Stripping like it’s a GT
Where do I begin? I’ve started 3 different blogs over the last few weeks. However, each time I read them to myself, I feel as though I’m standing on a soapbox yelling into the wind with no one listening. So for that reason I’m switching gears and am going to write about positive things. Like our Texas fall fishery and a tip to solve a problem I have been noticing a lot with so many social media “pros” out there.
With the start of the month we had temperatures dropping into the mid 50’s at night and into the late morning. This has been making fish sluggish 1st thing in the morning. I’ve noticed that fish have really started to feed and be active closer to the afternoon. Starting around 10 am is when the bite has turned around and the redfish seemed to show more aggression toward flies. Redfish have started to school up and tail down shorelines in big numbers lately. It has not been uncommon to see 10-100 redfish all waving their tails in the air as we work down shorelines in the afternoon. I have been using quite a bit of flash on my flies lately, to imitate all the shine activity in the grass that I’ve seen over the last two months. This particular pattern also should be a great winter time trout fly. Another pattern that has been working is the purple crack fly.
Remember that it can be a simple design and right now flies don’t need to be on huge hooks or really bulky either. I’m starting to see a large younger generation getting into tying and that tends to be the trend with people when they start tying for the saltwater, they usually go big! If you are adding items like; silly legs, antennas, articulation, etc, try to keep it very sparse. I personally use a Gamkatsu SC 15 size 2 hook. That’s not a 2/0 hook, that’s a small size 2. I use that hook almost exclusively all year long, with very little problem hooking fish. It’s also an effective size for multiple species, including black drum, flounder, speckled trout, and the ever-elusive sheepshead.
One last note is this idea that you need to be stripping the fly 100 mph to get the fish’s attention. For some saltwater species that is 100% the case, however, not usually for reds. This method would work throwing a popper or gurgler pattern in dirty water, but this is south Texas not Louisiana, so I prefer to sight cast fish in clean water. Lots of times when casting to redfish or any species for that matter, I like to teach people what I call the 2×2 method. If you see a fish, try to cast 2 ft in front of it and 2 feet behind, then wait. This way helps you get the fly or to bring the fly directly in the path of the fish. I tend to have you cast, pause, then as the fish is lining up, I’ll have you do one or two short strips. If the fish isn’t spooked or hooked, stay calm, cast again. At this point you have either hooked the fish or it spooked away. Before getting frustrated if he spooked, try to remember his behavior. Did he not see the fly? Did you line it? Was it a mullet not a redfish? Thinking about these things will make you a better angler. If you’re looking for a great gift idea for that special someone, remember not only do I have Gift Certificates for fishing, but for private casting and tying lessons