Tag Archives: redfish

Gear For The Sun

We recently had a customer come into the shop asking about clothing to wear on a trip to Andros South Lodge he booked with us. So we here at Fishwest thought this would be a great time to write about sun protection clothing for warm weather situations.

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When I’m planning on being on a boat or hiking a stretch of river without much shade all day the first item I think about is the shirt I’m going to wear. I look for breathability and coverage when it comes to features in a shirt. My usual go-to is the Solarflex crew neck shirt; it’s the most comfortable all-around shirt I have found on the market. Super lightweight, quick drying and the COR3 anti-microbial features of the Solarflex allow you to fish all day long without a worry, while the flat-seam construction gives you a next to skin comfort. These shirts are available in a number of different colors and prints to best fit your personal style and fishing environment.

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The next item I grab for a trip would be my Simms’ Sungaiter, this isn’t just another sun sleeve tube thingy, it’s a step up from those. Featuring laser cut breathing holes for better comfort and to reduce sunglass fog from breathing, the fit is more true to one’s facial features cutting down on excessive material around the eyes. I can take it off when needed; dunk it on those extremely hot days, and packs easily into a waist pack.

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Lastly I always try to remember my Solarflex Sun gloves; these gloves are made out of the same lightweight material as the Solarflex Shirts and Sungaiter giving the same performance and feel. My favorite features of the gloves are the open palm and extended coverage on the middle ad index fingers. The open palm allows you to have optimum feeling of the cork grip while fishing, this is a main reason why I dislike fishing with gloves but have become a fan of gloves since trying these out. The extended coverage on the stripping fingers gives you protection when throwing steamers or saltwater flies all day. I have tried using stripping sleeves before but they always move or twist on me, when I moved over to the gloves I noticed they held their position much better than stripping sleeves, allowing me to pay more attention to the action that was happening in the water.

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There are a few other items I usually grab before a trip, lightweight quick-dry pants or shorts are a great choice on hot days, the pants will give you the maximum protection from the sun but shorts are more comfortable in my opinion. Also make sure you grab your lucky fishing hat and socks come in handy if you are fishing off a boat all day.

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All of these pieces are available in UPF50 giving you the most protection in today’s market and making sure you have a few of these items packed for your next trip will make your fishing more enjoyable, allowing you to focus on your fishing techniques instead of worrying about your skin burning. Give us a shout at 801-617-1225 if you have any questions about the product or the South Andros Lodge trip.

Forgotten Florida – A Fly Fishing Adventure

If northwest Florida isn’t forgotten by many fly fishers, you could make a strong argument that it is certainly overlooked…

The Everglades, the Keys, Mosquito Lagoon… These places always seem to come up in any Florida fishing discussion.  Jacksonville and St. Augustine rarely get mentioned.  Nevertheless, at the end of March, I experienced the flyfishing these northwest Forida locations have to offer.  It was definitely well worth the visit.

IMG_0181I must admit that the primary purpose of the trip wasn’t fishing – it was a vacation with my eighteen year-old daughter, Kerri.  She heard about the great beach and historic sites in St. Augustine and suggested it as a possible destination.  Naturally, the first thing I did was Google the fishing possibilities.  Eureka!  Bingo!  There were definitely redfish to be caught and saltwater marshes to be explored.

We actually stayed in St. Augustine Beach, which is just outside of St. Augustine proper and about an hour south of Jacksonville.  There are lots of reasonably-priced beach side restaurants and reasonably-priced beach side accommodations. It’s nice because in so places today, the words “reasonably-priced” and “beach side” just don’t seem to go together.  Nevertheless, the beach is gorgeous and it stretches for miles.

We got up early on our first morning and made the 1 hour drive to Jacksonville.  Jacksonville doesn’t conjure up wilderness images like the Everglades, but its satellite view on Google maps reveals a lot of uninhabited coastal backcountry.  We met our guide, Rich Santos, on the edge of the Timucuan Nature Preserve, which is actually within city limits.  A front had moved through a couple days before and it was downright cold – even through several layers – as his skiff sped us up a creek into the saltwater marsh.

IMG_0174He stopped at a little hole just downstream of a bridge.  My daughter was rigged up with a spinning rod and a jig.  Rich had me using a floating line with a 15 foot intermediate tip.  He tied on a black over white Clouser with a good amount of gold flash and big red eyes.  It was the first Clouser I’d ever seen with a spiky hairdo, since the deer hair butts just behind the hook eye were left sticking up. Instead of the typical slender profile, the fly took on the more tubular shape of a mullet.  The idea was to cast upstream and scratch the fly along the bottom back to the boat.

