Fly Fishing for Coastal Gamefish
Q. When I was on a recent trip to the Everglades, my buddy was catching a lot more fish than me when we were casting to mangrove shorelines even though we were using similar flies. Any suggestions?
A. My guess is that your buddy was casting his fly much closer to the mangroves than you. When casting for fish along mangrove shorelines, you need to get the fly under the overhanging branches, or if that is not possible then as close to the mangroves as you can. If you’re not getting not getting the fly hung up in the mangroves every once in a while, you’re not casting close enough. For this reason, a weed-guard is essential. The gamefish – whether snook, redfish, tarpon, snappers, or jacks – tend to hold up under the mangrove branches or among the mangrove pro-roots, and usually won’t chase a fly that is far from their holding place, so you need to get the fly to them. The gamefish like to hide up in the shadows and look out into the unshaded water to ambush fish – resting in the dark makes them less visible to passing baitfish, and they can easily see into the adjacent sunlit waters. (This is akin to standing outside a building at night – you can see into a lighted room, but people in the room are unable to see you.) Anglers who cast to mangrove shorelines on a regular basis get pretty good at shooting the fly under overhanging mangroves and tend to catch more fish.
The Fisherman's Coast approach focuses on how coastal gamefish interact with their habitats and prey. The more you know about the gamefish you pursue with a fly rod, the more often you'll be in the right place at the right time with the right fly making the right presentation. It's about catching more fish.
Our sister site Tribal Bonefish is all about conservation through responsible fishing. Tribal Bonefish shows you how to become a better steward of our coasts to protect our fisheries today, and ensure future generations get a chance to experience these fisheries.