Fly Fishing the Texas Coast
Although the majority of fish attracted to the lights along the Texas coast are undersize seatrout in the 12- to 14-inch range that must be released, they can provide exciting action on light fly tackle. Fly rods matched to 5-weight lines can be used under light wind conditions. It is especially wise at night to bend down the barbs on hooks. This makes for solid hook-ups and quick and clean releases.
School trout on nighttime feeding binges can be oblivious to the hubbub that emanates from most crowded piers, but it is best to target larger fish in the early morning hours after the crowds have left. And although many low-lying bayside piers are ideal for fly fishing at night, the high piers and crowded rails on the Gulf side of the barrier islands are best fished with conventional levelwind and spinning tackle.
After-hours fly fishing under the lights is equally exciting from a boat. Several Texas outfitters now offer overnight excursions behind the barrier islands on houseboats equipped with powerful lights for nighttime fishing. Anglers can cast flies around lighted docks or beachhouse piers. Enterprising flyfishers also can set up their own portable light systems along creek mouths or channel drop-offs. A full moon and a high tide are good conditions in which to target trout and reds, with or without lights.
In setting up lights at night, anglers should look for the same mix of features that attract gamefish during the day, including the presence of baitfish and strong water movement across channel edges, shell bars, grass flats, and tidal creeks.
A variety of fly patterns tied on #6 to #1 hooks that imitate or simulate shrimp and "glass minnows" are deadly under the lights. Chico's Bonefish Special and Clouser Deep Minnow patterns dressed with white, yellow, or chartreuse deer hair and Krystal Flash are deadly under the lights for trout, redfish, and flounder.
Bendbacks with flashy wing material and dark-hackled SeaDucers also are proven producers at night.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication