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#11075926 - 08/31/15 10:35 PM Clear and moving water- Help!
TXST-JAKE Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 06/02/11
Posts: 537
Loc: San Marcos, Marble Falls
Hello all,
I recently started school in San Marcos, and have made my way to the park on campus right at the headwaters of the San Marcos River tonight.
I knew it was clear and flowing, but I never have fished extremely clear and flowing water.
I landed 1 redbreast on a dying shad bead head pattern, and had a shake off following a faulty hook set off of a streamer.
But my fly was surrounded by fish all night! For two hours, I stood on my toes waiting for an inhalation, but only 1 fish came out.
I'm used to fishing stained lake water and having fish tear my flies up, literally. But, I'm afraid that my bad fly tying is starting to show to the fish. I was in the running for ugliest fly for awhile, but fish never cared in the lake.

What should I do differently for such clear water? My leader was around 4 feet, which is too short I know, but the fly line never dipped below the water while working bottom. I will probably double that for next outing.

Lastly, what flies are recommended for San Marcos river? I have seen countless videos of people throwing poppers, but there was no interest in my foam bug or my popper tonight.

Thank you for response,
Jake
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Criminal Justice Major
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#11076165 - 09/01/15 07:22 AM Re: Clear and moving water- Help! [Re: TXST-JAKE]
Lloyd5 Offline
Angler

Registered: 06/02/14
Posts: 327
Loc: Bosque County, Texas
I've not fished the San Marcos but I fish the Brazos and it is clear and moving water as well. Visibility this past weekend was about 5 feet.

I use an 8lb test tippet on the end of a tapered furled leader. My leader with tapered leader tends to be about 9' long overall with 3 feet of it being the 8lb tippet. Leader shyness doesn't seem to be a problem.

The best overall fly I've found is a black woolybooger with blue tinsel in it in sizes six and eight. Clousers, crayfish and hellgramite flys also work pretty well. Top waters only seem to work very early in the morning and very late in the evening for the most part - with occasional bursts in the daytime but nothing reliable.

Two ways of presenting the woolybooger and other flys are: Dead drift it with an indicator so that the fly bounces along the bottom. This works best when the current is quick and/or when the wind is chopping the surface. Those conditions give the fly some action as it bounces along the bottom. Or if the water is calm then stripping the fly in, using various speeds and patterns until you find one that works that day. Or actually for that hour.

Hope this helps a little - probably the best advice is to just keep fishing it and soon enough you'll develop techniques that work based on experience.

Congrats on the move!
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#11076445 - 09/01/15 09:48 AM Re: Clear and moving water- Help! [Re: TXST-JAKE]
txbassnewbie Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 07/02/14
Posts: 113
Loc: Flower Mound
from what I have read online and in the orvis books for bass and panfish they are not leader shy. If you want your leader to sink you might want to try fluorocarbon over regular line as fluorocarbon does not float compared to reg line. you can also add a sinking leader if you want it to sink faster


Edited by txbassnewbie (09/01/15 09:53 AM)

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#11076486 - 09/01/15 10:16 AM Re: Clear and moving water- Help! [Re: TXST-JAKE]
DainW Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 01/20/15
Posts: 79
I've run into this situation before and it can be frustrating. I was telling someone about an experience I had like this a while back and their reply was, well sometimes they just don't bite.

Here's my question, you could see fish right? Did they look like they were actively feeding? Clear water and bright sunny days can sometimes give fish lockjaw, because that's when they're most susceptible to predators. If you can see fish, they can see you. Perhaps they sensed your presence and just stopped eating. If they were feeding actively, it's possible that there was some sort hatch going on that was causing them to be "selective."

You definitely need to lengthen your leader if you're fishing subsurface. 4 feet is about right if you're fishing a popper, but for a streamer on floating line I'd say at least 7 feet, maybe more like 9 depending on the depth of the water. Not because these fish are leader shy, but because you need that much leader to get your fly down. You said the water was moving pretty fast, it's likely that your fly wasn't getting into the strike zone with only a 4 foot leader. Was the water clear enough that you could see your fly and tell that it was in the strike zone?

The last question I have is how were you presenting your fly? If you're fishing a streamer like a woolly or a clouser in moving water like that, I really like to swing them. Cast across or slightly down and across and let your fly swing with the current on a tight line. Until it's directly below you. Then give it a couple strips back up to you. It takes a little practice to get the hang of the swing though. It's not quite a dead drift, because too much slack and you won't be able to detect the strike. At the same time you don't want too much belly in your line either because then it won't be a realistic presentation. Ideally you want your fly, leader, and fly line moving downstream in roughly a straight line with your rod tip about the same speed as the current. It's easier said than done and I find it's a lot easier for me to do on a sink tip line with a short leader than on a floating line.





