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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
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Comments from Corpus Christi, Texas...'s so much fun being a fervent wet fly swinging, Skagit casting steelheader in south Texas (visiting family a few weeks). Its friggen HOT, HUMID as hell, the wind is SERIOUS, and there's NO MOVING WATER!!! AAAAARGH! The only place I can "swing" is a channel that's been cut to connect Corpus Christi bay with the Gulf of Mexico, and only when the tide is incoming, producing about .000003 mph of "current". When the tide is outgoing, there's so much "grass" flowing out towards the Gulf that it is IMPOSSIBLE to get a "clean" swing. And did I mention the WIND - 25 to 40 mph far more days than not!
Flats fishing for reds and specks? Haven't been able to figure out ANYTHING about it so far because it all looks the SAME to me - miles and miles and MILES of the same-looking stuff! Have caught a few fish in the channel "swinging" - lots of small bluegill-ish, sort of looking things, a couple of flounder (from 1 to 3 pounds), a ray, some 12" to 16" "trout", some very small (8" to 12") drum type fish, and some very weird bottom-dwelling looking stuff with big heads and spiny poisonous? looking fins (bought heavy duty long nose pliers to deal with these!). I have also caught a pompano - looks like a permit, and fights really good. It was about 2 1/2 pounds and very cool to catch! Other cool stuff - lots of interesting bird life such as pelicans, roseate spoonbills, white crane looking stuff, some sort of crested eagle looking things, sea turtles, hermit crabs...

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 10:51 AM Thread Starter
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... little lizards, BIG spiders (yikes!), even BIGGER cockroaches (yeccch!), fire ants (keep away!). Still waiting to see/run across an alligator.
For my friends that keep trying to talk me into doing a "tropics' trip - FORGET IT! I have now for sure come to the realization that I'm a northern boy for sure! At 80 degrees I'm sweating up a storm just standing in one spot! On the days when it has cooled down to 65 degrees here, I'm out wet wading in my shorts, feeling good and comfortable (and getting weird looks), while all the "locals" are geared up in hooded sweatshirts and NEOPRENE waders! The local weatherman doing his report outside on a 62 degree evening the other night was WEARING GLOVES for criminy sake!
To clarify my intent not to offend any Texans out there, I am writing this very tongue-in-cheek so as all of my PNW compadres out there can "partake of my misery".

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 11:06 AM
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Being a displaced southeast Alaskan enduring norcal for part of the year at least, I can sort of relate!
You didn't mention the snakes. I get the creeps writing the word!
Ah, but it's for the family and Christmas and every one's so happy to see ya.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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so, I am presenting my "thoughts" here because this seems like a very interesting circumstance... a very experienced flyfishing steelheader that has fished and/or guided throughout the PNW, Alaska, British Columbia, and Kamchatka, Russia, is now in a situation in a "beginner" status, and now having to experience all those little "things" that go along with being in that position. The variety of details that one has to deal with in fishing completely new environments, makes me have a new-found "empathy" for those just getting into the steelheading game. Here are a few "lessons" I've had down here in Texas recently -

- flyfishing the surf sounds cool, but now I need a different rod (heavier rated as I only brought a couple of 5 and 6 weight switches with me) new line (intermediate recommended), and have to figure out at what wind speeds and direction is the surf viable for flyfishing? Also, how does tide stage factor into this, what is it that I am looking for to determine where to fish on 60+ miles of beach (it all looks the same to me!)? What flies to use, and what is there to be caught at this time of year? Plus, I have to buy a "beach permit" to drive or park on the beach, AND is this even do-able considering that the tires on my truck are aggressive snow/mud tread designed to DIG and the beach is all SAND?!

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 12:02 PM Thread Starter
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- wade fishing flats for reds and specks... this too sounds cool and I have been dabbling a bit in this already because there is actually quite a bit of info available on where to go. Plus, the equipment I have on hand is do-able on those few days when the wind is not nuking. But, so far I cannot make any distinctions as to what constitutes a "good place" to fish and what doesn't - it all looks pretty much the same to me. Also, the places I have gone to, I don't run into other anglers, even though "sources" state that they are in fact "good spots". Could there be a certain time of day or tide that is a determining factor? Another thing - have yet to run into another flyangler. The fisherfolk I do see are all sporting spin or baitcast gear and are in powerboats buzzing off to destinations beyond my reach or kayaking away to the horizon. Perhaps this type of fishing requires the utilization of a boat to be viable?

