FISHING and RELATED GEAR 






THE RECONSTRUCTIONIST 

CONFESSIONS OF A GUY’S MAN CAVE AND HIS PASSION FOR GADGETS

FOOD, COMPUTERS, PHOTOGRAPHY and FISHING IN FLORIDA

(and has earned a reputation as a Junkyard Reconstructionist)



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 was right about fishing…   I 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. I had great coaching from uncles and acquaintances with patents who also were not content with mediocrity, they were inventors, somehow while working in the Printing, and  Photographic Camera industry I managed to gain the nickname of  “ The Gadgetmeister”.   

•  I also like whats taken for granted, obsolete, non-conformal, the little guy, underdog, ancient, laughed at and make it into something.  All 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.  

•  Most of my attempts at building 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 and being successful with it is the second half.  It’s not about frugal, it’s about challenge. I just enjoy building stuff…and sharing ideas.  

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

•  When I needed something I looked at it, studied it and built my own or improved something cheap by better construction.  Challenges were my inspiration…  I told myself “  I can do that”  At my age it was time to downsize or go 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!

PLANS - DOWNSIZING - ElIMINATE - CONVERT - REBUILD

•  I decided to downsize and put some of the junk to work, I went to my storage bins, lots of scraps from former charitable projects, endeavors, and voila… feeling the heat of re-incarnation and a vow to clean the garage.  I was on a mission.  Now it is spotless and the envy of all my neighbors.   Then I realized I had some good things going my way.  Like money from scrap brass, copper and aluminum.  Close to 180 dollars worth. And two pickup trucks to the salvage yard for scrap metal.


•  Lots of Brass, Copper and Aluminum… Voila!  I was on a roll… that stuff is worth money… It paid off.  Five miles away was the junk yard which brought me  just enough for an entry level fly rod and reel kit to start with, from ORVIS, which I had a dealer five miles away.  I found other stuff in some pawnshops.  Lighter gear, which cleaned up like new.
I’m not ready for the 1000 dollar outfits yet.  ORVIS’s Encounter, its entry level but decent quality.  I took the 7/8 weight as I live in Tampa Bay.   And wade-able bays, shoreline and flats are abundant and fruitful.  Next I will secure a decent 5 wt.


•  Also, my condo is on a golf course with great ponds. Note: With all the chemical runoff, poisoned fish by fertilizer and chemicals used to keep the grass green… it’s still a good practice area, I use old flies with the points and barbs removed, no hook ends for practice casting.   And summer is gone now (105-110 heat index) and temps in the 70 with a cold beer on my property fifty feet away. 

•  And a couple of Gators, Fred and Harriet which we do not feed since there are enough ducks (Muscovy’s and Mallard’s) and Brown Bunny rabbits… which mysteriously disappear.  It’s the gator primarily  but we also have Coyotes, Eagles, and BAD DRIVERS, the most dangerous part of the environment.  We just fished out from the pond, a car upside down who parked where it said,  “ NO PARKING  the soft bank let loose and that Hyundai went waterboarding with him in it.

CAUTION:  Florida has two deadly and stupid laws or lack thereof.  No Vehicle Inspections, mail in drivers licenses, with no sight or competency required.  Combine a bad car with a half blind driver and bad reflexes and you see why we are numero uno in collisions between cars and mobile homes.  Yes, they park sometimes in living rooms of mobile homes. I’m not making this up.


•  Bass Fishing, well that means adding a boat, big pickup, too expensive and I have been there… I don’t need to cruise in a seventeen-nineteen foot CUSTOM BUILT, radar equipped, digital depth finder, side band fish locators, drones, torpedo tubes, martini mixers, more instruments than my first Piper had,  and power steering in a BASS boat with 250 horses and an outfit befitting a Nascar racer with baseball caps covering ears to claim one decent fish.  And a 20-40 thousand dollar price tag… Stable Kayak…possible.


