TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...


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By Kayak buddy
#2279202
Tombo wrote:last trip I made I found some small trout and large ladyfish, would have been perfect for a 6wt.
It was a blast I was out 3weeks ago and there were smaller fish feeding, I was toying with the idea of bringing my 4wt just to catch smaller fish.

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By Ron Mc
#2279209
until you add wind. I've caught big specs on XUL and 4-lb test - the power of the rod against the fish isn't the issue, but being able to present to the fish.
6/7 is my go-to, but this 8-wt Fisher is a magic wand for quick long casts to fish sign.
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By Kayak buddy
#2279256
Ron Mc wrote:until you add wind. I've caught big specs on XUL and 4-lb test - the power of the rod against the fish isn't the issue, but being able to present to the fish.
6/7 is my go-to, but this 8-wt Fisher is a magic wand for quick long casts to fish sign.
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Nice fish ron

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By Ron Mc
#2279257
thanks, bro, it's an old story, but second cast of the morning in the back of Allyn's lake - first cast was a bigger spec that tore the hook out on her second run

casting to fish sign on LHL with the 6/7 para S-glass
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dock fish at Arroyo with a tiny whistler, and 7-wt 1960 Harnell e-glass
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Last edited by Ron Mc on Wed Nov 21, 2018 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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By karstopo
#2279271
A lot of folks don’t know that the all tackle State record Speckled trout was caught on a fly. So no one, at least no one that cared to do the steps necessary for a record, has ever caught a bigger Speckled trout in Texas than the one caught by Bud Rowland in the LLM. He reportedly used a fly called the Numero uno, a pattern he ties for himself. His fish weighed in at 15.6 pounds and was CPRed. There were reportedly witnesses and he does carry a certified scale with him, but the fact no dead fish was produced to be examined has some crying foul. He has other tippet class records as well in Speckled Trout. His 15.6 pound fish beat the old record by about 2 pounds.

I tend to think that fly fishing might have an advantage at least some of the time over conventional against these fish so long as the fish are relatively shallow, which often they are. I’ve put in many trips using fly tackle fishing with guys using conventional tackle in places with Speckled trout. Guys that have a lot of experience and success catching trout. Sometimes my flies and fly techniques come out on top and sometimes the conventional gear catches more or better. They’ve probably won more times than not, but it isn’t a lopsided contest. I only think the fly comes in second on some trips because I didn’t have the right line, or fly with me, or maybe the boat positioning put me at a disadvantage.

A fly fishing person can definitely go lighter allowing for when fish are feeding on smaller, more finesse type of forage. They surely have more opportunity for greater stealth. They can use patterns and lines and mends that offer much more variety in how they look and present. The disadvantages to flies might be the ability to push water and make a lot of noise and maybe to cast a mile.

Speckled Trout tend to stay coupled to the hook better when fly fishing. Small, sharp, light wire hooks really penetrate and there’s no leverage from a heavy lure to tear through the delicate mouth membranes.

I love to try and beat my conventional tackle using friends with the fly gear no matter what we are fishing for. It’s not that we are really competitive in a mean or ugly way and nothing rides on the game other than maybe lunch. It’s all in fun, but I enjoy the challenge and representing fly fishing. If we are on fish and they are catching fish with their lures and plugs I want to find a way to bridge the gap with my flies. I know if I’m getting fish on the fly, they try to bridge that same gap with their stuff.

I really don’t care what tackle people use and believe all benefit from experience and knowledge on how to go about each. I like exploring what, where, how, when type of questions regarding the effectiveness of fly fishing so I almost always stick with that gear. The guys I fish with I have mad respect for what they know and are able to do with their lures and how they can see fish and fish sign. Maybe we can all learn from each other is my mindset. We both learn, my friends and I, things about presentation from the two styles of tackle.

That’s really the fun part learning and exploring ideas and techniques and figuring out the water. Forums like this one have a lot of ideas bounced around and experience shared. Everyone’s experience and skill set varies, but not any single human has done it all or knows it all. I like reading what some old salt might post about what they have come to know and understand. Sharing ideas and experiences, how could that be a negative?
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By Ron Mc
#2279272
the record was caught at the grass line in lower Laguna Madre - great place to hunt big specs

It's almost never the fly unless change-up is required for spooky fish like dock fishing, or maybe matching specific food size - the presentation is everything.
Over decades of doing this, my fly boxes for all fishing get smaller and smaller, and I can fish the salt on 3 patterns - make it 4 with a tiny whistler.
You can tie flies for entertainment and probably catch fish on all, but none of these 3 has ever been rejected, and all have caught black drum to kings.
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throwing in one more whistler, particularly good for flounder, but has also caught reds and specs
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The only flies I've fished that have been rejected used lead, and probably because of the yo-yo factor.
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By karstopo
#2279282
I like tying for entertainment and experimentation and get disinterested in fishing a particular pattern after a time, even if I know the fly would work. Although, I might come back to it after a break. I have far more flies than I'll ever use and many I've tied have never seen the water and likely never will.

