Fly Fishing the Texas Coast

Deceivers in the Rocks: Jetty fly-fishing

The 8-pound and 10-pound tippets work well on the flats, but it is advisable to use a heavier leader around the rocks, where the larger redfish and seatrout hang out. Some anglers also select a 1-foot-long section of 20-pound test or heavier monofilament to serve as a "shock tippet," especially when there are members of the mackerel family about. Sometimes you can get more strikes from Spanish mackerel with a lighter leader, even though there is the occasional cutoff. If tarpon are your targets around the rocks, a 1-foot-long shock tippet of 50-pound test or heavier is essential. For king mackerel, a short (5- or 6-inch) section of wire between the fly and the class tippet is an essential part of the leader system.

In the fall, when cold fronts begin their annual pilgrimage along the coast and water temperatures drop to the mid-60s, flyfishers using specialized fly lines—including uniform-density sinking lines that cast smoothly, sink rapidly, and allow solid hookups at depths of 15 feet and more—can swim streamers and bendback flies through the "secret holes" that were once the sole domain of the jetty pros with their popping rods, plastic worms, and shrimp tails. However, because of restricted mobility while standing on jetty rocks, an extended fight with a large tarpon is problematic. Flyfishers will want to be well prepared for heart-stopping action. The uniform-density lines like 3M Scientific Anglers' Uniform Sink tapers go beyond merely dragging a fly down to a desired depth. In addition to providing better contact with the fly and more confident depth control, these uniform-density lines cast more "normally" than other sinking lines. You can feel the line in the air, control over your loop is excellent, and you don't have the sensation of merely slinging a lot of weight at a target.

An effective technique suggested by Galveston fly-fishing guide Chris Phillips for taking redfish and trout in holes along the jetties is to use a sinking line with a heavily hackled or spun deer-hair fly, such as a Dahlberg Diver or a finger mullet pattern. These flies float and at the end of a sinking line and a 3 1/2-foot to 4-foot leader, will bob up and down in the jetty rocks, attracting predators. When you strip the line, this fly will go down almost into the rocks, stop, and then float back up. It will not go to the top because it is in deep water. But it is going to drift straight up right off the rocks. Redfish and trout hang around in these holes along the Texas jetties, and if you can run your fly down and back up, invariably they will hit it.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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