FLY FISHING, A PASTIME BROUGHT to national attention with one flick of Brad Pitt’s wrist in the movie “A River Runs Through It,” is not just for the northern states. As a matter of fact, Texans are luckier than those in Missoula, Montana—where the movie was based—because Texas’ mild weather and numerous water spots make fly fishing a year-round activity.
The Texas Hill Country is popular among fly fishers for the number of scenic spots from which to choose, including the Llano, Guadalupe, Medina, and Nueces rivers. The Guadalupe bass, the official state fish of Texas, is found in the Guadalupe River as well as other rivers in the Hill Country. Other species of bass are also popular, including largemouth, smallmouth, striped, and white, but the types of fish that are caught are just as varied as the water sources. Texas estuaries also boast catfish, sunfish, baitfish, and carp, among others.
Hooked on Books
There have been several books written about Texas fly fishing, just remember to read them before getting into the water, or else bring along a waterproof bag.
Fly-Fishing the Texas Hill Country by B.L. Priddy.
Fly Fishing the Texas Coast: Backcountry Flats to Blue Water by Chuck Scates and Phil H. Shook.
Flyfisher’s Guide to Texas by Phil H. Shook.
Saltwater Fly Fishing: From Maine to Texas by Don Phillips.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Outdoor Annual is the official hunting and fishing regulations put out by the Parks and Wildlife department.
License to Reel
All Texas residents over 17 years old are required by Texas Parks and Wildlife to carry a fishing license, either temporary (3- or 14-day) or permanent (valid for one year, Sept. 1 to Aug. 31) to fish in public waters. Border-water fishers beware; the license you need may differ depending which side of the lake you are fishing. For example, a Mexican license is required to fish in Mexican waters, and if you are around Lake Texoma or the Texas-Arkansas border you should check first which license is needed.
The One That Didn’t Get Away (or, Kiss My Bass)
For all those fishy stories about the one that got away, there is a place for official state bragging rights. The largest freshwater fish caught in public waters was a 22-pound, 37 inch-long striped bass, captured in the Brazos River in 1998, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife.
Other state records (listed on www.tpwd.state.tx.us):
Catfish: 11.96 lbs, 28-inches, caught Swinneytown Lake, 6/16/00
Saltwater: Cobia, 36.33 lbs, 50.2 inches, 9/17/01, Gulf of Mexico
A Large-scale Investment
The cost of fly-fishing equipment can range, depending on your needs and willingness to fork over the cash. No matter the quality, you’ll want to keep your rods and lines in good shape. The texasflyfishing.com Web site has tips for caring for your fly line, which in turn will ensure smoother casts.
Prolonged exposure to heat or light
Exposure to chemicals found in insect repellents and sun screen
Vigorous casting with heavily weighted flies
Clean and dress your line. Wash your line frequently with warm soapy water, especially after fishing in dirty waters.