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Saltwater Fly Fishing Bonefish, Tarpon, Redfish, Permit, False Albacore, Striped Bass, etc...

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  • 5 Post By karstopo
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:58 AM
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Default An Underutilized (For Me) Method of Fishing

I've come to realize that maybe I need to cast and let my fly settle and move with the current more or even rest on the bottom some. Last couple of outings, I've made a lot of casts around drop-offs and bulkheads and let the fly settle and move with the current for long periods, several seconds anyway, before trying to impart any action on the fly. The last two times out, I would cast up against a bulkhead and let a weighted shrimp pattern just fall and swirl around in the current. The challenge was to keep the tension off the line yet be ready to set the hook as the take was usually subtle. This proved to be productive on redfish and speckled trout. I also did the cast and let the shrimp fly fall along a drop off with similar success.

I think I have or had the mentality of must strip always or some variation of strip pause. I've caught fish on long pauses with the fly falling and drifting in the water column and with the fly at rest on the bottom, but I haven't always been as intentional about that as I have been these last 2 times out.

I know that some of y'all already do these dead drifts, saltwater nymph-ing, whatever this way of fishing is labeled, because I've read little bits here and there mentioning it (Rip Tide, for one). These last two times out, I really tried to focus more on slowing things down and letting the fly work on its own in the current.
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Old 03-20-2017, 04:22 PM
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Default Re: An Underutilized (For Me) Method of Fishing

I'm sure that anyone who fishes for any length of time, gets into a funk, where what we do is more habit than actually fishing for the conditions. Dead drifting salt patterns works well, just as it does in other types of fishing, but most of the time I too also strip a salt fly more than I should.

Don't know if you fish any plastic baits with other tackle, but for the past several years, when I need to do something different than what I've been doing, and knowing I may be over doing the strip retrieve, I picture a "senko" plastic worm & try to keep it in my mind and how it moves when it's just falling thru the the water. That lure is used various ways, might imitate many things, but nothing in particular, just as some flies we use may fit that description. However one of the most productive ways to fish a senko is let it do nothing, just cast it out & let it fall, particularly in fairly clear, shallow water.

The thing is, it's shape causes it to have a subtle shimmy to it when it falls, a movement that we as anglers don't see easily, but the fish do and that ever so slight wiggle can be deadly. I prefer to rig them "wacky rig" style with the hook at the center point, which really takes advantage of that shimmy.

A lot of the flies we use have plenty of built in movement that we don't consider as a stand alone enticement often enough. Some materials have lots of movement, while others it's more subtle. Ever watch a real crab or a shrimp, or crayfish in the water? Even when they're sitting still, there's slight movements as they test their surroundings. All too often we as anglers picture them moving in our fishing thought process, only as a whole, and so we strip the imitation in our effort to mimic them. Sometimes, more is less, but we get into that habit, because it does work much of the time.

karstopo, IMO, dead drifting salt flies goes against what the majority of us are taught, but your post is an excellent reminder that what these fish we chase see & react to is not always what we expect or think about. Funny how many of us can cast a nymph for trout & let it dead drift with the current, and yet have a hard time with that same mind set when casting a saltwater fly pattern, even though many things that fish eat in the saltwater environment are at the mercy of the current, just like a nymph in a trout stream. It's often difficult too to be open minded about what we should be trying, yet to improve our fishing we also must improve our own thought process.

I remember a specific incident many years ago, I was fishing a small tidal river in MD, had a fly rod rigged & also had spinning tackle with me. I had been casting a white streamer for bass with no results, had just laid down the fly rod, allowing the fly to trail behind as I paddled down river & picked up the spinning gear to make a few cast. I heard a thump, thump, behind me, and when I picked up the fly rod, a Bullhead catfish had grabbed the fly. This one incident I've remembered like it happened yesterday & reminds me to try not to let my thought process overwhelm the fishing process.

Thanks for posting this! A very good reminder, not to over think, strip a fly too much & not to get complacent.
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Old 03-20-2017, 09:12 PM
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Default Re: An Underutilized (For Me) Method of Fishing

I've been thinking about the same thing. I'm envisioning tying some version of a general practitioner or other shrimp imitation and swinging it in the current at the mouths of bayous that enter a bay or where two bayous come together. An unweighted version of the shrimp fly you posted may also work.
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Old 03-21-2017, 11:03 AM
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Default Re: An Underutilized (For Me) Method of Fishing

I think that most people that take up fly fishing the salt are graduating from a previous spin fishing/bait casting mentality and the lessons that were learned from that style of fishing are redirected to fishing the fly
However the fly rod is best suited to using traditional fly rod methods such as dead drifting and mending rather than just a cast and retrieve.

I have to chuckle whenever someone tells me that they cast out as far as they could and then stripped in only to have the fish take their fly at the last second:

"The fish followed my fly in all the way in but didn't bite until I was just about to 'pick-up' !"