Given the post-front temperatures and bright skies, I truthfully wasn’t expecting much.  Nevertheless, within an hour, both Kerri and I had connected with a couple of redfish and a couple of seatrout.   One trout measured 15 inches; the reds were about 18 inches each.  The remaining trout was pushing gator status and stretched out to 21 inches.  All of them hit hard and fought strong and deep.   I was actually surprised at how hard the big trout pulled.  I didn’t think they were noted for their fighting ability but this one pulled off a fair bit of line against the drag.

IMG_0168As the action slowed, Rich had the skiff nosing up the creek, deeper into the marsh.  Beyond the creek, there were expanses of marsh grass.  Beyond the vast expanses of marsh grass, there were big beautiful trees.  Jacksonville had seemingly vanished behind us.  Our next stop was where the creek widened out into a shallow flat about the size of football field.  The wind was really starting to pick up and the water was quite discoloured; nevertheless, Rich hoped we might see some reds pushing water.  He had me change my line to a full floater.

There were definitely a school or two of redfish working that flat.  Every 10 minutes or so, they’d create a good bow wave and show themselves. If a school of bonefish makes nervous water, a school of redfish makes terrified water! The water surface doesn’t merely dance around a little bit, it looks like a motorboat wake. Sometimes, I got off an intercepting cast and sometimes we just watched them in the distance.  My daughter even threw a live shrimp at them but none wanted to eat at all.

Eventually, Rich piloted the skiff down the creek and we tried another couple flats.  The word creek is a bit deceiving because it was more like a maze of channels surrounded by marsh grass.  We also worked a couple of juicy looking outside bends. No matter where we stopped, fish activity had apparently ceased and desisted.  With whitecaps starting to form on the bigger flats, we called it a day.  Although not stellar, it had definitely been fun.

IMG_0294The next day saw us poking around the historic sites of St. Augustine.  The temperatures were starting to climb and even though St. Augustine has the charm of old world Europe, all I could think about was redfish getting active in skinny water.

The next morning was pleasantly warm and I woke up early.  Kerri, as teenagers are prone to do, was going to sleep in and hit the beach.  I met guide Tommy Derringer at a local marina for a half day fishing. We started with his skiff idling through the picturesque St. Augustine harbor past sailboats and sportfishers.   Soon, he opened the throttle and we roared north down the Intracoastal Waterway, leaving civilization behind us.  Once more, there was nothing to see but marsh grass, the odd boat, and big trees.

IMG_0198 After a 20 minute run, he eased the boat onto a flat covered with clumps of marsh grass.  He took the poling platform and I was on the bow.  The water was still discolored but Tommy was quite sure we’d see some tails.  Eventually, Tommy poled us up a narrow creek that fed the flat as the tide fell.  It reminded me of a Montana spring creek.  There were slight riffles on the surface and banks of marsh grass instead of pasture.  On Tommy’s advice, I cast my fly upstream and let it drift down through some of the more prominent riffles.

“There’s an oyster bar up ahead,” said Tommy.  “There’s always a fish or two on top of it.  Right where the creek widens.”  When we got to the broad spot  – it was like a big pool – Tommy staked out the boat.  I could see the oyster bar underneath about 6 inches of water about 50 feet away on the far side of the pool.  And I could see 3 or 4 redfish patrolling the bar.  They were a good size – maybe 6 pounds or so.  Unfortunately, the geometry of the situation forced me to throw backhanded.  And the wind from a couple days ago was still persisting slightly. So my casting wasn’t up to snuff and I didn’t draw any interest.

IMG_0314I only had about 3 shots before it was time to go.  The water was draining out of the creek pretty quickly and we didn’t want to be stranded. The rest of the day saw us poling along oyster bars that lined the Intracoastal Waterway and also plumbing the deep water rocks along the inlet to the St. Augustine harbor. Other than a very small, very enthusiastic bluefish, my daydreams from the day before didn’t come to fruition.  Nevertheless, the sight of those redfish picking their way across the oyster bar made the day worthwhile.

Before I said good-bye to Tommy, he pointed out a couple of nearby opportunities for some DIY wading.  He said if he wanted to get me into a fish somehow, if not in person.  I appreciate that kind of enthusiasm in a guide and promised to give it a shot.

The next day was a non-fishing day.  Kerri and I drove out to Okefenokee Swamp for some guided kayaking.  It was spectacular.  We got some close-up views of alligators – sometimes maybe even too close-up – and watched the sunset from the heart of the swamp.  It made for a late night.

IMG_0253The late night was OK by me since Kerri was looking to sleep in again the next day.  I made a beeline for a spot Tommy told me about.  It was almost like a roadside version of where the redfish were on the oyster bar.  There was lots of marsh grass and even a little creek flowing through it.  Regardless, I did connect with a redfish – only about 15 inches long – but, for some reason, very satisfying…  And just in time to meet Kerri for an afternoon at the local outlet mall.

