Select Page

Florida Fly FishingThis was one of those rare days when it was all about the fly. I’m one of the guys who thinks that more often it’s not so much about the fly, it’s more about the presentation or the finickyness of the fish, or the tide, or the place, or something else that has to do with our hookup success (or failure). Not this day.Tom Shadley of Mangrove Outfitters here in Naples, invited me to take an early morning trip around the bay and we were set up near the dock lights before sunrise. On this last day of July ’09 it was already 80 degrees as I tied on a Bead Chain Eyed “Lightbulb” and cast under the dock. Soon, a small Snook ate, then another, then a Ladyfish, then more Snook. Tom hooked a Snook and it broke off….rare for Tom, but he was also fishing a Lightbulb. We moved on to Dollar Bay, slowly riding South, staring at shorelines, looking for early morning rolling Tarpon. Tom reversed the skiff and pointed to a small cove. “There. See them?” I saw several rolling silvery forms and kept my eyes focused on them as Tom poled closer. One rolled within casting distance and I laid the Lightbulb within a foot of the ring, waited for it to sink, stripped twice and then it was like I was stuck to a log that pulled back, the Tarpon was in the air. The young Tarpon made two high jumps and gave up a strong fight. We grabbed the DNA Kit and Tom took a sample, scraping the jaw and bottling the sponge. I snapped a pic and retied the Lightbulb a third time.We rode farther south to a beautiful shoreline where again, the brightness and flash of the fly drove several fish wild. A few more Snook, a hefty Jack Cravalle, even a small Grouper were fooled by the Lightbulb with bead chain eyes. I was chuckling see, because Tom invented the Lightbulb, but I had copied it and substituted the prismatic eyes with beadchain eyes the night before because of the high tide we would have. The Lightbulb is definately a proven baitfish pattern here in South West Florida and I’d be willing to bet that if a freshwater version were stripped hard below a cold water dam, Salmon and Trout would attack it.If you would like all the specifics of the construction of the “Lightbulb” call or email Tom Shadley at Mangrove Outfitters here in Naples and I’m sure he’ll send you the ingredients and give you the specifics.