The yanks have a name for just about any type of fishing, they call fishing very shallow water “Skinny fishing”, not strictly with fly, but fly fishing was going to be my method of choice, & the “Hopping” comes from hopping in, out, on, off, of a small craft, or kayak I used to get around the spots with minimum noise, hence the title. Some areas had caught my attention in previous years it was just a matter of executing a plan that had been on the long, long finger. As the days lengthen in spring the temp’s start to rise on land, & water, large tidal expanse’s of shallow water will have an accelerated warming due to the radiation properties of mud, sand, etc, I’ve noted a difference of 4c between estuary mouth, & upper mud/sand flat regions taken within 30 minutes of each other in mid June, cooler water often coming on the second half of the flood would very often push the “resident” fish way up into very shallow warming water. There was a very defined shallow warm water zone that ebbed, & flowed, that seemed to hold the fish captive. Estuary residents ie, Bass, Mullet, are well aware of this, & adjust to it accordingly with their feeding habits creating plenty of opportunities for the fly angler when you get to know their movements.
Of course there’s pro’s, & con’s to fishing shallow water, one of the pro’s is that the fish can often be located fairly quick once you’ve become familiar with the area, Mullet will often be very active, & bass won’t be too far away. One of the con’s is that fish will be very easily spooked in shallow water so stealth, & cunning reign supreme. Most of the action comes on the ebb, bass would often lie in wait along drop off’s, crease’s, runs, very often in water of less than a foot deep for small Sandeel, Mullet, Pollack, Flounder, Shrimp, Crab, even Codling (the one in pic was down the throat of a bass just released). The fly is a far superior presentation than anything else in water of less than 2′ & will become very lifelike in minimal flows, or with little effort from the angler due to the flies weightlessness, I doubt anything else would out fish it. Windows were often short, & sweet lasting anything from 10-40 minutes before dropping back to the next spot, the last foot of water would often strip very fast, & I’m pretty sure these young baitfish were panicked into the waiting entourage as the water reseeded. A two rod set up was useful making the switch between floating, & clear intermediate lines quickly made the most of the short windows. I’ve had some of the best fly fishing for bass I’ve ever had this year Skinny Hopping from May-July, clocked up 240 bass on fly, yes there was a lot of Schoolies for sure, but a decent sprinkling of 50-60cm fish too, but best of all was the behavior I seen with bass in these situations that will live long in the memory. I have this Skinny Hopping with small craft fine tuned enough now to be able to offer it to pairs of shall we say “Hardcore” fly anglers from mid May-July next year 2019, looking forward to it very much….