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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- freshwater reservoirs... I have checked out 2 freshwater reservoirs, one 40 miles away, the other 90 miles. The closer one has a nice state park access, but unfortunately the water looks like creamered coffee - about 10" of vis and thus not too conducive to flyfishing in my book. The other lake looks REAL FRIGGEN COOL - lots of standing timber, bassy looking as hell! BUT, no wading access - either very tall grasses, standing timber or young willows? crowd from the shoreline out into the lake to a point where by the time there is enough clearance to make a flycast the water is too deep for wading purposes. Plus, talking with a couple of anglers, I've been informed to be very careful about stepping off the road anywhere into the grass because of all the snakes, AND there is an 8' alligator just up the shore a bit! OK, I don't think that this seems like anyplace to feed my flyfishing jones! It's kind of weird, but angling amongst the bears of Alaska and Kamchatka seems more agreeable to me!

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 12:29 PM
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Surf fishing

Although I lived in So. Ca. 40 years, I never did get the hang of fly fishing the surf. And you're right. It all looks the same. BORING! I was told to look for troughs. Channels that the fish use to move, hide, and ambush disoriented prey. The only way to recognize these channels, or more specifcally, breaks in the channels is to watch the crest of the wave. It will collapse if the bottom suddenly becomes deeper. As there is no longer enough hydraulic pressure to keep it up.

The only other thing I know about that type of fishing really applies more to back bays. But watch the birds. Wherever you see shore birds wading, there is food. Which means the fish will be close by also. You might want to try some crab imitations, or clousers. Find a fly shop and pick their brains.

You can get better traction on the (sand) beach by deflating your tires. Don't ask about re-inflating them. Clueless here.

Sight casting to tailing reds can be a trip. If you can find them.

I fish because the voices inside my head tell me to.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 12:40 PM
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Snakes & Alligators

Gaters are why float tubing ain't too awful popular 'round there. They usually won't bother you. Unless you get too close to their young un's. Snakes are another matter. Those damn things would crawl up on your float tube just for the hell of it. I just don't trust them.

I feel for you man. I have family in Texas too. Once I get out of the airport, I'm like a duck out of water.

I fish because the voices inside my head tell me to.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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back to the channel...

...this has been my main venue for "fishing". In actuality I go there on the days when wind speeds are less than 25 mph (average 2 days, if I'm lucky 3, each week), and do so mostly to "stay in touch" with my doublehanded casting so that when I return to the PNW I will be ready to start swinging for steel! Have done some "experimenting" that might be of interest to those of you that have a perspective "outside the box" when it comes to using a DH flyrod. As I stated earlier, the rods I have been using are 10 1/2' to 11' switches in a 4/5/6 and a 6 rating. The "channel" is just that - a channel just shy of 100 yards in width, contained by a sloping, concrete "tiled" dike. Standing at bottom of the dike's slope at the edge of the water places the top of the dike some 12' behind me, at a height of about 8'. Because of this configuration I have been using my switches in a Speycasting capacity (Skagit style).The slope of the dike dictates that D-loops have to be "contained" at less than 12'. At waters edge where I am standing, grows a band of oysters... lesson learned - D-loops that "go a little long", and runninglines that get draped too far into the water, quickly get "sliced and diced". Also, if you snag your flyline or runningline on the oysters, DO NOT try and yank them free! Instead, CAREFULLY unlace them from the predicament or your line will come out looking like it as been in a fight with an angry cheesegrater!
I was able to fish in this situation by using a Skagit head that had been cut back to 20', this coupled with a 9' tip, for a total line length of 29'. Granted, this is not a "distance" setup, but it consistently achieved 65' with limited D-loop clearance, and that with weighted flies. And, keep in mind these are "short" rods in comparison to "standard" Spey gear.


Last edited by Riveraddict; 12-11-2007 at 01:16 PM.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 12:55 PM
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I am no expert on salt-water fishing, but here are few things that might help:

Tides: Fish on a moving tide, in or out, but do not fish at "slack" tide, when the water is not rising or falling. Some people prefer the incoming tide, and others the outgoing tide, but the key is that if the water is not moving, then neither are the fish.

Locations: Can't help with local spots, but ask around and pick a spot you want to fish. Find out when the high and low tides are. Go out there at low tide and survey the area for troughs, depressions, grass beds, etc ... anything that could be an ambush point. When the tide is higher, the game fish will congregate at these ambush points and wait for the moving tides to flush bait fish past them. Go back when the tide is higher and work those ambush points.

