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Jan 23rd, 2013
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The Little Crab Fly #14029887 06/12/21 09:52 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,217
C
Capt. Mac Online Content OP
Extreme Angler
OP Online Content
Extreme Angler
C
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,217
Small craft advisory. For the third straight day the forecast was calling for winds gusting over thirty. I wasn't sure what to do. I had drug my buddy Nathan Lawrence the six hundred mile trip down here with the promise of casting flies to Redfish. Nate has never fished in saltwater and I was excited for the chance to pole him around some of my favorite flats and do some sight casting to species of fish he has never caught. Now we couldn't even see the bottom, much less a fish. We started out the first day up at the Land Cut. The water wasn't very clear and the boat ride back was close to dangerous. The second day we put in at Arroyo City and headed to Three Islands, thinking we might find some clear water behind the spoil islands. At least we didn't have to worry about sinking the boat but we didn't find any clear water either. So, the third day I decide to head South and try South Bay. I was hoping the South shoreline would knock the wind down enough to make poling the boat a little easier and, with the grass back there, maybe some clear enough water to spot a fish. I didn't have very high hopes but when we arrived the water looked great. the tide was high and back into the Mangroves, which made a good wind block. I started getting excited as I poled down the shoreline, keeping the boat tight to the Mangroves. I had a streamer tied on so Nate could easily see the fly in relation to a fish. But the only Reds we were seeing were laying up in the grass, not moving until we were too close. And, we weren't seeing many. What we were seeing was quite a few Sheepsheads. Anybody that has ever tried to catch one on anything but bait knows they are hard as hell to catch, particularly sight casting with a fly - even in the best weather conditions. But after staring at muddy water for two days I suggested to Nate that we put on a crab fly and give them a shot. At least we would be casting at a fish. Good practice for when we might come across a Redfish that was actually feeding. I tied on a small crab pattern that I tied and, after making a cast, the first thing Nate said was that he couldn't see the fly. I figured it didn't really matter because I didn't think he would really have a chance at catching one anyway. But, at least, we were fishing. I explained to Nate that the trick to catching one is to cast out and strip the crab close to the Sheepshead until you get his attention. Once the fish shows interest in the fly stop stripping. Don't give any slack in the line. Keep the line tight, just let the fly settle to the bottom on a tight line and don't move it. Let the fish swim over and pick it up. If your line is tight you should feel a THUMP when he grabs it. But, if you move the fly they usually will spook off of it. Now this sounds easy on paper but, doing it in a boat with the wind blowing is tough. and for a guy that has never caught anything in saltwater... After spooking a couple of Sheepsheads and a Redfish, getting the boat too close to them, I look farther out on the flat and spot one. This one is happy. He hasn't seen us. he has his head down in the grass, his tail gently breaking the surface, the distinct bars on his side contrasting with the silver flash on either side. I quietly call to Nathan, " fish, one o'clock, thirty five yards out, tailing". Nate gives me the nod that signals to me that he sees the fish. I move the boat into position and Nate lets the crab fly. It lands short and a little behind. I see the fish moving away and I figure he spooked. I'm waiting to see the puff of mud and a speeding wake that a spooked fish leaves when he abruptly spins around and, in a instant, is right on top of the fly, peering down into the grass. His tail comes up and it looks like the Sheepshead is doing a hand stand on the grassy bottom. I open my mouth to tell Nate to give the line a little pull, to see if the the fish has the fly. But, before any words come out, Nate gives the line a strip and sets up on the fish. The fish starts charging down the flat and with him, three days of frustration, muddy water and pounding boat rides charge away as well. Nate has his first fish ever in saltwater, sight casting in shallow water with a flyrod under a small craft advisory - a Sheepshead!
The next morning we headed back to South Bay, figuring it was about the only place to find clear water and some fish. We got out early and while we waited for the sun to get up high enough to cast light into the water to spot fish, Nate let me pole around and photograph birds - something like doing while passing time. Then we checked the knot and tippet on the little crab fly set out searching for Sheepsheads. Now that Nathan had actually bagged one we felt pretty confident that he could get another and just like that we were Sheepshead fishing. It didn't take very long until we spotted one back in the Mangroves. Nate dropped the little crab on him and the fish ate without hesitation. A little later in the morning we came across a Redfish that was acting more like a Red than we had seen the whole trip. Nate asked me if a Red would eat that small of a fly. I assured him it would. With the wind blowing Nate had to make a Hail Mary cast and almost fell on the casting platform. The fly landed on the fishes nose and he ate it instantly. Nate had to right himself, regain his balance and set the hook simultaneously. It work and we had the fish we came all that way for.




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Re: The Little Crab Fly [Re: Capt. Mac] #14030039 06/13/21 12:49 AM
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,782
cob Offline
Extreme Angler
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Joined: Oct 2007
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I always enjoy your adventures. Thanks for the report.


Some people go to church and think about fishing. Some go fishing and think about God.
Re: The Little Crab Fly [Re: Capt. Mac] #14030176 06/13/21 03:19 AM
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 63,964
banker-always fishing Online Content
Super Freak
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Posts: 63,964
coolphotos Awesome Post! bow_down


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Sinner's Prayer. God forgive me a sinner. I accept Jesus Christ as my Savior !
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