Just wanted to give a follow up in case anyone may find this thread later or is headed there sometime soon. We actually ended up staying on Orange Beach if that makes a difference to anyone, but I would imagine it is about the same the whole surf area.
When we went to the first bait shop they kind of laughed at me asking if anyone fly fishes the surf or anywhere for that matter. I took it as a challenge (more on this later). I did see one other guy that must have been a first time caster with a guide down there the last day working a flat on a boat.
We had a great time down there and I would highly recommend vacationing down there. Great people, good food & a relaxing time to say the least. The fishing was good as I would definitely take my rod again next time.
We caught fish on basically every time out except for a few due to flat water. We did notice that the mornings were much more productive even getting out there when it was still dark. One morning it was pretty hot action on Ladyfish in our one area where they would hit my fly as soon as it hit the water. We never really did see any schools of feeding fish except for the last morning (more on that later). Dad mostly used dead shrimp or a spoon on his spinning tackle and had pretty decent success. It took me a little bit to get used to double hauling consistantly and being able to cast with the sand being elevated behind me. Once I got that down and we figured out how to read the water we started to have success. I mostly casted straight out and stripped the fly back to me. The heavier (medium) weight clousers worked the best as the others got tossed around in the wave action and stayed fairly high in the water column. I did make an improvised stripping basket after the first half of the week getting tired of line getting twisted in the surf or wrapped around my feed when I went to shoot the fine on my final cast. It worked alright, but I will be looking to pick up something better than the $1.28 tub from Walmart!
I did make it out to a few sandbars, but didn't notice any added success except having to look out for rays. What we did learn for fishing the surf is looking for long sandbars running parallel to shore with a deeper hole right off shore. The baitfish would be congragated in there which meant bigger fish also. Once the morning sun got over the horizon they virtually shut off and we headed in for breakfast anyways. We did watch a few guys throughout the day catch fish, but they seemed few and far between.
On the second to last day we stopped at Perdido Pass to check out the beach there as we drove past it multiple times taking the ladies to dinner or shopping. I wanted to explore it earlier in the trip, but dad was happy fishing pretty much in front of the condo. I took my rod that day just in case there were some feeding fish there, but had no luck. There was a school of mullet I cast to multiple times, but not bites. I was about to get out on the rocks to talk to a few guys about fishing there. There was a TON of baitfish hanging out around the rips where the two sections of water meet (surf & pass). There was even a speargun fisherman headed out while I was there which was neat to see. Once again a local guy who has fished there for 30 years looked at my fly & fly rod laughing saying I wouldn't get anything (more on this later).
Dad and I decided that the next morning we would give it a try as it was our last morning there. We got there plenty early as we figured people would be trying to get to the tip of the rocks first to claim spots. We were the first ones there, but not by too much as guys started showing up. The tide was down a little from the day before also. I believe after my second cast I hooked into my first fish. It was a bluefish that gave me a good fight on my 8 wt Sage rod making the drag talk a little. The local guy that camped out next to me was keeping fish and asked if he could have it. I then proceeded to hook and land 3 more within the next 10-15 minutes throwing those in his bag as well. He was using a spoon and ended up getting one before I left which left me feeling great that I was able to out fish a local with my fly rod contrary to what guys down there were saying. I did hook 3 more fish, but didn't get good hook sets and lost them. I did have me leader break off on something huge that I only had on for a few seconds before seeing a long flash in the water and SNAP! I think that fish will haunt me until I get back there. Dad caught a few bluefish as well that morning.
All in all it was a great trip and the fishing was a great adventure ending on a great note. Lessons learned...head the pass the first day, take more flies with medium weight, all white seemed to work best with white & bright yellow second, get out early (you can nap on the beach later), don't listen to what the locals say, and just enjoy the adventure! We couldn't have been successful without the help of many guys on the site pointing me in the right direction! I greatly appreciate that as it helped the learning curve not be so difficult!
Lastly the flies...I tied all of mine with some synthetic hair I got a our local fly shop. I am not sure if it was the brand I got or what, but it sure got tangled after a morning fishing. The fibers seemed to cling together which could have been because of the sand or something, but it caused me to change flies each morning as they would basically be a tangled knot by the end of the morning. I also wished I would have worn some gloves as I ended up with blisters in two differet locations which may have been prevented if I had practice casting a little more before the trip.
Pics will follow. Low quality due to lighting and using my phone.
Til next time!
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