TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

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By larry long shadows
water in my beer wrote:A teacher makes life easier but there is nothing wrong with teaching yourself. Some people are more comfortable that way. The greatest caster I have ever seen breaks every rule there is and he taught himself as a kid. Just dont get frustrated because it will come to you.

2x Old school as a kid...My Dad would drop me off on a sand bar to catch sand bass and come back get me later after he bass fished.{1964?) Told me there was no way he was going to let me throw that dam thing with him in boat.No tapered leader just some mono. Homemade Cork Popper/ chicken feathers and my Moms nail Polish.Old Courtland/rod /reel/. I have spend very lil money on rods/reels/no lessons!! More on lures/lines/fly tie stuff...And Just Doing It..
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By flatzstalker
im also self taught i learned to fly fish around 11 yrs ago and have been hooked since,watching the walkecay chronicles got me really hooked my first rod was a pfluger 7wt 8.6ft from academy i paid 19.00 and 19 for the reel also backing and line well under a hundred .since then of course ive spent more than that but ive also spent more on my convetional rods and reels also .you always try to improve just like golf.in no way im i saying not to take lessons for casting but you can learn by yourself.the first red i caught on my fly rod i had to cast about 20ft.to me its very much like golf cause you will improve with time.ive also looked at countless videos on the net .youtube has plenty of casting and tying videos.i know hands on is better but they sure have helped me.but like most things you have to practice. when people ask me about flyfishing .i ask them do you see fish when you fish.i normally dont do any blind casting while wading so i tell them if your seeing fish then give it a try.sight casting is a big part of the game in saltwater.being a masterjeweler fly tying came somewhat easy to me and i would say im more hooked on tying flies..now there im always buying something new.i think so many people get spooked from flyfishing because of cost but if you look at most baitcasters and spininng the price is catching up.iam new to kayaking but im falling for it quick although i cant move my arms much right now i know i will get better.
By Laramie44
Don,t want to rattle the bushes but would like to put my 02 in. Guess if you have the money or feel most comfortable with an instructor that is fine. I started flyfishing as a boy 56 years ago in the rivers and lakes of Wyoming and Montana. Used hand me down equipment and after a "Yep, This is how you do it Son" from my Dad, I taught myself. I showed my Wife with a slightly different quote and she taught herself. It has been a fun journey for the both of us. We have 19 different fly rods, serviceable but not extravagant. Have never worn fancy clothes or hats. Learned to tie our own flys.and have caught many species from Canada to Mexico. Pacific Yellowtail, Dorado, Most species of Trout, Bass, and my wifes grandest Pike at 47" long, to name a few. Just get out and do it, there is nothing mystical about it. I can still make a decent enough cast with 3 fingers and a partial elbow on my casting side to catch fish seated in my Kayak. Again, Did not want to offend, just the truth.
By beto6059
I am new to fly fishing and have put my bait casting eauipment away. There a a lot of good suggestion already mention but from a new comer.
Buy the best equipment you can afford.
Take lesson
Join a fly fishing club. The member will help and they probably have casting instructor in the club.
Listen, ask questions and watch, like me I knew nothing about fly fishing.
The best information I can give you is: practice, practice, practice and get on the water.
I am luck I live in the Rockport/Aransas Pass area
Good luck
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By nbflydude
I'm not, by any means, an expert.

My casts are probably full of "flaws", I don't have expensive equipment (Eagle Claw 5/6 WT Rod, Pfleuger Medalist Reel and Shakespeare 1094 Reel, Cheap Scientific Anglers 5wt fly line, "homemade" tapered leaders made with mono, and fluorocarbon tippet.)

I'm not on the water 300 days a year. In fact, until the past couple of weeks, it had been a year and a half or more since I had my fly rod out. (A tragedy, I know, but I'm glad I dusted it off again.)

I do tie my own flies. In fact, a visit to Gruene Outfitters the other day reminded me of why I tie my own. ($3 for one Wooly Bugger? Heck no!)

The thing is, even with the cheap equipment, a self-taught cast, no lessons and limited budget, I still catch fish, and I still enjoy it.

The key is, don't give up after first trying it. I remember my first day on the water...I read the brochure...I sucked. Lost about 20 flies because I thought my rod was Indiana Jones whip. But, I did more reading up on it, practiced...and practiced again...and again and again...I was determined to get it right.

