Bad Weather Fly Fishing

A very intimidating weather forecast…

port aransas weather

Port Aransas Weather Forecast – POOR CONDITIONS

…accompanied by high winds and dense cloud cover lasting over a week and a half, only the dauntless are crazy enough to find these types of weather conditions just another extreme fly fishing challenge! In a true fly fisherman’s heart, visions and dreams of wicked redfish on the flats with an 8wt mingle and party hard. Venturing out into the wild grey yonder, the events that unfolded for 3 days straight warrant a play by play account of what happened a hundred times during this stint of pure craziness. Maybe being hard-headed is the key, otherwise you will end up tucking tail and running for shelter, or never leaving the couch in the first place. I consider these kinds of conditions to make one a true “fly man”.

rum, hard core, fly fishing, red fish, flats, port aransas

Dark and Stormy – Dreaming of Rum

You take the good with the bad. If you’re a true Flyman dedicate, these shitty conditions are good conditions too.

“11’Oclock, 30 feet and closing FAST!!! He yells to himself realizing he was very much alone miles from the shelter of his trusty pickup truck. Instantly a smile grazes his weathered and somehow sunburned face. “CAST man! CAST!” Into the wind a 30ft cast to a distance-closing redfish estimated around 30 inches will even make a seasoned angler’s knees knock. Especially since in only seconds, that 30 feet is now only 20 feet, and the wind driven currents are causing a tremendous amount of line slack.

The angler thinks to himself, “Even if this fish eats, good luck seeing or feeling the take.” And suddenly a blue tail with a distinct black spot appears 15 feet in front of him signaling that the fish ate the rough offering. “SET! SET! SET!”, comes another barked command held silent in his head. He strip strikes with all the length his seemingly short-ass arm can muster yet feels nothing but more slack in the line and with the motion and movement of his body the red fish heads for the depths of the black lagoon. “DAMMIT! NOT AGAIN!”   …a good time for lunch he thinks out loud as if his fishing partner were nearby.

Port Aransas Cafe Seashell lunch

Sea Shell Bar a great place for lunch break

Once he crossed the deep gut that separated wet mushiness from a dry spit of seashell crusted land, the gear was ripped off his tired and sweaty person and a nice ham sandwich emerges. It of course is scarfed down faster than a redfish can eat a crab as he knows the tide continues to rise and it is about time that the primary flat in this area which is normally ankle deep should now be shin to knee deep and has potential to harbor more red fish. So off he goes, renewed with energy from the miniscule hamwich and determined to dislocate another redfish, or at least attempt to do so, even if some may consider his attempts to be unsuccessful, the hard-headed angler once again sees another opportunity to dance with a marvelous redfish in close proximity. Wading back, a lone boat with big outboard motor and two helpless dogs impede withing 50 yards and cut his wading path short. Blowing the flat and sending all red fish within 150 yards into hiding, the fly fisherman whistles and motions to the guy to be silent but he knows it is too late and continues wading away from the boat that just dropped anchor in the area he had planned to fish. One thousand yards further and 30 minutes later, the fly man is now setting up to work another grassy bank almost out of sight of the boatman with the honking wind in his “favor”. Thinking to himself, “the water is too deep (at the knees) to see any tailing reds”, he strategically sets up in position approximately 50 feet from the grass edges and shuffles slowly parallel to the shoreline, casting gently and as quietly as possible up into the grass edges, but not more than a foot into the grass so as not to spook anything further back in the grass.

fly fishing saltwater redfish

A flood tide can push redfish deep in the grass banks

The small brown creature fly sits for a moment after a decent cast lands in a small nook between thicker grass patches while a small knot is removed from the running line. Wonder races through the fly man’s fatigued mind and his strained eyes begin to see a mirage. “A wake, coming straight at me!” Tick tick, the fly is moved with two short strips and suddenly it is realized that this is no mirage but a redfish coming out from deep in the grass to inspect whatever had just plopped down in the water. The 30 second pause after the cast must have been just enough time for the red fish to move from its previous position over to where the fly had landed in the water. “Perfect, I got him now” I say to myself out loud, then a small tap is felt in the line and in the same instant a strip strike is deployed only to feel what? You guessed it, nothing.

The water then explodes as the human’s body movement tips off the wily creature and send him away swimming as if the redfish’s life depended on it. And it does. You can’t argue with natural instinct, and if anything was learned during the last 3 days of hard-core fly fishing the flats of Port Aransas, it is to let your natural instinct guide you. When you feel the instinct, don’t delay and ask yourself, “Is this my natural instinct?” because only practice makes perfect. Especially in a time where humans are more disconnected from their natural instincts than ever. Let yours guide you, and “GO FISH Flymen and be not deterred!”

Keeping the hooks sharp,
Captain Ken Jones