How To’s, Confessions, Tips And Tricks From A Guy’s Love For Fishing In

Florida… Combined With A Passion For Building Better Mousetraps

To go fishing is the chance to wash one’s soul with pure air, with the rush of the brook, or with the shimmer of sun on blue water.

It brings meekness and inspiration from the decency of nature, charity toward tackle-makers, patience toward fish, a mockery of profits and egos, a quieting of hate, a rejoicing that you do not have to decide a darned thing until next week. 

And it is discipline in the equality of men — for all men are equal before fish.”     

                                                                    —Herbert Hoover
—The Engineer President, and Avid Fly Fisherman—

🐟 WELCOME TO MY THOUGHTS ON FISHING -  Hoover…He was right about fishing…   I too like its solitude, it’s a chance to reason and think things out.  I have been a soloist all my life, I follow my path, in some cases it worked out.  Sometimes landmines… I had great coaching from uncles and acquaintances with patents who also were not content with mediocrity, they were soloists too, inventors, somehow while working in the Printing, Graphics, Importing and Photographic Camera industry.  I became “ The Gadgetmeister”.  

I should have been labeled the “ Junkmeister” …  In my later years I had somehow accumulated lots of parts, gadgets, stock and gizmos from stores that went under, almost a garage full and dreaded the day of atonement for my sins when I needed my garage back.  It finally happened.

Many of the gizmos you find in my photo sections from high-speed slide scanners, custom built rigs and DIY gadgets were put together from scraps and reborn for the market from my junkyard.  

Several of my attempts at building fishing tools and gadgets worked as well, surprising me more than  anyone else.  As good as the more expensive decorator additions sold on the market at least for a beginner such as myself.  I have nothing against retail tackle stores, I could get lost in them for days, but half the fun of building something is just that.   Using your stuff on hand and being successful with it is the second half.  It’s not about frugal, it’s about challenge.

I owe a lot to my wood and metal shop teachers in High School, about the only classes I didn’t sneak out of… I still graduated two years early at two months after my sixteenth birthday skipping the 2nd and eight grades because a Library teacher taught me how to read and the gain from reading… I was simply two years ahead of the other kids so they advanced me.  I also developed a sinister “street” attitude, normal in Brooklyn,  combining sarcasm and sadism, and my tablet was a typewriter….  I am credited with inventing the word   “Sardastic”… but still a lousy typist

🐟  Master Machinist At Sixteen  -  I’m Good With My Hands — Metal Shop

Graduate, and Avoided Jail

As mentioned, chemistry labs, wood and metal shops were my favorite engaged,  hands on classes in High School. The Big Bang anti-Darwin Science Teacher was not and Shakespeare did not thrill me, I was glad he was dead. He talked funny

I remember the first tools I made at Wingate HS In Brooklyn NY,  in the metal shop on my own.  I learned to work with my hands on drill presses, welding, and basic mills. I appreciated the knowledge and ingenuity from the shop teacher.  It was the tools I designed that got me the fame I deserved…

Even today they still talk of the Jacobs Hubcap Remover, not sold in stores, originally in paint, today in new Midnight Black Powder coat

You too can have a career in “ HUBCAP RESTORATION” for only $39.95.  Make it back on your first job even if you only got the front ones!   

Our exclusive rear view mirror (not found on any of the competition) means you can get rid of paying your lookout and make more money for yourself.  

With twin handles it allows faster retrieval with either hand.  The mirror makes sure there are no onlookers behind you who might get hit with a flying hubcap or steal your work.

It comes complete with instructions for both domestic and foreign hubcaps.  And we’ll send you my new book “ Guide to the Great Bail Bondsmen of America” with a signed autograph by Joey Fonzini, who graduated early from San Quentin U. 


🐟 Plans - Downsizing - Eliminate - Convert - Rebuild - Redesign - 

Much of this fishing sport is not rocket science, equipment wise, the science and the art that is in fishing is understanding the patterns and processes of your adversary…the simplified brain in that fish.  Yes, my favorite dig is  “ Yup, that fish brain sure outsmarted you”.  

The five hundred dollar rod in the hand of a neophyte will not catch more fish than the 49 dollar Ugly stick if the fisherman knows his quarry better.  Ups-manship is well promoted in the tackle industry which parallels the profits on high end gear.

SIDEBAR —  When I needed something I looked at it, studied it and built my own… or improved something cheap by better construction.  At my age it was time to downsize or go with the “ Swedish belief of less when you grow older is a better routine”.   Less is more… simple… when you have less you use it more!

My spare garage, and twenty years of junk netted piles of good working sized steel, Brass, Copper and Aluminum left.    So far the reconstruction period had cost me only time.  Five miles away was the metals junk yard and my buddies Tundra was my delivery service which brought me  just enough for a good quality fly rod and reel kit to start with, from ORVIS, which I had a dealer five miles away in the other direction and a whole bit of new junk to make my own gear.

