Fly Fishing the Texas Coast
The 26-foot Robalo pulls up to an offshore buoy 20 miles off Port O'Connor's jetties and four flyfishers scramble to open hatches, dig out fly reels, and string up fly rods. The focus of their feverish activity is a school of small dolphins, or dorado, that have suddenly appeared right next to the boat. The golden green sides and neon blue-tipped pectoral fins of these offshore fish are radiant in the deep blue water. Everyone in the boat knows that any fly hitting the water will draw an immediate strike and a line-stripping run from these offshore gamefish.
It is early on a steamy August day, but it's Christmas morning for these flyfishers. Before the sun sets, they will fish a variety of offshore structures from anchored shrimp boats and tankers to buoys, weedlines, production platforms, and sunken wrecks. During the day, they will cast flies to ling and barracuda cruising in the shade of the shrimp boats and oil platforms and to tripletail and dolphin under matted sargassum weed. The little blue runners will bow up 10-weight fly rods as they power straight down into the depths after taking a fly near the surface.
A few pieces of chum thrown in the offshore current will attract trigger fish, spadefish, remora, and even the deep dwelling red snapper to within easy casting range. Hookless plugs teased at the deeper depths will occasionally draw king mackerel, amberjack, and bluefish into casting range.
Later in the day, closer to shore, there will be acre-wide schools of Spanish mackerel and bonito, or little tunny, to cast to as they thrash through bait schools under diving birds.
There are wonderful opportunities for offshore fly fishing out of all the major ports along the Texas coast. Many flyfishers who have honed their casting skills and timing on the shallow flats, sightcasting to redfish, are now being drawn offshore where they can broaden their saltwater fly-fishing experience and enjoy the thrill of hooking larger fish.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication