Thursday, January 10, 2019

Crab Cakes and Redfish

In March of 2017 I had the opportunity to fish with Captain Jeff Johnson of Fly Fish Rockport while working on a series of articles for Southwest Fly Fishing magazine. We had a great time chasing redfish around the flats accessible from Rockport, TX. Fishing with Johnson and Captain Gibson McGuire was like a two week crash course in chasing redfish from a skiff. I was so green at it when we started, that the first time I stepped onto the casting deck I missed the takes of two different redfish, one was a monster, because I had no idea how to get a hook set. "Just keep stripping and let them set the hook! Don't trout set!"
Tan Crab Cake

In addition to a hard learned lesson on hooksets, Johnson showed me how to tie his staple fly for the Texas flats. It's a fairly simple to tie creation he calls J J's Crab Cake. I can't give the details here but you can find them in the September/October 2018 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing along with a photo on the cover.
At the time I didn't think that much about the fly, mostly because living in far North Texas I don't do all that much coastal fishing. But I did and still do recognize the value of the Crab Cake due to the ease of tying, that's why I submitted it to the magazine for publication with Johnson's blessing of course. In the process of tying a really nice copy there were those inevitable copies that are just fine for fishing but not quite ready for prime time publication. Actually I ended up with nearly two dozen of them lying around.
Nick Haxhijaj with the second fish to be landed for the day.

A few months ago I sent a couple to my good friend Nick Haxhijaj of Nick Fly Fishing fame. Not long after that he called me as hew was getting off the water "Man I couldn't believe it, that crab fly is amazing!" He went on to describe how it came through for him on a day when the reds were so picky they just didn't want to hit anything else. "I cast and cast and cast. they would look at the EP Mullet and nothing. I put on the [Crab Cake] and bam! First fish I cast it to took it with no hesitation."
A beat up, tough survivor sheepshead that took a
Crab Cake in the color combo Back Country.

The same thing happened when I met Nick, James Dionizio and Andrew Vrana to chase redfish this past Tuesday. We hadn't even made it out to our eventual destination before Nick was hooked into a redfish on the Crab Cake. It was still dark enough I couldn't get photos without a flash. And so it went through the day. The Crab Cake ended up catching 6 redfish and 2 sheepshead for Nick and me by the time we were done.

We all ended the day with fish in the boat before the wind kicked up in the afternoon. I would love to give a blow by blow but this story is destined for print in Southwest Fly Fishing magazine. But here are a few more pics, including the last fish of the day which ate, you guessed it, a Crab Cake.
James Dionizio with a hard won redfish.

Andrew Vrana sporting the smile of a successful angler.

Yours truly with the last fish of the day.
Photo by: Andrew Vrana
In case you're wondering there will be a webpage to but this pattern in the very near future.

Thanks to Nick, James and Andrew for a great day on the water! We may have to do it again, wink, wink. And thanks to Captain Johnson for sharing the Crab Cake, it's a doozy!!

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