Trout on Topwater Flies

It was another great day on the water. My friends and clients from Houston had come down for a week of fishing. Bob may God rest his soul,and his brother Jim always booked in early May to get away from the winds of spring and before the hurricanes can interfere with their vacation plans of fishing for the week. Bob is a die-hard bait fisherman and even if we had been catching all the law allows on Gulps, he still wants to use his bait. I have to admit that it makes for a great day of catching fish and doing it easily. See Bob was 75 and really doesnít like to cast a lot without a fish on the end on the retrieve.

This day, the third of several he had booked, I brought along a fly rod. Bob had fly fished before in Alaska and some rivers, but he thought that saltwater fly-fishing would be harder I guess. It usually is a little harder in that you usually have to cast a little farther than you do in freshwater. However, we had been fishing a school of trout on the edge of the ICW using shrimp so I new the fish were there. I put the long rod together along with a little top water popper and showed him where to cast and how to work the popper. After I caught a nice 22 inch fish on the demo cast, he said show me that again. So I did and pulled another 20-inch fish on board.

After he took the rod over and caught at least 10 or 12 more fish on top, his smile was as big as a cowboy that just made his eight seconds on a bad bull. To go along with his catch he also boated and released a nice 26 inch trout on his top water popper. Needless to say that made his day in a big way. Now he wants to get a 30 incher on the fly rod, they are there.

In the early Summer time and sometimes in the winter months the trout will school through the ICW following the bait shrimp as it moves along the same highway. As the spring tides drop and start leaving the surrounding flats extremely shallow, the fish and the bait will head for the deeper water of the ICW. This makes for easy pickens if you know what to look for and where.

Top water poppers are a great way to probe along the drop off along the edge of the channel. A lot of fish including some of the bigger 30 inch trout will find and hold along here until the tide comes back up where they can get back out on the flat to feed on other bait fish. They will also hold close to the edge on the falling tide and grab baitfish and shrimp as it moves to the sanctity of the deeper water.

Guts in the edge whether itís a pot hole made by a barge running aground, or a natural cut in the edge from water run off from the surrounding flat make for a nice funnel to bring bait to the fish for easy ambush. Sometimes there may be one or two fish there or a school of who knows how many. Fishing these hot spots early in the day before boat traffic runs over them is always the best bet. When the tide runs against the wind it makes for a very rough ride down the center of the ICW. So most boaters will opt for the very edge where it is a lot calmer. This kind of traffic will spook the fish to the deeper water and usually scatter them as well.

Another tactic is to wade the edge and fish up current to the fish. You can find some spots where you will catch fish till your arms fall off or wish they would. You can use poppers very effectively in this situation and catch fish easily and a lot cooler in the early summer heat. Just be careful and donít slide down the drop off. Some places are very steep and are usually the best ones to fish from a boat. My pick for a popper is Scott Sparrowís VIP.

Remember to keep what you can use and release the rest, as Bill Dance used to say.

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
Fishing-Months
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
Tarpon Techniques
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


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