Monday, April 03, 2006

Fly Fishing Port O'Connor 2006


Fishing has been wide open over the last week with Trout limits to near limits everyday. We’ve been throwing PCS (popping cork shrimp) with excellent results. Drifting reefs and flats has been most productive while dropping anchor on areas where fish are schooled up. When the action stops, jerk the anchor and get on the move again. Fish have been ranging from 15 to 23” and have significant egg sacks. Everything is coming off of shell in ESB and SAB. The wind has had us pinned down in a few areas at times. Trout are spread all the way up North past Seadrift but, we are unable to get to them with some wind velocities.

Fly Fishing Redfish

The last cold front ripped our Spring Tide out from under us. The water levels are kind of a summer time average depth at present on the low side. Despite this condition, the back country is holding quite a few Redfish in the middle slot and over. Many of these fish are located in deeper pocket lakes that lend themselves well to Airboat Redfishing. Sunday, I went after fish holding in ankle deep water looking to take some on a fly rod with my good friend and fly fishing mentor, Steve Fowler. We left the ramp about 8:30am on my airboat and headed for the Matagorda Island back country. Wind was blowing about 15 knots out of the SE and sunny. About the time I rounded the corner into the marsh, clouds moved in. We spent the next six hours fighting cloud cover and murked up water. The biggest concentrations of fish didn’t lend themselves to sight fishing very well. The fish were holding over mud and grass in knee deep murky water and not showing any “signs” at all. We slow played everything working some areas with fish. The first hook-up came when Steve walked over an island to find a 30” plus Redfish laying next to some old duck blind legs with its back out of the water. The fish took his Seaducer and promptly rapped him up in the pilings and broke off.

About 2:00, the sun started poking out and we knew things were about to turn in our favor. I fired up the boat and we made a run finding some fish as far back on the island as you can go. The water was clear and knee deep or less with scattered grasses. We had a number of shots at some decent middle slot fish but came up empty. I backed my first fish and spooked it. Steve managed to turn several fish that followed his fly. They wouldn’t hop on it and eventually spooked when he and the fish came eye to eye. We again fired up and I made a long run back towards Pringle and came up on some fish in about ankle deep water over sparse grasses. It was approaching 4:00 as we started stalking the flat. Working with the wind at our backs and the sun in front of us was pretty tough. I found some comfort level quartering the wind and looking over my right shoulder “semi upwind”. This offered the best visibility and water penetration. Roughly 150 yards into the stalk, I came across my first two fish slowly cruising together. As I stripped line and got set, the fish slowly made a hook away from me and headed for Steve who was about 75 yards in front of me.

I got on their trail but, still couldn’t ever get a visual on them. On the trail, I came across what looked like a decent fish laying still in front of me with the light colored tip of it’s aquamarine tail flagging light a “white-tail deer”. The angle was about 10 degrees or so, almost looking straight away from me. The wind was near perpendicular to the fish and my position about 15’ away. I crouched down a little bit and attempted to move a little to the right or slightly more up wind. I knew the target on the cast was going to be more right into the wind to get the fly in front of and not on top of the fish. I made two false casts making sure my lead was right and I let it rip with some up wind body English. Essentially when the fly hit the water, up wind and beyond the fish, he turned toward the Seaducer more or less broadside to me. I started stripping little three inch strips in a crouching position and could see him on the move toward the bait, contact, explosion! I jerked back on the fly line and set the hook while simultaneously flag poling the Temple Fork Outfitters #8. I dropped the line and enjoyed the ride for the next five minutes or so. As he wore down, I collected the 22” fish and posed for a quick picture while Steve and I discussed our options. I dropped him back in the water and watched as he cruised the flat for a meeting some other day.

That fish broke the ice for us on a tough day “condition wise” on the flats. Before it was over, Steve managed four fish to hand including one fish pushing 30”. I never had another decent shot despite coming across a tailing fish that vanished on me in knee deep water. In this game, you’ve got to catch a break and we did. The scowling 20 knot winds backed off us and when the clouds broke, we were very fortunate.


Capt. Kris Kelley
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