Tag: Lagoon Boats

Texas Skiff – Why Share The Love?

| June 29, 2017 | 1 Comment

Texas Skiff home here for now

A few years (really!) back I was about to launch a separate website called Texas Skiff. Well, life and the “C” got in the way. So, I decided to roll the love of the SKIFF LIFE into the love of fly. I must be feeling better – to add another ball to juggle! The reality is I am a first-time boat owner, and am learning and living the skiff life in real time. So I figure, just like I figured when I started Texas Fly Caster in 2007, WHY NOT share the information that could save some new skiff owner A LOT of HEARTACHE?

I will be combining stories on skiffs, mainly Texas based, with what you find here at Texas Fly Caster — as we go into the future. Some of you will find the details interesting, even if you don’t own a skiff. Why? Because a lot of what goes into a skiff comes from kayaking and other realms. Why not take what we learned in the kayak world, and translate to skiff?

FORMAL INTRODUCTIONS

The YouTube video is a run through the skiff you’ve seen, and perhaps been lucky enough to ride. Once again, as when I started this site in 2007, I do not know where the TEXAS SKIFF segment will lead, but at least I can share information that may help skiff buyers and owners save money, headaches and time. If you save time messing with your skiff, you can spend it casting for your favorite fish, can’t you?

 

 

Carp on Fly – Down to the Last Cast

| October 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

It smells like tomorrow will be the swan song for the epic CARP 2016 Season on Lake Ray Roberts, Texas. I’ll have a guest on board the skiff, but made no promises of even seeing any carp on the famous flats that produced so many memories in a new book of memories started this year. If next year is anything like, anything close to this year, then the world is right (regardless of politics).

I am betting there will be others out on the flats tomorrow, trying to get one more taste of the “carp thang” as well, and I guess I should warn them / you that I am going to blow up the Lantana Flat as the first order of business tomorrow. It’s only right really, after having them blown for me and a guest the last time I was there (by an unconventional wader*). *I would be glad to explain the nuances to you.

SEASON IN REVIEW

It will take awhile to gather all the “hits” from the Spring-Summer ’16 fly fishing, but I will try and get together a YouTube video or a slideshow … call it a brag reel if you like! I don’t mind looking back for the most part, but it’s a little hard to do that while looking forward to, and preparing for Oklahoma (still have to send in that paperwork proving I’m an ‘merican citizen and all the rest) this winter when it’s pushing 90-degrees the next three days.

LOOKING AHEAD

It is enticing to leave the skiff hooked up to the truck, as it is right now, and just head south until it’s warm enough to be interesting on the water – and reading reports for places, like Lake Belton, and Lake Somerville do nothing to make me want to mothball the skiff any time soon.

Next weekend it is a change of scenery for sure though, as we head to the Chicken Farm Art Center in San Angelo, Texas. Regular readers will remember that we have made that trip a few times over the years, and although I have yet to catch a fish there, it is a fantastic getaway. Maybe we will get lucky this time? If you know anything about the water out that way (the Concho in town seems just about empty of fish), feel free to let me know – and if you live there – COME FIND ME at the Chicken Farm. I am sure I can get away for some fishing.

 

Salt for the Soul

| January 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

south padre island texas fly fishing #flyfishing skiff rigging brownsville ship channel South Bay

speckled trout south padre island

Leslie caught this nice speck while we were on the sand about five miles north of the Convention Center, on the bay side of South Padre Island, Texas. Caught on a topwater MirroLure.

NOTE – As you remember, I have always written about the DIY trips we do here in an honest and forthright way. If we catch, we catch. And if we hit a brick wall, we hit a brick wall. The biggest takeaway from this trip is going to be knowledge, which you have to admit is a good thing for the future. I have seen guides, who sponsor trips to exotic locales, try to make a silk PR purse from days (or an entire trip) of being blanked. That doesn’t fly here.

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND TEXAS – January 29, 2016

Two weeks are almost up, and today will probably go a ways to define this trip. I certainly can’t define it by the weather – stormy then clear in rapid succession, the fish – you see who did the only catching in that image above, or by the stories generated – during off-season, trying to get a hold of people to interview who must live on “Island Time.” If I could define it, I would probably say it’s a little too far off season for a lost son to come back and zero in on fish … I do take comfort in the number of boats I see running the grass flats – maybe a handful a day at the very most.