There are definitely some good flyfishing opportunities in northwest Florida.  It might not be the place for a hard-core fishing trip, but if you are looking to combine fly fishing with a family vacation, it really fits the bill.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays From Fishwest

Well it’s here, the time of the year when you dust off the ugliest sweater you own, spend more than you would like to admit on gifts, and to take long trips to see the family. Although it is the time of year for family, that shouldn’t stop you from getting out there and hooking into some fish.

This is a great opportunity to share your passion with others in your family, take a short trip to your local community pond or stream and toss around some flies. Show the youngsters how to catch fish with a rod and not a PlayStation controller. Show that in-law why you spend hours upon hours on the river every year, the tranquil state it puts much of us in while out exploring the water. Show them secret, or special spots, to allow them a little glimpse into “Your World”. They might then understand why you dedicate so much of your time to this sport.

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This isn’t just a great time to share your passion for fly fishing but can also be a good time to explore old or new fishing spots. If you are heading back to your hometown, take time to see how the river has changed and where the fish have moved to. For me this is a trip back down memory lane. I spend time reflecting on the reasons I picked up a fly rod in the first place, those feelings or experiences I had while learning the sport, and an opportunity to hook into those large ones that got away from me last time.

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This can also be a great opportunity to head out to water that you have never explored before, whether its in your hometown or in a relatives community, this time a year offers a great chance to have the water mostly to yourself. It doesn’t have to be a technical trip with tons of gear, just the rod, reel, few flies, and a cheap pair of waders (if necessary) from your local sporting goods retailer.

Whether you do make it out this week or not, we here at Fishwest wish you and yours a safe and joyful holiday season. Fill your bellies and get your yearly fix of The Christmas Story, we will be here getting ready for 2015 while you work your way out of that holiday fog.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!

Fly Fishing Film Tour 2015

The 2015 F3T is right around the corner, and we at Fishwest can’t be more excited. The trailers are out and by the looks of them it will be another great event, here’s the trailer for Those Moments; a film by Kokkaffe Media’s Peter Christensen, supported by Orvis and Deneki Outdoors. The tour will be swinging through Salt Lake City February 19, 2015 at the Depot, tickets will be sold here at Fishwest starting January 2, 2015. If you have never made it to F3T before I highly suggest you do your best to make it to this years. It will be an all ages show, so bring the family!

 

New For 2015: Introducing The Sage Salt

Saltwater Anglers Rejoice! The fine folks over at Sage Fly Rods have redesigned their saltwater line of fly rods for 2015. Aptly named the Salt this series of rods will be perfect for any saltwater angling adventure. The staff at Fishwest (myself included) are very excited to see what this rod is all about.

It will be interesting to see how this rod compares to it’s predecessor the Xi3. How will it perform? According to the tech sheet the 890 Salt weighs in as much as the 9wt Xi3. How will that affect the performance of the rod?  Will the Konnetic technology allow this rod to load quicker and be more accurate? I for one have alot of questions about this rod but I am excited to get some answers. In the meantime check out what the team at Sage has to say:

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Our first saltwater rod created with our revolutionary Konnetic Technology, the medium-fast action (we consider it a salt-action) SALT loads extremely quickly at all distances, allowing you to make your all-important first cast with precision no matter the range of your quarry, all without casting fatigue. Powerfully tapered throughout, the stiffer tip section on this exquisite dark sapphire rod works in concert with the deeper-bending middle and lower sections to help you quickly and effortlessly lift your line off the water for lighting-fast casts that let you make the most of each opportunity.

With the same tip-to-hand sensitivity that all our Konnetic Technology rods are known for, the SALT gives you the instant feedback you need for precision casts at moving targets. And the torsional control and tracking qualities of the blank deliver your fly exactly where you’re looking. Add in new custom components like the deeply knurled and ergonomically cantered reel lock nuts, a black Stealth bead blasted reel seat numbered by line weight for quick selection—plus its built in hook keeper, and it’s easy to see the SALT is built for fast-paced action. Let’s face it, the saltwater is a place where the strong feed on the weak. Be the former.

