TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

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By Prof. Salt
We had a front blow through this morning, so I went out and fished the green lights on the canals last night for a few hours, hoping there would be a strong pre-front bite. As I was unloading the kayak and gear, I realized my fly box had been left at home... but I had a little epoxy shrimp tied on the 6 weight, a bead chain Clouser on the 4 weight, and I discovered another Clouser stowing away in the kayak from a previous trip. I fished for five hours before the three flies were toast, and tallied up 9 redfish and 41 trout. Most were small, but I could have come home with legal limits of both species if I wanted to keep fish.

I have discovered that with my limited skills, casting the 4 weight is challenging in really dark areas. Many homes are not well lit, which is nice, but is doesn't help with visibility. I can't see the line while casting, and frequently when I let the fly hit the water as an indicator, even the small splash (which doesn't seem to spook the fish) isn't visible. It was a little frustrating trying to get the fly where I wanted it, but several times I knew the distance was good and just stripped as if I knew where the fly was. Fish often found the fly in spite of my clumsiness, so I guess it was all good. With the front blowing out fishing opportunities for the next few days, it was nice to catch a window and put a bend in the rods before things got ugly.
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By kickingback
Great report Glenn! Love fishing lights but have not used my fly gear yet. That makes sense with little to no lighting. Can you use a headlamp to see the line better or are you afraid it will spook the fish from biting?
Perhaps rig a rod and reel with florescent line and use a UV or similar light that will make the line or bite indicator more visible.
Will the light spook the fish? Not in my experience. I like the light as it helps me see where I cast normal rods so I am sure it would help with the fly.
Thanks again for the report!
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By karstopo
My good buddy lives on a canal, but I haven't gotten to his place to do the night fly fishing there. He catches plenty of good fish just with paddle tails under the lights, especially in the cooler months. He's stuck some good trout and redfish under his subdivision's lights in the greater Galveston Bay system (don't ask where because I won't tell). My uncle lives on a tidal river so there's another available spot. I have no excuse not to fish the lights. I wouldn't even have to launch a kayak at his place.

I haven't fly cast at night really. I live on a lake so I could easily do it just to get used to it. There's a lot of visual feedback with fly casting and fishing, it would seem to be tougher to accomplish in the dark. I fish a lot of fiberglass rods and those slower rods let me at least feel the rod load better than the fast graphite actions.

The fly rod and little light weight patterns like a bead chain clouser seem to be made for fishing under the lights. I have a little 7' 4/5 weight Cabelas CGR that I think would make a good under the lights rod. short rods tend to minimize mistakes that really might creep in when there's no light to see your loops.
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By Prof. Salt
I noticed when I did switch on my headlight, the fish around the green light definitely reacted. They'd run deep and everything would get quiet for several minutes, so I mostly just worked in the dark.

The point about the shorter and softer rod is on point. My nine foot carbon rod does not make it easy to feel the light line loading up, and sitting in the kayak in the wind it's already a technical task getting the line to cast very far even with daylight.

One thing I did learn: start with a little Clouser or similar pattern that doesn't disturb much water. When you catch several fish and they lose interest then switch to a shrimp pattern that pushes more water and causes a different disturbance in the water. It will get interest from fish you didn't even know were hanging around. The downside is that it pushes the school trout deep for a few minutes. I think our fish might be more easily spooked than some, so I really have to be careful to keep them biting.
By Kayak Kid
I really enjoy fishing the lights with a 4 or 5 wt. The five is for windy nights.

I don't quite understand not being able to see where the fly lands in relation to the light source. For some reason, I don't ever look at my line, but only where my fly lands relative to my intended target.

I usually begin the night's fishing with some very small (18 to 20) bead headed white thingies I tie up. After catching my fill of dinks, I put on a larger (8) white shrimp thingy that I tie and fish only the dark areas around the light source. Get a hookup with a 24 incher on that rainbow trout tippet, and you've got an interesting challenge in front of you.

It all works for me. Yet, however, whenever, and for whatever you catch or don't catch, it's one heck of a lot of fun.
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By Ron Mc
in this spec's mouth is my tiny whistler off the dock in Arroyo this week.
Size 6 1x-long hook, medium bead chain keels and fishes best, short white marabou tail, sparkle braid body, shrimpy-color chenille head. This fly has worked for me on lights everywhere, forever.
A slime line is a big advantage fishing under the lights, counting down for depth, and a suspended-depth retrieve instead of the vertical yo-yo of a weighted fly.
I'll also agree successful dock fishing means not casting an image of yourself over the water - keep all the dock lights except the hot spot light (or submerged green lights) turned off (except when you need them for working).


Here are the green lights in Palm Harbor canals.
If you can get their attention on the surface with a small popper, it's a hoot, but the pod doesn't fall for that more than once, and you're forced subsurface, anyway.

If you ever have to fish in the dark, blue is the color for night - dozens on dozens of consecutive-cast white bass before first light can't be wrong.
I broke off my lifetime snook before first light just this morning on a blue wildeye shad. I saw him ease past our dock light on his way to the next dark dock and was 28-30". He was still feeding after I broke him off, but couldn't turn him again.
I'll write my 4 days in the Texas tropics report tomorrow morning - too tired tonight.
The north wind hit just when we were loading the boat on the trailer this morning.
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By don.owen
I used to fish the Snake River at night in Idaho Falls during summer. I had a spool of fluorescent mono and looped a 24" or so piece of the stuff on to my flyline then connected my leader. An occasional exposure to my headlamp and it was visible for quite a few casts. Didn't seem to bother those big Browns at all and looked pretty cool when casting. I tried fishing flouerecent flies several times but those Browns seemed to know something was wrong. Caught a 17 pounder just below the Falls back in the early 90's.

I'm pretty sure that glow in the dark mono is still available and I've seen furled leaders for sale on eBay. To old to climb down the rocks anymore but I know those fish are still around..
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By Bayoutalker
I haven't done it in many years but night fly fishing was a regular thing for us back then. As long as there was some moonlight it wasn't that hard to do. It just takes a little practice. Try during the day with your eyes closed.

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