Soldier Fly [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Soldier Fly

04-06-2004, 12:37 PM
This is a fly I have been using to catch Reds on the Texas Flats for many years. Wing is bucktail and synthetic fibers, eyes are burned mono, head is nylon yarn soaked in epoxy.

04-06-2004, 12:42 PM
Gartooth -

Welcome to the Forum! I have been interested in sight fishing for reds on the southern flats for quite some time. I hear they've made a huge comeback due to recent management policies?

04-06-2004, 12:55 PM

Glad to be here. Stumbled on to the forum, so not sure if it is an appropriate venue for Redfish topics. Looks like you guys are die hard striper enthusiasts.

The coastal fisheries in Texas are in good shape. Partially due to decreased commercial pressure, and mild recent winters. There are still some areas in the Laguna Madre that see very little fishing pressure. Their remote location keeps the weekend warriors away.

Sight casting to reds on the flats is fantastic, as is hunting the 70 miles of surf from a 4x4 on Padre Island National Seashore (PINS).


04-06-2004, 01:04 PM
Wow - according to gorp...

"Padre Island, the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world, stretches for 110 miles along the Texas Gulf Coast. The national seashore occupies over 80 miles of uninhabited island paradise, a place where white sand beaches are caressed by the warm and gentle waters of the Gulf of Mexico."

What species do you hunt from Padre?

04-06-2004, 01:11 PM
Ladyfish, specks, spanish macks, tarpon, jack crevalle, bluefish, reds... etc... The most exciting are probably the schools of marauding Jack Crevalle. I like the spanish mackeral, specks, and ladyfish.

The beachfront is calloused and unforgiving to folks who aren't careful. Deep sand and wicked tides routinely swallow cars. First 10 miles or so is 2-wheel drive, from there on it is 4X4 only. One way in, one way out on the North end of the park.

Check Billy Sandifer's website. Billy has been guiding on Padre for over 30 years.


Dble Haul
04-06-2004, 01:23 PM
Gartooth, there are many striper enthusiasts here (myself included). But there are also many of us who make trips down south to fish for bones, tarpon, reds, etc. and we have an active forum for that here as well (Bonefish, Tarpon, and other Obsessions). You're not the only one who chases reds, I'm sure. ;)

By the way, this fly looks like it would also be a killer for smallmouth bass in clear, shallow water, especially in that color. Very nice!

04-06-2004, 02:18 PM
Casey -

I'm curous about the surf fly-fishing on Padre. Do you use stripping baskets? Anyone trying two-handed rods for those conditions and fish?

I might have to send one down for field testing in your experienced hands... or better yet come down with two so I can play too!

04-06-2004, 02:43 PM
Welcome..and ALL flies are welcome on this archive...

04-06-2004, 02:59 PM

I don't use a stripping basket. Never have liked the feel of them. Some folks here use a product called a Strip-n-aid, which is essentially an adjustable peg board that rides on the hip and manages loose fly line.

The two-handed rods are rare here, likely because fly fisherman in the surf are rare. The sport really is in it's infancy, unlike surf fishing along the East Coast. We can learn from your methods (2-hand rods, flat wing flies, etc...), and I expect many of those could adapt well to our surf.

Frankly, I think the rigors of the surf keep many fly fisherman away. Many of them don't like the waves, sand, and wind in their face when they could just as easily be casting off the clean dry deck of a Hewe's. Also, PINS is known for big sharks, so there is the fear of the unknown wading the surf. Big sharks are landed on the beach regularly. This gives a lot of folks the creeps.

Funny thing is, most of the fish are in the first gut, or wade gut, so you barely even get your knees wet.

Thanks again for the warm welcome.


04-06-2004, 03:20 PM
This is the fly I catch about 75% of my PINS surf fish on. Clouser style fly with a beefy chunk of silver Crystal Flash and several strands of black synthetic mono. Sometimes add rattles to the belly, but those toothy predators make quick work of them.

I drift or "walk" the fly with the longshore current, or use good old fashioned cast and strip method. Fun stuff.

04-06-2004, 03:48 PM
Hmmmmm - uncharted surf territory ehh? I think I feel a trip coming on. :devil:

Welcome to the Forum Casey!

04-06-2004, 04:29 PM
The Padre Island National Seashore (PINS) surf is under-explored by fly fisherman, although Pluggers and shark fisherman have been fishing it for generations.