•  Years ago one of my shooting buddies (Sporting Clays and Tactical) was a Florida-born Redneck Bass fisherman in a 14-foot john boat in the back of his pickup with a four point five horse Mercury and a hand paddle for maneuvering.  I’d put him up against any one of these pros on ponds.  He could smell bass.

•  I can reach all I want from the shoreline, fifty yards from my front elevator and garage door, If there is anything alive in there.  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 fresh and saltwater habitats on both the East and West coast of Florida.

THREE THINGS

•  Please handle game fish carefully and release and let them grow up and reproduce.  I prefer Grouper, Tilapia, Salmon and Tuna cooked in a variety of styles including fish Tacos…  Lately because I am affiliated with the Food Industry and do have a Food Website with certain food cautions  http://www.aljacobskitchen.com/   

•  Golf courses are notorious for blatant use of chemicals, eating one or anything from these waters is not really recommended… I have watched them spray a green bright chemical on the fairways so it must be something for growth and good looks (Hmmm)…

•  Florida is great 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.



THE GREATEST MASTER - BAITER OF ALL 

DONALD THE ECOLOGICAL DESTROYER

A man fishing for ideas to cover his failures… the supreme fish tale teller of all time… the man who would turn our parks and Eco-systems into coal mines and oil wells and pollute our rivers with coal tailings… 

It has gotten into our rivers already, a man who does not care about anything other than himself.  Now he wants to turn the last frontiers into commercial usage.  He wants them open them up for drilling, it’s all about money, the future, the planet, re-election and votes and the people who live there simply don’t count.  He really screwed the coal miners, and people who live near these areas.

Your vote in 2020 might be the last chance for all of us environmentalists who do care about all his destruction…  
For a sample of creative Coal Tailings now allowed by the Kahuna of Bullsh*t…   SEE:  
Coal Tailings Accidents



WINTER TIPS IN FLORIDA - BRING YOUR RODS

The Ultimate Guide to Largemouth Bass Fishing in Florida

By Terry Tomalin   Florida’s largemouth bass put the Sunshine State on the international sport fishing map.

Looking out over the flooded farmland in Fellsmere in southeast Florida that anglers call Stick Marsh, I wondered how we would ever find our way through the hundreds of submerged tree stumps.  "You have to proceed slowly," my guide, Lenny Crispino, explains. "But trust me, it will be worth it."

Lenny Crispino lives near Tampa, but doesn't mind getting up in the dark and driving across the state to fish this 16,500-acre man-made impoundment. Though the nearest big city is Vero Beach, most Florida fishing guides are familiar with its waters. "When it comes to big bass, this is as good as it gets," says Crispino. "It is not uncommon to catch 50 fish in a day here. And there are plenty over 10 pounds."

Florida has more than 7,700 named lakes greater than 10 acres, but only a select few make the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) Top Ten Bass Lakes list. Stick Marsh previously earned that honor year after year, but other lakes are finding their place on the big, pass map.

Florida has an estimated 2 million resident anglers, and another million visitors fish state waters every year. With more than 700 world records to its credit - more than any other state or country - Florida can honestly claim the title of “ ishing Capital of the World." 

But while saltwater fishing has played an important role in the state's economy, it is Florida's largemouth bass and its varieties like the butterfly peacock bass that put the Sunshine State on the international sportfishing map.

Anglers know the odds of catching trophy fish - 10 pounds or larger - are as good as it gets in Florida. The term "trophy," however, is a misnomer when it comes to Florida bass, because the vast majority of anglers would rather take a picture than take a fish. Crispino, who makes his living on the water, is no exception. Many lakes are strictly catch and release, which is another reason why the fishing is so good.

Top Spots for Black Bass: Lake George, West Lake Tohopekaliga (Lake Toho), Lake Kissimmee, Rodman Reservoir, Lake Tarpon, Evers Reservoir, Lake Istokpoga, Winter Haven South Chain of Lakes, Lake Talquin, Suwannee River, Lake Okeechobee, Everglades Water Conservation Areas 2 and 3, Lake Monroe, Tenoroc Fish Management Area Lakes and Mosaic Fish Management Area.