That's not what happened at all. The fish didn't bite earlier because it didn't even see the fly until the last second.
It all happen right at your feet and you could have been dead drifting that current the whole time instead of distance casting to barren water

Salt water fish aren't trout or bass but they're still predators that use structure and current to their advantage and those of us that fish with fly rods can make use of that, the same way that we would when fishing sweet water.

Dead drifting and the ability to hold your fly in place (or even go backwards) by mending is a fly rod advantage that doesn't happen with so-called conventional gear and if you're not utilizing that advantage then you're not using your gear to the best of it's abilities.

I've shown this enough times. High-sticking a pair of streamers in the long shore current.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 03-21-2017, 11:19 AM
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Default Re: An Underutilized (For Me) Method of Fishing

Quote:
Originally Posted by deceiverbob View Post
I've been thinking about the same thing. I'm envisioning tying some version of a general practitioner or other shrimp imitation and swinging it in the current at the mouths of bayous that enter a bay or where two bayous come together. An unweighted version of the shrimp fly you posted may also work.
I've tied the shrimp without added weight and with a little lead wire as weight. I almost never get around to using the versions without the tungsten bead.

The shrimp isn't any big deal to tie. I tie in a 3mm pyrex rattle just behind the 60 degree bend so that rides at bottom. I think it helps for our muddy water, but I'm not sure that is essential. Otherwise, its a wrap of the shank hook bend to eye and back to bend of Estaz, color your choice, I use mostly pearl on the white EP versions and orange or rootbeer on the darker menhaden EP versions. Then its 3 or 4 pairs of rubber legs. One strand of rubber gets divided in half so 2 pair of legs per strand. Put a little flash in at the same time, color your choice.

Then tie in some shrimp eyes. I make mine with 60# mono and burning in glass seed beads, but I've also made them with layers of UV resin and micro glitter. No doubt store bought eyes would work too. The EP brush I make sparse in a loop. The idea is not to have a fuzz ball, but a shroud over the estaz so that the estaz shines through in a muted way. I cut the EP about 1.5 to 2 inches. Wrap the brush forward. Then I flip the hook in the vise and tie in a back of Steve Farrar fiber. The burnt orange, Chartreuse and Pinks are my favorites. I might put a few strands of black as a vein. Whip finish.

Horn should be about the length of the legs and flash. I might leave a stand or two of flash just a touch longer. This isn't a long fly. Maybe 2 inches overall. Trim the EP so it is close to the body. You will see the estaz underneath. I leave just a little EP longer around the legs. I then put a tiny drop of thin UV and spread it on the back and light it up.

I Pool tested this fly and it sinks about a foot per second with the tungsten bead. It sinks in a mostly horizontal aspect which surprised me. The tungsten beaded side might be a little lower. Quick strips produce erratic upward movements and that is what I was desiring.

---------- Post added at 12:19 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:13 PM ----------

Oh, it sinks eyes and back up in a way that resembles a natural shrimp. and it settles and sinks in that manner too.
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Old 03-21-2017, 02:49 PM
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Default Re: An Underutilized (For Me) Method of Fishing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rip Tide View Post
I think that most people that take up fly fishing the salt are graduating from a previous spin fishing/bait casting mentality and the lessons that were learned from that style of fishing are redirected to fishing the fly
However the fly rod is best suited to using traditional fly rod methods such as dead drifting and mending rather than just a cast and retrieve.

I have to chuckle whenever someone tells me that they cast out as far as they could and then stripped in only to have the fish take their fly at the last second:

"The fish followed my fly in all the way in but didn't bite until I was just about to 'pick-up' !"

That's not what happened at all. The fish didn't bite earlier because it didn't even see the fly until the last second.
It all happen right at your feet and you could have been dead drifting that current the whole time instead of distance casting to barren water

Salt water fish aren't trout or bass but they're still predators that use structure and current to their advantage and those of us that fish with fly rods can make use of that, the same way that we would when fishing sweet water.

Dead drifting and the ability to hold your fly in place (or even go backwards) by mending is a fly rod advantage that doesn't happen with so-called conventional gear and if you're not utilizing that advantage then you're not using your gear to the best of it's abilities.

I've shown this enough times. High-sticking a pair of streamers in the long shore current.

Click the image to open in full size.
That's some great advice and something I never thought of. I'll make sure to try it the next time I'm fishing salt. When I fished the inlet I treated it like a river with a heavy current but at the beach I was more or less ignoring the current and treating it like still water. There were obvious currents that I could have played most days.

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Old 03-21-2017, 09:42 PM
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Default Re: An Underutilized (For Me) Method of Fishing

Rip, one thing to remember is that the Gulf Coast as a whole has much weaker tidal currents than the northeast. Where I live on the northern Gulf there is only 1 high and 1 low tide a day with a 1.5 ft average range,so you can't always rely on current to manipulate the fly.
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