I dropped on the edge of the intracoastal early yesterday, and spent the rest of the day drifting the sand holes in the grass, called potholes – up north, on the bayside sand across from Andie Bowie Park – all to no good, I couldn’t even roust a single frightened fish. I would have to summarize that the cool front pushed them off the flats for more than a day as the water temperature dipped about 3-4 degrees in a day (during the warmest part of the day) from Wednesday to Thursday. And the water was still quite churned from the gale force winds that came with the cool front. The water was cloudy and it looked like the bay grass has been mowed, as it is floating everywhere.

ABOUT BOATING THE LOWER LAGUNA MADRE

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I knew from my childhood that boating the Lower Laguna Madre, out of South Padre, is a treacherous affair. There’s a reason why kite surfers and sailboarders come from all over the world to here; the wind howls, but most importantly, it’s shallow for miles and miles. Local boat companies have, as I documented in the past, created boats specifically for running over the grass without touching it. That means wide open and six inches of water. Channels and depth has little meaning for them. Right now, as the Lagoon Skiff is setup, and if I keep the setup* as is, it’s not running wide out in six inches of water. I am very satisfied in how shallow it does run with the way it is setup now, but if I were running here daily the setup* would have to change.

*Setup – Motor height in this case, as I already have trim-tabs on her.

I hesitate to think about a jack-plate just to run this water, but I do believe what the boat builder, Oscar Weaver (Owner / Builder at Lagoon Boats Cocoa, FL), said about jack plates and tunnel hulls, “a lot of that can be avoided by doing the correct rigging of the boat,” in reference to motor height. That was his response when I was “encouraging” him to build a tunnel for Texas water. I still think a tunnel could be a great change for a Texas boat. One of the key phrases I have zeroed in  when it comes to Florida boats (virtually all of them) is, “poles in 6-inches,” whereas in Texas we say, “runs in 6-inches.” Feel Free to Think about that one.

What I do now is simply put-put the channel that runs the civilized bayside, out the south end, where it opens up at the causeway (channel runs parallel to the NEW causeway), and then make my EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS move to head south toward the old Queen Isabella Causeway, or to head north along the intracoastal and back (eastward) to the flats once everyone else disappears. Once I am shallow, I cut the motor and drift, or use the trolling motor to drift the (empty yesterday) potholes. You’re going to need electronics out here for charts – because if you’re off by a little, it can hurt a lot.

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AT THE END OF THE LINE

My wife looked at me this morning, over a smoothie and oatmeal, and said, “You think you’re overdoing it a bit?” “Heck yes!” I replied. “You know this was supposed to be a rest and recuperation trip don’t you?” I said there’ll be plenty of time for rest while I drive the 600 miles home from here. Salt is, as always, good for my soul.

Today we’re going to do more investigating – as we are headed to the Brownsville Ship Channel. My expectations have been lowered progressively over the last two weeks. I have come to the conclusion it’s no better to pull and launch (at the Jaimie J. Zapata ramp on 48) the boat from in close to the Ship Channel (say, than it is to run there from the slip at Jim’s Pier. It’s just not that far in the grand scheme, and of course it’s even closer to South Bay. The tide times are opposed to us, but when in Rome …

 

Monday Morning A Day to Remember

| December 7, 2015 | 1 Comment

fly fishing Texas winterizing skiff randy brodnax art world war II #flyfishing #texasskiff lagoon boats

A DAY THAT LIVES IN INFAMY

Monday mornings always take on extra meaning, like December 7 obviously should, or at least it used to. Now that we have recurring acts of terrorism on the mainland regularly, maybe the fade of WWII has finally begun, just as WWI the war to end all wars has been secured in history and there are no veterans left to provide a physical reminder. I once had a concept of a science fiction book based on a world that had gone so long without war that they forgot what it actually was. I guess there’s no future in that.

I am old enough to have known dozens of WWII Veterans, and there are still a lot around, although they are leaving us – in large numbers. Their stories, and their silences came to me as a child in my Grandfather’s store in South Texas, a store where he had a loyal customer base that included one Japanese civilian that my Grandfather, and only my Grandfather, did business with during the War. “Jap,” and “Kraut,” were words that had lost their wartime punch, and had become simple, non-perjorative terms in those days. Such were the times.

This family story is told by my Grandma: I had just watched a WWII movie, which were all the rage in the 1960’s, and I, being of preschool age, said, “Grandma, I wanna’ shoot some Krauts!” To which she instantly replied, “Go look in the mirror!” Such were the times, and such is still my sweet Grandma.

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