I found other stuff in some pawnshops.  Most don’t even know what a fly rod is and happy to re-sale it.  Lighter gear, which cleaned up like new.  I joked about being an alchemist I had turned metal into gold and headed to Orvis land for salvation and graphite with a detour to some local pawn shops for rebuildable rods and reels.

🐟  Time to Rig  — The Econo Way  —  The Car Collection  —

  • I took the Orvis 7/8 weight as I live in Tampa Bay and with an abundance of salt-water wade-able bays, shoreline and flats and fruitful.   Thats for a serious wading game day on the flats.  Sunup by seven and with Florida heat lunch and a cold beer at eleven thirty.  We,  if smart do not wade after the sun heads down, few know Florida is the great birthing area for many specie of sharks who birth in the shallow coastal darkness many frequenting both coastal and intercostal areas.  

  • Next I secured a very low cost but decent 9 foot light 5 wt. two piece fly rod, for the car and sudden urges like when the smaller species run near shore.  It works also for the fish in the many ponds on my condo-golf course.  We have “ AWARE WITH CARE”  signs posted at several holes as the main danger we call “ Death by Golf Ball”… My condo is on the top floor and I have witnessed golfing that should be considered criminal.  They drive like they play golf…

  • We also have some really dangerous drivers…actually had a driver and car go in the canal watching the golfers, pulled over to the side  and the rain soaked bank gave way… and he had to be rescued so anything is possible. The car was terminated, it took two fire rescue and two tow trucks to get him on land. He was OK.

  • Our state holds the record, not a joke,  three times the Bureau of Licenses Buildings ( From Fishing Licenses  to Motor Vehicle, House Taxes and Permits, Building Licensing and Tax exemptions and just about anything the state collects.  The buildings in question have been rammed three times by Senior Citizens taking their required drivers tests sending several to the hospital.  They were failed and sued by those who got hit when the waiting room became a parking space.

  • Easy finds, I made some weight and unweighted silver spoon lures from Willow Blades for a couple of  light weight two piece spinning rods with Penn reels, a nice two-piece seven footer.  It to fits horizontal in a hanger I made in my trunk, they are there when  I need them.  I always look for used Penn spinning reels in pawn shops.  Problem is many traded at Pawn shops never were serviced and in bad condition.  So I learned repairs and now I control the buy.

  • My condo is on a golf course with great ponds.  Some of the ponds have fish, and with gloved hand I release them.   Gloves on, you never know what chemicals they use on a golf course. 

NOTE:  Round barbless hooks avoiding stainless ( see new Florida regs and suggestions on  hooks for saltwater use for easy release and no injury to the fish…  

🐟   Just Dreaming Out Loud  — Maybe a skiff small enough for my newly cleaned out garage… and inshore fishing, with a reasonable 15 HP -20 HP  Yamaha on it….   Nah, I have been down this route.  Too old to start over.  No more boats or airplanes.

At one time I had a bass boat, not as fancy as what is popular today, Aluminum with a forty,  it was plenty fast enough and I installed cup holders…then a 19 ft inshore/off shore flats salty and looking for bigger, I came across a deal on an airplane.  It’s name was “ Littlebird” .  

I decided to go back to school, refresh, activate my pilots license and 32 years and seven airplanes later, all got bigger and more expensive and I retired from flying. In the photo I also had more hair

Back to fishing…  Years ago one of my buds was a Florida-born Bass fisherman in a 12-foot john boat in the back of his pickup, 4.5 Mercury and a hand paddle for maneuvering.  He could smell bass.  I believe his mother delivered him in a lake, he knew fish.  

Florida is great, fifty yards from my front elevator and garage door, If there is anything alive in my ponds on the golf course… If not, then we have lakes inland streams, and just a few miles away, a beautiful mangrove shoreline with all the best saltwater species in attendance and a fridge with cold beer.  We have the best of the saltwater habitats on both the West and South-West coast of Florida and the coldest beer.  

Some of the best bridge fishing in Tampa Bay and the inshore and offshore near Pasco country is excellent trout country on silver mullet color MirrOlures May, and April.  I live next door to them…Their plant is located two minutes from me by mountain bike, 1/2 mile from their plant. They manufacture some really cool lures,  very creative lure making knowing fish and nature and get results.

🐟  Three Or More Things To Note — And Pond-er

Please handle game fish carefully and release and let them grow up and reproduce.  I prefer Fresh Grouper, Snapper, Tilapia, Salmon and Tuna cooked in a variety of styles including Fish Tacos… I know where to buy and have a fishmonger friend and he has his own boats, I trust him.  All kinds of snapper and once in a while some exotic comes along…

🐟  Food Cautions And A Must Read! —  Because I am affiliated with the Food Industry, “ Critically   and do have a Food Website with certain food cautions located at my other website.    SEE 
I make people aware and now according to the food Gods Seafood is getting a tighter look at because of the myriad violations by importers.

