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Flymen Blog

Fly Tying Video: The Shrimp & Cray Tail Faux Shrimp



Learn to tie this next-generation shrimp fly pattern

Best fished on either floating or intermediate lines targeting redfish, bonefish, snook, permit, and the occasional tarpon, the Shrimp & Cray Tail Faux Shrimp leans more toward medium water as it gets deep fast thanks to the Fish-Skull Shrimp & Cray Tail. When sight fishing, lead the fish and once the fish turns, make short strips until you come tight.

Fly Fishing for Bluefish

Bluefish (love them or hate them) are a great saltwater species to target with a fly rod.

While they do not frequent as wide of a variety of habitats as striped bass do, they have their own eccentricities that make them unique. As an angler, playing upon these eccentricities is part of the strategy and fun.

The Lowdown On Fly Fishing For Late Summer Low Tide Redfish.

I’ve been lucky enough to target redfish on the fly in North Carolina for over ten years.

Through a lot of trial and error, I’ve picked up on a few things that I’d love to pass on to you.

Throughout the South you can target redfish year-round. Each season is different, so you need to switch up your tactics to stay successful.

When most fly anglers think of summer redfish, they envision flood tides and copper tails waving in the green Spartina grass. Me too. Tailing reds are a definite favorite of mine.

Unfortunately, the reality is that you only get a handful of tailing tides that fall during daylight hours each month.

Low tides, on the other hand, are available on a daily basis and can provide for some great fly fishing opportunities.

Two fly fishing world records in one morning!

Fly fishing world record calico bass Al Quattrocchi

On an early Saturday morning last May, something remarkable happened while inshore fly fishing along Southern California's rocky Palos Verdes coast.

I landed 2 spectacular fish on flies; the first, a 9.4-pound calico bass on 12-pound tippet, then less than an hour later, I sight casted to and landed a 36-pound white sea bass on 20-pound tippet, both official IGFA fly fishing world records.

Fly fishing world record calico bass white sea bass Al Quattrocchi

A record-breaking morning I'll never forget.

Here's the story of the calico bass I caught on that crazy once-in-a-lifetime morning on my go-to articulated sculpin fly, tied with a small brown Fish-Skull Sculpin Helmet.

Get in the action! Fall false albacore on the fly.

False Albacore fly fishing

These fish are flat out amazing and if you haven’t been fly fishing for them, you're missing out!

This fall marks the tenth year I’ve engaged in the madness known as fly fishing for false albacore.

I remember my first few trips chasing albies up and down Shackleford and Cape Lookout in North Carolina, all which ended in frustration, not due to a lack of opportunities, but mainly because I had not yet paid my dues and learned the ins and outs of catching these fish.

Somewhere around my third trip, I hooked into my first Albacore on fly. That 20-pound fish took every bit of my backing, and the event is still etched in my mind to this day.

10 years down the road and a ton of albies later, I’m hoping these tips will make your first few outings a little more successful than mine.

How to tackle big water fly fishing

Something about pulling a fish out of a big body of water makes you feel heroic.

Walking up to a big body of water, so big that your cast doesn’t even cover a fraction of the water, can be daunting and even downright discouraging.

You almost feel nervous to make your first cast. Where do I start? How do I tackle this water without a boat?

But when everything comes together and you hook into that fish, you feel like you won the lottery!

Here are a few things to help make swinging your fly rod feel a little more like fishing and a little less like… flailing.

Fly Fishing Gulf Shores, Alabama.

fly fishing Gulf Shores, Alabama smithfly paddleboard

Most of us will not get the chance to chase bonefish on the flats of Belize, but with a little preparation we can still get the same rush a little closer to home.

As a staunch streamer junkie, there's nothing greater to me than having a big brown trout absolutely hammer a streamer.

But after fishing Gulf Shores, Alabama, I realized I've been missing out – the salt is a streamer junkie’s dream. 

Saltwater fish hit a fly like they have had a lifelong vendetta against that poor little Clouser (seriously, I had a ladyfish almost take the fly rod out of my hand).

5 tips for your first DIY bonefish trip.

John Mauser fly fishing bahamas bonefish

Bahamas bonefishing on a budget.

My first trip to the Bahamas helped me realize how attainable it was, even though I had put it off for many years because I thought it was out of my price range.