I don't like using clousers much and haven't used one in a long time really only because many like them and use them. Clousers are just a lazy way out as I see it, lol. Not really, but they just seem to be a default fly for many. I don't really want to use what everyone else does. I do realize people often use the same patterns I use, but they aren't tied by me. Mine have personal touches that I deliberately put in. For me, it comes down to can I tie the fly well enough and is it enjoyable to tie, does it work, and do I enjoy casting and fishing it. I haven't much liked the various popular carpet crabs patterns. I haven't enjoyed fishing or tying them.

I don't like in general fishing patterns that other people tied. They might work great or not, I just enjoy fishing something I produced even if it's a pretty much straight up copy of some known pattern.

I still operate under the assumption that what someone tosses out at the fish and how it is presented makes a big difference. If someone tosses out a bowling ball with a hook attached there's about zero chance of an eat. People have tossed out jalapenos with hooks on them and caught fish, but only because the jalapeno was about the right size, it was well presented, and fish that particular day weren't super selective. Fish have a decision making process when to strike or not and even if it's not based on reasoning as we know that, it is based on some combination of sensory inputs. I want whatever I'm using to hit as many check boxes as I can in that process of selection.

If I ever feel like what fly I'm using and the tiny details of it and how it's presented make no difference, I'll give up fishing. I enjoy focusing scrutiny on the tiny details of flies I use and tie. Colors, materials, size amounts, positioning of material, hooks, weighting, buoyancy, etc. I always strive to improve how I tie a particular pattern. The chief reason I enjoy fly fishing over conventional is the about endless possibilities of combining materials to produce a productive fly combined with the various ways the fly can be presented.

I like keeping my eye open to something new in the patterns out there that appeal to me or some way to use a material in a different way.

We should all fish for our own personal reasons whether it's bait fishing, lures, or flies or some combination of those. Fishing is about the most personal and particular thing I do and enjoy while doing it.
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By Kayak buddy
#2279283
This is a very simple pattern, the uv resin ball aids in the fly being weedless. But it caught a 17.5 inch spec on the first cast and 4 or 5 other smaller ones.Image

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By mike.cline
#2280248
I haven't had the opportunity to hunt Specs along the Texas coast, but have spent plenty of time since the mid 1990s plying the waters of the central Florida Gulf coast. My favorite setup for trout (unless I am pitching topwater flies) is a fast 6 or 7 weight with a 30' 200 grain sink tip with unweighted flies and short (3-4') 0X leaders. This setup allows for very long, accurate casts that can cover a lot of water. Fishing off the edges of flats in deeper grass lined channels or holes with this setup can get your fly down deep quickly without the difficulties of casting heavily weighted flies. Depth can be controlled by the speed of the retrieve. Un-weighted flies on short leaders then to float just above the bottom and rarely get snagged. Here are three of my favorites.
Identity Complex Seatrout Fly
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Hidalgo's Flash Minnow

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Surf Candy
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By karstopo
#2280253
Nice ones there, Mike.

I’ve tried to get into the sinking lines, but I just don’t like them like floating lines.

Last time I went to a Speckled trout spot, I used the borski sliders. Caught 10 trout, 5 keepers for a fry. Fish were shallow, 2’ Image
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By JW FunGuy
#2280254
You guys are really making me want to go fishing! But I guess I’ll just ave to wait and fill the urge by sitting down at the vise. Thanks for the pics and all the info! :)
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By mike.cline
#2280256
Re: I’ve tried to get into the sinking lines, but I just don’t like them like floating lines.

I’ve been fishing sinktips for some 25 years and have noticed two reasons why folks seem to dislike them when they try them.
1. Using heavily weighted flies—Long sink tips (15-30’) perform much better with un-weighted flies.
2. Trying to use traditional tapered leaders—7.5 or 9’ leaders. Long leaders, especially tapered, defeat the purpose of the sink tip as they remain much higher in the water column than the end of the sink tip. The ideal long sink-tip leader is no more than 4-5’ of OX or 1X leader.