I am very cautious about injection of just about any seafood…  Because prior to COVID-19,  or years the fresh caught fish food industry wasn’t exactly Kosher at times and that, “ Fresh bay catch of the day”  might be from some bay in Indonesia.  Scallops made from Shark and Skates, fish passed off as something else. 

Big signs on sidewalks told of great catch of the bay today.  Bullsh*t either frozen or been on ice.  Today almost nothing in the shrimp or pond grown fish produce is US based.  Shrimp is the Indonesian Peninsula, Eastern China Area, Thailand, and India.  Recently we played mad scientists with some grads from USF, and tested some of the frozen shrimp.

Restaurants were notorious for lying…It became a statewide investigation, also helped get rid of a corrupt idiot of an Agricultural Commissioner for the state of Florida and if you go to my site, read about restaurant games there.  I am quite well hated as a food critic, must be because or due to the fact I tell the truth.  

If your food is poor quality, corporate created, possibly of harm, thats what I do.  And being a consumer advocate there is another topic I rip people and websites on … anyone can make mistakes, suck it up,  but no one should ignore you when they screw up.

🐟  Buying Cautions —   I ordered a lot of small items to fill out my return to lure building, a giant part of the site with a couple of fresh approached and Do-It-Yourself ways to save money and increase your stash.  

The goal of my site is to give you choices.

Good places to do business with  —   What to buy if you are not gifted or patient enough for Do-It-Yourself
Good Places for the unusual parts — Where and what to buy if you are fortunate enough to enjoy the personalization building your own.  

So I inquired of big names in Fishing Parts that sold retail on line,  plus I do a lot of business with Amazon.   Some of the biggies were frankly disappointing as they were short on what I wanted.  Repeatedly…Funny I shop a lot on line, I relegate Food to see and touch,  but office stuff and odd and ends go to the web.   

The grocery store or warehouse is a planned event, usually I can fill two grocery carts.  I use Sam’s, Publix and Costco.   I saved alone over 350 dollars in gas this year plus the wear and tear on me, my car,  and at 78 thats a concern.

I use the web a lot for other things, and the most reliable, up to date, efficient, on time, communicative,  and knows what they are doing aside from grocery shopping and the winner is Amazon and thats fishing gear… and parts surprise, and saved eight dollars per order shipping and no tax.

🐟  Cutting Through The Weeds, the Bullrushes (Bullsh*)  —  I have now dealt with some of the noted specialty fishing lures suppliers and retailers and soon I will make comment on how they ship and well they are managed and not specific products. Also their service department not giving straight answers which seems to be a problem.

🐟  Over 65 — No License Needed  — But There are Some Rules  —  Florida is a great state for older fisherman, sport, catch and release people.  Bonus:  If you are a resident over 65 no permit or license is needed, either for fresh or salt water.  

But you must have Valid Florida ID or if you are a tourist go to the state website and get the tourist card with you.  Certain other collectibles in the water, scallops, etc you might consult the regulations.  

Also some species, you may catch but you cannot retain them, there are many seasonal species. And even over sixty-five you might have to register for certain fish, it’s not a cost to you, its more for the specie watchers who determine the heath of our fish populations.  For example…

Gray Triggerfish —  The recreational gray triggerfish season reopens to harvest in Gulf state and federal waters March 1, and will remain open through May 1, closing to harvest May 2, 2020.     If you plan to fish for gray triggerfish in Gulf state or federal waters, excluding Monroe County, from a private recreational vessel, you must sign up as a Gulf Reef Fish Angler (annual renewal is required but it is free). To learn more, visit and click on “Recreational Regulations” and “Gulf Reef Fish Survey” under “Reef Fish.”    Sign up today at  

👺Current Conditions Of The Red Tide The red tide organism, Karenia brevis, persists in Southwest Florida. K. brevis was detected in 21 samples collected over the past week. Bloom concentrations (>100,000 cells/liter) were observed in three samples from Lee County. Recent satellite imagery (2/23; NOAA, USF) indicates the presence of chlorophyll patches along and offshore of Lee, Collier, and Monroe counties. Additional details are provided below.
In Southwest Florida over the past week, K. brevis was observed at background concentrations in Sarasota County (in one sample), very low concentrations in Charlotte County (in one sample), background to medium concentrations in Lee County (in 16 samples), and background to very low concentrations in Collier County (in three samples). Samples from Pinellas and Manatee counties did not contain red tide. 
In  Northwest Florida and along the Florida East Coast over the past week, K. braves was not observed. 

