Hunters and Gatherers – Preface to Rockport

| March 20, 2009


Sometimes the hunt requires the gather, especially when [ppw id=”133617176″ description=”Fly fishing Saltwater” price=”.10″]

you are gathering information for a do it yourself (DIY) trip to someplace you want to fish, but have never been, can’t get anyone else to ride shotgun, or it just goes in a direction away from home, from comforts and easy pickings.

This DIY started with three options – 1) go to the Sabine Pass, 2) go to Port O’Connor and 3) try to lay down another Bingo chip on the Smallmouth Bass spot with a little luck at Lake Whitney. Port O’Connor speaks for itself, a mecca of Texas Gulf Coast fishing forever and a day. In talking to Sean Polk at Orvis Dallas, he redirected me away from Port O. because he just can’t see doing it without a boat. Sean suggested Rockport because of my kayak, and the belief that the best place to kayak on the inland Gulf Coast is Rockport.

I was relieved with the Sabine Pass moving down the list for another time; the Pass has a reputation as a a dangerous place for those of us casting from jetties or floating on pieces of extruded plastic.


Gathering information has more than one facet in the days of blog, boards and books. Some message boards, for whatever reason, have pulled up lame this year with participation being on the downswing at locations such as Texas Fly Report and to some extent all across the boards. If one were to theorize on what is happening on the boards, it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that what is affecting the industry also affects the information industry. A downturn in the number of people fishing naturally leads to a downturn in the creation of new information about the sport. Cyber-bullying, which was running rampant on the boards in years past, now lacks the audience bullies thrive on for their own gratification. It’s kind of like the “if a tree falls …” analogy – if a bully bullies, and no one is there to see, do they still get their jollies? It seems not.

As far as boards do go, there are a couple of places to glean information without the ideal of gathering “fly fishing” information. There is the Texas Kayak forum, which of course makes sense for someone fishing from a kayak. The site does give insights into locations and what spinners and casters are using to catch fish. The trick is to visually translate their baits into our flies. Of course there are always the “go to ” flies, but sometimes color – and whether bait or shrimp – can be all you need for success. The Texas Fishing Forum has diverse participants over a wide geographic area, all seemingly infected with the bug – be it bait, lure or fly. They also, generally, have a penchant for showing (and showing and showing) and not sharing, which is a non-starter here.

If you are DIY’ing it, there comes a time when you want to assess the risk factor and the knowledge factor. No matter what you thin you have learned indirectly, there are nuances and changes that will probably occur when you are in route to the location. I did manage to make a couple of connections in an effort to keep from paddling alone, and meeting unknown people in unknown locations will make for an interesting followup. Besides, I’m discovering the difficulties of photographing fishing alone – difficulties that border on impossibilities at times. (Sometimes, as I discovered, photography is less about the fish.)


Before you just throw your stuff in the back of your Gremlin and drive for the salt, you may want to sit down at your fly tying bench and come up with a few new flavors for the exotic tastes of fish who’ve probably seen it all. It seemed like a good idea to add some bentback bait patterns, some shrimp and shallow Clousers to the boxes for an unpredictable spring serving. I had seen a couple of Clouser colors tan/white and pink/white, that seemed like an all-around application – a bait pattern in shrimpy colors.

Not knowing what water I would encounter along the way, the best idea was to take a six, eight and ten weight rod – all with floating and intermediate lines. I also loaded an equal assortment of freshwater flies, again to supplement any distractions along the way to the coast.

Rockport, the town, was a mystery, so I had to pack like I was going to the moon. Bring enough to survive solo, and if you don’t need it, at least you were prepared. Rockport proved to be entirely modern and civilized (see future post), but with a tent and luck, I was able to get a good spot at Goose Island State Park for 10. a day. If you want to get a hotel in town (right on the waterfront), make early reservations and sleep in true comfort.

Once you have hunted, gathered, loaded and left your roads most traveled – make sure you have good maps, and don’t hesitate to print out all the google maps you may think you need. As always, any satellite images may be aged and obsolete due to hurricane damage, seasonal tidal ranges, and any number of other factors.



Next week – a complete report and podcast from Rockport, Texas.

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Category: Fishing Reports, Gulf Coast Report, On The Road

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