This time of year a well rounded fly angler can find themselves in quite the predicament. To fish inside the bay or to hit the beaches or jetties? That is the question.
The question for you now is what “fly fishing goal” do you want to accomplish today? You pretty much cant go wrong with either decision. You have to go to know. Fishing is still fishing and sometimes its hot, sometimes not. But our imaginations of that hot bite happens all the time, even while we are fishing and we usually think it is just over there, only 10ft further than your maximum cast or on that jetty, not this one. And that is another reason why we fly fish. To be in such a happy place that we feel like we are living our dreams. And in a reality of sorts, we are living our dreams every time we go fishing.
On the super skinny crystal clear grass flats you can stalk upper slot redfish and have quite a few legit shots at over slot redfish. It can be tense and intimidating for anyone.
Rest assured this time of year it is very likely that you will get many more shots at redfish throughout the day and that is what makes it so much fun. Observing the fish behavior in the clear waters of Port Aransas makes fly fishing for redfish here such a visually stimulating activity. It is thriller to be able to see every last detail of the fish’s scales and every blade of grass hanging from your fly just when that big ‘ole redfish snubs his nose at your fly. To see the fish turn on your fly, or casually glide up to your fly seeming to inspect every last hair for imperfections and then if you do everything right, the Redfish EATS!
Light tippets are most important this time of the year, and a tapered leader is very useful to avoid the floating widgeon grass. Weedless is a misnomer too, the word simply means “less” grass on the fly, it certainly doesn’t mean “grass proof”! This is why getting locked and loaded and staying on point scanning the water while ready to cast to a fish once spotted is the way to go. Keep 10′ of fly line out past the rod tip and hold the fly by the tail in your free hand. Keep the rod low but pointing away from the direction you are fishing so not to spook a fish before you get a chance to see it when a 10 second burst of sunlight illuminates the flat for you briefly. And when the sunlight bursts through the clouds that is when you need to search frantically for your fish. Take that opportunity to locate a fish nearby if you are not chasing one down already.
While scanning for laid up or cruising fish try and you think you see what might be a redfish wait to cast until you can get a positive identification so not to make a cast to a horse mullet and risk the chance of spooking a redfish nearby. Stay vigilant in keeping an eye on the distance as well, Schools of tailing redfish can often be seen a ways away.
Lately the redfish schools have been pushing the 30″ mark with the bigger fish tailing and smaller fish working the edges of the school. Be careful of your cast though because on the outside edges of the tailing school there are other redfish that are not tailing. Make your first cast to a school of redfish 5-10 feet from the edge. Its almost a guarantee that one will peel off from the pack to nail your fly. And if one doesn’t, you haven’t spooked the school with your line and you can make another cast to get a little closer.
So get out on the water. Don’t be discouraged by rain. Our weather patterns change faster than the forecasts can be updated and sometimes it doesn’t hurt to have a little cloud cover or wind chop on the water. Those things can help conceal your presence on the flat and can also give the fish some added security.
There are secret ways of spotting a redfish on the flat that is also full of big mullet. Learn to distinguish between the disturbances on the surface that a mullet make and the disturbances that redfish make.
Move along the flat slower than cold molasses and it will help you learn these things and ultimately help you locate more redfish. Remember to read the water and move into position to take the shot and you will be rewarded with a nice fish.Keeping the hooks sharp,
Captain Ken Jones
Port Aransas, TX
Certified Tourism Ambassador
Certified Wildlife Guide