After spending the day sailing and not seeing a single dolphin, I decided to wade the flat on the western edge of Boca Chica at sunset. At sunrise two days earlier, I saw two fish tailing on the flat here while walking to the marina shower. Foolishly, I did not run back to the boat, grab my 8wt, and sling some flies at these fish. They were either bonefish or small sharks – I couldn’t tell from the distance, but could see small dorsal fins and tails breaking the surface of the water.
I grabbed a pair of rubber booties and my 8wt, put on long pants, and waded out onto the flat. It was a learning experience. The bottom of these sand and rubble flats are covered in turtle grass, sea cucumbers, and upside-down jelly fish known as cassiopea. I was warned about the jellyfish, which were everywhere along the bottom of this expansive flat. I thought the booties would save me from the jellyfish. They didn’t. I made the mistake of not tucking my pants into my footwear, and very soon after entering the water, my ankles were itching and burning.
With visions of the bonefish/sharks from a couple days earlier, I stuck it out, positioning myself at the intersection of two small channels, and waiting to intercept a fish. I found that, if I didn’t move, the stinging would stop. So I stood in the middle of the flat like a heron – head turning back and forth looking for a wake, tailing fish…anything. I did have some action, but only from baby snapper running up the flat with the incoming tides. No bonefish, and no sharks. I kept at it as the sun set, and the winds whipped the mangroves.
I need to save up for the Bahamas…