Now before we move on, if you haven’t read part I of this series, I suggest you do so now: Rockport Fly Fishing: Part I
Ok then, so now where were we? Ah yes, fly fishing Rockport, TX. We left off on the last series talking about fishing the tides. So let’s get into the next bit of information: making that first cast count.
When fishing the shallow water flats, remember one thing: hungry fish are almost always on the move in search of their next meal. This is why it is important to make that first cast count; it may be your only shot. This is why it is important to practice, practice, practice, and then practice some more. You’ll want to practice in your yard on dry land or anytime you’re out on the water. You don’t want to miss that once in a lifetime fish!
Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty: saltwater fly fishing equipment. When fishing the shallow water flats, it’s important that you come prepared with the proper gear, or, well, you know, bad things can happen. When targeting fish in skinny water, an 8 weight fly rod with matching line should be enough to handle most Texas inshore fish. Floating line is ideal for most applications as well, but you may want to think about some intermediate or fast sinking line when fishing deeper waters like channels or drop-offs. The leader line of choice would be somewhere around a 9 foot, 12 pound knotless leader. Now let’s talk reels. As with all saltwater equipment, it’s time to beef it up.
A larger reel that can hold a couple hundred yards of backing is ideal. It will also require a stronger drag in order to wear those bigger saltwater species out. Find one with a larger arbor as well so that you are able to take more line in with every turn. This is important for when these fish turn and make a run right at you. You will need to gather in that slack quickly in order to not lose your prize. This will provide all you need to get started fly fishing along the shores surrounding Rockport, Texas.
Ok, now let’s get to the fun part! So you’ve found the ideal habitat for prey, so now let’s look at some strategies when it comes to stalking those spooky fish. First things first, even large game fish are easily spooked by boat or fly line landing near them, so you ALWAYS want to position yourself on the outside of a school and cast in. This allows to potentially pick off several from the school before they’re spooked. If you can tell which direction they’re traveling; even better. Ideally, you’ll want them coming right at you.
Your eyesight can be your biggest ally when it comes to stalking fish in skinny water. A lot of times fish will give themselves away by surface activity like chasing bait, pushing wakes in shallow water, or tailing but being able to spot fish below the surface of the water can yield more fish. Although the Rockport, Texas area offers up beautifully clear water, polarized sunglasses and a hat can make all the difference.
Remember, fish are always moving so pay attention to any movement below the surface of the water. Things like nervous water, where ripples are going against the motion of the wind, shapes in the water that move or even a flash as the fish turns to feed. Fish are easier to spot on bright, sunny days over light bottom and harder to spot on overcast days over mixed bottom. Again, a good pair of polarized sunglasses can make all the difference. They will also aid in protecting your eyes from a rogue fly coming at your face!
Stay tuned for the next write up where we will go further in depth to a beginners guide to saltwater inshore fly fishing. For more hands on instruction, be sure to reach out to Captain Llyod Jones here at Skinny Water Addiction to take your shot at fly fishing.