SALTWATER CHRONICLES FLY FISHING ADVENTURES IN SALTWATER - Part 9
|Part 8 can be found here|
In this selection we will be covering Sea Bass and one of the most common and fun fish found in the saltwater the Ladyfish. Often we get so caught up in the glory fish species that we forget to enjoy some of the other species that are available to us.
I have spent hours casting to rolling Tarpon and end up with nothing but casting practice however by switching focus, tackle and flies soon I can be hooked up with leaping, skittering Ladyfish and laughing over their antics. As a friend of mine once said, "If you can't catch the one you love, then love the one you are catching."
But let us begin with the Sea Bass [Centropristis striata] This specie is also known as Black Sea Bass or Rock Bass. They live for twenty years and can reach six pounds and twenty four inches in length with the recorded being a ten pound plus fish.
It is a bottom dweller living around reefs, open shelf and shelf-edge water, in water depths of ten to one hundred feet, however the spawning occurs off shore between January through March. Upon hatching the young bass migrate inshore where they inhabit the area around oyster beds, piers and rocky bottom structure.
Sea Bass are opportunistic bottom feeders during the hours of daylight eating shrimp, crabs, clams, worms, squid and small fish. Though they are sometimes called Black Sea Bass the colors will often vary depending on the age of the bass and the habitat where they are living.
The Seas Bass is closely monitored and the season can be closed at any time to avoid over-harvesting, so always check the regulations if you desire to keep some for the table. I have gone weeks without catching any Sea Bass and then I have caught several in a single day. This depends on where you are fishing.
Many of the flies that imitate shrimp, crabs, worms and minnows will be effective on Sea Bass, however on checking my notes I have found that the only times that I have taken Sea Bass was when I using Sink Tip Lines or Full Sinking Lines.
Now to one of my favorite saltwater specie the Ladyfish [Elops saurus Linnaeus] they are also called Lady's, Silver Fish, Long John, Big eyed Herring and Poor Man's Tarpon. Ladyfish are coastal fish though the spawning takes place at sea in the fall. Upon hatching the larvae will migrate to the coast entering the lagoons, saltwater rivers, brackish water rivers and creeks.
Ladyfish feed on smaller fish, shrimp, small crabs, worms and the like and will form large schools and are preyed on by other predator species. They are herring like in general appearance and are silver in color and they will leap and skitter across the surface when hooked. They live for six years and can reach three feet in length and weight as much as fifteen pounds.
Ladyfish have rough sandpaper like mouth and is one of few saltwater fish that doesn't bite the angler. However, repeat catches means that the angler should constantly be retying the imitation as they destroy tippets with their rough sandpaper like mouths.
They feed throughout the water column and will even take surface flies and anything that will take off the surface always holds a special place in my esteem. Besides, they are fun to catch and on days when other species seem to taking the day off the Ladyfish will be active and aggressive.
The following are some of my favorite patterns for these species; however please remember that these patterns are effective on many different denizens of the saltwater.
Yellow Flash Popper
- Hook: Mustad 34007 Sizes: 1/0 to 8
- Thread: Yellow A or 6/0
- Popper Head: Yellow dished faced foam popper, super glued in place over a bed of thread,
- 3D Eyes: Red with Black Centers, applied with epoxy
- Tails: Farrar's Yellow Flash Blend Fibers
- Collar: Short Trilobal Olive Hackle
Super Hair Clouser's Style Shrimp
- Hook: Mustad 34007
- Sizes: 1/0 to 8
- Thread: Clear Ultra Thread
- Eyes: Dumb-bell type, painted Yellow with black centers placed on the top of the hook shank so the hook will invert and ride hook point up in the water
- Belly: Tan Ultra Hair
- Wing: Tan Ultra Hair
Once the pattern is completed the Tan Ultra Hair is banded using a brown Sharpie marker and then the head and eye area is coated with epoxy.
CF Chartreuse & White Streamer
- Hook: Dai-Riki 930; Tiemco 800S
- Sizes: 3/0 to 4
- Thread: White A
- Eyes: Dumb-bell types eyes, Painted Chartreuse with black centers, placed on the bottom of the hook shank so the hook will track in its normal position.
- Wing: White Craft Fur topped with six strands of Silver Holographic Flash, follow by Chartreuse Craft Fur which is banded with a black Sharpie marker
- Head: Chartreuse Estaz
This is one of my "Go to flies in the saltwater" and it has been responsible for many different species including Tarpon, Snook and Spec's. I always have an ample supply of these flies whenever and wherever I am fishing in the salt.
Enjoy & Good Fishin'
|Part 10 can be found here|