LARGEMOUTH BASS

Depending on whom you ask, Florida largemouth bass could be a distinct species, different from its northern cousin, or merely a subspecies. But the debate is academic. No one disputes the fact that the Florida "bucketmouth" grow bigger and fatter than any other species of bass.

"You can credit that to our year-round growing season," says Wes Porak, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "We have warm water and plenty of vegetation. Put those together and you have big bass."

Black bass, Micropterus salmoides floridanus, were once found only on the Florida peninsula but have since been introduced in Texas and California.

A fish 10 pounds or larger is considered a "trophy." Females live longer than males and are more likely to reach "trophy" size. Most conservation-minded anglers release large fish because of their future spawning potential.

The largest (certified) largemouth bass in Florida was caught in 1986 in Polk County (in Central Florida) and weighed 17 pounds, 4 ounces.

TIPS AND TACKLE

The Florida largemouth bass has a reputation as a "tackle buster." Florida's fabled "bucketmouth" will attack just about anything- minnows, frogs, even baby ducks.

If you are planning a trip, spring is the best time to hunt a trophy bass. The season starts earlier in South Florida. February through April are peak months in Central Florida. As summer approaches, the fishing improves in North Florida.

While professional bass anglers use artificial lures on the tournament trail, the bait of choice for most anglers is either the golden shiner or the wild shiner, a thick-bodied baitfish found in most Florida lakes. When it comes to artificial lures, the plastic worm is probably the most widely used bait. The color is a matter of choice, but a general rule is the darker the better. Crank baits and spinner baits are other popular choices, but when it comes to heart-pounding action, nothing beats the sight of a big bass banging a topwater plug.

Fly-fishing for these Bass is slightly different and we will go into it, but they are take-able with technique. 



BACK TO WINTER SALT WATER FISHING 

Spinning, Casting and Fly Rod

https://myfwc.com/research/


  • Saltwater, by boat,  deep or pier fishing is a different set of rules.  Mostly seasonal and size limitations, you need the state chart or a lawyer to figure the rules and limits on time and size.  My conventional fishing gear like spinning and larger heavier casting reels, usually live bait and some lures work for that in the inner-coastal, bridges and offshore.

  • Florida is blessed with mangroves , flats and good weather year round that suits the fly-fisherman.  Winter can offer great fishing opportunities for some of the state’s most sought-after fish species. As the temperatures drop, you’ll spot many anglers, following spotted sea trout to fresher water, where the fish congregate in large schools closer to warmer water.   

  • Be aware of the area you will be fishing and local fish you might catch. Know the regulations for your target species and make sure you have all the proper gear. Determining ahead of time which fish you are going to keep versus which fish you will release is an easy step to take. Knowing which fish he plans to release helps to get those fish back in the water quickly, increasing survival and benefitting the fish population. 

  • Barbless circle hooks – Are 90% more likely to hook a fish in the mouth. Hooking a fish in the mouth reduces internal harm and decreases de-hooking time, getting the fish back in the water faster and increasing its chance of survival.
  •  De-hooking tool – Allows anglers to quickly release their catch while minimizing fish and self injuries and handling time. Just take the hemostat and crush the barb, then if you hoof your face it will be easy to remove.
     Correct weight tackle – Using tackle heavy enough to land a fish quickly is important so fish are less exhausted and more able to avoid predators upon release.
  •  Knotless, rubber-coated net – These support the weight of the fish while removing a minimal amount of slime, which protects the fish from infection.

  • Make sure to reel the fish in as quickly as possible especially a big one, by managing the drag tension. Horsing a trout into the boat can usually result in additional tearing of the area they are hooked, especially around the mouth.   Work them in as they tire and keep tension on the line to prevent a hook release. 

  • Anglers should always use a net for landing medium-to-large trout and dip/wet any measuring board with water before laying the fish on the board.    Avoid removing large fish from water. If you must remove them, support their weight horizontally to prevent damage to their internal organs.  And take pictures of your catch while it is in the water. This puts less stress on the fish and the fish will look bigger.