A 200 grain sinktip will perform well on any fast 6-7 weight rod. My favorites are the SA Sonar line—Sink 30 Cold, Saltwater Intermediate and Sink 30 Clear. The added advantage of these lines is that you can downsize your fly reel a bit.
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By karstopo
#2280259
mike.cline wrote:Re: I’ve tried to get into the sinking lines, but I just don’t like them like floating lines.

I’ve been fishing sinktips for some 25 years and have noticed two reasons why folks seem to dislike them when they try them.
1. Using heavily weighted flies—Long sink tips (15-30’) perform much better with un-weighted flies.
2. Trying to use traditional tapered leaders—7.5 or 9’ leaders. Long leaders, especially tapered, defeat the purpose of the sink tip as they remain much higher in the water column than the end of the sink tip. The ideal long sink-tip leader is no more than 4-5’ of OX or 1X leader.

A 200 grain sinktip will perform well on any fast 6-7 weight rod. My favorites are the SA Sonar line—Sink 30 Cold, Saltwater Intermediate and Sink 30 Clear. The added advantage of these lines is that you can downsize your fly reel a bit.


What depths are you fishing your various SA Sonar lines? What kind of structure?

I’ve tried my intermediate tip and teeny lines with unweighted patterns. I did the intermediate tip line in the surf and outside the surf and it was good and not tough to use. The teeny tip is 30 feet, I just didn’t dig pulling most of that up out of the depths for every cast. Would much rather cast, drift or strip or both for the short fishy zone and then be able to fire off another cast without getting the sinking portion up out of the water column. Floating line, there’s nothing in the water column other than the leader.
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By mike.cline
#2280261
For speckled trout, my experience has generally been centered around eel grass flats, potholes and channels. A typical area along the Florida Gulf coast might have holes and channels with depths to 12’ at low tides. Many times, these deeper waters are immediately adjacent to eel grass flats and sandbars that are exposed at low tide. The most productive structure in my experience has been the sharp transitions of grass between shallow flats and holes/channels.

These three links from google earth (chrome browser) show typical areas I’ll fish with the long sink tips.
https://earth.app.goo.gl/1WGmtU
Deep potholes and grass lie off a long shallow bar. Incoming tides flow 90 degrees across the bar from the north. Most of the dark grass areas and sand bar is wadable at negative tides.

https://earth.app.goo.gl/kmWMT9
This 12’ deep manmade hole (often called the Soldier’s Hole) is surrounded by shallow grass. During all but the highest tides, one can wade the edge and fish the depths for trout. Depending on water temps, the trout may hold deep or within a few feet of the edge. The edge drops off precipitously.

https://earth.app.goo.gl/cCfDzS
The shallow flats in this area are surrounded by manmade and natural channels. The natural channels are 6-8’ deep at low tide. At low tide the trout move off the flats onto the grassy edges.

When it come to casting long sink tips, they do behave different from floating lines and require different techniques. First the SA lines are very slick. Their current line and earlier textured lines are really easy to pick up. The key is a fast rod—I use a Scott Radian, Meridian or Sage XP. Once you make a cast, the key is making the next cast at the right moment during your retrieve. When the 30’ sinking portion of the line (obvious change in color) reaches the rod tip speed up the line by raising the rod tip and initiate the back cast. Fast rods do this very well. On the front cast shoot 20-30’ of running line. If you want a longer cast, don’t try to false cast, but instead pickup the line immediately as it hits the water and shoot another 10-20’ of line with your front cast.
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By Ron Mc
#2280262
I go to a Teeny TS250 for channel slopes, and waist-deep in fast tide currents - any place a baitcaster would go to a spoon - jetties.
Back when we fished Cedar Bayou regularly, it was go-to for specs, flounder and redfish in the bayou near the mouth at the Gulf.
At Marker 60 pass into Lighthouse Lakes, it's also go-to for falling tide, and using it there, I've caught sheepshead along with black drum, reds, and Many specs.
The cuts from Estes Flat to Outside Beach on Aransas bay - again, any waist deep cut where the tide is making current.

