TexasKayakFisherman.com est. 2000

Kayak fishing the Lone Star State...

By bones72
Curious as to what emphasis folks here place on top water flies. (Hard to call them dries when most for salt and warm water are foam or deer hair monstrosities). I can’t recall to many terrific top water days when I was here before. I think the best was when I was able to get on a huge school of sandies and hybrids crashing a big ball of shad on Belton Lake. It was in May on a fairly calm day, and the threadfin were spawning followed from the crappie dock at the Army rec area around a good portion of the Cowhouse Creek arm of the lake in my little 12-foot fiberglass canoe I had at the time. Boated so many I lost count. Other than the odd opportunity like that never really got into much surface action but I never made it to the coast fishing.
I have tied some surface shrimp gurgler style patterns but really don’t know if I should get into doing more. I don’t have any popper style flies other than a few “sneaky Pete’s” for bluegill and creek bass. Are top waters something ya’ll keep in your fly boxes?
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By Ron Mc
picked up a card of sliders from Cortland factory store - cheep - all I'll ever need, a genuine lifetime supply.

I have never caught a fish in the salt on a pencil popper, but the little size 6 round poppers are killer imitation of both baitfish and crabs.
Don't have a better photo, but these have nailed slot redfish on the flats. In fact, my buddy one day caught a slot red, not intentionally trolling a size 6 popper as he waded back to the boat.
By bones72
So smaller poppers can have their application in the salt; very cool. Have you used gurgler style flies? I've used them to great effect in freshwater but have not used them in saltwater. Just curious as just about every website marketing salt water flies has a few flavors of a shrimp sort of gurgler.

On another note anyone that ties redfish crack should check out Sightcastfishing. They sell some pretty darn good brushes for the collar. Don't know about efficacy but they are easy to work with and look good on the fly in my opinion and they are a Texas company. I always like to buy local.
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By Ron Mc
I've mentioned before my fly boxes began getting leaner 30 years ago.
Those little poppers do all I need a fly rod to do on the surface in the salt, and of course they gurgle all you need (Tim's accidental trolling red).
A big effort to duplicate that with spun hair is a big effort to get the same result.
I've thrown pencil poppers in the surf and on the flats amid a chorus of fish laughter.
I think the hardest thing for people to understand with lures and flies, fish aren't looking for the same things we're looking for - especially on the surface.

That little dock-fished spec above, three of his nursery siblings chased the popper - once - after one fish had to switch to slime line and the little whistlers to catch more.
This is a Palm Harbor canal, with days fishing Estes Flats.
btw, just reserved the nice digs on Arroyo for 5 days beginning Oct 31, and this time will probably bring my Kestrel for some mother ship time to Rattlesnake Bay and Green Island.
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By Ron Mc
there are so many rent properties along the Arroyo, you can make the trip really cheap or you can make it in luxury.
Try VRBO and plug in Arroyo City
Here was our previous year in a boy's shack where you wouldn't take your wife, mother or sister.
But it had an incredible fishing dock and plenty of enclosed space for staging gear for 3 guys with kayaks
two trailers built into a dog run and giant enclosed deck, plus the fishing dock.
This was "Arroyo City Fishing Cabins - The Getaway"
Also great places to drive your kayak to launch within 20 miles either direction, Port Mansfield to South Padre and South Bay.
Hijack off - back to topwater flies. :mrgreen:
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By karstopo
I might revisit top water flies this fall or whenever I get out there in the saltwater again. They are my favorite way to go for Largemouth bass. I like the deer hair diver style, but have also used some deer hair and foam poppers more recently. The deer hair diver is a little more subtle for when the bass are a little more timid.

I've tried a few different floating patterns in the salt, but my results with them have been mostly disappointing. Missed or bad hooks sets and strikes have been the rule and I hate those. I might rework/improve upon what flies I've used or try something new. I've used gurglers, disco shrimp, deer hair divers, foam poppers, crease flies and VIP poppers. One issue is that after a missed fish or two, I'm ready to put on something I know the fish will grab and not miss.

I haven't tried the brushes from sightcastfishing. I once bought some EP brush, but haven't ever actually used it on a fly. I enjoy making a brush on the tie with EP or Arizona Simi Seal in a dubbing loop. I do my Redfish Crack with a few wraps of Estaz right at the base of the tail, then 3-4 wraps of Eyelash yarn just in front of the Estaz, then EP or Arizona Simi Seal in front of the Eyelash yarn and up to the dumbbells. I'm not looking to be a production tier so I can vary the thickness and omit layers if I see the need. I do a redfish crack version without the EP or Simi Seal and just the Estaz and Eyelash yard for a flashier look. A white and/or silver one done that way has been a good go to fly in some conditions.

By making my own brushes, I can keep them more sparse than the commercial versions. Some of the premade brushes seem too thick on material for my tastes and I don't like the central wire brushes often come on. Most of the time, I like a wispy thin brush that allows some under layer to show.

But lots of things work out there and some styles of ties just hold more appeal than others and that varies person to person. I enjoy spinning and trimming deer hair so naturally I'm going to find ways to work in patterns that incorporate that material and technique. I don't like heavy use of epoxy or hard shell patterns or working with those material so I avoid those patterns. Making a brush in a dubbing loop is a favorite thing I enjoy and there's plenty of ways to use those brushes in flies.
By bones72
I haven't really done the dubbing loop thing other than for some furled tails on jeezus lizards and damsel/dragon fly patterns. It seems if I don't have enough hands to control the material. I'm enjoying the brushes with the wire because I can really cinch it down to the hook and work it more like a long chenille. I'm digging the eyelash yarn too. I found some that equates to that at Hobby Lobby; got something like 200 yards for $1.65. I have used it on a purple and chartreuse crack style fly.
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By karstopo

I used to do my redfish crack with just the eyelash yarn and still would do some that way. It really moves and pulses in the water like a bunch of legs or something. Later on, I added the overlay of EP. They are almost two different patterns.


Hobby lobby has or had big bundles of eyelash yarn. It seemed like they had less variety the last time I was there. The root beer, bronze, black, gold mix is money in the marsh. I also like the purple and silver versions. One yarn roll is like a lifetime supply.

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