Edited by DainW (09/01/15 10:20 AM)

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#11076520 - 09/01/15 10:38 AM Re: Clear and moving water- Help! [Re: TXST-JAKE]
TXST-JAKE Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 06/02/11
Posts: 537
Loc: San Marcos, Marble Falls
I could see fish all around the area I was at. I was standing on a wooden dock, and the fish directly below me never shied away.
It did look as if some of the juvenile Guads were feeding. I would occasionally see a flare of the gills and they would swim into the grass.
I could see my fly as if I was holding it in my hand. The bead head shad I was using was presented in a jigging motion, right through a stack of fairly decent sized sunfish. A lot of fish, in the two hours of me being there, would bolt to the fly, but then shy away.
I did at one time think that the nail polish I use to secure and hold everything down was turning them away, but I don't know.
But this fish I caught bolted at the fly and then took it on the fall.
The Rio's picked at the tails most of the time, even on my smallest fly I carried.
Every fish last night seemed interested until they got close enough to bite. They were very curious, but couldn't commit.
_________________________
Texas State University
Criminal Justice Major
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#11076553 - 09/01/15 10:59 AM Re: Clear and moving water- Help! [Re: TXST-JAKE]
DainW Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 01/20/15
Posts: 79
If you're getting follows but not takes, I'd say that you were probably just using too big of a fly. Sunfish are usually really aggressive for the most part, almost territorial, and will attack almost anything, but if they can't fit it in their mouth, then they won't actually bite, or they'll bite but can't actually fit the fly in their mouth so you won't connect. My immediate thought is that the the sunfish would follow the fly when it passed through its "territory" to make sure that it wasn't threatened and then would go back to its lie when the perceived threat passed. What's the smallest fly that you used? I really like a size 12 (or smaller) woolly bugger when fishing for sunfish. You may even try flies that are consider trout flies like a scud, san juan worm, or even a little nymph.

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#11076562 - 09/01/15 11:08 AM Re: Clear and moving water- Help! [Re: TXST-JAKE]
TXST-JAKE Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 06/02/11
Posts: 537
Loc: San Marcos, Marble Falls
If I remember correctly, a size 10 is usually the hook I use. This small one in particular was not tied with a lot of material, giving a small profile.
I have some small hooks, ranging up to some microhooks. I brought almost all my mats to the dorm, so in between classes I'll whip some smaller flies up. I am trying to picture a hellgrammite with what I have, and I have a San Juan coming soon.
Hopefully I'll figure it out so I can post pictures and reports instead of asking for help.
Thank you everyone for pitching in some help
_________________________
Texas State University
Criminal Justice Major
Eat 'Em Up, Cats!

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#11076593 - 09/01/15 11:27 AM Re: Clear and moving water- Help! [Re: TXST-JAKE]
dbltea Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 70
Loc: Pagosa Springs, CO
My daughter and son-in-law both went to Texas State and both worked at the outdoor center. My suggestion would be to make use of your student ID and take a kayak downriver. There are some very big sunfish especially some very big redears once you get away from Sewell Park and go south of the I35 bridge. Lots of fish where you fishing but as you can imagine alot of activity also ...those fish have seen just about everything floating in the part of the river.
Our son went to UT but did his honor thesis on the removal of the old mill dam on the San Marcos...I was lucky enough to go on several canoe trips downriver and fished while he set sediment traps and charted flows. There are some nice Rios in that river also.
Also take advantage of U Camp out in Wimberely and fish the Blanco. I know the camping spots along the river got a lot of damage in the flood but I think you can still go out there for a daily fee ...not sure. Our daughter and son-in-law's best friends manage U Camp now for the University.
Enjoy your time at Texas State and tight lines.

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#11077535 - 09/01/15 07:46 PM Re: Clear and moving water- Help! [Re: TXST-JAKE]
Turf Dawg Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 07/30/12
Posts: 1775
Loc: Gainesville [Callisburg]
Jake, are you from Callisburg
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#11078561 - 09/02/15 10:42 AM Re: Clear and moving water- Help! [Re: TXST-JAKE]
TXST-JAKE Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 06/02/11
Posts: 537
Loc: San Marcos, Marble Falls
Turf Dawg- I am not. I don't actually know where that is. I'm from the Hill Country.


Thank you dbltea for that advice- I am interested to fish more down stream toward the Interstate.
_________________________
Texas State University
Criminal Justice Major
Eat 'Em Up, Cats!

