Hey Guys, Dale “Bulldog” Freschi here again! Last week I talked about my most recent return from a fishing trip to Southwest Florida with good friends Brent and Dyanne Schlenker.
We caught a variety of species using several of Brent’s custom fly patterns that he has developed after experimenting and fishing in this region for several years. A prime example of how critical it is to have the "right fly for the job" became very clear on the 3rd day of my trip when a fast-moving cold front swept through the area.
We were basically forced to fish in the marina that day along with several other “guide" boats as winds accompanying the front rendered the ocean flats unfishable. The marina area has several sheltered bays and a freshwater river empties into one end which creates ideal habitat for many different game fish including Tarpon.
There are actually several schools of Tarpon ranging from 10 to over 100 pounds that live in the marina and they can sometimes be seen rolling around in the various bays. In view of the fact that these fish are readily accessible to anglers, they are fished over often, making them very “finicky” about what they choose to eat.
I cast every Tarpon fly pattern I owned at these fish but could not get them to take, that is until I tied on a fly that Brent had created that he simply called “Brent’s Baitfish”. He had a variety of colors and sizes for both fresh and salt water and the one he gave me was designed specifically to imitate the baitfish in these waters.
Long story short (you still with me?!), over the next 3 hours I hooked 5 Tarpon, the largest being approx 60 pounds and in addition landed several Jack Cravalle that took this fly as well. This fly was easy to cast and virtually indestructible, I used the one same fly for all these fish and it looked as good as new at the end of the day, which included not losing its eyes which can be critical when using baitfish imitations.
In returning to the dock several of the local guides came over to speak with us as they had witnessed our success. They indicated that they had also thrown flies, lures, baits, etc at these Tarpon to no avail, and wanted to learn our secret, without hesitation Brent unselfishly proceeded to give them his baitfish pattern to try for themselves and their clients.
Brent is an expert in the art of fly tying that further possesses an uncanny ability to create unique flies that seem to work in situations when even other proven patterns won’t. We have field tested, profiled, and sold some of these flies on our site such as the “Bulldog" and more recently "Dy’s Buggy Prince”.
We are excited to announce that we will be further partnering with Brent to make more of his flies available, including the aforementioned “Brent’s Baitfish” in the SFOTF online store in 2017 so stay tuned.