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if the water feels like a bathtub, that's warm, right?

Joined:
2007/4/8 20:43
From SEPA
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Self portrait, sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, Vanderbilt Beach.

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The green Orvis bag and rod cases were carry-ons, everything else I checked. Most of the suitcase is wading boots, as I hoped to hit up the mangrove swamps and backwaters. I did not. Didn't need to.

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The retention pond behind the old man's place held a nonstop supply of these guys, and massive 10" long, 2" wide sunfish. I don't know what species, though. Purpleish head, slight head bulge. The ratio of bass to sunnies was about 10:1, though. The neighboring pond I visited was way more sunnies than bass, but I didn't go there very often. Too far away, it was about a minute walk versus 10' from the back lanai door. Hah.

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When I first hit the pond, I grabbed one bugger and just walked. 30 minutes and I couldn't tell you how many fish, this is what was left. Sort of a before and after. They were still smashing it, I only swapped it out so I could save it for a picture.

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Sum total of what I needed for the salt, plus a pliers. I won't lie, I never hooked a snook, but I had a few follows. I think had I one more day, I would've had it down, as each successive day raised the success ratio higher, but I only took two and a half days of salt water fishing in. The pond was awesome, and again, literally 4 steps out the back door. I could join B.A.S.S. Masters now and be a happy man.

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This stupid thing popped off the bottom and took the fly on my first snook turning to follow. I was pissed. 5 more seconds, and I would've had my first snook. At this point, I had the fancy fast action graphite stick and Medalist. I'd learned I hated the Abel in the salt, as every grain of sand would make it screech. This thing I'd just dip in the water. I still thought I needed the graphite rod to launch 70' casts though, only to find out the snook literally cruise 1-2' from the edge of the water. Casts were about 30', and 20' of that was over sand. My new Cabela's CGR was perfect, I never got the Teeny out of its case again.

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The ladyfish is awesome. If you took a bluegill and a tarpon and crossbred 'em, this is what you'd get. They attack anything voraciously, and in schools so you can just start taking out like 10 or more in about five minutes of furious feeding, and each one takes massive leaps into the sky. Sublime. I wish I'd had like a 3wt for these things.

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At one point, I was havign so much fun I stopped looking for cruising snook and just chased these guys crashing bait. Stupidly easy, and so much fun.

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The 7'6" 7/8 CGR was perfectly sized for casting to snook, whiting, and ladyfish along the shoreline. It also was perfect for the bass in the backyard pond.

I never did get my snook, like I said, I did no research going into it, so I learned on the water. By the end, I was standing 10' up shore from the water edge, and 20' ahead of the snook casting forward of him, waiting then stripping so it'd fly by at 45 degrees and away to the front. I had a few start to look at 'em at the end, but never sealed the deal. My leader and lack of shock leader sucked, but next time I'll be able to hit the ground running. Its amazing to see a 2' snook cruising close enough you could reach out and touch him, that's for sure, and when you see the 4' long silver streak cruising 40' out from you along the bar, your heart starts to race as you strip line and begin casting to that tarpon.

Eff yeah, that was the best part, period. Watching the gamefish just right off the beach, and giving you a chance to fling a fly to him.

No, I didn't get him to even look at it. Who cares, I got to fling flies at a damned tarpon, not all of us get to do that sort of thing every day.

Anyways, not to be self-promotional, but I went into more details over here. Its nothing you didn't get here, just a bit more wordy.

Oh, and should you get the chance? Re-apply sunblock to your feet. Often. Its amazing how much sunburn will make your feet swell up. Even if you truly hate me and everything I say, I hope you take that single piece of advise.


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Posted on: 2011/5/5 14:05
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April 8, 2007 - December 4, 2011.
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Re: if the water feels like a bathtub, that's warm, right?

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From Lehigh Valley
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Looks like a fantastic trip! Thanks for sharing.

Posted on: 2011/5/5 14:16


Re: if the water feels like a bathtub, that's warm, right?

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From Westmoreland County (near fairgrounds)
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Nice post. Looks like you had a nice time. I'm looking forward to another saltwater outing in a few weeks. Your post helps turn up the anticipation!

Posted on: 2011/5/5 14:27
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Only one constant in the universe, all men are equal in the eyes of the fish.
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Re: if the water feels like a bathtub, that's warm, right?
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2006/9/9 17:32
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What a great thread!

Glad to see you had a good time (and hope your feet heal soon). There are more FFing opportunities in FL than you can shake a stick at.

And yes, ladyfish are a blast.

