Tamiami Trail Fly Fishing with GB Fly Shop Rods

Posted by Ed Mashburn on 25th Feb 2024

Tamiami Trail Fly Fishing with GB Fly Shop Rods

So, we all know that taking care of the back cast is crucial in every fly-fishing situation, but here on the Tamiami Trail in the Everglades of Florida, it’s even more crucial. It’s very possible that a careless back cast might very easily hook into a high-speed passing semi, or even worse, a biker on a Harley. You see, a fly angler on the Trail has a high-speed roadway just feet behind and a jungle full of aggressive wildlife just feet in front. It’s quite a place.

The old Tamiami Trail, a highway which connects Miami to Tampa, gives roadside fly anglers a chance to hook into a wide range of fish- some native and some invasive- but which all pull very hard.

At this moment I’m standing here on the highway right of way with my GB Fly Shop eight-weight graphite rod in hand, an ugly self-made white and silver streamer fly tied to the end of a six-foot long section of 20 lb. mono leader, and I’m waiting for a line of traffic to pass by so I can cast to a school of rising baby tarpon in the pass-through stream which is flowing below me. And when the traffic clears, I make a couple of back casts and wonder of wonders, I make a good cast out into the dark, tannin-stained water where the silver fish have been cavorting as they chase tiny baitfish.

With a strip and then another strip. I’m rewarded with a sudden flash and strike and then there’s an eighteen-inch-long miniature tarpon leaping and running on my line.

Fly Rod Baby Tarpon

Friends, this is some kind of fun fly fishing, it is.

Now, you must know that I have used this eight-weight graphite rod which I ordered and built from GB Fly Shop a couple of years ago very happily in a wide range of situations. I’ve caught some good redfish, some nice, speckled sea trout, and of course, largemouth bass in fresh water, but I am pleased to find that this rod is a real gem when it comes to the mixed species fishing of the Trail. This rod loads and casts smoothly and easily, and the backbone of the rod is such that when I need to stop a strong hard running oscar fish from reaching snags and other cover, I can stop it.

The GB Fly Shop graphite fly rods have proven to be fine gear for a wide range of applications, and along with being attractive, well-made rods, they are also quite affordable.

I have found that the fish of the Tamiami Trail are not particularly picky about flies they’ll take- there’s lots of competition for food here, so flies don’t have to be perfect, and they don’t have to be presented perfectly, either. A fly angler can expect to catch a wide range of invasive fish- peacock bass, oscars, Mayan cichlids and others along with native bream, snook, tarpon and even some impressive gars.

However, there are some complicating elements at the Trail. Along with the traffic roaring along a scant few feet behind the angler on the highway right of way, there are dinosaurs in the water below which love to ambush a hooked fish and take it away. The alligator population of the Tamiami Trail waters is extreme, and the gators are not shy about taking hooked fish. Every fish hooked presents a challenge to land- both from the fish and the gators which try to intercept the fish.

This is a different kind of fishing, it is, but it is a kind of fishing that brings me back again and again with my fly rod in hand.

And this wonderful fishing really doesn’t require a lot of specialized gear. An eight or nine-weight GB Fly Shop rod, a decent reel with a good drag system, and a few streamer flies in various colors does it.

Oh, and some good bug repellant is important, too. The mosquitoes of the Everglades are world-class mosquitoes, and they love to find unprotected fly anglers working on the Tamiami Trail. The mosquitoes will make sure that anglers get lots of bites- from the fish and also the bugs.