Presentation: In some locations the moving tide will flow with substantial force, allowing you to use your DH casts and to dead drift or swing streamers. A baitfish struggling against the moving tide is often inviting. Salt water fish often require a very fast stripping retrieve to trigger a strike. Strip a streamer over the edge of a trough or channel to imitate a baitfish going from shallow to deeper water or vice versa. The edge of that trough or channel is an ambush point.

I hope this helps and that you have a good time.

Bring back some pics!


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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 01:08 PM
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Online info...

There are a few forum sites I've found trying to figure out what texas has to offer:

(there's some other's I'm forgetting)

Then the mother of all link pages with tons of info:

Then an online version of Fly Fishing the Texas Coast- You'll have to register (free) with the site for this one.


From what I have gleaned (very little) from these sites, winter is the off season and the main game right now for fly fishers is sea trout, which I understand are just begining their migration onto the flats for spring spawning. I've read that they are starting to show up in the deeper water (10'-???) adjacent to the flats. There's also guadalupe bass, stripers, hybrids, etc... in some of the rivers. There's trout fishing in the hill country around Austin as well. Keep in mind, though, that my Texas experience is limited to a few stop overs in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, so I actually have no idea what I'm talking about... Good Luck!
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 02:18 PM
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river addict,
i've had a lot of computer trouble or i would have responded sooner. i live about 120 miles south of corpus so i know little about fishing there. there is a guide service on the beach, captain billy sandifer, who should know if it's possible. the surf on spi should be good if the wind hasn't stirred things up as it has here. there are still tarpon at the jetties at the mansfield cut (end of the national seashore on the corpus side) and the brownsville ship channel or brazos santiago. there are still snook to be had in the ship channel. no one is fishing the flats much because the bay is really churned up and choppy. had you been here last week conditions were better but you do need a moving tide in most places. i find that high tide brings up the trout and redfish onto th flats when the tide is right. when the water is as cool as it is now they tend to stay in deeper water until the sun warms things up.
there are some good currents at the jetties. i would really like to see someone fish those with the long rod. talk about a swing but on the south side the bait fishermen are pretty well ensconced and occupying most of the choice spots.
once this front blows through the wind should let up and the water will clear. should you decide to come further south there is space at my place and a resaca to fish in for bass, carp,alligator gars, and alligators for that matter. you can help me with my skagit. lots of different birds here if that's your pleasure.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 04:02 PM
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Here are some article a traditional surf fisherman I fish with a lot out here. Was lucky when I moved out here he took me under his wing and showed me the ropes as all that water is intimidating.

The surf is not boring, you have a lot of the same currents to play with as in a river. Not sure how heavy the tides are there but we swing flies in the surf all the time up here in the NE. When the tide is moving you always have a left to right or vice versa currents to play with. Floating lines work best imho for this kind of fishing.

Anyway maybe of some use, striper specific but most surf fish feed in the same manner and zone.

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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 12-11-2007, 06:11 PM
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I know the feeling you have. My first trip to Cape Cod for stripers put me in that "newbie" position... it is an eye opener. I can still hear Juro shortly after we hopped out of the boat on Monomy - "there are 3 coming at you 11:00 o'clock" - my response was "where??" I had no idea how to look and didn't spot them until they spooked about 20' from me .

After a few days I got a little better at spotting fish, but it wasn't until I put together the program. That is that it finally occurred to me that understanding fish movements on flooding flats was very much the same as fishing for salmon along the shoreline of the Queen Charlotte Islands - the water was just a lot shallower. The troughs and travelling lanes and the leading points were the key. It eventually got to the point where Juro quit giving me first dibs... which was very cool.

However, when we went to the surf I was lost... One of the guys I was with with would wander into the surf (at least that is what it looked like to me) make a cast - and catch a fish. Not me. It all looked the same - like another planet. Even on my second trip when I tried to concentrate a bit more on the surf-side I still don't think I "got it". Sure there were a couple of obvious spots that even a surf-moron like me could grok - but mostly I was in serious chuck it and hope mode.

As you say, these types of experiences are good for us when we are on our home waters trying to introduce friends and/or newbies to steelhead. What seems like patently obvious steelhead water to us is a "foreign language" to someone from another venue.

Tight lines - tyler.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-10-2008, 03:13 PM
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Sounds hot, and kinda fun. I would draw you a diagram of how a boat would improve the catch rate, I will figure that out later. Do you have tunes? Megadeth should be replaced with Bob Marley, Hoodies to Hawaii print shirts etc...

Good luck, watch out for those Puffer fish,

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