I’m happy to see you back after reading those last two posts. There is a lot of great information there and we will continue on that same path here. Now, as a beginner to the fly fishing world I strongly suggest hiring Skinny Water Addiction to learn the ropes. But with that comes one important bit of information. And that is communicating with your guide. And that is where we will pick up.
Hiring a guide to stalk the skinny water flats of Rockport, TX is a great idea for a number of reasons. First and foremost, we know the waters and where the fish are. Secondly, our eyes are trained to spot fish, and that means usually long before you do. So, before heading out let’s get some things straight. You want to first establish some direction with the guide. Use the clock system. Straight off the bow is 12 o’clock. Off the stern, 6 o’clock. Directly off starboard (right side) is 3 o’clock, and off your portside (left side) is 9 o’clock. That’s pretty straightforward. Now comes the distance portion of the communication. You want to start by making a cast, say 40 feet, and then ask the guide what he thinks. You guys will want to be on the same page before continuing on so that when your guide spots a fish, he can confidently and without confusion say: redfish, 11 o’clock, 30 yards and you’ll know exactly where they’re talking about. Team effort catches fish.
Ok, so now that we’ve established that, let’s look at flies; flies as in the types and presentation of those flies. There is a lot that goes into a fly. You must think of not only the depth in which you’ll be fishing, but also the color of the bottom and the type of bait in the area. Let’s start with fly types. In saltwater, you’ll want to imitate small baitfish, shrimp and/or crabs. The color and movement of these flies will depend on bottom contour and bait types. The color of flies will depend on bottom color. For light sandy bottoms, you’ll want light colored flies, for darker bottoms, such as turtle grass or similar, choose darker patterns. Movement also depends on which fly you have tied on. Bait fish will need more fluid movements with maybe a little erratic motions involved, but shrimp and especially crabs, keep it slow with pauses thrown in here and there. But remember, when moving your fly, take in the boat’s movement as well. If the boat is moving toward the bait, keep the slack up so that you can twitch the bait perfectly once the fish moves in. Opposite when drifting away from your fly. This is crucial and may take some practice, but once nailed down can become deadly.
Did you get all that? Good, because we’re not done. Let’s talk fishing different depths. Shallow water vs medium depth water vs deeper water. Hmmmm. Shallow water is fairly easy. The weight of any fly lies in its eyes. For shallow water applications choose a fly that has little weight and cast RIGHT in front of the fish if not right on top of its nose. The slow sinking of the lightweight fly allows that fly to get in front of the fish quickly, say in 8 inches of water. If you’re stalking fish in a bit deeper water, say 16 inches or so, go to something with a bit more weight and cast slightly ahead of your intended target. Deeper water? Choose a heavier fly and cast even further in front of the fish to allow the fly to get into the fishes eyesight. Get the picture? It’s like shooting birds out of the sky, only fish in a barrel.
There you have it boys and girls, a complete guide to stalking shallow water fish with a fly rod in Rockport, Texas. Captain Lloyd Jones here at Skinny Water Addiction is here to walk you through the basics and make sure that you leave with a firm grasp of how to fly fish our beautiful coastline. So go ahead, book your trip today.