FEATURES

  • – Konnetic technology
  • – Fast loading, saltwater action
  • – Dark Sapphire blank color
  • – Black thread wraps with silver trim wraps
  • – Oversized Fuji ceramic stripper guides
  • – Oversized hard chromed snake guides and tip-top
  • – Heavy-duty, Stealth Black anodized aluminum up-locking reel seat
  • – Integrated hidden hook keeper in reel seat
  • – Laser etched rod weight on slide band
  • – Super Plus full-wells cork handle
  • – Black rod bag with Electric Blue logo
  • – Electric Blue powder coated aluminum rod tube with Sage medallion

Tech Sheet

Great Days 5: Florida Keys Flats Fishing by Smith Optics

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If you don’t know already own a pair of polarized glasses is worth it’s weight in gold when fishing. I would argue a nice pair of sunnies is probably the most important fishing accessory.  Since the days of Action Optics the staff over at Smith has been committed to bringing some of the best technical eye wear to the fly fishing industry. Smith glasses are a favorite of the shop staff here at Fishwest. From Jake with his Frontman’s to Richard with the Backdrops they can be seen time and time again.   If you haven’t had a chance to checkout the offerings from Smith Optics I would urge you to do so.

Without further adieu, check out this awesome video put together by Smith highlighting the excellent Florida Keys fisheries.

An Inside View: The Orvis Mirage Reel

Many of us here at Fishwest are excited about the Orvis family of Reels. The Mirage is a machined beauty with enough stopping power to work in a variety of Saltwater and Freshwater applications.  Check out the Mirage family of reels by clicking HERE.

A Look Inside: Scott Fly Rods

 

Scott Fly Rods is a company steeped in tradition. From it’s humble beginnings in the early 70’s in San Francisco to the present day in Colorado the staff of Scott Fly Rods has been focused on one goal.  That goal is simple: To create high quality, handcrafted fly rods.  Scott rods are a favorite of the staff at Fishwest and it’s not hard to see why. They are wonderful sticks. If you haven’t already, please check them out. Stop by the shop and cast one or two!

**Big Thanks to  Felt Sole Media for letting us share awesome video**

The Call – Howler Brothers Introduction

Howler Brothers: Our Story

We are Howler Brothers. We are not really related by blood. But we are bonded by many shared callings: Surfing, fishing, paddling and the good things that come with these pursuits. Things like fire pits, really good tequila, limes, and pre-dawn coffee.

Above all we’re united by a belief in doing things the honest and pure way (which is not usually the easy way).We design and craft all our garments, and everything we make, with these passions and values in mind. Put our products to the test. Heed the call.

***The staff at Fishwest is no stranger to the Howler Brothers and their fine offerings. Their message is simple. Stylish functional apparel designed by fisherman for fisherman. In my opinion Howler Bros has a very unique style which I for one find quite refreshing and cool I mean honestly who can argue with the Gaucho shirt (The dual hibiscus flower look is awesome!)

Don’t just take my word for it. Check out all the offerings by Howler Brothers by clicking HERE

The World’s First Triple-Textured Fly Line: Introducing Scientific Anglers Sharkwave Fly Lines

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***The Scientific Anglers rep for Fishwest , Greg Pearson dropped off a few of these lines for us to put to the test. We now have the 5wt GPX and 8wt Saltwater taper to fish. Scoot will have the pleasure introducing the Sharkwave Saltwater to Andros Bonefish starting Sunday. That 5wt GPX will be visiting Utah waters ASAP. After we have a chance to try these lines out we will share our thoughts and reactions. In the meantime check out what SA has to say about this innovative fly line***

The Development of the SharkWave –
When we introduced the Sharkskin(TM) family of lines in 2007, they weren’t simply the latest in a long line of high-quality innovations. The Sharkskin created an entirely new category of product: textured fly lines. These lines, developed and manufactured at the Scientific Anglers facility in Midland, Michigan, represented one of the most interesting and groundbreaking evolutions in the history of fly line technology.

The benefits of the textured lines were numerous: increased surface area allowed the lines to sit higher in the water, offering less drag, easier mending, less water spray, and easier pick-ups; the micro-textured surface trapped air to provide increases in both shootability and flotation—all while decreasing friction; and the microreplicated pattern increased the durability of the lines, allowing them to last up to twice as long.Sharkwave Coil

The accolades mounted. But we knew we could do better.
Using what we learned while developing the Sharkskin, we developed the Mastery Textured series. These lines took the high points of the Sharkskin technology and combined them with the easy feel of traditional, smooth fly lines, resulting in a textured line that performs like the Sharkskin, but feels smoother to the touch.

Then something struck us: Let’s take the best parts of the Sharkskin, combine it with the Mastery Textured series, and see what happens.

The result? Meet the SharkWave, the world’s first Triple-Textured and Triple-Colored fly line. Featuring Sharkskin texture on the tip section, Mastery Textured divots for the belly and running line, a smooth Tactile Reference Point at the AFTMA 30-foot mark, SA•ID line identification, AST dry slick technology, Improved Dry Tip technology, and Streamlined Loops, the SharkWave is unlike any fly line we’ve ever produced.

It’s fishing. Friction-free.

The Scientific Anglers Sharkwave will be available in March. For more details check out the line by clicking HERE