Fly Cast Charters

February 19, 2014

Fly Cast Charters Newsletter

Winter time fly fishing and fly tying

in St. Simons

In This Issue
2014 Tailing Tide Dates
Spinning Deer Hair
Strip Strike 101
Stop me and say hello
Fishing Report
Past Newsletters
Orvis Feedback
2014 Tailing Tides 
Get ready for some great fishing for tailing red fish in the grass.  The best fishing will be in August, September and early October.  April, May, June and July offer some great days.  The drawback is most of the days in these earlier months offer evening tides, and the wind can come on strong. Please book early for the August, September and October. They book up quickly.

April 26-28
May 25-27
June 11-12
July 10-11
August 10 and 12-13 (morning tides)
September: 6-8 (evening) and 8-12 morning. Probably the best week the year.
October:  6-11 (morning tides, one of the best weeks of the year)

These are tide PREDICTIONS.  I have tried to be very conservative and publish only those predictions where there is a near 100% chance the marshes will flood while there is daylight.  There will be other days where we have a strong east wind, and the marshes will flood.  There will be days where we have a west wind, and the marshes will not flood.  Most likely, there will be days on either side of these dates where we can fish for tailers.  Just remember, in fishing, there are no promises.

Capt. David Edens

Spun Deer Hair Crab Flies


One of my passions is tying different flies, and the winter gives me time to tie them.  At the last fly tying session at St. Simons Outfitters, we tied Borski Sliders which have spun deer hair heads. It has been awhile since I spun deer hair, and it piqued my interest in spun deer hair flies.  I saw a few references to spun deer hair crab patterns, and thought I would give it a go. 


Spinning deer hair takes a little practice, but it is fairly easy to do after a few tries.  These flies are easy to tie.  All of the flies have a barred rabbit strip and some flash for the tail. 


Tie in some light lead eyes.  Tie in the tail and flash.  Spin the first clump of hair.  Do not trim this clump; the ends of the hair will form a collar around the tail and add action.  Spin large bunches of hair, approximately 2 pencils worth. Spin the first bunch with the ends of the hair extending toward the tail.  Keep spinning hair until you have the shank covered or up to the eyes, depending upon which style you are tying.  When you think you have tied in enough either spin some more or flair some hair around the hook shank.  Pack the hair tightly.  Trim the hair to about the size of a quarter.

After trimming, you can color the hair with different color markers to make it more realistic.  On the top of the trimmed crab dab either some five minute epoxy or some quick cure UV acrylic. Drape four rubber legs across the top of the fly. Allow to cure, add a weed guard and go fishing. 


These are fun to tie and will be deadly in the grass this summer.










These are tied with the eyes tied onto the middle of the hook shank, with tan and black deer hair tied behind and in front of the eyes with an olive rabbit strip tail.  I barred the tail with a black magic marker.




Experiment with different colors of deer hair. These are some Electric Chicken crabs (pink and chartreuse).  These are tied with the eyes near the hook eye and all the deer hair behind the eyes.

The epoxy/acrylic back imitates the crab shell. When the fish bites, the fly feels like a real crab. We constantly see tailing sheepshead in the flooded grass on full and new moon tides in the summer.  These are finicky fish that require exact delivery.  If you get lucky enough for a sheepie to take your fly, he normally spits  it out immediately. Probably because it doesn't feel hard like a real crab.  That being said, these flies in dark, more natural colors with the hard shell back should work for these finicky fish.


Try tying some of these for your next trip.  Be sure to let me know how they work.


