First New Species of 2020

by | Feb 7, 2020 | fly fishing Florida | 3 comments

fishing-floridaIt’s nice to write about a day of fishing for the first time in 2020 after the heavy month of January.  Todays blog is about fishing with my longtime friend and mentor, Paul Bruun.  Paul was one of the first guys I met when I arrived in Jackson Hole back in 1987.  I learned a ton during our long conversations in the fly shop and the many days on the water together.  Paul was also friends with my dad.


Paul-Bruun-Jeff-CurrierAlthough Paul and his wife Jean continue to call Jackson Hole home, they winter in Florida.  I arrived yesterday because I’m teaching a full day seminar to the Backcountry Fly Club of Melbourne, FL tomorrow.  Today Jean set Paul and I loose on the St. Lucie River.


flyfishing-floridaThough our goal was to have a good time and catch a few fish, I had my heart set on a new species.  If you know the species I’m surprised.  It’s the bigmouth sleeper, a fish Paul and Jean catch on plugs accidentally from time to time.


Jeff-Currier-flyfishingWe left the boat ramp around 8 AM with a chill in the air for FL.  It was about 60° and windy.  It rained here all last night but broke an hour before we left the house.  The two of us were bundled up but the skies and river had that look leaving us very optimistic.


swordspine-snookI was chucking my 6-weight Winston Air with a floating Amplitude.  Its probably a bit light for a river with common snook and baby tarpon but if you remember, last year ended with some serious tennis elbow issues.  I intend to take on this new year of fishing by gradually tossing lighter rods no matter what.  Luckily, the first few fish I caught were the not so tough fighting, swordspine snook.


Florida-Snook-FishingThe swordspine gets his name from the pain inflicting spine at the start of his anal fin.  Sure enough I caught one in my palm today but its too be expected when you catch more than 20.  This silvery little snook rarely exceeds 20” so the 6-weight ended up being perfect for the job.


Jeff-Currier-Jack-CrevalleThere were a couple fish however that earned my Winston extra credit.  I picked up several jack crevalle.  While most were little guys a few were big enough to cause havoc.  Here’s one of the feisty little guys I pulled out from under a massive oak.  Jacks can travel far up into fresh water and when they do they pick up this beautiful golden color.


florida-flyfishingShortly after the jack I hooked into my first new species of 2020.  Only it wasn’t the sleeper.  Instead it was a toothy longnose gar (Lepisosteus osseus)  No doubt about it, this fella tested my 6-weight and my skills needed in order to get him in.




Too my advantage, I was fishing heavy tippet.  I suspected the sleeper wouldn’t be tippet shy so I used a leader designed so I could crank on a big snook if needed.  I had on 10-feet of 40lb Scientific Anglers fluorocarbon.


Once I gained control and got my gar to the side of Paul’s boat the acrobatics started.  While Paul graciously offered his Boga Grip I opted to grab the fish around the back.  All was good until I loosened my grip to pose for a hero shot.  The angry fish spun through the air and back to the water.



No danger of missing a photo however, the 40lb leader kept the gar attached and I got a second shot at a photo.  This time things worked out better.  My first new species for 2020!


longnose-garI’ve chased the gar around over the years but never landed one.  There are several types and it seems the longnose eats flies well.  The issue is simply hooking them.  Their mouth is nothing but razor sharp teeth which explains the painful wound I got when he grazed me on his way back to the water.


fishing-injusriesPaul and I had a fantastic day together.  Why we haven’t been fishing together back home the last few years is a mystery.  Hopefully we can rectify that this summer.


It feels good to get my first day on the water this year.  It’s the first time ever where after I couldn’t pick up the phone and tell dad what a great day I had.  Calling dad was one of the things I cherished in life and it will take time to get used to not being able to share my experiences.


FloridaTomorrow I teach my seminar for the club.  For now its another of Jeans delicious meals and a good night sleep.  The good news is I’m heading out fishing again on Sunday with another friend, Frank Catino.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


  1. Tad

    That was my neck of the woods from 1966 to 2000. Nice catches.

    If you have the time try going after peacock bass from Delray Beach – Lake Ida though Dade county. Very challenging fish.


  2. RM Lytle

    20 swordspine in a day, wow! Longnose gar are one of my favorite species to target. It took me a few trips to Lake Champlain to get one but sight fishing to sun bathing gar is an absolute blast.

  3. Jeffrey Currier

    Glad you guys enjoyed the read. Tad – I’m headed home already so next time on the peacocks. And yes RM, I slugfested those little snook. So much fun!

Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!