Saltwater Flies for Galveston Fly Fishing

| October 28, 2013

fly fishing in galveston texas

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Fly Fishing on the Texas Gulf CoastWe are heading to Houston this week, to the Houston International Quilt Festival. Now before you stop reading, stick with me for a minute longer. Houston is a lot closer to Galveston than Dallas is. And, no, I am not a quilter – not that there’s anything wrong with that. I will actually be in that part of Texas working for Cimarrona again, and we expect to see as many as 50-thousand people in proximity of my wife’s recycled wool and accessories.

What we don’t know for sure is what kind of fly fishing action we can expect this week. The solunar charts are pointing to very good conditions next week, but the idea of bringing a kayak along for the duration tends to wear me out these days. So, I am thinking wade fishing on the back side of the San Luis Pass, the jetties or maybe seeing if flounder are coming in in the usual places. The charts are so good – the solunar variable is perfect – that it’s a done deal.

The other variable I like to work on in preparation of not knowing what to expect is to work on fly patterns that may be in season at a particular time. What I learned from local DS is that redfish are gorging on small grass shrimp right now.

I decided that instead of concentrating on actual shrimp patterns, I would actually tie some Clouser patterns in shrimpy colors. I am always happy to add some new pieces to the great old formulas, whether it’s Clear Cure Goo, or the new brass barbell round end eyes I spied on the Allen Fly Fishing Company website.

I like the look of their brass eyes so much that I sank some money into 100 counts of two different sizes and two different finishes – brass and silver. And I’m glad I did! These eyes are top shelf all the way; narrower in the center post than any others I’ve used, uniquely convex, amazingly polished (so thread just dives into that center post groove), and most importantly – balanced. I always use brass for saltwater flies. Gold gets saltwater fish, and it’s a fairly easy way to immediately separate which flies in my arsenal are for saltwater, and those for freshwater.

Based on the shrimpy colors that have worked in the past, and adding a little coyote twist (thanks to a lifetime supply of coyote sent to me by guiding client Jay Buchner of Jackson, WY, earlier this year), I went to work on a series of Clousers in shrimpy flavors. My thinking is that (I’ve heard) the fish are moving, and willing to move, so I wanted to stick with a moving pattern like the Clouser. I like the color of the coyote for shrimp, and the fact that it moves even when it’s sitting still. That little variant could provide some balance if one needs to let a fly drop and get a fish’s attention without actually working it … the coyote could be the ticket. Jay sent so many different samples of natural hair … it’ll take me years to explore all the possibilities, but I am unaware of anyone tying on coyote for saltwater (even though we know it has all been done before!).

Along with the coyote, I use bucktails from Barlow’s, midge flash (a shrimpy thing) in gold and pink, calf tail in fluorescent colors, 210 hot pink thread to match, and this batch is on a smaller size 4 C70SD Mustad hook. The Allen eyes are 4.8mm for this size fly. Although these really aren’t “small” Clousers, they should still appeal to a slot redfish’s appetite.

With a little luck, we should find out by the end of the week whether the reds marauding the Galveston, Texas, area are hungry for what I have to feed them. Chances are there will be a broad sampling of what we can fly fish for – ON FOOT – in the Galveston, Texas, area. The thing about walking fly fishing on Galveston is that everyone and anyone has access, so it can get shaken and stirred pretty quickly (as in before I even get there).

END NOTES – If you have never seen your fly the way (I believe) a fish sees your flies, squint your eyes and take a look. It makes you wonder just how accurate we need to be. Add that perception to your thinking and you understand why the bass market can be so bizarre looking. I also believe that the eyes on a Clouser are more of an “attraction” than an “accuracy” piece of that pattern. Perhaps it’s the reflectivity, or the black dot provided by lead eyes, that complete the edible look of a Clouser. I’ve been amazed by several fly fishers, perhaps new to the sport, that ask, “You mean a Clouser runs hook up? All the ones I bought run hook down.” Part of the beauty of a Clouser is that it runs hook up when tied properly. If I tie one that runs sideways or upside down, it comes off and goes into the recycle bin. I’ll take some time this winter to go into the nuances of tying flies, like the Clouser, nuances that make a big difference in the durability and performance of typical fly patterns.

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Category: Adventure, Fly Fishing for Redfish, Fly Tying, Texas Gulf Coast

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

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  1. Chris says:

    Galveston island state park in you have a yak!