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I went to my favorite flat and paddled back to where I usually find fish, but it was almost devoid of water. I hoped that if I dragged the kayak farther back I would find deeper water and fish. Four hundred yards later I was disappointed and very tired. Yes there was water, but it was less than an inch deep... After resting for an hour I dragged the kayak back the way I came and went off to explore other shorelines. I located several feeding groups, and all of them were very shallow so I had to move slowly to avoid spooking the fish. I managed five reds with three of them revived and released because they were too large to keep. One 29" fish came in on the 2 weight, which had me smiling all morning. I spooked several fish with flyline or lures landing too close, but I persisted and found others willing to play. All I took with me was a box of flies from my vise, so every fish was caught on my own creations :lol: It's a little silly, but I was pretty excited that my own stuff seems to work as well as what comes from fly shops.

Ben, it's a Clouser built on a size 8 hook. People think big fish won't look at a small bait, but they will when the shrimp in the area are all small ones.

Yakdog, the line size determines how well it will cast in the wind, not so much how well you can pull on a fish. With low winds and a small fly, the two works well and it's very light in your hand. Plus a big fish will force you to smile when it eats your fly. :D
Prof. Salt wrote:Ben, it's a Clouser built on a size 8 hook. People think big fish won't look at a small bait, but they will when the shrimp in the area are all small ones.

I've caught some big fish on a small jerkbait up north. It's all about matching the hatch as they say sometimes.
Yak Dog wrote:Other fly guys have always told me if I did get into fly fishing to buy a 7-8 wt. . Your using a 2! Guess that’s why they call you PROF SALT

No, there Yak Dog, you must drink the cool aid, lol. There’s no room for individuality or nonconformity in fly fishing.
That's absolutely awesome, you have made skills to get such large fish on a 2wt.

As for big fish on small flies, my largest brown at about 8lbs came on a #24 KF emerger where I thought my 4wt had me under guned. My S.W.A.G. (scientific wild a** guess) is that the light tip on those light rods really protect the tippet being a shock absorber. Still a sobering, scary, and exhilarating experience when you feel every pulse of the fish from the reel seat on up.

As for flies I obviously prefer my own as do most people who tie; however I will fish flies tied for me by other folks as I think they have some "mojo" on them if they were gifted to me, I just don't buy flies. Most flies tied for fly shops come from places were they were mass produced by people who have no clue of what a fish is or the places they inhabit.

I need to get some #8 hooks as I think the little UV glue grass shrimp I have done on #6 hooks would also look good on #8 and possibly even #10s.
My biggest 2 weight fish was a 14# grass carp. In spite of what I’ve read elsewhere, the grass carp I’ve run into are mostly duds as compared to comparable sized redfish. I haven’t taken anything under a 4/5 weight along in the saltwater, though.

Size 8 is the smallest I’ve gone in the saltwater. I did some what I call hackle crabs on size 8 hooks. They worked on some redfish. But like the Professor has said, big fish eat little stuff. Most any redfish I’ve cleaned has little stuff in its stomach, crabs, shrimp and or little fin fish. Sometimes, there’s a bigger mullet or shad in there, but most fish seem to eat little stuff.

I’ve never completely bought into this idea that lighter weight rods unnecessarily tire out bigger fish. Fish buried in heavy current or maybe big fish that are deep running fish, perhaps. Days with marginal water, too hot or low dissolved O2 could I guess be an issue, but redfish are usually shallow and a big redfish is going to run out some line no matter if it’s a 2 weight or an 8 weight. You mostly go with the big runs and put some pressure on the turns and the tippet and hooks have to be up to it. People all over the world hand line in big fish without any rods, just a line and maybe an old coke bottle for a reel.

There’s no law against it, no minimum rod weight, and I think if the 2 weight is what the professor enjoys, that’s his deal. I still am thrilled to get an 18” red on the 7/8 weight CGR so I just go with that rod much of the time or at times bring along a six. I think the 2 weight up against big redfish is more thrill than I’m looking for, lol, but to each his own.
great job Doc, and great photo.

Again, the way you do that is keep the rod low so the reel drag is fighting the fish.

Kars, caught a carp about that size on the 6'9" 3-pc para that's part of a 5/6 Fisher combo, drifting a cats whisker in a chute on the middle Guadalupe, and it fought like a striper in the current. Another big carp on the San Gabriel during a white bass run, I though it was a wiper for a dozen minutes until I saw red.
karstopo wrote:No, there Yak Dog, you must drink the cool aid, lol. There’s no room for individuality or nonconformity in fly fishing.

There's a reason I won't post this on some sites. There really is a tendency for some of our brothers and sisters to demand that everyone stay within dictated parameters. Reds on a 2 is well outside the Kool aid zone. :D
I've caught kings and jacks on a 7-wt - both are a lot of work to lift at the end, but the rod is qualified.
Caught a 30" red on UL Falcon rod, a schoolie spec double 17 and 19" on XUL with 4-lb test - not a giant chore, just good drag and patience.
The reason 7- and 8-wt rods are recommended for inshore is big flies and wind - with small flies, fishing close with light wind, no reason you can't use lighter rods - my go-to inshore fly rods are 6/7.
The times my Fisher 8-wt was a real advantage were quick casts to fast- moving sow specs in skinny water.
Nice job. I love those shallow water stalking days. Sometimes it is even nice when a plan doesn't work out. It makes you try something new.

The size rod and the size hook need to match the conditions and your fishing style. I usually fish a size 6 or 4 with an unweighted fly. I'm usually in very skinny water, less than 1", and its usually windy. Once I have hooked the fish I'm ready to get it to hand asap and go trick another one.

With an 8wt and 15 lb tippet I have found that I can bend out a 6 hook when applying a lot of pressure to a red fish. So in my particular instance I wouldn't have any chance of landing a fish on a 8 hook.

So like you said, there is no right answer. You need to put together your set ups to suit your style.

No matter what that set up looks like it is a blast stalking and sight casting to those cruising beasts!
Local conditions I believe count for a lot. The type of structure, the water conditions, depths, of course, the winds and availability of wind blocks.

When I’ve tried lighter rods stalking fish, my 4/5 weight CGR is the lightest I’ve gone with, I’ve bumped into a few impediments. Up here, the water is often somewhat marginal in clarity. Muddy substrates account for this, combined with minimal submerged sea grasses and packed sand. Sighted fish don’t often stay in sight for long, they can disappear quickly in the murk. So there’s a narrow time window for the shot, no time really for a long, stealthy, planned out stalk on a fish I know will remain visible. Experience has informed me that the fish might not reappear but go on into a little deeper section of the murk and be lost forever. Put those observations together with the perceived need for somewhat bulkier, heavier, water pushing patterns that I think get noticed better in marginal water and that adds up to more bulk, more weight, a potential for more distance to short sight window. Distance and extra weight and bulk cut against going light on the line weight rating of fly rods.

I know that my 7/8 weight CGR rods can handle the flies necessary and they have enough capability at distance and they are great in medium and short. Sometimes, as I’m creeping, standing, I always stand in my Commander when stalking fish, along in the semi opaque water, a redfish will suddenly appear from out of a little deeper spot onto a shelf or edge and in close. It’s almost always out of the corner of my eye and at in inconvenient angle, but the little, short, springy CGRs are great for improvised, odd angle shots at fish in close.
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