The Ladies Have More Fun
It was a great day on the lower Laguna Madre, especially for fly fishing. Jim and John had come down from Washington and Canada for some time in the salt. Fly fishing the salt can be a lot different than freshwater. You need to know how to cast more than 20 feet and you need to cast accurately as well. Anyway we headed for the sand flats to try our luck with the reds. What we found made them both happier than if they had caught all the reds in the bay.
As we waded down wind looking for the redfish, schools of ladyfish started coming at us in droves. I was walking along with Jim and pointed them out. It was then that I realized he was in for a long day. Now donít get me wrong, Jim could cast well enough to catch fish on the flats but he couldnít see them through his dark green polarized sun glasses. I couldnít believe he couldnít see them so I traded with him for a minute and shoot I couldnít see them either.
Ladyfish are a great game fish and most people consider them to be trash fish, which I have been known to cuss at them from time to time as well. Most of the locals call them Skipjacks for obvious reasons. However, after I went back to the boat and got a spare pair of light brown polarized glasses that Jim could wear over his regular glasses he was able to see the fish and the bottom a lot better. By the way if youíre going to head out to the flats for some sight casting I highly recommend a good pair of either light brown or better yet, vermillion colored polarized sunglasses. They light up the bottom so much better because they give the wearer much better contrast in colors and donít just darken everything.
Now Jim was ready to sight cast his spoon fly at some nice sized ladyfish. He could see now and it didnít take long before he was hooting and hollering with the lady on the end of his fly line. It screamed off all the fly line and into his backing, which he had not seen since he put it on the reel. Out went the backing, after about 60 to 70 yards of the backing was out the lady started to jump like a mighty tarpon. Bouncing across the water like a cowboy with his pants on fire in one of those old westerns. After a short battle the fish was released unharmed, Jim said he didnít care if he caught another redfish; these ladies are too much fun to ignore.
After he and John caught and released at least a dozen more each along with 8 or 10 redfish the sun was starting to wane and we called it a day. The next morning I asked if they wanted to trout fish or head back out to the flats. There was no hesitation from either of them, lets hit the ladies again we donít care about redfish. Weíve been there and done that, the ladies are more fun. So we headed right back to do it all over again. They were there and so were we. Another day on the flats and more ladiesís to have fun with.
So if youíre out there fishing and the red fish donít want to play or you just canít find them, donít look over the Ladyfish. A few tips on catching them are to use something flashy like a spoon fly or anything else with a lot of flash. Cast away from the fish about five or six feet and let them find it. A direct hit on the nose will usually spook them. Work the fly fast with long strips, which by the way if you want to catch a red that happens to be cruising along with the ladies, slow or stop the fly and let it sink to the bottom. The ladies will ignore it and the red will get it. But the ladies like it fast and flashy.
Another tip is to check for fraying of the line and retie after a fight with a lady. With their sandpaper like teeth they will saw through the tippet. It also helps a lot to bow to the fish when she jumps to help take some of the pressure off the tippet. A lot of fish are broke off by applying to much pressure to the fish while itís in the air. This is when she will shake her head the most and when most of the damage is done to the leader.
So take a lady out for lunch but just put her back after sheís eaten.
Skipper Ray is a freelance writer and fishing guide in South Padre Island, Texas
where he owns and operate Island Outfitters. Call: 956-943-2798 or Email
Fishing Articles by Skipper Ray
Blind Casting the Flats
Catching and Handling Numbers of Trout
Fishing Guides Perspective
Effective Blind Casting on the Fly
Line Management Techniques
Lures of Choice for the Fall Season
More Tec Tips - King Mackerel
New Trout Techniques
Ready at the Rod
Spring is in the Air
Tech Tips - "Donít Give Up"
Tech Tips - Itís a Drag
The Ladies Have More Fun
The Chosen One
The "Ibis" Built by Newwater Boatworks
The Old Gold Spoon
Time to Fish Free
It's Red Fishing Time in South Padre
Trout Fishing the Lower Laguna Madre
Trout on Topwater Flies
Wading the Lower Laguna Madre