Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Guest Post: Jaguars in the Weeds

Allow me to introduce to you Luis. He's made a few appearances in posts in the past few months and is a great friend of us here at TLTFF. I met Luis at Waterworks last fall while I was stringing up my fly rod, he walked up to me and introduced himself. He was the only other fly fisherman I had ever seen at Waterworks and we immediately hit it off talking about everything fishing. Over the past few months we've gotten to know each other pretty well and I can say, after tying flies, downing beers, and catching some great fish, he's an awesome friend. On top of that, the man catches a lot of fish, and he knows his stuff. I don't know anyone other than Zach and I who love fishing as much as Luis, he's definitely got the bug, and he's got it bad. As a matter of fact, if there were a local chapter of Fly Fishaholics Anonymous, you would catch Zach, Luis, and I there all sitting next to each other (guess I just made it unanonymous...). When I have a question about something fly fishing related, I usually either search my library or text Luis. 

So one of the coolest things about Luis is that he has a unique job that allows him to travel around the world. He usually has a decent amount of time during his trips, at least enough to allow a few casts in the local waters or even to sign up for a day with a local guide. I asked Luis to write us a post about his recent trip down to Miami, check out this guest trip report via TLTFF friend, Luis S...

Jaguars in the Weeds

After an unexpected reroute returning from Curacao I ended up with 8 hour lay over in Miami. Luckily as I have been doing lately I had my 5wt with me and decided what better way to spend a layover then fishing the Miami canals. I emailed Cordell AKA The Bonefish Whisperer the night before and had an email reply waiting for me when I arrived saying he was free to fish.  A quick call while clearing customs, location is set and I am off to fish. We started fishing around 1pm in windy conditions with moderate cloud set. Luckily the sun was warm enough to heat the water well and the fish where active and aggressive.  I tied on a heavily weighted double anvil fly I tied up the night before I left and had it inhaled within the first few cast by an aggressive Oscar. Well into the 2 pound range,  we walked well over a mile and half working the canals that are bordered by major Miami roads picking off several species that included peacocks, Tilapia, Oscars and my favorites of the day Jaguar guapotes. 

The peacocks where easily spooked today but the few we found bedded down where aggressive.  Spotted several monsters but found no really good opportunities on the larger ones.  

The Oscars where much more aggressive then the peacocks and man do they pack a punch. They put up a heck of an initial run. They are aggressive territorial and are generally found in pairs. Twice I spotted a pair and picked off both one after another.  They destroyed my first fly leaving nothing but one strand of buck tail left and still chased almost the bare hook.  When I gave up on that naked fly a very large Oscar inhaled my new fly and is probably half way to Key West with the fly in its mouth and a long piece of tippet!
It was amazing when the several red rings on this fish begin to light up while jigging to it hold on because they are PISSED! And  your fly is about to get hammered. At times I wished for my 6 or 7 WT rd. It was almost a given these Oscars will bury you in the weeds or whatever structure you let them get too if you don’t put the wood to them and pull them free.

Jaguar Guapotes where abundant in this particular canal. This afternoon we spotted somewhere around 10. A beautiful fish known native range of the Atlantic slope of Central and South America , available within the United State only in limited places that include Southern FL and very few reports in LA.  Two of the ones I caught where hooked on ledges no more than six inches deep.  One had his entire back exposed when I hooked him.  They were not overly aggressive and persistent jigging until the fish was sufficiently irritated to take the fly was the key to getting these guys  hooked.  Once you jigged the fish enough to get him showing signs of wanting to take, dropping the fly to the bottom for several seconds and the slightest twitch brought on a violent, lightning fast strike. As with the Peacocks they spit the fly just as fast so bring your KVD hook set friend.

A spotted Tilapia was also caught today. No easy task to annoy a Vegetarian fish into biting a fly.

The light gave out on around 7 and I headed back to the airport for the last leg home very happy to have added a few new species to the caught list.

You can contact Cordell via his website or follow him on facebook    

A big thanks goes out to Luis for an awesome post and report! Hit up Cordell like Luis said if your down in the Miami area, I've heard nothing but great things about the guy, great stories!


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