Lesson learned.

We returned the following year and now the Bahamas has made it to the top of my list for DIY fishing vacations.

I’m learning more each time I visit, but I’d like to share a few thoughts with anyone who has considered scratching it off their bucket list.

Fly fishing for tailing redfish: 5 mistakes you'll make this summer.

Gordon Churchill redfish fly fishingIt's getting to be tailing redfish season.

The tides will be getting right to cast to fish looking for crunchy snacks in the spartina flats.

You want to catch one, don't you?

Well guess what? You're going to screw it up and it's going to make you go nuts.

Here are 5 things you're going to mess up on and some ways to be prepared in advance so you won't chuck your rod in the water out of frustration.

Inside look: Designing the Fish-Skull Shrimp & Cray Tail.

Martin Bawden fly fishing Bahamas

Sight fishing for bonefish, permit, or redfish is one of my favorite things in life.

It combines many of the visual pleasures of fly fishing with some of the toughest technical challenges, creating a scenario in which so much needs to come together perfectly to be successful.

Travelling to a beautiful tropical location and searching for an almost invisible, elusive quarry among endless sand flats, palm trees, mangroves and crystal clear water is incredibly relaxing.

Then add the heightened sense of anticipation, the sudden jolt and adrenaline rush as you first sight the fish – heart pounding, panic setting in, and of course the pressure! Pressure from your guide, your buddy, and yourself to put together the perfect cast at the perfect time to deliver your fly to the perfect spot in the hope (or prayer) that you'll be rewarded. 

So much fun!

The idea for the Fish-Skull® Shrimp & Cray Tail™ first came to me during one of these trips to the Bahamas in late 2014. Out on a flats boat in the middle of nowhere, but somewhere between my fourth bonefish and third Kalik of the day, the idea formed to create an alternative to the established fly tying method of using bead chain eyes or small dumbbells to weight shrimp or small crayfish patterns. Continue reading

How to fly fish tide pools for groundfish.

Blue cabezon fly fishing

When I started fly fishing tide pools along the West Coast, there wasn’t any information about how to go about fly fishing these areas.

After much trial and error, I eventually started finding success using a mix of techniques from various aspects of fishing, which opened up an exciting and diverse new area to explore using a fly rod.

Hopefully this article will help ease the learning curve into this great and ever-changing fishery!

Fly tying: How to hide your weight.

Brita Fordice fly tying

As a woman, when you gain a little weight you have 3 options:

  1. You can lose it.
  2. You can just deal with it and not do a thing.
  3. You can buy one of those horrific sucker-inner-things that make you look 10,000 times thinner but make you cry trying to imagine how to pee out of it.

And your poor fly has to worry about the same thing. Well, not the peeing part.

You have 3 choices when tying your fly:

  1. It can lose the weight and sacrifice action.
  2. It can stay big and bulky and sacrifice appearance.
  3. You as a fly tyer can conceal the weight.

Here are my favorite techniques to conceal weight in a fly without sacrificing appearance, or running up a Nordstrom card on some fly spanx. Continue reading

Fly tying: Why is my baitfish pattern swimming wrong?

Brita Fordice baitfish fly patterns

by Brita Fordice
You sat up late last night tying the perfect baitfish pattern in hopes of finally hooking the elusive beast that's been refusing all your fly patterns to date.

You tie your fly on, throw your first cast, and strip, strip...

What the ^*%}?!”

Your fly is swimming like a belly up version of the goldfish you won at the fair in 5th grade.

What went wrong? 

Here are the top 3 reasons why your baitfish pattern is swimming wrong.

Continue reading

Fly fishing for false albacore: 4 things you're doing wrong.

by Gordon Churchill
You're fly fishing for false albacore and the fish are coming in fast and furious. People all around you are hooking up. You are not. 

Why?

It's frustrating as being the last guy in the line to get cake and they run out as soon as it's your turn.

Don't despair – here are 4 things to pay attention to that you may not be.

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How to catch redfish on the fly with no visibility: The 3 fundamentals.

How to catch redfish on the fly with no visibility: The 3 fundamentals.

Sight fishing for redfish on the fly is a huge thrill!

But what about those days when the water is stained, the clouds are out, the wind is up, or the fish are in deeper water? 

Click to read more