After a late night of drinking with Adam and our significant others, I decide I want to go fishing, but the winds still aren’t in fly fishermen’s favor so we decide to go chase gar. The following morning I wake up around 9 am and as usual the first thing I do is take a look at wind and surf forecasts. Much to my surprise the weather man had lied the night before and the surf was flat and winds nil. Being hungover I decided to not make the 40 minute drive out Mathis and instead take the 5 minute drive to Packery South, not expecting much.
Whenever I fish the jetties I usually throw sinking lines. In my experiences with most fish at the jetties you usually want to get down pretty deep, so I decided to try something different then the usual intermediate fly lines I throw. I got word of Orvis Online selling depth charge fly lines for $24.99 I decided to pick up a couple in 8wt (300g sink rate: 6-8ips) and 10wt (400g sink rate:8-10ips).
As I get to the beach I was welcomed by calm seas and blue water clear onto the beach. I rigged and made my way down the jetty to find spanish mackerel working really close to the rocks and bonito working right out of casting range. It was also toward the end of the sheepshead run so bait fishermen were catching them in the channel on live shrimp with the occasional redfish mixed in as well.
After 3 fish I decide to give Adam a call and let him know about the bonito. He calls bullshit and decides to come check for himself. The bonito were being pretty spotty, they would come up and go down any from right in casting range to 200 yds away. We both get quite a few shots at the schooling fish, but can’t seem to get an eat. After a few hours the heat is starting to get to us so we decide to call it quits. Fish totals are me 4 smacks and Shauna 4 fish as well.
Later that afternoon I get a call from Chris Lancaster that the bonito were working just as thick at Port Aransas South and that he caught two fish. I asked him what his secret was and he said chartreuse seaducers. That night I tied up half a dozen and went out the next 2 days with much of the same luck. I suppose it didn’t help that there was also 10 conventional fishermen around me trying to get in on the action. Normally I wouldn’t mind but there were people soaking bait on bottom trying to get the surface feeding fish.
After getting really annoyed with these bottom soaking fishermen it occured to me, “Hey you are using heavy, heavy sinking line doing basically the same thing they are.” Since there are so many people I decide to move locations and switch to a floating line.
I show up to Port A south and make my way down the jetties. As I get half way to the jetties I see bonito schooling and grey-hounding bait. I would look to my left and fish would be right up against the rock, look to my right and the same thing. Very quickly I would bring my rod in and jump over 2o yds, by the time I got to the rocks the fish had moved on and work 20 yds to either side. After an hour of rock jumping I decide it might be in my best interest if I stayed in one place and let the fish come to me.
Within 5 minutes there are fish inside casting range, the blues and greens you could see from their bodies as they worked the surface almost on their sides was amazing. I wish I had a good camera with a polarized lense so I could capture the colors. The colors would illuminate the water as their bodies worked parallell to the surface.
I got a few good shots at fish but couldn’t seem to get the fly into the right place. They would come from every direction and as you were making false casts they would change directions with the bait they were chasing. I could see a school making its way down the jetties from right to left, they are still out of casting range at this point, but I start making false casts to get ready.
As I make my final back cast the fish change direction, annoyed I let my fly line lay out, as my fly line is fixing to hit the surface the fish change direction again right into the path my fly is heading. The fly hits the, before I have time to strip some line in a fish is on and stripping line fast. I set the hook and the fish takes off even faster. After 20 yds of backing gone the fish lays up and comes in pretty easy. The bonito was about 18″ long and heavy, probably would have put up a bigger fight if it didn’t tail wrap itself on the first run.