Now, do I know it all? No. In fact, I can only dead drift for about 10 feet before drag starts degrading my presentation, my furthest cast was about 35ft (not sure if that's good or bad with a 5wt), I don't know how to nymph (even though I keep fishing them), but I can fish the hell out of a wooly bugger.
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By Bowfin47
CC Bug Man wrote:Join The Federation of Fly Fishers. Then join a club. You will meet a lot of great people that will be glad to help you.

Fly fishing can be learned by your self , but you will do better, faster with expert help. And they are guys that you need to meet.


First: Join the FFF and an FFF affiliated club. There you will find folks with the same enjoyment of this sport as you have. They teach casting, tying, fishing techniques, rod building, and oh so much more...

Second: Attend the 3rd Texas FlyFishers Mini Expo to be held Tuesday, August 30, 2011 from 6-9 PM at the Bayland Community Center in Bayland Park, located at 6400 Bissonnet Street, Houston, Texas 77074. Admission is FREE!

The info below is copied from the Texas FlyFisher website, http://www.texasflyfishers.org/

August Meeting -- Mini Expo

It's hard to believe that we're coming up on the third year of the Summer Mini-Expo.

The Expo will be during our regularly scheduled August monthly meeting from 6-9PM. For those who are new to Texas FlyFishers, the Expo is our club's way to show off our skills to each other. If you are new to fly fishing or want to give a friend a good introduction to fly fishing, the Mini-Expo is the place to be.

This year's EXPO will include the following:

Four short presentations will be presented in the kitchen area:

* Harry Crofton - Fly Fishing the Llano River
* Ray Johnson - Fly Fishing at High Lonesome Ranch and K Bar T Ranch
* Jim Heimer - Fly Fishing the San Juan River below Navaho Dam New Mexico
* Jack Klinger - Present a DVD titled: "Taming the Wind" by Prescott Smith

In the main meeting room:

* Aaron Hammer will feature a knot tying table.
* Paul "Sodie" Sodamann is back by popular demand to show us his uncomplicated, no-special-equipment necessary furled leaders. If you don't know what a furled leader is, he can answer that question too.
* Bob Logan will be cruising the room teaching folks how to use those gadgets that are supposed to make fly fishing easier.
* Joe Nicklo and Joel Hubscher will be leading the rod building table, showing off the great craftsmanship of our club's growing rod-building community. Joe's feather inlays are great and Joel's nodeless bamboo rods are both great casting and fishing rods.
* John and Shelby Carpenter, Bill Huegel, Hunter Soape of Bass Pro Shop Katy will be tying flies along with meeting regulars, Mike Arnold and Don Puckett. Mike will be tying the coffee bean beetle and the 7 Lakes staples BBB and Pete's Gurgle popper.

Steve Soule will be offering casting assistance in the parking lot. Many of you have fished with Steve in the Galveston Bay complex, he's also a certified casting instructor.

We have some great raffle items: Fly tying accessories, rod building accessories, the obligatory Boga Grip, several Fishpond items, Rio fly lines, a Sage cigar humidor and lots of little gadgets.

Food and drink will be available in the kitchen.

Please join us for a fun filled, informative evening. Guests are Welcome.
By Denny1
Hi all. I agree the best way to begin is with so many other sports and activities; start with lessons. Then the great mystery; What to buy. Even after getting a lesson or 2 the purchasing of equipment can be mind-boggling. Several years ago my friend from New York and I visited and he gave me fly fishing lessons. We then went to the Cat Skills and had a blast. When I came back home to Texas, I was still confused. I started to read several beginning fly fishing books but they were so technical and serious I would put them down.

Fred, an illustrater by profession was working on a beginning fly fishing book. I kept asking, When will the book be ready? About 1 year ago Fred's book came out and I must say it is an excellant book for anyone who wants to learn about fly fishing. For the experts out there this book is great as the book continues to tell the reader "Keep it Cheap and Have FUN".

The name of the book is How to Get Started in Fly Fishing without going broke, crazy or to Patagonia by Frederic Thorner. Fred's web site is www.getstartedinflyfishing.com. The book can be purchased for $9.95, which is an example of the Author's belief's on fly fishing, keep it cheap.

Hope this helps.
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By bigbrown
I just want to throw this out there....Been FF my whole life. Grew up in Montana (Not that that makes me special). I would be happy to meet up with a newbie FF and give you the basics.

