Sunday, August 1, 2021
Sunday, August 1, 2021
I live for this time of year. Fall weather ends the summer doldrums with a quick drop in temperature and a sharp increase in trout activity as those rainbows, browns and cutthroats bulk up for winter. At my fly-tying bench, I look forward to building some unconventional color combinations that look more like a Mardi Gras float than a traditional nymphing box. I do just that because those bead heads, fluorescent hotspots, tinsel braids and UV synthetic dubbings can make a big difference in your fall nymphing success. But why all the added flare for fall nymph rigs?
Skagit lines were originally designed to deliver heavy payloads very long distances often with little or no room for a backcast. So, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, dedicated angler Ed Ward and his metalhead cronies customized a unique system of compact shooting heads that worked with a complimentary tip system and allowed ideal drifts while swinging Washington state’s Skagit River with large Intruder flies. The benefits of their Skagit systems were soon realized by anglers facing similar casting scenarios in other places, on all variety of waters.
Tidal redfish flats are like the road of life—success can be measured in how you handle the highs and lows. In the case of tides, not all are equal. On a spring tide, which occurs twice each month and has nothing to do with the spring season, the moon and sun are on opposite sides of the planet. When this occurs the swings between high and low tides can be great. Typical tide range on the redfish flats is four-to five feet. But on a spring tide, that range could push to seven feet, meaning higher highs and lower lows. When coupled with a storm off the Atlantic coast, and a consistent west wind blowing 10-to 12-plus knots—pushing water off the flats—a tide may rate far below the “lowest low-water mark” on your depth chart . . . what we call, “the negative low.” The negative low presents a timely opportunity to experience a captivating redfish phenomena—crawling fish on the bank. During a negative low, big, bold redfish can access prey in a way they couldn’t before—pinning shrimp, crabs and small baitfish in super shallow water with no escape. These fish slowly prowl down a muddy bank, providing anglers ample opportunity to lay a crustacean fly in the path of a freight train, its eyes just barely below water level.
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