Lets talk inshore saltwater fly fishing. You see the pictures, you can feel the accomplishment. You want to be that guy (or gal), but whats stopping you? Is it because you dont know where to begin? Is it because you dont have the means? Or is it because youre scared? There are many places to try your hand at saltwater inshore fly fishing, but here in Rockport, Texas we like to think that we have the most beginner friendly waters in the nation—dare we say world? Why is that? Maybe its because of our crystal clear waters. Maybe its because of our accessibility. Maybe its because of our network of bays and estuaries that draw such a crowd; a crowd of redfish that is. Regardless of your excuses, or concerns rather, there is one thing for certain; Rockport, Texas is a fly fishermans paradise. Whether by skiff or foot, Skinny Water Addiction has the guidance you need to learn the ropes of the renowned art of fly fishing in skinny water. This is considered hunting fish due to the fact that you typically see the fish before it senses you. Move slowly and quietly and you will soon have yourself a shot at a tailing redfish. Lets look at some basics of fly fishing to help get you started.
First off, lets look at the difference between casting a spinning setup and a fly rod. Theres really not a huge difference except for the fact that with spinning rods, you tend to cast the lure. Your line is small in diameter and light, but your lure holds the weight. In fly fishing, think of it as youre casting the line. Thats right, your line holds the weight and your lure weighs virtually nothing. The truth is, you are able to get much more distance and cover more water from a spinning reel, but the fly rod enables to you do more stalking of your prey. You are required to get closer and make more accurate casts when fly fishing which is a huge part of the excitement!
With that being said there is a lot of patience with fly fishing—lots of drifting and waiting to spot fish. Thats why it is important to find the ideal habitat for not only YOUR prey, but the fishs prey. Shallow water offers up incredible food sources for redfish like crab and shrimp. Structure is also an important factor when searching for redfish. Look for rocky outcroppings, grass points, and even docks which provide a haven for baitfish that the hungry redfish are after. In other words, concentrate on areas where redfish can hone in on prey. These areas offer up the best chances for hungry redfish. But of course, always be on the lookout for redfish blowing up the surface on baitfish.
There are other ways to look for feeding redfish. Diving birds is a sure fire way to tell that there are baitfish in the area. And where theres baitfish, there is a good chance that redfish are in close proximity. You may also see baitfish jumping from the surface of the water. This indicates that they are more than likely trying to escape the jaws of a hungry redfish. If you keep your eyes open and pay attention, you may also even see tails protruding from the water. This, often seen in pictures and paintings, shows that redfish are rooting around on the bottom in search of crabs, shrimp or anything else that they may be able to expose. Either way, your eyes and ears will serve you well when stalking redfish. They will almost always give themselves away, but its up to you to keep your senses in high alert.
Lets finish up by talking tides. Tides play an important role when it comes to stalking redfish. Most of the redfishs diet consists of crabs, shrimp and small baitfish. These small fries are able to seek refuge in the shallow waters that bigger fish cannot reach. BUT, when the tide comes in and floods there areas, the redfish are able to get in and feed on sources that are otherwise inaccessible. The same goes for when the tide retreats. When the tide retreats, these meals are flushed out where the redfish are lying in wait for an easy snack. Heres a good rule of thumb: fish any water movement because any water movement has the opportunity to produce fish. When the tide is slack, or not moving, then that means that bait isnt being pushed around and could lead to slow fishing. But that varies from location to location so never give up and be sure to always have a wet line.
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 a stab at fly fishing.