Tag: speckled trout on fly rod

Port Aransas Texas on Fly in July 2016

| July 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

fly fishing port aransas texas #flyfishing saltwater

 

LONG AND SHORT

The long and short of fly fishing in Port Aransas, Texas, is that if you are there for a limited time … your time on the water could be long, or it could be short. Why is that? The elements, of wind, water and fire (that fireball in the sky) can do you in for days at a time. And if those “days at a time” overlap your days? well you’re pretty much done.

Tarpon Inn Port Aransas Texas

Tarpon scales line the wall of the Tarpon Inn, Port Aransas, Texas. – story on the Tarpon Inn coming soon! –

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As I predicted, and maybe you watched the YouTube video where I groused about it recently, the slack tide did a huge disservice to the time I was in Port Aransas in July. It wasn’t that difficult to predict, and it certainly didn’t take a scientist to see the water barely moved in either direction. It left baitfish well oriented (not swished into a ball of confusion), and didn’t reach into the grass where shrimp would go … if it weren’t high-and-dry. The winds started off absolutely brutal – 30 sustained when I was driving over the causeway, and pushing 40 sustained a day later. That rendered huge areas of the bay as clear as a chocolate malt from Whataburger. The slack tides didn’t move it out any too soon either.

Even though the tides were against me, I did manage to hit on a few rat reds, just to say I caught a red, and just to feel that drug – the tug. I did see some bigger fish, but since their entire eating pattern was frazzled, so were they. It was pretty darn hard to keep from spooking them, and there just were not enough of them to shake a stick at. Those that did eat, ate a fly I made from what I (think I) know about tying the famous “redfish crack fly.” I took the original pattern from what I know of how to tie the popular Texas Gulf Coast fly, and added an articulated tail section to give it more action (and make it just a little more difficult to tie!).

The reality of flies for redfish on the Texas Coast is that redfish will eat just about anything you throw at them. Hence the huge popularity of redfish! The only catch is; with expanding areas of grass along the inland waterways, fly selection is often based on the ability to keep the fly from snagging grass. I am not a fan of weed guards at all, so casting needs to be deadly accurate. Two three full strips of the line, and the fly is ready to pull, de-weed and cast again. Depending on the sensitivity of the redfish, you could go right back at the same fish with your next cast!

I’ve been all over the Port Aransas area in past years. Links to stories from past years are here – PORT ARANSAS FLY FISHING. Those areas included catching fish on Brown & Root, the guts a short paddle across the intracoastal waterway from Aransas Pass and with Billy Trimble on a blustery day in the corner of Redfish Bay.

I dedicated all my time on this trip to the protection (from howling winds) of Mud Island, and by the last time I pulled the boat, my GPS on the underwater TV (Humminbird Helix 5DI/SI), there were lines over lines – all leading up the Lydia Ann Channel to Mud Island. The safety of the run, for those who don’t know the dangers, is pretty darn reassuring. That’s another good reason to choose Mud Island. I assume the winds will be from the north by the time I am there in February, so switching to the other side of Mud Island could well answer the question once again. Poling was completely out of the question, winds and tide took care of that option. So I anchored and walked beautiful, lush habitat until I was exhausted – with still miles to go. BEWARE – Mud Island really does protect you from the winds! It can cut 15-miles-per-hour, or more, off the real wind speeds. By the time I cranked up to go back to port, I was caught in swells between 2 and 3 feet in the wide open areas of the bay, and open channels. (The Lydia Ann Channel does also help tamp down wind driven swells assuming winds aren’t running straight up the channel.)

And the honest truth is, I can hardly wait to get back down to Port Aransas, Texas.

WHAT IT IS ABOUT PORT ARANSAS

You might ask why I would be so hot for Port Aransas after gushing for years about Port O’Connor, Texas, and the awesome fly fishing that area has offered me over the years. Well, I see Port Aransas as another area that needs a lot of exploration, has a lot of stories to tell (many of them historic, many never told), and as a place that really can be all things to all people – fun for family, eating, drinking, kiting, birders, historians, conventional fishers, jetty fly fishers, surf fly fishers, kayakers, wade fishers … you get the picture. This is a place with multiple dimensions, and great stories really are everywhere!

