(2/11) Tuesday, February 11, 2014, From Fort Myers, Sanibel Southwest Florida, Capt. Mike Rehr wrote; I fished John Miller of Lewes, Delaware and Sanibel Island. John has caught tarpon with me before on conventional tackle and has now started to fly fish and has been perfecting his fly fishing techniques.
The first place we went on Tuesday morning was to the same place where Art Kaemmer had hooked up and lost a tarpon on fly the previous day. After John took a few warm-up casts, we started our search for laid-up tarpon. It didn't take long before I spotted this beauty lying on top of the water showing a color as black as the ace of spades - at about the 3 o'clock position pointing to the right. John had an easy time seeing the fish and let loose with his first cast using a brand new black and purple 5" Puglisi fly.
While the fly was in the air, I spotted another fish directly below the fish he was casting to. When the fly hit the water, I saw the bottom fish kick it's tail moving it forward and that fish was the one which ate the fly. The first jump of the fish was a matter of two or three seconds after the hookup and my immediate impression was that this was a very, very big fish. Well, for a tarpon that large, in all my years of tarpon fishing, I had never seen a tarpon that big jump so many times. We counted 12 times - twice, there were consecutive jumps, one time three consecutive jumps.
I said to John, "as much as this big fish is jumping we might be able to land it in quick time". And, that's what took place. John knows how to fight big fish and he did a heck of a job in handling that tarpon. When a tarpon jumps a lot, it's tough to keep the hook in them because you have to continually bow (thrust your rod out) creating a little slack in the line to keep the hook in.
John put the fish alongside the boat, I had leader in hand, trying to lay the fish out as best as I could for pictures. We were in awe when the fish was beside the boat as it was easily 6' plus, but it's girth was just huge. I try to be conservative in my estimates of the weight of tarpon, when they're that big they could be 130 or 160 pounders. It was in that giant size category of at least 130 pounds. Whichever it was, it was one incredible catch! Amazing, John's very first cast to a tarpon on fly, he hooked up and landed a monster. Click here >> To learn more about Captain Mike Rehr and fishing the Sanibel area .
(2/07) Friday Feb 7, 2014, From Fort Myers, Sanibel Southwest Florida, Capt. Mike Rehr wrote; "I went fly fishing with my long, long-time angler Art Kaemmer from St. Paul, Minnesota and his friend who is also a twin-city resident, Bill McLaughlin Friday, February 7th. It was Bill's first time fly fishing the salt in our area. We had just experienced a cold front coming through the day before.
Usually, the day after the front, fishing can be tough. It's what I call 50/50 days. You don't know which 50 - good or bad you're going to run into. The only way to find out is to get out on the water and start hunting. Because that's exactly what we do in the shallow, clear waters - we hunt, stalk and sight cast to our fish.
The first shallow flat we got onto was right near Art's house near Captiva Island called the Buck Key flat. It was the very last of the outgoing tide, shallow enough to target tailing redfish. When the redfish feed down, picking off a crab or shrimp hiding in the bottom grasses, they stick their tails out of the water making for good targets to cast to.
Well, it didn't take long for us to spot a tailing redfish and I moved Bill into casting position where he made a comfortable 45-50' cast, putting the fly right on the dinner plate of the redfish. Then all three of us watched the redfish rush the fly, open up its mouth and suck in Bill's offering. Immediate hookup, two great runs, and a hard fight with Bill landing the fish after about a 12 minute fight. Photo attached - 30 incher around 10 pounds.
Thank God for that fish - Bill's first redfish - on fly because the rest of the day was like a typical day after a front.
Even though we would see redfish and snook, they were real tough to get to eat. In one situation, we spotted two snook Iying together that were probably 10-12 pounds each, Art put his fly on them, and all it did was scare the heck out of them. It was quite a sight to see in two feet of water over sand bottom. They blew up a tremendous amount of water going by us at warp speed. Even though we didn't hook onto any more fish, it was still a great day." Click here >> To learn more about Captain Mike Rehr and fishing the Sanibel area .
(2/4) From Fort Myers, Sanibel Southwest Florida, Carl Bergquist wrote; "Well, Jeff, I'm sending you my fishing report with pictures.
Capt. Mike Rehr (Captain Fly Rod) and I went fishing Tuesday morning; To get ahead of a cold front which was predicted to come through the Sanibel/Captiva area on Wednesday. We launched on Captiva Island and our intent was to fish the shallow flats of Pine Island Sound.
Our first place to fish was on the east side of Buck Key just off Captiva Island, where we had a low incoming tide, perfect conditions for hunting and stalking tailing redfish.
In the shallow water when the redfish are feeding with their nose down picking off crustaceans and other salty critters. They stick their tails out of the water making for easy targets for a fly rodder to see. Since I don't see so good I need dem tails sticking up.
We fished a couple of hours and didn't see any redfish, only a few mullet jumping. Then Mike decided to head across Pine Island Sound and fish the flats close to Pine Island itself.
The tide was pushing in fast because of a southerly wind. We quickly lost tailing depth, so we exchanged the fly rod for spinning gear using a live shrimp rigged with what Mike calls "Texas" style.
The neat way about how Mike rigs a shrimp is that you can cast it out and retrieve it like an artificial lure but it's actually a live bait. Then when you spot a fish in the clear water, you can sight cast directly to it. It's a lot like hunting, spotting your target, stalking it, then lead, follow and shoot.
It's a lot of fun. I ended up landing three beautiful redfish between 26" and 28". The first redfish: Mike spotted a fish flash its side about 60' from the boat. He had me cast over to it and I guess I cast right on top of the fish because if was almost an immediate hookup. It put up a really good fight, like a 20# carp. (I do good on carp so I can compare the two).
The next fish, both Mike and I saw it flash. I cast over to it, hooked up again. This fish really took off taking about 60-70 yards of line on its first run. Boy, some fun! The last redfish I caught, I was doing some probe casting, neither one of us saw the fish until I hooked up. Another great fight.
Sanibel Island is a great place to fish. Mike and Joyce do a first class job. But, still I miss working the hard water. Carl Bergquist .
Click here >> To learn more about Captain Mike Rehr and fishing the Sanibel area .
It didn't take long before I spotted this beauty lying on top of the water. John had an easy time seeing the fish and let loose with his first cast using a brand new black and purple 5" Puglisi fly.
When you spot a fish in the clear water, you can sight cast directly to it. It's a lot like hunting, spotting your target, stalking it, then lead, follow and shoot.
Captain Mike Rehr doing his best to stay a step ahead of the fist mate, Junior, who by the way, likes Redfish better than Carp.