As one of the younger and hard-charging fishing guides working the Chesapeake today, Captain Tyler Nonn of Tidewater Charters enters his eighth year leading clients to big fish on the fly and with light tackle. From the Susquehanna Flats to the Florida Keys, Tyler takes his philosophy “move with the fish” seriously. His specialty is targeting large fish, particularly stripers.
Beginning in the spring, he follows the striped bass migration up the Bay, and as water temperatures rise in May, he reverses direction and goes south to hunt bull red drum as well as stripers that congregate in Virginia waters at the Chesapeake’s mouth. Come winter, he’s smart enough to skip out on mid-Atlantic doldrums and head to the Florida Keys, spending most of his time guiding around Big Pine Key where he targets sailfish, blackfin tuna, cobia, tarpon, kingfish, and more. Recently, PropTalk posed some questions to Captain Tyler, and he was good enough to play along. His answers are below.
PropTalk: What’s the toughest fish to catch and why?
Nonn: Pre-spawn large striped bass after a spring cold front. These already finicky fish can be even harder to get to bite an artificial (lure) when water temps drop. Often times slowing and keeping your jig close to the bottom can result in more strikes.
What famous person (or character, real or fictional) would you like to fish with and why?
I would have liked to fish with Jose Wejebe. Growing up watching the “Spanish Fly” (show) on TV, Jose was inspiration for me. I wanted to learn more, fish harder, and broaden my range of fishing skills. Without a doubt I think I could have absorbed an incredible amount of knowledge from a day on the water with him. Unfortunately, Jose passed away a few years ago, and it truly was a tragedy for the fishing community.
What’s your go-to reel/rod combo?
St. Croix seven-foot MH Inshore Mojo paired with 5000 Shimano Stradic. This is my go-to set up for inshore fishing. This set up can toss big poppers for pre-spawn giant striped bass or 14-inch Hogy soft plastics at tarpon on the flats in Florida.
What’s the most over-used fishing quote?
“A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work.” This may be the most over-used fishing quote I’ve encountered. Although it’s true, don’t let this quote get in your way of giving 110 percent on the water. Make the most of each fishing day you can get!
What’s the most common mistake anglers make when fighting big fish?
The most common mistake I see anglers make when fighting big fish is not putting enough pressure on fish. When matched with proper equipment I tell anglers to apply maximum pressure. Less time that (the) fish is out there fighting the less time it has to spit the hook, hang up on a rock, or break off on a piling. Also when you land the fish, it will be ready to swim off healthy, strong, and ready to fight another day as well.
by Captain Chris D. Dollar