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

Google maps with the satellite overlay will tell you a lot about what you will see between Aransas Pass and Port Aransas. If you are boating, it’s imperative to have electronics to keep you out of trouble though. And what I am finding is that electronics allow me to duplicate my routes (assuming they were without “events”), and get right back to the “marks” I put down in previous trips to the area. It’s really the best of all worlds with good GPS and maps.

Feel free to request a link to the map I created of Port Aransas, and I will give you access to a Google Map with multiple points of interest for you and your family.

There’s so much more to know before you go! In coming days, I will share more of what I came to know about Port Aransas, Texas. The fly fishing is just the tip of the iceberg. Stay tuned, and if you have a trip to Port A coming before I post the rest of these stories, feel free to contact me and I can get you some detailed answers.

 

  • RODS – 7 to 9 weight fast saltwater rods capable of short shots — TFO Mangrove was spot on
  • REELS – Hard to get away from Lamson and the GURU – anything less is a risk
  • LEADERS – fluorocarbon with 10-pound tip
  • FLIES – the usual suspects
  • METHOD – Skiff to shoreline grass/sand combo flats, walk wade and take shots at will
  • DANGERS – Running aground without boating knowledge. Tons of stingrays. Falling on shells.
  • REWARDS – Redfish / speckled trout / ladyfish / occasional flounder (watch for puffs of sand)

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Big Speck Hunt With the Texas FlyFishers of Houston April 26

| April 13, 2014 | 0 Comments

Texas FlyFishers of Houston speckled trout fly fishing saltwater
Event: Big Speck Hunt

Fly Fishing on the Texas Gulf CoastWhen: April 26 2014
Where: Sargent
Start 8:00 AM
End Time: 3:00 PM
Trip Leader: M Quigley
Phone: 713-two-one-three-eight-one 50
e-mail: [email protected] dot com

Trip Description: We will be going back to Sargent & East Matty in pursuit of gator trout! Bring your fighting gear and tangle with one of these bruisers!

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Register Your Opinion on TPWD Regulation Changes NOW

| March 26, 2014 | 0 Comments

fly fishing in texas gulf coast #flyfishing

Texas Parks & WIldlifeNOTE – Hey folks, you can actually vote on these and more regulations at the TPWD website – VOTEVOTEVOTEVOTEVOTEVOTEVOTEVOTEVOTEVOTEVOTE , and I strongly suggest you do. Today is the last day to voice your opinion! There are many more regulations to vote on at the website.

As you will read, it appears the flounder changes are for the entire state, while the speckled trout changes are modeled after the Lower Laguna Madre and the success there. So, there does not appear to be any attempt to divide the state regulations geographically along the coast – at this time. I guess TPWD realized the can of worms they would be opening by setting regulation changes for individual regions.

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Free Friday Flies Go to Work on Speckled Trout

| October 24, 2012 | 0 Comments

I was pleased to receive a report from the Texas Gulf Coast – on how effective one of the free flies (I sent out) was in catching speckled trout. It may not be the flounder he was after, but a speck is a speck.

Texas speckled trout caught on fly rod with TFC fly

“Thanks for that fly all I gotta say is it works took it out to Ft. Anahauc couldnt find any flounder but caught three specks on it! When the weathers nice and I have nothing to do I gotta hit the water! Your fly just came in at the perfect time.” – TFC reader Danny S.

Offatts Bayou Solo

| December 28, 2008 | 5 Comments

Fly Fish Offatts Bayou in Galveston SOLO on Kayak


offatts bayou speck on fly in kayak

Offatts Bayou, Galveston, Texas, Speckled Trout. [ppw id=”133613103″ description=”Fly Fishing Offat’s Bayou by Kayak” price=”.10″]

It looks bigger than it is. I think it was actually between 16 and 18 inches as were all the Trout caught yesterday.

