Flash Bugger

Gills and Gators – Florida Farm Pond Fishin’

“Sure, just watch out for the gator.”

The words resonated in my head as I walked toward the pond that reportedly held some bass and panfish. Moments earlier, my ears perked up when I heard the owner of the small citrus-picking operation mention a little pond in the corner of the grove – and a gator. I couldn’t help myself. I just had to ask.

“Any fish in that pond?”

“Yeah, there are some bass, and a few tilapia,” she replied.

“Mind if I fish a little?”….

An orange grove was the last place I expected to be tossing a fly in southwest Florida, but the prospect of catching a big Florida bucketmouth sent chills of excitement down my spine. Only about a hundred feet long and half as wide, the pond was small, if not tiny, easily in range of casting a fly to the other side. A little grove of palm trees hung over the water, breaking up the grassy bank. I imagined a largemouth lurking in the shade, waiting for a helpless baitfish to wander by.

Then I spotted her. Eight feet of massive gator was sitting on the opposite bank sunning herself — out of reach, but still far too close to be comfortable. With one eye on the beast, Braden grabbed a #4 rusty brown Meat Whistle and tied it on with a Rapala knot.

I was on gator watch while Braden probed the depths. The murky water was full of tiny minnows. Occasionally, something would erupt on the surface, sending the minnows scattering and fueling our excitement even more. One restless corner of our minds was always on the gator, no matter how much we focused on the fish. Braden ran the Meat Whistle through the middle of the pond and along the shore, but nothing showed any interest. After a few minutes of fishing, he decided to shift gears and switch to a panfish fly. He tied on a #12 Flash Bugger and repeated the process, hitting every little fishy spot in that corner of the pond.

A few minutes later I took the rod and headed over to the other side of the pond. The gator kept an eye on us as she lazily sat on the bank. The uneasiness was beginning to wear off, but it’s hard to be completely comfortable (or at least it should be) with an apex predator staring you down. I cast my flash bugger deep into the shade, and started stripping it back. The line tightened up, and I set the hook on a fish! As soon as the gator saw the rod bend, she launched herself into the water and started cruising right at us…I stripped in line and yanked the 6-inch bluegill onto the bank, using the backbone of my eight weight to my advantage. The gator was getting closer with every moment. Braden snapped a quick picture before I fumbled with unhooking the fish, chucked it back into the pond, and took off in a hurry! We tried to fish some more, but every time Braden started casting, the gator would slowly sneak toward us, forcing us to get out of there before she got too close. Today was an awesome experience that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Tight Lines,


Morning at the Quarry

On a Friday morning we packed the van and headed to the Quarry. There is something magnificent about the Quarry. All those abandoned granite pits filled with water, just waiting to be fished. Over a half dozen quarries for fishing are home to numerous bass, large and small, with high cliffs, rock piles, and deep water.

High cliffs, rock piles, and deep water

We first go to quarry 11 for bass. I tied on a Braden’s Crayfish and started fishing. Then I heard Braden yell “Fish on!” so I run over there and Braden has a nice 12″ bass.

Braden and I move to fish off some cliffs. Braden catches another bass, a 8″ this time. I move down some more, cast, and then I have one on. A nice 8″ largemouth.I cast some more and hook into strong 12″ largemouth.

 Then we pack up and move to quarry 13 and fish for a short time with no luck, so Braden and I hit the trail and walk to 18. Braden and I got there and wet our lines and caught plenty of sunnies. I saw a crappie so I cast to it and he bit it, but I set the hook to soon. So I cast again and he bit it again, but I waited to long to set the hook. I cast one last time, and he was on. He fought for about 30 seconds and then he spit the hook. Conner and Grandpa also caught lots of sunfish. We all got some at 18.

Tight Lines,


Pike Monkey

This is a brand-new fly that I whipped out of the vice, hoping to try it on some pike at the cabin. I call it the Pike Monkey!

Pike Monkey

The Pike Monkey

Here’s how to tie it…..

Hook: #4 Mustad Big Game
Tail: Bunny zonker, 1 plume of marabou, a generous amount of Flashabou
Body: Palmered bunny zonker
Wing: Rubber legs
Head: spun deer hair

You can experiment with the colors and I think the crazier the better! I’m super excited to fish it on opener! If I can wait ’till then! :D

Here are a few pics of pike I caught on a fly…

16" I caught last fall

Smaller one

I caught both of them on a Flash Bugger.

Tight Lines,



How to Tie the Flash Bugger

The flash bugger is a killer fly for panfish, bass, and smaller pike. It is really easy to tie and extremely productive given the right conditions.
Hook: #12+
Thread: 6/0 any color
Bead: 1/8″ copper
Tail: 1 generous plume of marabou (any color)
Body: Eztaz (any color)

Step 1


1. Place the bead on the hook, and tie in your thread at the rear end of the hook shank.

Step 2

2. Measure the marabou about the size of the hook shank, and tie it in.

Step 3

3. Bring the thread back to the tail. Strip the fibers from one end of the Estaz and tie it in.

Step 4

4. Wrap it up to the bead and tie it off.

Step 5

5.Whip, clip, and there you have it. A killer fish catching Flash Bugger.

You can tie them in a variety of colors. My favorite colors are cotton candy(blue/pink), and watermelon(green/pink). They work best if you let them sink for a few seconds before you start stripping. Strip in short, brisk jerks. My favorite sequence is jerk-jerk-jerk-pause (repeat).

My favorite Flash Buggers

My favorite Flash Buggers

A nice bass I caught on a Flash Bugger

Tight Lines,




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