  •  If a net is needed to land or control a fish, always use a knotless, rubber-coated landing net.   Return the fish to the water as quickly as possible. One of the major factors in the survival of a released fish is how much time it spends out of the water.   Be sure to wet your hands before handling a fish to prevent damaging its protective slime coating. Don’t use gloves or towels, as this will remove the protective slime.   Never hold a fish by the gill cover or eyes and hold fish horizontally to support their internal organs.  If possible, keep the fish in the water while removing the hook. 

  • Gripping devices can be effective for controlling and handling fish, especially ones with sharp teeth. Grip behind the lower lip and support the weight of the fish in a horizontal position.  If the fish has swallowed the hook, cut the line as close to the hook as possible. Attempting to remove the hook can do more harm than good. Use non-stainless-steel hooks since they eventually dissolve or pass naturally.
  •  Place the fish in the water and allow it to swim away on its own; do not toss the fish back.  If fish is in shock, Revive fish that do not swim away immediately or appear lethargic.    Place fish in the water head first – it is easiest to hold one hand on the bottom lip or tail and one hand under the belly of the fish.    Move the fish forward in the water – this allows the water to be flow through the mouth and over the gills. The fish must face the direction of water flow.  
     Use a figure-8 motion to move the fish forward constantly, ensuring water continues to flow over the gills. Never jerk fish back and forth, since this action prevents water from properly flowing through the gills.

  •  For fish caught in deep water with signs of barotrauma, use a descending device to return fish to depth or vent the fish by inserting a sharpened, hollow tube at a 45-degree angle, one inch behind the base of the pectoral fin.

  • The steps you take on the water today can help positively impact the future of your Florida fish populations! Dropping temperatures don’t have to mean a drop in the survival of the fish you release. To learn more about proper catch-and-release techniques, visit     MyFWC.com/FishHandling


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. 

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.


TOOLS AND DO IT YOURSELF TOOLS ON THE FOLLOWING PAGES

THE BENCH

FIRST VICES FROM JUNK

PARTS AND D-I-Y GADGETS

THE MOTHER DUBBER

UPGRADES

REGULAR FLY TYING



SALTWATER FLY FISHING

Saltwater fly fishing is typically done with heavier tackle than that which is used for freshwater or Bass/ Trout fishing, both to handle the larger, more powerful fish, and to accommodate the casting of larger and heavier flies.  Salt water fly fishing typically employs the use of wet flies resembling baitfish, crabs, shrimp and other forage. 

However, saltwater fish can also be caught with poppers and other surface lure similar to those used for freshwater bass fishing, though much larger in the flats and shallows, and low tides  Saltwater species sought and caught with fly tackle include: bonefish, redfish or red drum, permit, snook, spotted sea trout, tuna, dorado, aka mahi-mahi, sailfish, tarpon, striped bass, salmon, giant trevally and marlin. 

Offshore saltwater species are usually attracted to the fly by “ chumming” with small baitfish, or "teasing" the fish to the boat by trolling a large hookless lure (Billfish are most often caught using this method).

Many saltwater species, particularly large, fast and powerful fish, are not easily slowed down by “ palming” the hand on the reel.  With braided line slowing the fish by squeezing the line can result in a bloody cut…

Instead, a purpose-made saltwater reel for these species must have a powerful drag system. 

Furthermore, saltwater reels purpose-made for larger fish must be larger, heavier, and corrosion-resistant; a typical high-quality saltwater reel can cost $500.00 or more. 


IMPORTANT:   Corrosion-resistant equipment is key to durability in all types of saltwater fishing, regardless of the size and power of the target species. Rinsing gear in fresh water is essential after usage.  Reels with removable spools have advantages, but expensive in some cases.

