Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Snook the best bet in the surf; trout cooperating in the bay

Dr. Craig Amshel of Apollo Beach battles a bonnethead shark at boatside. (Photo by STEVE GIBSON)

We’ve been fishing mostly Sarasota Bay or fly fishing along the beaches for snook over the past month.

I would rate the fishing a 5.5 or 6 on a scale of 10.

In Sarasota Bay, we’ve mainly been concentrating around Buttonwood Harbor and
Stevens Point.

In Buttonwood Harbor, we’ve been getting spotted seatrout to 23 inches, flounder to 16, bluefish to 3 pounds, Spanish mackerel and, of course, plenty of ladyfish. All are being caught on D.O.A. CAL Jigs with gold paddle tails and D.O.A. Deadly Combinations.

At Stevens Point, we’ve been fish dock lights before daylight and getting snook to 24 inches and a few spotted seatrout trout on flies (Schminnows and Gibby’s Duster Minnow). After daylight, we’ve been fishing the deep grass off Stevens Point in Sarasota Bay and getting spotted seatrout to 25 inches, ladyfish, flounder and a few bluefish. All are hitting Gibby’s Big Eye Baitfish Fly and D.O.A. CAL Jigs with gold paddle tails.

Steve Legore of Anna Maria Island joined me on an outing in Buttonwood Harbor. We caught plenty of fish, but most were small. We managed to catch spotted seatrout, flounder and ladyfish on D.O.A. CAL jigs with gold paddle tails and D.O.A. Deadly Combinations.

Todd Dawson of Manatee County and Dr. Craig Amshel of Apollo Beach joined me for an outing in Buttonwood Harbor. The action wasn’t spectacular, but it was consistent. They caught spotted seatrout to 19 ½ inches, ladyfish, flounder and a 3-foot bonnethead shark – all on D.O.A. CAL Jigs with gold paddle tails.

Mike Texidor of Miami did a beach snook trip with me along Casey Key and caught his first saltwater fish on fly rod. Mike, a repeat client, caught a snook and a ladyfish on my D.T. Variation and Tom’s Greenback. The fish were plentiful, but very tough. Mike probably cast to more than 300 snook in calm and clear conditions.

Beach snook action is improving. I fished with Ken Taylor of North Port this morning and did well in trying conditions. We combined for nine snook on Gibby’s D.T. Variation and D.O.A. Shrimp. All of the snook were small. We fished the surf along Manasota Key.

I did a freshwater outing on the Manatee River and had a good time. We caught a number of largemouth bass and bluegill on Myakka Minnows. We also hooked seven larger channel catfish and landed one – all on Myakka Minnows.

I do tie D.T. Variations and Myakka Minnows commercially. They’re $48 per dozen (plus postage).

They’re great flies and I’ve been using them for years. If you would like to purchase them, please let me know.

I took a busman’s holiday this week and fished with my friend Rick Grassett of Snook Fin-Addict Guide Services. We fished the inshore Gulf of Mexico and had shots at 300 tarpon or more. Rick hooked one and fought it for 25 minutes before the hook pulled. He also had a couple of other tarpon eat the fly, but didn’t hook up.

This is fantastic tarpon fly fishing. I encourage all of you to book Rick if you’re desire to hook a tarpon on fly.

You can reach him at (941) 350-9790. You need to book him at least a year in advance for tarpon season (May-July).

I am sending this report out early because Kathy, Morgan and I and leaving on a 2-week vacation. We’ll spend part of it in Michigan and some in New York City. Kathy (our travel agent) has our NYC trip already arranged. We’re staying on Times Square and we’ll see Mary Poppins on Broadway, tour the NBC studios and take a bus/boat trip around the island.

As always, I would like to thank my sponsors: Legacy Paddlesports, D.O.A. Lures, Go Fish! Sunscreen, Temple Fork Outfitters, Peak Fishing and Economy Tackle/Dolphin Dive.

If you’re on Facebook, please send me a friend request. You can also follow me on Twitter @gibby3474.

Steve Gibson

Southern Drawl Kayak Fishing

(941) 284-3406

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Gibby's Myakka Minnow is one Mighty fly

Gibby's Myakka Minnows appeal to a variety of fish.
I am really astounded by the success of my Myakka Minnow.

It’s a fly that looks really good, casts extremely well and, most importantly, catches fish.

I took Randy Honaker of Centerville, Ohio to The Everglades late in May and he caught a load of fish – most all on the Myakka Minnow. Honaker caught a few bass and panfish early in the day on poppers. But he made the switch to the MM when the topwater bite ended.

It was fish after fish after fish.

