Week 02/19/2019 - This report was written by Hunter Towery.
Surface Temp: 63f
Clarity: Slightly Tannic 18-24-inches
Let us know what you are catching-or not catching-Send your pics of fish, beautiful places, or some of the flies that you have tied. We love to post them on our fishing report! Send to Allen@andythornal.com
Kyle Kedall with his first fly rod Bass, Lake Tarpon, Tarpon Springs. Congratulations!!!
A very productive technique when the bite has slowed down is to trail a small Hare's Ear nymph behind a small streamer and crawl them back to you. The weight of the streamer, usually a size 6 Clouser Minnow, will pull both flies down into deeper water. You are fishing for all of our freshwater species all at once with this method. Still be on the lookout for schooling fish in slightly deeper water, and also bass beds up closer to shore. They will be locked on their beds for the most part and will behave aggressively towards any threat in/near their beds.
Trevor Brown was thick in the Bass this week.
Bluegill patterns are still the safest bet this time of year for bedding bass. The trick is to use flies that have more action utilizing materials such as marabou or rabbit fur since these flies have constant action so even sitting still in the bed they will still be perceived as a threat. The bluegill will continue to patrol around the bedding bass and are eager to strike. Use patterns that have bright orange or purple paired with a darker color such as olive or black. Again a smaller profile fly has been key for the bass. They aren't necessarily eating the fly, they are more so picking it up and moving it away from the nest. Lately the topwater bite has picked up. A good tactic has been throwing around a chartreuse or orange popper searching for the more active fish. Then switch to a streamer and dissect the water around that area. That one two punch is your best bet at success as you can quickly pattern the fish. Try using a shorter leader with your topwater as it will help turn over wind resistant flies in the higher winds. Keep your flies a little deeper than usual and focus on submerged grasslines. Have a few larger streamers tied with either rabbit fur or marabou in case the bass are feeling more aggressive. The added movement in these materials can create some violent strikes. When throwing baitfish patterns the best place to cast is parallel to the shoreline. This allows you to cover more water. Try varying the depth during the retrieve if they aren't responding to a steady retrieve. They are typically schooling on the windblown side of the lake. Bluegill still are hanging around docks and are pushed up near timber close to shore. The best way to catch them has been a heavier tungsten nymph drug on the bottom or a worm fly with a squirmito tail on a jig head. When presenting these flies try crawling them by pulling the fly line to your wrist for a slow gradual retrieve rate. Sometimes bass sized flies get gobbled up by a monster bream when working docks or brush piles. This has been key as they prefer to eat them deeper when they are right above the bottom. When fishing near heavy cover for panfish bumping up to 4x tippet will allow you to still be stealthy but have some extra strength around the wood. Specs(Crappie) have pushed up shallow as well and are hanging out in the pads or thicker grasslines. Use baitfish patterns in white, and purple in sizes 6, or 8. Casting these at the base of trees have yielded some spectacular blowups. Popper dropper rigs are a very good way to fish. Use classic trout flies such as a Pheasant Tail or a Hare's Ear Nymph is sizes 10-14.
Fly Tying is regularly at Andy Thornal Company on the first and third Tuesdays of the month, 6pm-7:30pm. We usually tie two patterns including Bass, Saltwater, and small flies, too! This club atmosphere is friendly for beginners and experts, ages 10-70. Bring your tying tools or borrow some of ours. The class is free, but we ask that everyone make a $10 purchase to offset costs. Next club meeting is February 5th.
Some early rain brings in sunny days with constant warm temperatures. The lake levels are continuing to drop slowly and clearing in clarity. The fishing will keep improving, or rather stabilizing as the week continues and the water temps begin to stabilize. The full moon is here on Tuesday. The Peace, Econ, Hillsborough, Myakka, Withlacoochee, and Kissimmee Rivers are all at above average, but falling water and flow levels.
Register Now for our Full Day Fly Fishing School. Our Next Date is April 6th. Click here for more info/registration Where Great Traditions Begin!