Once I used the visual process of elimination, I settled on launching at one of the spots pointed to in Ray Crawford’s book, “Wade & Kayak Fishing on the Upper Coast of Texas”, on page 135. It seemed like, based on information from the Texas Kayak Forum (TKF), and prevailing winds, the shelter of Offatts would be a safe place to take a first ever saltwater kayak excursion.

Honestly, based on all the chatter on TKF, I was expecting to stand in line to launch, but instead was all alone launching right next to the airport on a Saturday morning. I guessed everyone was still playing with their new toys, or I was in the wrong place. The airport off Stewart is hard to miss though, and so is the continuing drama of devastation on the back side of the island. People could expect a sit-com length thirty minute solution to the Ike disaster, but they would be again disappointed. There is still so much work to be done.

Based on my dreams I guess, I was expecting to see signs of Reds in some fashion somewhere along these grass-edged flats, or prowling the channel bottoms in the bayou. I thought they would be standing on their heads, be waving their spotted tail flags saying “Live Fish Here – Catch Me”.

In a good six hours of kayaking, exploring and orienteering, I saw and caught no Reds, but did manage to ferret out a few tight schools of Speckled Trout on the edges of deep boat channels. It is easy to forget just how good a fight Speckled Trout can give, even if I was battling them with a heavy 8wt rod. I managed about 5 in the school fish range of 14-18 inches, which was very satisfying since the most time was spent paddling an estimated total of 6 miles. There were many more hits by them but I had a hard time adjusting to hook-setting, and they were simply released without a catch. In all, I never got a killer hit that made me think “this is a BIG” Speck.

Reef at the entrance to Offatts Bayou

reef at offatts bayou entrance
Reef at the entrance of Offatts Bayou. The homes, piers and boat houses along the shore are in various conditions – from untouched, to destroyed.

It didn’t take long at all to navigate to a neat little reef at the entrance to Offatts where I beached the kayak and walked and fished the edges of the reef. Currents, and winds made this spot look the healthiest, but perhaps better in warmer months.

The day on the Island ended with a run down to San Luis Pass where the surf side was churning and the currents and waves through the pass made for spectating sport. The back side near the bridge looks very healthy for future fish – much like all the flats along Offatts. It may not be “on” right now, but during typical months of Reds in the flats, my imagination again runs wild. I can’t wait until it heats up again.


At home in the bottoms around the San Luis Pass.

GEAR REPORT
The Amas on my Tarpon 140 were the difference in casting and catching in my opinion – allowing me to stand and cast at will. The only drawback on a day like yesterday, was the wind and bigger wave action I had to endure in order to fish the channel drop offs. An extreme case of “sea legs” was prevented by going back to shallow wading, or beaching on reefs occasionally to walk and cast. If I had GPS, I could have known to go slightly further on one occasion, and hit the inlet to Sweetwater Lake. Missing that alone seems to warrant serious consideration of GPS. If I lived on the coast, besides the obvious shallow water poling boat, I would go ahead and opt for the T160 for the added stability.

My Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX9 just doesn’t seem to like the water. It may have gotten a bit wet, and it did rain on me while fishing, but from the first time I pulled it out to use it, the screen was black and has been black for awhile now. So all the images you see here came from that camera without the benefit of me seeing what I was actually photographing. The fact this camera has lasted this long, in such adverse handling and conditions, is a testament to the Panasonic Lumix, and I continue to recommend it to all my beginning students, family and friends who may want a shirt pocket size party or fishing camera.

I did shoot some video with my Sanyo Exacti camera, but even though it records on a SD card, the card has to be in the camera, and the camera used as a “Card Reader” to extract the video from the card. NOTE TO SELF – use the Exacti to record still images as well as video since it is good down to 1 meter. The video is piling up on the camera because of that bottleneck problem of having to use the camera as the card reader. It has been a great pocket size video camera so far, and has surpassed my expectations in durability. The biggest drawback are the buttons, and specifically the zoom function, since it is too small and hard to activate for the average thumb (yes thumb). A complete redesign of the button positions could render this camera a classic in short order.

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