spooky Tarpon on Clear, Calm Days

This is an article published by Louis Cahill on April 7, 2014.
I re post it here for our readers.
This is great information for fly fishermen who are new to the sport of sight fishing for large tarpon, also a good reminder for those of us who have spent exhilarating, and at the same time frustrating; days trying to put one of these magnificent fish in the air!

Tarpon Tips
Photo by Louis Chill

What’s a big tough fish like you so afraid of?

Fishermen, that’s what. I’m told that, in the early days of tarpon fishing on the fly, big fish charged big flies and ate with reckless abandon. You know how stories about the old days are, but I certainly missed that experience. The tarpon I know are super spooky and show all the signs of highly pressured fish.

On clear, calm days when the water is still and visibility is good, tarpon fishing can be a bitch. It’s not uncommon to see fish over a hundred pounds run in terror from a three-inch fly dropped thirty feet ahead of them. If you’re going to get a fish, you have to be on your game.

Some of the best techniques for catching them are the same ones you’d use on any species of spooky fish. They work, but with tarpon you have to do everything right. They are an unforgiving fish in every respect.

Here are some tips to help you get the better of them.

Keep it down

Tarpon have great ears. When the surface of the water is like glass they can hear conversation on the boat. I saw a tarpon spook once at the sound of my camera shutter. That should give you an idea of how well they hear. Keep the chatter to a minimum and the volume low.

Dress for success

Glass calm days are not the time for the red fishing jacket. Tarpon have great eye sight and even a brightly colored ball cap can give you away. Dress in colors like light blue that blend into the surroundings.

Take a Chill Pill

A tarpon’s eye is attracted to motion just like ours. Keep your movement slow and easy. If you are prone to talking with your hands, maybe you should just keep it to yourself. Don’t rock the boat when casting. The fish can hear the water against the sides. Cool, calm and collected is the way to go.

Longer Leads succeed

Increase the distance by which you lead the fish. Thirty feet or more is not out of the question when fish are spooky. Land the fly nice and soft and get the slack out of your line. Then just try to keep your heart rate down as the fish closes on your fly.

Clear Lines Rock

Clear lines like Airflo’s Tropical Ridge Clear work wonders. These lines let you make presentations that would spook fish before the fly lands with normal fly lines. When stealth is the order of the day, go clear.

Long Leaders Mean Eaters

Lengthen your leader to eighteen feet for calm conditions. It makes a real difference but it’s not without its challenges. Practice casting with extra long leaders to be sure you can turn the fly over and make a tight line presentation. If there’s grass in the water you’ll have your hands full keeping your leash clean but it will be worth the effort.

Keep it High and Tight

The slap of a heavy tarpon hook hitting the water at high speed will send fish running. To be sure your fly lands quietly, you need to throw a tight loop that straightens out well above the surface of the water. This takes the momentum of the cast out of the equation. When your fly lands it will be as if you just dropped it into the water.

Smaller is Better

Like with any species of highly pressured fish, sizing down your fly pays off. Keep some sparser, lighter patterns, in subdued colors in your box for calm days. Think of it as midge fishing for tarpon.

Go slow Mo Fo

Slow down your casting stroke. There is no wind to fight on glass calm days and long shots are seldom the norm. Slowing down your cast will land your fly softer and reduce the chances of your fly line spooking the fish. Don’t get in a hurry.

How Low Can You Go

Tarpon like to test your blood pressure by following your fly to the boat before eating it. As the fish gets closer he is more likely to see you looming over him. As the fish draws near, stoop to stay out of his line of vision. As you get lower, your ability to see the fish is reduced. The idea is to stay just high enough to see him. Hopefully he will eat the fly before he sees you.

Catching tarpon on clear, calm days is a nerve-wracking pursuit. It will test every ability you possess as an angler but I know of nothing more rewarding when you pull it off. I hope these tips help you overcome the challenges and land the fish of a lifetime.

Louis Cahill

Gink & Gasoline

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