Posted by: socalsalty | March 22, 2012

Is SoCal Salty A Fly Guy? – Part II

Elkhorn combo

In Part I, David had just outfitted me and given me a flycasting lesson in the grass parking area of the camp.  I learned that when you are casting, you aren’t casting what’s on the end, you’re casting the line.  That back and forth action you see flyfishermen do (false casting) serves two purposes: to get out the desired length of line, and to aim the cast.  I previously thought it had something to do with the presentation of the fly…somehow mimicking a real bug’s interaction with the water surface.  It’s not, and since it isn’t you want to limit the amount of false casting you do.

Tussle Spider Fly

I neglected to mention how he tied off the line.  In flyfishing, there’s the fly line that is heavy and has a fairly thick diameter.  This heaviness is what gives you the weight to cast the line out.  For the practical purpose of tying off the line to the fly, and to give that soft presentation that is the strength of flyfishing, you need to tie a leader from the fly line to the fly.

The actual fly I used was one that David ties named the Tussle Spider.  He said we’d be wading out toward the middle, and casting back toward the shaded pools along the bank.  The fly would mimic a bug that might drop off the overhanging trees or grasses along the river’s edge.

Tricky footing (Photo courtesy of Texas River Bum)

So away we went.  We picked our way through the grass and mesquite trees leading to the river.  Once we got there, I was struck by the beauty of the landscape.  Smooth, red rocks flowed through and popped out of the river, dotting it with little islands.  The water was moving fairly fast.  David told me that the flow was at @ 600 cfs (cubic ft/sec).  The normal flow range is between 70-100 cfs, so the water was really moving.  David wasn’t happy.  Usually the water is gin clear, but because of the heavy flow, it was pretty muddy.  He said fishing today was going to be a challenge.  As we picked our way through the rockery…both in and above water…I thought to myself, “My challenge today is to a) not fall on my a– and get wet; and b) not lose or break any of David’s gear.”

Llano River...all to ourselves (photo courtesy of Texas River Bum)

If I happened to catch fish, that’d be gravy.  Speaking of fish, David said the likely ones to be found would be some variety of panfish, and largemouth or Guadalupe bass.  I was excited about the prospect of Guadalupe bass.  They are only found in Texas.  David also mentioned that there are actually more Guadalupe bass in the Llano River than the Guadalupe River (same Spanish pronunciation, but referred to locally as The Guad).  Once we got out into the river, I looked around and picked out what I thought might be some fishy spots to cast into.  I was looking at eddys behind structure that created potential holding areas where fish might congregate.  David said I had the right idea but the wrong gear to execute.  For that sort of fishing, I’d want a heavier line and fly that would sink faster.  Heavier flies are actually harder to throw for a rook like myself, so nice idea, but we kept looking.

I was gaining confidence making my way around in the wading gear.  At this point though, I was starting to feel the clock.  It sucked that I didn’t have more time, but after all it was a work trip.  We eventually settled in back close to the shore where more rocks meant less flow.  There were some deeper, calmer pools that we hoped we might connect in, but it wasn’t to be for either of us.  In the end, as I had time to cast and actually fish, I lost my apprehension of flyfishing and decided I wanted to do more.  It’s funny, but I was noticing how the trout were reacting when Jake was doing his pond fishing at Bass Pro before I left for Texas.  His bait would hit the water hard, and the fish turned the other way.  With a fly, you can lay that bait softly on the water, making for a more natural presentation.  I’m definitely intrigued and will try to do it more.  It’d be good to have it as another tool in the bag. And I did accomplish my goal of not falling in or losing any gear 😉  Thanks Texas River Bum.  Tight lines!

I want to do more of this (Photo courtesy of Texas River Bum)


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