cayman islands

See John on Sky TV's Tight Lines this Friday

I'm looking forward to going into the Tight Lines Studio "Bothy" to chat over my recent Cayman Islands trip with presenter Keith Arthur.
We will be watching footage from the trip, where I caught bonefish, tarpon and a host of other species on the fly rod.

Little Cayman really is a wonderful location and a tropical island paradise - the fishing is great too!

We will also be discussing thoughts on the coming trout fly fishing season and talking about the methods most likely to bring success.
The show goes out on Sky Sports 3 at 6:00pm this Friday, 9th March 2012.

Back from Tasmania

My trip to Tasmania was truly awesome.  I have always felt, from my previous visits, that Tasmania had the best stillwater trout fly fishing in the World and my feelings have not changed one bit.  In fact, having driven all over the island on my travels, I now know that there are a multitude of lakes and rivers to fish - not just the better known waters of the Highlands region.

The Gum Beetles didnt put in much of a show during the sunny afternoons, but as soon as the cloud covered the sun, mayflies (known there as Duns) hatched in their thousands.  Early morning and late evenings gave us opportunities for tailing fish in the margins, while the sunnier days helped us to "polaroid" fish in open water.  These are techniques that we simply do not encounter back home.

We even had some time for a sea fishing trip out from Port Arthur aboard Steve Gilbert's boat Moonshine.  We were after Tuna, but due to calm seas, they were elusive.  We did get 6 hits and 2 Albacore to the boat, plus a heap of Gurnard, flathead, perch and striped trumpeter to baits fished 300 feet below the boat!

But it was the rivers that were the real eye openers.  Huge wild trout from tiny streams and creeks - wild rainbows and browns from tumbling rivers as clear as the river Test.  I caught my biggest ever wild brownie from a river no wider than a minor road.  Keep your eyes out for it in Trout Fisherman magazine as they have the exclusive in pics and words next month. now fully updated

The Lexus Web Site is now fully operational and updated for the 2012 season.

Download an Entry Form for Individuals or Teams from the site and follow the progress of each and every match as it unfolds throughout the year.

The first Individual Heat is at Llyn Llandegfedd in South Wales this coming Sunday, 11th March 2012.  Llandeg has been fishing it's head off since opening day and loads of overwintered rainbows are being caught.

It's not too late to enter this Heat, just email to reserve your place.

Drifting on Arthurs Lake
Cracking Brownie from Woods lake
Albacore fresh from the sea!

Cayman Islands Magic!

I have just returned from a week in the Cayman Islands - and what a week it was!

Little Cayman was our venue and the Southern Cross Club our destination resort.  The web site images gave the impression of a paradise type resort and they were not misleading.  I went with Martin Founds of Anglers World Holidays and a group of 6 anglers from the UK.  We were fishing and filming for a Sky TV programme.

Our target species were bonefish, permit and tarpon - the much sought-after "grand slam" of saltwater fly fishing.  Our bungalow looked out onto the flats inside the reef, which was literally a fly cast from the water.  Little Cayman boasts several miles of flats along it's Southern and Northern shores - narrow and easily wadable.  It soon became apparent that diversity of species is one of Little Cayman's attributes and most of the anglers were soon into fish.

I have fished for bones in several parts of the World, but targetting the Little Cayman bonefish was going to be tricky.  Most of my flies were far too large and heavy - there is a mass of rich turtle grass surrounding the island and the bones etc graze over it constantly.  Any heavy flies disappear down into the turtle grass, making weed guards a necessity.  Something else I had to contend with while out there!  Lightweight shrimp patterns cast slightly ahead of the bones was the trick - lighter leaders than usual and soft casting also pre-requisites to success.

We all caught a multitude of species on the fly, but lost some BIG fish in the process.  All numbers of Jacks took Clousers readilly, as did the odd Bonefish.  Pompano, Snapper, Rainbow Runners and even Box Fish ate the fly.  Of course, the annoying small Barracuda kept biting off our offerings, but none of us minded catching the bigger Cuda's.

Tarpon Lake is a truly unique feature on Little Cayman and was previously a red Mangrove Swamp before the devastating Hurricane Gilbert hit in 1989, tearing down all the trees and causing seawater to flood into the swamp - along with a load of Tarpon!  Now the Tarpon have bred and grow well in the brackish water, providing fantastic sport for the fly angling visitors to the Island.

In my morning session, I jumped 6 tarpon, landing just 2 - but as these were my first landed Tarpon, I was very pleased.  These fish are only "babies" but they gave me an idea of how a really big Tarpon would fight.

That was now my main aim - to get one of the huge tarpon which we regularly saw on the flats.  One morning, there was a significant disturbance on the surface as Tarpon were hitting bait fish.  I tackled up with a 9' #9 Hardy Proaxis rod and new Hardy Ultralite Saltwater Reel, kindly rigged and loaded with 80lb shock tippet by my good friend Howard Croston (who has landed several tarpon over 100lbs).  First cast I strip-struck several times into a big fish that was in the 100lb mould - it jumped and jumped, stripping off yards of line and backing in the process.  Then it jumped off!  I was destraught.

Still, Howard reckons that the catch rate is about 1 in 6 for tarpon, so I set about looking for another fish to target.  I did'nt have to wait long and soon I was into another.  Not as big as the first, but still bigger than any freshwater fish I had ever hooked!  It again jumped and jumped - ran in all directions and I battled hard against it's every move to try to throw it off balance as Howard had told me.  It worked and before long I had my fish - we estimated it at about 40lbs plus.

All this has been recorded on film, so when it is editted, I will put some snippets on the Web Site.

The Permit, alas, were still out past the reef in the deeper water and did not put in an appearance - still, I'll have to wait until next time to cast at one of those!

In the meantime, here are a few pics.

View from my bedroom
Nice little bonefish
Baby Tarpon from Tarpon Lake

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