I created the Myakka Minnow about six years ago.

Here’s the story:

The Mighty Myakka Minnow was born out of frustration. I’m sure you’ve been there.

Imagine a day on the water with fish busting minnows throughout the morning. But after several hours, you still have nothing to show for your efforts. You cast into the spray of minnows, but your offerings are ignored repeatedly. The fish are so keyed into the tiny minnows that they ignore everything else.

Although the scenery is nice and weather gorgeous, it sure would be nice to feel the tug of a largemouth bass or hand-sized bluegill.

This happened to me several times while fly fishing on the Myakka River near my home in Sarasota, Fla.

After one unproductive outing, I decided to try and come up with a fly which would imitate the minnows the fish were so excited about.

I knew that the fly had to be no more than an inch long. It had to look like a minnow. It had to sink. It had to have large eyes.

After a few hours of trial and tribulation, I came up with a workable prototype and couldn’t wait to give it a try.

Next time out to the river, I had several Myakka Minnows in my box and one tied on my 4-weight fly rod. It didn’t take long to realize that I’d hit a home run. I picked up bass, bluegill, stumpknocker and tilapia while blind-casting. I kept my eyes open for scattering minnows. When I saw fish attacking minnows, I’d cast the Myakka Minnow into the fray.

Success is so sweet!

Over the years, the fly has worked very well and achieved a national reputation of sorts. It’s a pattern the Flymasters of Indianapolis featured in their Intermediate Fly Tying Class last spring. I’ve had email inquiries about the fly from interested anglers all over the country. I’ve even sold hundreds of them.

The fly isn’t a magic fly. But it does work very well when small minnows are the main food source. Then, it seems to be magic.

In fresh water, the fly has produced bass, bluegill, shellcracker, stumpknocker, redbreast sunfish, speckled perch and tilapia. Capt. Rick Grassett of Sarasota caught a nice brown trout on the Myakka Minnow in Montana. I have caught barramundi on it. You can tie it on larger hooks and go after saltwater fish. It has resulted in spotted seatrout, snook, redfish, mangrove snapper, jack crevalle, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel, tarpon and little tunny.

Capt. John Hand of Ruskin took a couple of No. 1 Myakka Minnows with him on a trip to Nicaraugua. He was targeting guapote (rainbow bass) and mojarra. He caught both.

“The Myakka Minnow was the only fly they’d hit,” said Hand. “And my guide said he’d never seen either species caught on fly.”

I’ve discovered exotic species in the Florida Everglades absolutely love the Myakka Minnow. Used to be that I’d catch oscar and Mayan cichlids on poppers. But when the topwater bite ended, that was the signal to go home. However, I’ve learned it’s really the signal to tie on a Myakka Minnow. The fly has taken thousands of exotics over the years.

It’s a fun fly to fish and an easy fly to tie.

I’m sure there are similar flies out there somewhere, but the pattern was born in my head. I’ve never seen a fly like it in any shop or catalog.

Tie and few and see what you think.

What works best for me is to cast it out, let is sink for a couple of counts, then work it in erratically. I like a couple of 2-inch strips and a pause. But you’ll figure out what works best for you.

If you do not wish to tie them, I gladly take orders. I sell them by the dozen. They’re $48 per dozen, plus shipping.

Give me a call at (941) 284-3406 or email me at

Myakka Minnow

Hook: No. 10 WR-004 White River Nymph Hook (from Bass Pro Shops)

Thread: Fine mono

Tail: Clipped marabou

Weight: 6-8 turns of .20 lead wire

Body: Bodi-Braid by Spirit River

Eyes: 3D Prism Stick-On

Coating: Devcon 2-Ton Epoxy


Step 1: Put hook in vice and attach thread on the hook shank near the point of the hook.

Step 2: Tie in a small amount of marabou and clip to about ¼ inch.

Step 3: Tie in .20 lead wire and wrap 6-8 turns.

Step 4: Tie in Bodi-Braid at the hook point and wind up to just behind the eye of the hook. Wind back to about mid-shank, then forward again, building up a minnow-like body. Whip finish.

Step 5: Add eyes, coat with epoxy and allow to dry.

I have a fly rotisserie to turn my flies while they dry.

The reason I use Devcon 2-Ton Epoxy rather than 5-minute epoxy is that it allows me to do about six to eight flies at a time. If you use a 5-minute epoxy, you can do one fly at a time.

It’s a quick and easy fly to tie. And it will result in fish.

My favorite color combinations are gold body and chartreuse tail, black body and black tail, copper body and charteuse tail and silver body and chartreuse tail.