the trolling motor is off the boat; I forgot it could be that good
in this issue
more on winter fishing
a deadly approach to kayak fishing
mosquito lagoon special
more on smoking fish
We're Now Blogging
This newsletter allows me to connect with my readers, but it's not easy for them to contact me. It's next to impossible for them to connect with each other. So the newsletter will be going to a blog format where comments by readers can be seen and responded to by other readers. The day may soon be coming where the newsletter says simply, "A new blog has been posted at this link: http://www.spottedtail.com/blog/
Please visit it now and let me know what you think of it. Yes, I do need to learn how to post photos.
Yesterday son Alex helped me get the trolling motor off the bow of the Mitzi (the fasteners were a little corroded). It will stay off until about May 1st.
Why does the electric come off? It's not needed for the winter fishing I do. Actually it's a handicap. The motor and battery almost equals another person weight-wise, and in the shallow water of winter time every ounce counts. We want to get in the shallow water, where the fishies are!
Shallow water warms up faster on cold days, or after cold nights. Let's not forget that the nights right now are the longest of the year. That allows for considerable cooling of the water.
If the water warms up by three or four degrees during the colder months, especially after cold weather, the fish will be feeding aggressively, often in the warmest water they can find. Where is that water? In the shallows.
The trolling motor is off the boat.
A Deadly Approach to Kayak Fishing
A question frequently asked during seminars is, "How do you find fish when kayak fishing?" Part of the answer is simply, "Experience," but an important part of it involves the hunting methodology.
As a fly fisher I want to see the fish before I cast. They must be found, spotted, and then cast to. In order for me to see them the water must be shallow. So I fish places with large expanses of shallow water. Shallow means a foot deep or less.
Many kayak fishermen often spot the fish and then start casting. That is poor strategy. You must put the boat in a position to make a good cast, regardless of the type tackle being used. Will you blow some fish out doing this? Absolutely. Will you catch most of the ones where you position properly? Yes you will.
When I get the boat where I want it I use my foot to hold it there. Then I make my cast. That cast is usually less than 30 feet and is often less than 20. I know exactly where the fly is and how close the fish is to it.
If you practice this approach on a normal day you will convert about half of your shots.
Castalia Flyrods and the Main Fishing Report
Last spring Mike Richards sent me a 5-weight Castalia fly fishing outfit that he asked me to test. It's a starter outfit, rod, reel, line, leader, even a fly tied on the leader, completely assembled for you. Inexpensive! Just add water!
I had caught a few bluegills with it, but on Monday when looking for a rod for the day's fishing I noticed the Castalia still had the plastic wrap on the handle. I don't take the plastic off the rod until it catches a real fish, so I knew it hadn't. I took it.
The Castalia, kayak and I traveled to River Breeze (http://volusia.org/parks/riverbreeze.htm). Forecast was NW at 10-12, high of 72. It had been cold so I thought some fish would be found.
I paddled to the "fishing area" and put a new tippet on. While I was rigging I could see a fish tailing about 100 feet away. This does not make one tie better knots, but this one worked out fine.
I went to tie a slider on and the fly box was not in the bag. Stunned, I remembered that when I went tuna fishing with Jack Walker I had taken the box out, then forgotten to put it back in. All I had were minnow patterns.
I chose a #4 bendback, brown and orange. My tailer refused it.
I found another fish. He also refused it.
The third one took the fly. He was about 22 inches long, immediately released, as were all the fish I got.
The next fish refused the bendback.
I paddled to shore and went on a search mission in the fly bag. I found a few loose flies in there, including a Mosquito Lagoon Special (see the pattern here). I tied it on.
Another fish immediately presented itself. I missed the strike.
Lots of fish ate that fly though. I got a couple on second and third chance opportunities, pretty darn rare in the Mosquito Lagoon these days. Fishing was awesome, shot after shot at hungry fish. I got one dink, all the rest were in the slot to about 25 inches, and I released close to 20 fish. I forgot it could be that good.
The plastic is now off the handle of the Castalia.
I can't say how long the reel would handle four and five pound redfish (and I'm sure it's not designed or built for that purpose) but the rod certainly gets the stamp of approval. Although Sage and Loomis don't need to worry about the new competition, for an inexpensive outfit it works just fine. Learn more at this link: http://www.castaliaoutdoors.com/?p=399
Bonefish Census Numbers Down
Bob Stearns sent me an email about the latest bonefish census in the Keys and Biscayne Bay. The news wasn't good, with the significant drop in bonefish numbers attributed to last winter's cold snap. Read more at this link: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/11/07/1913147/bonefish-census-is-not-good-news.html
More on Smoking Fish
Finally, reader Lars Lutton had more to add on the subject of smoking fish: "I usually just 'brine' most everything in a solution of apple juice/brown sugar/soy- a little onion and garlic powder or the real thing and a shot of bourbon or two. overnight or a couple days - set it on the racks a couple hours til it gets shiny (pellicle) and smoke for about three or four pansful of hardwood or fruitwood. Nut woods like pecan or hickory (which I think grows down there), shredded corncobs, or cherry also work well."
Ray Kotke added, "Just wanted to mention that if you wanted to try some good chips for smoking this winter, here is a link on Amazon.com where you can get some great wood for smoking fish. This brand is available everywhere up here, but maybe not down Florida way?
Thanks for the suggestions, gentlemen! And happy fish smoking to everyone!
Life is great and I love my work!
Life is short- go fishing!
mosquito lagoon special
About The Author: John Kumiski
Company: Spotted Tail Charter Service
Area Reporting: Florida's Space Coast
Bio: Guiding fly and light tackle anglers on Florida\'s Space Coast for over 20 years.