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#11079377 - 09/02/15 04:34 PM Re: Clear and moving water- Help! [Re: TXST-JAKE]
FWBanger Online   content
Pro Angler

Registered: 07/13/11
Posts: 736
In situations like that I usually go small. I would have tried a size 22 nymph.
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#11082232 - 09/03/15 08:46 PM Re: Clear and moving water- Help! [Re: TXST-JAKE]
Low Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 02/04/14
Posts: 8
I lived in San Marcos for years. This is pretty typical of the water above I35. The further from Sewell, the better the fishing. It is extremely frustrating fishing above the railroad tracks. Below Rio Vista it picks up significantly. Try Stokes park and Hinniman island. Wade down river, it may require a little swimming but isn't too bad get back up river.

My favorite area to fish would be Old Bastrop Highway to Martindale, but that requires a boat. Good days there can be 60-80 fish a day.

Blanco river is good too. Just break out the map and hit every area you can, the further off the path the more fish.

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#11082262 - 09/03/15 08:57 PM Re: Clear and moving water- Help! [Re: TXST-JAKE]
TXST-JAKE Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 06/02/11
Posts: 537
Loc: San Marcos, Marble Falls
Thank you FW and Low!

Low- I took advantage of my 6 hour break between class and I agree! Sewell was nice right at 9am but then was too busy.
This weekend I'm looking to explore.

Off topic but still on, the majority of the fish I see are Rios. They sure are curious but I can never get a strike. The San Juan caught every fish's attention this AM.
_________________________
Texas State University
Criminal Justice Major
Eat 'Em Up, Cats!

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#11082468 - 09/03/15 10:15 PM Re: Clear and moving water- Help! [Re: TXST-JAKE]
Lane H. Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 03/10/15
Posts: 113
Loc: Odessa
Just got back from a float trip on the San Marcos last weekend! Clouser minnows, crawfish, and frog poppers are KILLER on the river. Fish the banks heavily for bass this time of year. There's lots of good low water crossings and bridges out east of town (toward Luling, like Staples and Prairie Lea) that will get you some good bank/wade access. As for setting the hook, trout sets aren't going to work. Try a strong strip with your off hand while your rod hand gives a sharp lift. When you're in clear water, don't wait to feel the fish with the bait, but watch for them to take it. Nothing more exciting than seeing a fish gulp the fly and then trying to set.

And yeah, you're gonna miss some strikes by being excited and overeager. It happens. Just cast back out!
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#11089474 - 09/08/15 03:33 AM Re: Clear and moving water- Help! [Re: TXST-JAKE]
robert hunter Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 06/14/10
Posts: 3353
Good school my mom is And original SWT alum. Clousers and bass are like peas in a pod they will eat it. It will imitate anything in the river go with earthtones browns orange little bit of blue crawfish go with silver flash white baitfish go with bluegill olive blue Black and orange and then the old chartreuse and white:). Buggers will also catch any fish that swims. As stated a longer leader is a must to start. I will never buy a 9 foot tapered leader again I stick with the 7 1/2 foot and Florocarbon is a must! I'll add three feet to get to my none foot leader length. You can fish several line sizes heavier due to the fact floral carbon goes almost invisible underwater. Under 7lb 4xish rating rio floro flex over that get seagar invisix 20 bucks a spool but you get 200 yards so way more than the 30 yards on the rio for 15. Also often this time of year I am strictly looking for a reaction bite. You cannot strip the line fast enough so often times on a very long fast strip I will make a very fast hard sweep of the rod to add to the pace and I will come to a dead stop. That dead stop Will often trigger a violent reaction from predators. They see a last chance effort to get an easy meal that could out run them but it is stop. This becomes especially effective if you hook into some vegetation and can rip your fly free and it shoots out it drives them nuts. Fished for bass this evening caught around eight the smallest was about 3 pounds the biggest was about six. The two biggest fish hit when something that should be on the bottom was going so fast it was half an inch under the surface it was almost like a top water bite. And as far as invisix fluorocarbon goes my best fishing buddy and die headed for the lake falcon at its peak for Bass six years ago. On the way down I told him I have this new line
That is incredibly strong and invisible. I ask him what his favorite rod was and he normally used 12 to 15 pound test I put 20 on it. After a all night drive we launched straight into the lake. By the time noon got there I had about 17 Bass over 5 pounds he had three fish. We got to camp to take a siesta and we had been using the same worm same hook "yes conventional". I noticed he had the worm on monofilament not the rod I set up for him. I just went over and cut it off and retied it on the rod with the ENVIZEX he went to fish for fish with me the rest of the trip. This being said your leader will make a big difference as well as think outside the box. At times very small bass will hit very big Flys and others very big bass will hit very small flys. That is absolutely one beautiful river and I look forward to a lot of pictures from your success. Just keep changing it up and you will get on them for sure. When it comes to bass I like to think I know what's going on but there is always a wrench thrown in my plans and I'll learn something new. All of the previous post are great advice and as the weather starts to cool it will only get better for you! Good luck now I am driving to go dove hunting LOL
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