Saltwater fly fishing is most often done from a boat, either a shallow draft flat boat is used to pursue species such as bonefish, redfish, permit and tarpon in shallow waters, or from larger offshore boats for pursuing sailfish, tuna, dorado, marlin and other pelagic’s and most popular methodology may be done from shore, such as wading flats for bonefish or redfish or surf fishing for striped bass and other assorted fish. 

Typically, most trout fly fisherman need to practice new skills to catch saltwater fish on a fly rod. Ocean fish are usually harder to catch. They can be extremely spooky, and much larger. Trout fisherman need to practice with at least an 8 weight fly rod and accurately cast the line 30–90 feet if they are going to have success—particularly in the flat areas fishing for bonefish, redfish, permit, tarpon, jacks and more.  They can be spooky but when they hit, it’s an explosion.

Hooks for saltwater flies must also be extremely durable and corrosion resistant. Most saltwater hooks are made of stainless steel but the strongest (though less corrosion resistant) hooks are of high-carbon steel. Typically, these hooks vary from size #8 to #2 for bonefish and smaller nearshore species, to size #3/0 to #5/0 for the larger offshore species.



BRAIDED LINE 

• MUCH THINNER

• BETTER LINE HANDLING

• MORE SPOOL CAPACITY THAN MONOFILAMENT

The biggest advantage of modern braids is their small diameter compared to monofilament lines. For example, 20-pound braid has the diameter of only 6-pound-test monofilament. This offers the best of both worlds with amazing strength, plus the smooth handling, higher line capacity, and longer casts of a much lighter line.

NOTE: It will also cut you like a bread knife if you are not careful or gloved on long runs.

If you are a new braid user, however, you have a few new tricks to learn. First of all, super-slick braided lines will slip on the shaft of the spool. To prevent this, try putting a small backing layer of monofilament on the reel first, then tying and spooling on the braid. Some manufacturers even include foam tape with their lines to serve as spool backing. Loosely wound braid on a spool can dig down into itself and bind, so when you spool up apply more line tension than you may be used to.

  • You also can’t use braid on cheap or older rods with chrome-plated wire guides. 
  • Most modern ceramic or metal guides will handle braid without grooving. But, if you’re thinking of using braid on an old rod or one pulled from the bargain barrel, be aware of this potential problem. Check the tip-top guide in particular. If your braided line is breaking unexpectedly, this might be another sign that it is grooving your guides — which are abrading and cutting the line in return. 
  • If this happens, it’s probably time for a new rod. The same applies to older spinning reels, too. Modern reels with roller guides will handle braid, but your old spinner with a fixed, chrome-plated line roller might start grooving. Watch for this and if you see grooving, its time for a new reel.
  • Another fact to keep in mind is that even though that braided line might be the diameter of 6 pound test, it’s actually 20-pound test. So it might cast just fine on a light rod and reel designed for 6-pound monofilament, but neither of those components may be able to handle 20 pounds of strain if you have the drag cranked all the way down and hook a large fish. 
  • You can break a rod or warp a reel spool if you don’t select and use a rod and reel rated for braided line. This is more of a factor with older gear, but even with a modern outfit be sure to check the maximum recommended line test.
  • One of the few potential disadvantages of braid is how limp it is. While this is a plus when casting, the line can wrap your rod tip or tangle much more easily than mono. 
  • If you do get a tangle, braid also welds itself into a permanent knot much more readily than mono. 
  • Braided lines cost more than monofilament, and you don’t want to discard 30 feet of good line because you can’t untie a knot that develops that far back on the spool. 
  • Be careful not to accidentally pull a tangle tight when you get one. While somewhat stiffer braids are available, many anglers prefer the silky-smooth way that limp braid handles.
  • Despite this limpness, an advantage of braid in most situations is the fact that it has almost no stretch. Monofilament is quite stretchy, evident to any angler who’s ever had to break a mono line off a solid object such as a submerged stump. Braid, on the other hand, is tight as a wire — excellent for strike detection, and for solid hook-setting through thick Texas-rigged plastics into tough fish mouths. Most anglers will probably notice a nice improvement in their hookup ratio when they try braid.