Not trying to take business away from anyone...not going to charge a dime.

There are a few things you need to know in order to cast a fly properly, and I will show them to you. No secrets...common everyday stuff that your casting instructors know as well. If you already know how to cast, and would like to improve, give me a call. I can teach you how to double haul as well. This method increase's line speed and minimize's effort needed to cast. (Helps at the windy coast).

If you want to learn how to present a fly on water, learn how to mend your line, or do a reach cast, the Guad. below the damn is perfect for this. I live in Boerne, and know a good area in Comfort to reach some good fishable water as well. Not to catch fish, but to learn some basics.

I will let my casting speak for itself. I''m not the best, and have never been in any casting competitions, but have caught hundereds of fish (Mainly trout) on a fly rod. I've also caught Salmon and Steelhead.....and a very wiley fish called the redfish.

Again, not trying to step on any toes, just trying to help.

Will have to work around my schedule, but I am off on the weekend. We can either meet on water some where, or a large grassy area. If you are new, I suggest a large grassy area to get the basics down.

My number is 330-397-3607......you can call or txt if interested.
By Les Jackson
Wow, you have plenty of options in Houston area- bass pro teaches and so does Orvs stores. Ken Cole, a friend of mine, is one of the best and teaches at the Woodlands store. Having said that check out the local IFFF club Texas flyfishers, and take advantage of their help and resources.

Les Jackson
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By king of the kings
For my first fly rod I would not spend $400. Get an academy rod and just try it. Check out videos on YouTube that's really all the help you need. The biggest challenge for fly fishing is the rhythm or pause between strokes. As for fly tying patterns if you're looking for some red fish patterns send me a PM and I'll send you pics of flies I tie for reds if you like them or want a certain size, color, etc. We can work it out. The biggest thing is to have fun.
By WRsteveX
hey fellas, ive got a quick question i believe you can help me with, ive had a cabelas 8' 5wt rod since i was young, about 12 years now, and have had a ball catching guadalupe bass and panfish with in small lakes and streams but now want to dive into the salt with a fly setup. ive read every work on this thread, along wih many others, and followed endless links and videos ect. general concensus is for what i wan to do (shallow reds, trout, maybe flounder and sheepshead if i can manage that) that i need an 8wt. ive found what i consider to be a great deal on a 4pc, 9', 8wt (rod only) and just needed some reassurance that this would fit my needs before i pull the trigger.
what say you? thanks in advance, yall have already helped more than you know.
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By Ron Mc
sorry you haven't had an answer in a week on this, steve.
Multipiece rods (3- and 4-pc.) are great because they stow so well in a kayak hold.
My first salty fly rod was a 7-wt. but it was a fast Sage (RPLX) so I've always said it cast like an 8-1/2.
For most of the small shrimpy patterns we throw for redfish and trout, especially, there is actually a wind advantage in fishing a 7-wt.
When you go to bigger fuzzier fly patterns, then the 8-wt. is a necessity and in big wind with big fuzzy flies you might need a 9.
If you have a good deal on the 8-wt, though, it sounds like you're ready to go. Most people would say 8-wt is the go-to inshore fly rod.

ps - my salt fly rod collection are an S-glass 6/7-wt, Sage RPLX7, Fisher 8-wt (+ 10-wt for dorado, and 12-wt for tarpon)
I almost always fish the two lighter rods inshore, the S-glass 6/7 up to 15 knots or so and grab the RPLX7 when the wind is so big fishing is questionable.
By WRsteveX
thanks, i did end up purchasing a TFO 8wt, TFO size 3 reel. i took it out and caught several small trout and skipjack with it already. i felt a little over-gunned, but that may change when i hit the breezy flats this weekend for reds and flounder.
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By Late Bloomer
My suggestion would be to join a local fly tying club. You can get tons of information on equipment needed to fish, what types of flies are best to use, instructions on casting techniques and great fishing partners. In southwest Louisiana the place to be is the Contraband Fly Casters in Lake Charles LA which meet on the third tuesday of the month. We have excellent fly tying instructors and Certified fly casting instructors at the meetings to give you all the answers you need.
By the way, they'er having their annual EXPO this Sat. the 22nd at the PPG Park in Sulphur LA.
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By hunterlee5587
I just recently became able to call myself a fly fisherman. Long story short, I acquired a 7wt outfit, and got a few flys I thought would be good for bass. Well, then I set it up to use, and started practicing the back cast and overhead cast. I practiced casting the first day with it, until I couldn't feel my arm. I went over the practice session in my mind, and made some corrections. The next day I didn't try to force it nearly as much, and the result was many more tight loops.

