New Year's Creepy Crawlers!

Winter sight fishing for reds

100_0011.JPG

The pinnacle of saltwater fly fishing has always been sight casting to ultra spooky fish in super skinny water. As 2011 dawns we have been finding many reds,some well above the 27 inch slot limit seeking out the shallowest water to warm and sun themselves over dark bottoms. These creepy crawling reds can prove as wary a target as any you encounter in saltwater. Longer leaders and longer, more precise casts are a prerequisite for success. If you are fortunate enough to be on the water between fronts, you may find them more aggressive ,so plan on bringing your A-game! Typically in winter I will drop down to 20 or sometimes 15 pound flourocarbon leaders at least 10 feet long to combat the ridiculously clear water I often find in the backcountry. A good rule of thumb in selecting the right fly is "brown and down". Weighted offerings in black or brown with little or no flash will stack the odds in your favor. Again, my go to fly is an all black Gotcha tied with purple chenille instead of pearl braid for the body. If the bigger reds prove too frustrating, almost any point with current and 2-4 foot of water has been loaded with "rat" reds from 14 to 19 inches. All fall long we have been finding the pint sized fighters a welcome distraction from the near non-existant snook. Fly selection for the pee wees is much less critical and 20 fish days are common. Best of luck in 2011!