In slower slopes, like Lydia Ann Channel, Aransas Bay - any water knee to waist deep, I go first to a slime line.
The only time I go first to a floating line in the salt is that skinny water less than knee deep with only a few inches of clear water over the grass - or oyster shell.
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By Kayak buddy
#2280271
I was thinking of getting a 7wt to fish at the coast with sink tip line, I also bass fish. But I usually kayak and take 2 or 3 rods

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By mike.cline
#2280280
You can’t go wrong with either a Scott Radian or Meridian if you can afford them. Great rods for long sink tips. A lot of fly fishing guides on the Florida Gulf coast use TFO BVKs for inshore work. A really nice rod that handles sink-tips very well and is much more pleasant to cast all day than the stiffer Mangrove. Avoid the TFO Mangrove for kayak use as the hook keeper is built into the reel seat. I tested one this year and when the rod was in the Scotty Rod Holder, the fly got crushed and damaged because of the location of the hook keeper.

Any of the SA Sonar lines in 200 grain work very well with fast 7wgts. Good luck.
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By Ron Mc
#2280281
On my Sage RPLX7, I've consistently shot TS250 to 140', including that much backing (I tie clean Allbright knots). That's as far as you can throw 1/4 oz on a baitcaster.
Teeny lines are not tips, but are spliced shooting heads, and nothing else shoots like them. They also fish perfectly horizontal.
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By karstopo
#2280312
Speckled trout are funny. They seem to range quite a bit in depth of water they like. I think the current Texas State record, the 15 pound six ounce fish that Carl "Bud" Rowland caught, was real shallow, like in a foot of water in the LLM, and sight cast to with one of his Numero Uno flies, if every detail of the story I read is to be believed. I know of a ten pound fish that was caught while fishing in 14' of water and that fish went for a corky. The biggest I've ever had on the line and seen, but sadly lost at the net, was when I was fishing in water about 8' and it went for a skitterwalk on top. I caught a seven pound fish on a suspending plug, an Xrap, fishing in 2-3 feet of water.

My biggest on the fly that went 6 pounds went for un-weighted Olive top White body Steve Farrar Blend Baitfish. I was in my kayak and fishing in about 2-3 feet of water using floating fly line and a long, blood knotted fluorocarbon Leader and probably 15# tippet, that's usually what I use. This summer, I was using the same set up, floating line and long fluorocarbon leader and fishing a drop off that went from 2' down to about 7' pretty abruptly. This time, the sparsely dressed silver eyelash yarn redfish crack fly was lightly weighted with a brass dumbbell. The trout would hit the fly as it fell over the drop off, probably at 3 or 4 feet of depth. Many of the trout I pick up are as by-catch while on redfish hunts. The last trout I caught, one just over 18" just the other day was in about 1.5' of really muddy moving water over shell, less than a foot of visibility water, and was in a spot that I normally pick up redfish. I do have places that trout get stacked into seasonally and I'll make it intentional to fish those places if I'm in the area or as a destination trip.

I know I've caught good solid trout fishing floating line and long fluorocarbon, never longer than 13-14', leaders in water as deep as 8 feet. I've been in a boat with a depth finder so the depth number is good. I don't normally fish anything that's weighted more than with a small dumbbell or no bigger than a 3/16" bead. None are difficult to cast with 6 and up weight rods and floating lines like SA Titan Taper or Airflo Bruce Chard Tropical Punch. The biggest hook I might ever use or have usdd for speckled trout is a 1/0 stinger, but that's for an un-weighted baitfish type. Most of my weighted patterns like redfish crack, Borski sliders, shrimp patterns are tied on size 2 or 4 hooks. Occasionally, I'll do something on a size 6 or 8 hook.

I actually hate medium or larger dumbbells and those big clousers and other patterns weighted with them that are sold all over. Those are a pain to cast and fish. I bought a few when I started out. I never use a clouser these days, mainly because that's what a lot of folks seem to gravitate to and it just rubs me wrong to use clousers in the saltwater. I don't think there's anything magical about a clouser other than they resemble or are suggestive of lots of forage and tend to get to the right depth where the fish often are. On any given day, I know a size 4 well tied Borski slider will out perform a size 4 deer hair clouser in the water I fish across a number of species. So will redfish crack out catch a clouser, so will a shrimp pattern on most days. We all have our particular favorite patterns and those might change over the years. If the clouser is yours, I'm not hating on that. Currently, I simply like other patterns better.

I may go to the 8' place this winter and rig up a rod with the floating line long fluorocarbon leader weighted fly combination and another set up with a fast rod with the Teeny TS 250, short leader, un-weighted pattern and see how they do side by side, providing the fish are there and willing that particular day. There's another spot that the fish are in typically 4-6 feet and if they are there, they are in big numbers of solid 2.5-4 plus pound type of fish. It would be another spot to test the sinking line/un-weighted fly/short leader versus the floating line/ weighted pattern/ long leader approach.

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