Strip Strike 101, part 1
The Importance of a Strip Strike
and why to
Keep your rod pointed directly at the line while fishing

Many times my clients get a strike, starts fighting the fish, and the line goes slack.  I know it is not the hook, because I use chemically sharpened hooks, or sharpen the few Mustad hooks I have left in the fly inventory.
Early in January, I had a client get two vicious strikes, have the fish on a short while, and then the line went limp.   He raised the rod tip to set the hook on both occasions.  In his defense, the second fish charged the boat, and he couldn't strip line fast enough to keep the line tight.  But if he had set the hook so the barb was in the fish's jaw, the hook would not have come out.
In February, I had the same thing happen.  I immediately noticed the client had not set the hook.  He had the fish on a few seconds,  Then the line went limp.  On the second take, he was fishing the fly correctly and did a great strip strike. He was rewarded with an over slot red fish.
Later that month, I had anther client miss a few strikes by raising the rod tip.  On one strike, by reflex, he raised the rod tip, then remembered to strip strike while his rod tip was raised.  When the fish came boat side, I got the big red on a boga grip.  When I lifted the fish out of the water, the hook fell out of the fish's mouth.  He had not strip striked correctly and, as a result, failed to sink the barb into the fish's jaw.
Salt water fly fishing is new to many of my clients.  I try to help them learn the proper techniques from casting to fighting the fish.   This article is going to concentrate on how to fish a fly, how to fish it so you can perform a proper strip strike, how to strip strike and why a strip strike is necessary.
After casting to a fish or to a bank, you have to keep the tip low and your rod pointed DIRECTLY AT THE FLY LINE. Do not have any angle between your fly line and your rod. You should have the fly and rod form a straight line.  You strip the fly in with your line hand, from behind the finger that is controlling your line on you rod hand.  I do two short strips followed by a longer strip. I also vary the tempo of the retrieve, but I always have my rod pointed directly at my line.
I had a guide in Northern California once tell me, "A nymph fisherman is a nervous fisherman."  What does that mean?  It means, if you think you have a bite, STRIKE.  Salt water fly fishermen should also be a nervous fishermen.  If you feel a bump, STRIKE;  it doesn't cost any extra.  The worst you will do is get hung up on oysters, and the best you can do is catch a fish!!! If you don't strike, you won't catch a fish.  
So, you are stripping/fishing the fly back in.  You feel a bump, you see a tail tip out of the water near your fly, and you feel pressure on the line.  What do you do?  You keep  your rod pointed directly at the fish, grasp the line with your line hand at the reel, and pull as hard and as fast as you can with that hand as far back as you can.  I like to see a client's hand end up literally behind their derriere (that is fancy for butt) after a strip strike. 
So, Why do you keep your rod pointed at the line?  Why don't you raise the rod tip? Why strip strike? 
All that will be covered in the next Newsletter.  Stay tuned!!!
This is the back window of my Silver Toyota Tacoma truck.  It is pretty much unmistakable.

If you see me riding around St. Simons or anywhere else, stop me, say hello and let's talk about Fly Fishing.
I am waiting for the new 2014 stickers from Orvis. They will soon be on the truck and the boat.   There are not many brands you can trust for outstanding customer service.  Orvis is at the top of that list.  I am proud to be a partner with this great company.
Gay's Big Trout                      Gay's Big Trout
Capt. David Edens is an Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide
, a  Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor and a member of the Federation of Fly Fishers Professional Guides Association.  These endorsements and certifications 
assure you of a quality trip and instruction.  Capt. Dave eats, sleeps and lives fly fishing!

Contact me through my website: Fly Cast Charters or call:
Capt. David Edens
706-540-1276 cell (best)
912-289-1061 home
 December/January to mid-February Re-cap
At this time of year, the water temperatures drop, and the algae and other organic matter in our waters die and drops to the bottom.  That means clear water fishing.

The red fish also form large schools as they gather together for protection from bottlenose dolphin.  Dolphin are a major predator of red fish.  They prey on them all year, but prey on them most heavily in the winter when other bait fish and shrimp are scarce.  Like deer form herds for protection by having more eyes and ears, as birds flock and move together for protection, and as bait fish school and move together for protection so do red fish.  These schools can easily reach 100 or more fish.  Many times while we are on the flats, we will see dolphins slashing the water and tearing through a school of fish.  When that happens, it is time to move on and find another school.
When you find an unmolested school, the fishing can be fantastic.  Several times in December we managed to find some nice fish.  
 We found some fish for two brothers way back in the marsh as the tide came in.