Tribute To Carl Hansen

Posted by Jeff Schaeffer,  Repeated By a Guy Who Knew Carl…Me

AL:  I met Carl at his home when I first started in Fly Fishing at one of his weekly sessions decades ago.  I knew the iconic Bill Jackson’s Outdoor store, it was like bass Pro Shops before Bass… the Jackson family, and was a friend and customer where Carl worked in the fishing department. He was a guru in the art of Fly fishing.    

A finer human being didn’t exist and no man loved his game more than him and was willing to share that love with anyone who wanted to learn… Jeff Schaeffer wrote this tidbit that gives you an insight into Carl.

The Glass Minnow
Carl Hansen was a fly angler from St. Petersburg, FL. He is known nationally as the inventor of the glass minnow pattern. Carl fished the saltwater flats near Tampa Bay, and had a unique approach. 

Envision a Tampa Bay fly fishing club outing. O dark thirty, and about 50 guys with the latest incarnation of graphite rods, Abel reels galore, and flats boats warming up at the launch ramp. Everyone up the night before tying the latest trendy fly patterns. Madness and mayhem as everyone headed out to be the first one on “ ig snook flat" or wherever they thought they needed to go given the tide, temperature, barometer, season, and latest guide reports.

Carl would sit there at the picnic area, wait for the sun to come up so he could tie up a few bend back glass minnows. Aluminum foil, mono overwrap for the bodies, a bit of bucktail, and red thread for the heads. No cement, a cheap vise that probably came from Herters in 1955, and I think he did own one pair of sewing scissors. He would then string up a 7 foot cane rod (a three weight, no less) with a reel that I believe was made in 1917- the year may not be right but it was given to him as a kid and he was about 80 years old when I knew him. 

He would then wade out in front of the picnic tables up to his knees, and no deeper. He would then cast back to shore. Although he could cast like no one else, most of his casts might be 30 feet. Each cast would last a couple minutes and he would move the fly continuously in little twitches or with a hand twist retrieve. In 2 or 3 hours he might move 30 feet. 

About noon, all the young guns would come flying back to the launch ramp for the picnic, and you know how this ends. Carl would have caught more fish than the rest of the club combined. His explanation was simple: his fly was in the water, and the glass minnow moves exactly like a real baitfish. Predators move, so most of the snook, seatrout, and redfish in Tampa Bay would pass by him at some point in the morning, and would encounter a fly that looked and moved naturally that was actually in the water when they cruised by.

Carl was an amazing guy- he and his wife Esther had a Thursday (f I am remembering right) Night Casting clinic that met once a week at their house for over 30 years, and historians will correct me that its tenure may have been much longer. He did get some recognition of his skills, and was often asked to tie flies at Florida heritage festivals. He could put a fly in a teacup at 30 feet every time you asked him to do it. No BS, every time, and none of this false casting to get the distance right. And this was not hyperbole. 

The club had casting contests, one of which was a teacup at 30 feet. I saw it. He fished until the very end of his life, and when the end came he went out like the man he was. He told his family and friends that he did not want a funeral. He said that anyone who gave a damn about him should take a child fishing.

How To Make The Glass Minnow

  • Use a pliers to bend a hook bend back style. Most people bend it too far. Don’t.  
  • Wrap a bit of foil around the hook shank below the bend.Take a piece of 8 to 12 lb. mono, and wrap it over itself using a snell knot. 
  • It takes some practice, but you will end up with shiny foil body protected by mono wraps.
  • Tie in a sparse bucktail wing. I think that white over greenish blue was Carl’s favorite, but he also felt that any color would work. 
  • It has to be sparse. Carl would have corrected my wing as resembling a feather duster.  That is it.    
  • HINT AND TECHNIQUE:   Fish the fly over any seagrass bed, bottom discontinuity, or structure. Move it slowly so it crawls along through the water column just above the grass.  Expect the unexpected.

Artificial Flies And Artificial Vises

Artificial flies are of several types; some imitating an insect (either flying or swimming), others a bait fish or crustacean, others attractors are known to attract fish although they look like nothing in nature.  

And then there is the last group, those that attract fishermen and attach themselves to their credit cards…

I go to auctions and Pawn sites looking for used gear and can safely say, “ No harm came to the fish, the fisherman’s wallet took a hit”.  

Lures are like dog food.  The packaging is what sells, dogs don’t do the buying, they are not that choosy.

Flies can be made either to float or sink, and range in size from a few millimeters to 30 cm long; most are between 1 and 5 cm.

Artificial flies are made by fastening hair, fur, feathers, or other materials, both natural and synthetic, onto a hook. The first flies were tied with natural materials, but synthetic materials are now popular and prevalent.  Flies are tied in sizes, colors and patterns to match local terrestrial and aquatic insects, baitfish, or other prey attractive to the target fish species.  And they are available in midge, almost flea size to enormous streamers in salt water.