We’ve all seen it: the non-angler who stumbles upon a fly fisher in some unlikely place far from any trout and asks, inevitably, “You can fly fish here?” Since the general public equates fly fishing almost exclusively with trout, it’s not even that silly a question, because let’s be honest, inshore fishing—surf-churned coastlines, buggy mangrove forests, and muddy, spartina-flecked flats—isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of fishing with a fly. (Just ask Brad Pitt.) Spend any time casting flies into one of those places, though, and beaches, mangroves, and spartina grass may quickly become the only thing you think about when it comes to casting a fly. At which point it’s less a matter of whether or not you can fish here. The question is: why would you fish anywhere else?
We probably don’t deserve the flood tides, the glittering oyster beds, the spartina grass shivering with the current’s pull. We definitely don’t deserve a fish that seems—at times—overjoyed at being bumped on the head with a fly. But it’s not about deserving anything. Redfish don’t follow those tides, root around in those oyster beds, and creep through that spartina grass for our benefit. They do that because they’re redfish, and that’s what redfish do. That we can stand on the deck of a boat with a popper that will make a 30-pound redfish go googly-eyed with excitement—preferably with a cold Shiner Bock in the cupholder—is just icing on the cake. We definitely don’t deserve redfish, but we'll take every one we get.
PERFECT SETUP | REDFISH
Topwater shrimp, heavy crab, baitfish – just a few items that could be on the menu at any given time on your local redfish flat. Feed them right with the SALT R8 890-4. Paired with an ENFORCER 7/8 and RIO Redfish WF8F line, this setup is ideal for our backyard drum.
Snook. You know they’d feel right at home in the tannin-stained tributaries of the Midwest, marauding poppers and Clousers long into dusk. And yet here they are, waiting on the edge of the mangroves for the next unfortunate baitfish to swim by. They’re day-savers. A second-thought. Plan B or C when the tarpon or permit are playing more hard-to-get than normal. Snook don't get their due, so often overshadowed by their flashier compatriots, and that’s unfortunate. But it’s also fine, because they could care less about what fish you set out to catch that day. They know you’ll come crawling back at some point, asking for forgiveness, begging for a second chance. Snook know the score, and they’re not looking for anyone’s approval.
PERFECT SETUP | SNOOK
Mangroves. We love to hate them. They provide a sanctuary for fish and line shredders for anglers. Having a rod that can accurately punch flies into the vegetation and then effectively keep aggressive snook from getting tangled in the roots is essential to success. The SALT R8 990-4 is able to accomplish just that. Paired with an ENFORCER 9/10 and RIO Elite Flats Pro WF9F, this setup is perfect for your favorite backwater snook haunts.
Each breaking wave is like a window into the Rooster’s world—like a cheat code in an otherwise impossible game. Between surface foam and glare, and the inevitable chaos that comes with standing on the doorstep of the Pacific Ocean, it’s pretty much your only shot to catch a glimpse. Yet there they are, like security guards, travelling solo or in small packs; they surf the waves right into the beach, hunting schools of mullet that’ve been swimming between your legs all day even as you hunt them in turn. The desert is a place of mirages, and no doubt a few of those fish we see are just that—a phantom born of air and heat, humidity and sand. But when that window finally opens; when you see the silhouette of a roosterfish riding a breaking wave as if it’s actually a piece of the wave—one of its component parts—rather than a creature separate and independent of it, you’ll never get the image out of your head. That’s no imaginary oasis, and you better get there as quick as you can.
PERFECT SETUP | ROOSTERFISH
“The SALT R8 1090-4 matched with an intermediate tip RIO Tropical Outbound Short and THERMO 10-12 reel is the perfect set up for rooster fish and other inshore gamefish we target down in Mag Bay. Targeting roosters, cubera snapper, and jack crevalle is a hectic and extremely fast paced game, and often times you only get one shot at a fish. It can all begin and end in the blink on an eye. The fast action rod and line combo gets the fly where is needs to be quickly, which is of the upmost importance. The THERMO holds plenty of backing and has more then enough braking power to handle explosive runs and land these powerful species. It's also extremely durable and doesn’t lose its integrity from the heavy abuse we give it. Sand and salt soaked everyday, this setup has held up awesome for us for a long hard season.” Rudi Babikian, Los Locos Mag Bay