Went and fished the Brazos river for the first time last week, and used my fly rod for the first time. When I landed that first spotted bass on the fly, I knew I just jumped off the edge of a new way for me to enjoy fishing. I caught so many spotted in the brazos, it was one of the best fishing days of my life.

Yesterday I took my fly rod to the spillway at lake Palestine, and caught a few white bass. Then I hooked into a hybrid that was 20inches, on a sub surface streamer. Landing a fish on a fly rod has added a new layer of excitement to what already was my favorite thing in the world to do. Better late, than never.
By StrykerDM
I've only fly fished for a couple of years but have learned a ton and now tie my own flies and can cast decent (still not great, but who is). I went to a local fly shop and would just pick the brains of all the guys hanging around there and still try to do this as I always learn tons of stuff. I also did a few guide trips with a guide who loves teaching and learned a ton while I was on those trips about trout and bass fishing.
By Cliff Hilbert
Here's an article I wrote four years ago that will be helpful to beginners and even seasoned pros.

BY Cliff Hilbert

Are you confused or intimidated by all the technical aspects of fly fishing? Do you think you can’t catch fish unless you know 15 different types of knots, 12 different types of casts, understand everything about stream entomology, tie your own beautiful flies, throw perfect 90’ casts every time, understand everything about leader and tippet size? Then this article is for you. I am probably one of the least technical fly fishers I know. I can tie about three different knots, have never taken casting lessons, I have never tied my own flies and I still think about leaders and tippets in pounds instead of X sizes. Yet I have 9 Texas State fly fishing records, over 60 lake fly fishing records, and people will tell you that I catch more fish than almost anyone they know. And I’ve never considered myself more than an average fly fisherman, surely not an expert and most definitely not technical.

Many years ago I was given an old fly rod of my uncle’s and I began to fly fish for perch in park lagoons in New Orleans, never knowing that your cast had to go from 10:00 – 2:00, mine was probably 8:00 – 4:00. I had no idea that fly fishers used anything other than store-bought popping bugs. I used straight monofilament for leaders, never having heard that you need a tapered leader to get your fly to turn over correctly. I probably used some knots that I learned in the Boy Scouts. But I still caught fish.

For most of my life I fly fished very little until about seven years ago when I bought my first good fly rod, a 9’ – 6/7-wt St. Croix Imperial – and, no, I didn’t read up on all the rods available, nor did I ask many people what they’d recommend. I simply went to the local fly shop, Backcountry in Tyler, and asked the fly shop manager, Jim Green, what he’d suggest for a good, all-around, medium-priced fly rod that I could use for bass and bream fishing. He suggested the one I bought, I still have it today and use it most of the time. I have since bought a 7’ – 3-wt. St Croix Imperial and an 8 ½’ – 4-wt St. Croix Avid. These are not extremely expensive, top-of-the-line rods. They are more expensive than the $25 Walmart rod I had before, but they’re not the $600+ rods that are available out there. I am extremely pleased with these rods and don’t think I’ll ever care to buy anything more expensive – these suit my needs. There are rods out there that cost less than mine that are great rods for the average fly fisher. You don’t need $200 rods to catch fish, and you don’t need to understand “fast action” or “slow action” rods, which ones “load” the best, which ones “shoot” the best – because I don’t.

At 66 years of age I still don’t tie my own flies and don’t want to as long as I have my sanity, lol. I buy most of my flies at the local fly shops ( I like to support those who give me the advice and service I need), a few from the internet, and have friends who have given me flies to try out. But the fly that I’ve caught the most bass on (including a 9# and 7.9#) is the venerable Peck’s #1 Popping Minnow, a big balsa-wood popper that’s been around for about as long as I have. Bass love them! I’ve also caught a lot of bass on clousers, wooly buggers, pistol petes, zonker-type flies and a variety of other flies I’ve picked up over the past few years. I don’t use poppers for bream, I use trout nymphs because bream feed mainly on insects under the water, and I catch more bream than anyone I know. I catch a lot of crappie on clousers and wooly buggers. I’ve even begun using soft plastics on my fly rod in heavy timber or heavy vegetation, they are the only things I’ve found that I can fly fish lily pads with. No they’re not flies, but so what, I catch fish with them. The first time I tried a soft plastic on my fly rod I caught a 5.5# bass on it at lake Fork. Who cares whether the purists like it or not, the fish do.