Those bass are mighty thin - wonder if they're just spawned out or maybe overpopulated in that pond and eager to eat anything(?).

Posted on: 2011/5/5 15:04


Re: if the water feels like a bathtub, that's warm, right?

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Florida is fun.

Ha, the time you use the 4 wt is when you'll hook into something big.

Naples is high rent.

Neat.

Posted on: 2011/5/5 15:08
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Re: if the water feels like a bathtub, that's warm, right?

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2008/5/5 11:06
From King Of Prussia, Pa
Posts: 1195
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Those sunfish sound like they could have been tilapia. Those retention ponds are full of them. Good eating right there.

Posted on: 2011/5/5 15:18


Re: if the water feels like a bathtub, that's warm, right?

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2007/4/8 20:43
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Honestly, I couldn't live in FL. Its all so fake, but I was tempted more than a few times. The old man put the hardsell on me.

We rolled through all of Naples, including Port Royal. As one cat I met on the beach while fishing said, "Naples is a place to come if you think you've got money and you need to be humbled." This is a dude with a beachfront condo and a house somewhere in CT, so you know he's loaded too.

More Rollers and Ferraris than you can imagine. The Benz is the equivilent of a damned Camry up here, and the old man tells me, "oh, that's just another Bentley."

As to the bass, there was alot of fry in the weeds, and the sandy bottom had alot of divots that I think were the spawning nests not too long ago. They were not on the beds anymore, though. No one fishes those ponds (gated community), and the water was super low so it could be too many bass and not enough food, too.

I wish I took a picture of the sunfish, though. I laughed when I brought the first one up, it was massive. I mean, it was like a 2" thick dinner plate, at least two pounds.

Posted on: 2011/5/5 15:21
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April 8, 2007 - December 4, 2011.
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Re: if the water feels like a bathtub, that's warm, right?

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No, I generally know my aquarium trade fish, and while they had the appearance of chichlid head lumps, I do not think they were. Definatly not tilapia, though.

Posted on: 2011/5/5 15:22
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April 8, 2007 - December 4, 2011.
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Re: if the water feels like a bathtub, that's warm, right?

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ladyfish fight far better than snook-one run, a jump and snook give up-sorry i got the snook are in the day you left-tried to reach you-

Posted on: 2011/5/5 15:41
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Re: if the water feels like a bathtub, that's warm, right?

Joined:
2006/9/9 22:43
From Delaware Co.
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That is a nice tan fly you got there is that box were did you get it ?

Posted on: 2011/5/5 18:05
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Re: if the water feels like a bathtub, that's warm, right?

Joined:
2007/4/8 20:43
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The tan one? That's a Borski Bonefish slider I tied in a tying class... Oh, you mean that white one with the slightly tan one on the end?

Some duder sent that to me in a swap, I promised him I'd toss it in the salt so I was compelled. It took more than a few of those ladyfish, that's for sure.

It also sold me on the allure of EP fibers. I was using a combination of craft fur, some bucktail for accents, and Orvis superhair (I had a crystal blue only) for the rest.


Posted on: 2011/5/5 20:51
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April 8, 2007 - December 4, 2011.
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Re: if the water feels like a bathtub, that's warm, right?

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From Lehigh Valley
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Gfen,
Congrats loved the lil writeup.
Tight Wraps & Tight Lines
Rick Wallace

Posted on: 2011/5/5 21:45


Re: if the water feels like a bathtub, that's warm, right?
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Nice!, Gary. Glad you had a good time.

Posted on: 2011/5/6 7:05


Re: if the water feels like a bathtub, that's warm, right?

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Snook and reds will drive you nuts that way-when the bite is on you can bonk them on the head and they will take-if it isn't they have closed mouths.lol
I have had a school of reds with more than 100 fish swim right by and ignore everything-this is when live bait comes in handy-they can't resist a live shrimp.

Posted on: 2011/5/6 7:12
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Re: if the water feels like a bathtub, that's warm, right?

Joined:
2009/12/16 11:21
From West Chester
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Very enjoyable report gfen. I've been lucky enough to fish some great bluegill ponds. If you can find a pond with gills like the ones you're talking about 10-12 inches, and as wide as they are long, it's a blast. I'd sooner catch bluegills that size than most bass.

"Your post helps turn up the anticipation!" ...ditto, i'm trying to line up a trip to laguna madre in december and i'll probably be doing the crash course like you. I'm a little apprehensive because of my lack of saltwater experience w/ a fly rod, but the worst that can happen is getting skunked. I will remember the sunscreen!

Posted on: 2011/5/6 9:20



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