My good client, Ed, came to fish with me again.  After a long run, expecting to find clear water and big schools, we found dirty water and scattered fish.  So it was time for the dirty water fly.  Out came the Purple Passion, and the next thing I knew, Ed was hooked up with a 10 lb red that took him to his backing.  Nice fish, Ed.  We will be doing it again later in February.  

I don't get a chance to fish much during the busy months of  the year, so Whit and I decided to see if we could find some fish.  Boy did we ever.  We found a big winter time school moving up a creek with the tide, tailing and pushing water until it got too dark for us to see.  Whit caught two nice red fish,  his first ever;  and he caught me in a video with a spinning rod. 
Winter Time Fishing For Red Fish at St. Simons, GA
Winter Time Fishing For Red Fish at St. Simons, GA
Weather is a main factor for success in the winter.  I set a date for another set of brothers to try their hand at fly fishing for red fish. If my client is local or if he is here for a few days/week, I try to keep the days flexible so we can fish on optimum weather days. Based on the tide predictions, we set the date of February 10 back in December.  We watched the weather carefully, and lo and behold, the combinations of tides and weather on 2/10 was almost as good as it has been all winter.  We were into big schools all day.  When I mountain trout fished, we had a saying, "See a fish; catch a fish."   That was the way it was on this day.  As a result, I had the pleasure of helping both of them catch their first red fish ever, all on a six weight fly rod.  

I also had a chance to go out, and managed to put this nice 28" fish into the boat.
So far this winter, we have made good use of the nice days, which have been few and far between.  Let's hope the rest of February and March offer us some relief from cold, windy weather.  If so, the clear water and big schools will continue well into March, when we will begin transitioning to Spring fishing.
April and May mark the return of the triple tail, then here comes the summer, with full and new moon tides and tailing red fish.  I think I am ready.
Until next time, 
Tight lines, strip strike and practice the double haul, 
Capt. David Edens
308 Wild Heron Rd.
St. Simons Island, GA  31522
706-540-1276  Cell-best
912-289-1061 Home
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Orvis Feedback

As an Orvis endorsed Guide, Orvis encourages my clients to leave feedback on the Orvis web site.  I pride myself on doing everything I can to make your trip successful.  If you ever are not satisfied or feel you cannot rate every part of our trip a 5 out of 5, please let me know and I will do everything in my power to make it right.

Check out the latest feedback at: Capt. David Edens
Thanks for a Great 2013 and Saint Simons Outfitters
I can't express my appreciation to all my clients that have fished with me over the last several years.  I love showing everyone our terrific fly fishery.  I also love introducing people to the sport of the long rod.   There is no question that there are more effective ways to catch fish in the salt water, but there is no more challenging way. Floating live shrimp under a float rig or pulling a DOA under a popping cork is fun, but once you experience the thrill of sight casting to a ten pound red fish or a large triple tail and watching them inhale a fly, you will be hooked for life.   I do my best to give people a positive introduction to this sport and promote conservation oriented fly fishing in St. Simons. Please be sure to give me a call if you are coming to the Golden Isles, and let's go, "Hunting Fish in the Marshes of Glynn." 


If you come to St. Simons, be sure to visit St. Simons Outfitters.  Ellen has vastly expanded the fly tying area.  She has what is left of her fall and winter clothes marked down, and has tons of new merchandise for Spring and Summer.  She has expanded the line of local fly patterns and will soon begin carrying some innovative patterns from Chris Webber of Brack n' Brine products.   If you are going to fly fish in St. Simons, go by St. Simons Outfitters, pick up a few of these flies and catch some fish. 


Visit their web site to see what is new:  St. Simons Outfitters

For the latest fishing reports, please go to my web site:  Not only are there up to date fishing reports, I am constantly adding new photos, information and videos. Fish the Golden Isles, and call me to enjoy, "Hunting Fish in the Marshes of Glynn".


Capt. David Edens

Endorsed Orvis Fly Fishing Guide
Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor
Federation of Fly Fishers Professional Guide Association
Fly Cast Charters
308 Wild Heron Rd.
St. Simons Island, GA  31522
706-540-1276 cell
912-289-1061 home