Twelve years ago I started trout fishing. I picked up a couple of books about the subject, asked a few questions at the fly shop, bought all the necessary equipment for wading, about twenty different flies and off to Mountain Home Arkansas I went to fish the White and Norfolk rivers. I even caught trout up there on my first trip, about 15 rainbows. I think I used a small wooly bugger most of the time. I’ve been back there 3-4 times a year since then and usually catch trout each time I go wading. My trout box probably has 200 flies in it now, and I could probably tell you what half of them are. How do I know which ones to use? I ask the local fly shops and the other fishers on the river what the trout are biting on at that time. I might also take a stream sample with a seine to see what’s in the river. Do I understand runs and pools, tailing ends, etc.? A little but not much, but I still catch a fair amount of trout - I’ve caught 40 or more trout per day on more than one occasion up there. I rarely use dry flies when trout fishing, 90% of the time I use nymphs under a strike indicator. That way you don’t have to be an expert to get a good dead drift. One of the best things I did was to take Rob Woodruff's course on stream entomology, I learned a great deal from that.

As far as knots go, I know three – a palomar knot, a clinch knot and a double surgeon’s knot. I have no idea what they are, or how to tie the other knots that a lot of fly fishers talk about. If forced to, I can tie a nail knot for tying the leader or mono to the flyline, but I much prefer the Orvis or Cortland braided loops that go on the end of the fly line. They last forever and are easy and fast to use. I HATE those little eyelet nails that you insert into the end of a fly line.

The only time I use tapered leaders is when I’m trout fishing. When warmwater fishing I only use straight monofilament on the end of my fly line, I never use tapered leaders for this purpose. When bass fishing I use 17# test mono, for bream fishing I use 5 – 12# tippet material because it is smaller in diameter and sinks faster than regular mono. The length of the mono will vary from 3’ – 9’, depending on what type of terrain I’m fishing. My casts get where I want them to and my flies seem to turn over just fine without tapered leaders.

As I mentioned earlier, I’ve never taken casting lessons. Over the years I’ve picked up a few tips which have helped me cast better, but I’m sure that if a casting instructor saw my style that he would keel over from a heart attack or just throw up his hands in dismay. But the fish don’t rate us on casting ability or style, and I’m not out there to impress anyone other than the fish. The fish could care less whether I have a tight and perfect loop or not. They don’t care than I don’t know how to throw a curve cast, a parachute cast, single haul or double haul, or any of the myriad of casts that experts throw. All the fish care about is that you put something that’ll fool them somewhere near them so they can eat it if they want it. I couldn’t cast a fly 90’ to save my life, 95% of my casts are only 20’ – 40’. The only time I practice casting is when I’m out on the water fishing. On the water I do as litt;e false casting as possible.

The line I use 95% of the time is a Scientific Anglers Mastery Series GPX Weight-Forward Floating Line. That’s what works the best for me. For basic fly fishing that’s all you need. I have a full-sinking line that I use on occasion, but that’s only when I want to fish 8’ or deeper. I couldn’t tell you how long the tapers are on my lines, how big the bellies are, how long the lines are, etc. I can cast them and catch fish with them, that’s all that matters to me.

It is my opinion that there are two main types of fly fishers. There are those who are in love with the art of fly fishing – they love the beauty of the perfect cast, they love the tricks you can do with the line when you really get good at casting, they love to make 100’ casts lay out just perfectly, they know all about the different types of rods and reels out there and what the technical aspects of each are, they know all the knots, all about leaders and tippets, all about stream entomology, probably tie their own flies - they enjoy these parts of fly fishing, and that’s great. Then there are the others, like me, who love to fish and consider fly fishing to be a very enjoyable part of the sport of fishing, but are not interested in all the technical aspects of fly fishing, they’re mainly interested in catching fish There are probably others who fall somewhere in between. Which way is the best? Whichever way you’re most comfortable with and makes you happiest. Find where your interests are, go out and enjoy yourself and quit worrying about all the technical aspects of the sport and what the experts and purists think. You don’t have to please them, you only have to please the fish.
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