PINS begins approx. 15 miles south of Corpus Christi and runs for about 70 miles south to the "Port Mansfield Jetties" where it terminates. There are no structures/facilities of any kind on the island (which is pretty cool) and only one way to get in or out- the north end (Mile 0). The Port Mansfield Jetties are only a rock structure that cuts through the island.

It is a unique place. Unfortunately, plastic debris tends to wash up and accumulate on the beaches and no one is there to pick it up, so I would not consider them "pristine," although the fish and wildlife are. Once per year, a large beach clean up is sponsored. It is growing every year and really makes a difference.

The southern reaches (mile 50-70) of PINS are remote. A little too remote for some folks. Just imagine covering 50 miles of beach that is 4-wheel drive only. Slow going down and coming back! You will run across other folks down there in their 4X4's mostly shark fishing but not many, if any, fly fisherman.

Late summer/early fall are the best times. Oh... also... this is not the same area that all the spring breakers go to party. That is the town of South Padre Island, farther south, near Brownsville.


04-06-2004, 06:24 PM
Gartooth, I spent my youth on S. Padre Island from the Port Isabel side. it was a great fishery for trout, redfish, and the occasional snook in the channel. While I began flyfishing in that era for bass in the resacas, we primarily plugged and live-shrimped with a cork float.

I was back in that area about five years ago, and noticed that the urban sprawl had taken over. But the good news is that the fishery is robust.

Great to hear from someone on the Texas coast. I still belong to CCA Texas, and wonder what is currently the plan to replenish the tarpon fishery from the Brazos River south.


04-06-2004, 06:47 PM

Great posts. I think that you have lots of us East Coast guys dreaming of an oversand trip.

I just finished a long walk here in New Hampshire and I am dreaming about the warm weather in TX - irregardless of the fish. Throw in some jacks, reds, tarpon and macks and that is enough to make the mind wander.

Welcome aboard,


04-06-2004, 07:26 PM
PINS is a neat place and a vast fishery. I still love to pursue reds on foot in the flats, but easing a truck down the beach in search of birds working or tight pinches and guts where the predators hang out is an absolute blast. The beachfront changes daily, so every trip is new.

I am not aware of a program to restore the tarpon fishery other than the catch and release only rules the TX Parks and Wildlife enforces. There are consistent populations of tarpon along many areas of the TX Coast during the late summer. Generally they are in the surf or around passes or jetties close to open water and are sometimes present in great numbers. Although there are devoted individuals and a few guides who pursue tarpon, nothing at all like the scale of Florida.

I hooked a small one last year (accidently) in the surf at PINS. Had only him on for about 4 seconds, but at least long enough for my buddy and I watch him jumping toward the horizon!

Our state's growing population will certainly have an impact on the fisheries in the coming years. Sound management plans will help, but increased number of boats and human activity always seems to negatively impact those "special places" you remember from the past.

Thanks again for the warm reception.


04-09-2004, 08:25 PM

I work for a Houston based company and have to be down there in two weeks for our semi annual meetings. I've never brought a rod before but have always wanted to. Do you have any names or numbers for guides in the area? Are we in season right now and what type of gear would you recommend? Any light you could shed on the situation would be greatly appreciated.


04-09-2004, 10:32 PM

You will be in Houston? Or, Corpus Christi?

If you are in Houston, Galveston bay complex is about 50 miles away. Capt. Chris Phillips, Bayou Vista, TX, is a fly fishing guide in the Galveston area. I do not have his number, but you can likely get it from Tackle Unlimited in Houston. I understand he teaches fly fishing there when he isn't on the water. I do not know Chris personally, but he has a good reputation.

As far as gear for flats, a good eight weight outfit with floating weight forward line should do it. You'll need sturdy flats boots (oyster and ray-proof) and maybe waders, polarized glasses and a good hat. For flies, small clousers, crabs, epoxy shrimp imitations, and small poppers should cover the redfish scenario, bring larger Clousers and poppers if you are interested in specks. For open bay fishing, Clousers and floating or intermediate sinking lines are adequate.

Spring is sow speckled trout time for the bays. Warming temps also trigger tailing Redfish action on the flats too (superior, in my opinion, to most trout action). The weather can be unpredictable, and it is likely the wind will blow hard out of the SE. Just typical spring pattern you have to contend with. Get in touch with Chris, he should be able to advise you what to expect on a Galveston outing in his boat.


04-10-2004, 08:37 AM
Thanks for the info:)