Interview with Captain Stacy Lynn
Our FlatsWorthy newsletter team recently sat down with FlatsWorthy member Captain Stacy Lynn, Owner of WOW FlyFishing, to talk about her history on the water, her love of fly fishing, and her support of FlatsWorthy.
Where did you grow up?
Central Texas is my home area and I consider New Braunfels my hometown. I did most of my “growing up” there during middle and high school and returned to live there as an adult for a time. My involvement in the sport and industry of fly fishing was born in New Braunfels.
How has fishing changed in your lifetime?
My personal awareness and experience with fishing is only from the last 25+ years – a relatively short time compared to many of my contemporaries who grew up fishing. But I can say that I have experienced changes in the vibrancy and quality of the water and grass beds in the Coastal Bend in my time. In some of the areas where awareness was raised to change boating behavior and protect the grass beds (i.e. Redfish Bay Scientific Area’s “Lift, Drift, Pole, Troll initiative) I have seen stability or improvement. I believe this awareness has been carried into other regions and bays. But with the steady rise in population creating increasing demands on our fresh water inflows, and the dramatically increasing number of boats on the water year ‘round (especially the number of shallow-drafting vessels), I can see that the pressure on both the physical environment and the variety of species is significant. These issues are virtually nullifying any positive strides that had been made. Our fish are more wary and do not frequent areas where they were abundant 20 years ago; there are fewer crabs on the flats; there is noticeable decline in the quality grasses in particular zones; and the disrespectful boating behavior is dramatically increasing. All this, and the dark cloud of the industrial developments that are looming, cause me great concern for my home waters around Rockport, Aransas Pass, Port Aransas and Corpus Christi. The time I spend on the water, the beauty of a grass flat or white sand shoreline, the fish I see and catch, the stories and information I share with clients and fishing buddies … I am trying to make the most of it, do my part to right the course, and hope the decline does not happen too much too soon.
How did you get into fishing?
I was exposed to fly fishing when I lived in Washington State for a couple of years. I worked with some guys that were Steelheaders. I thought they were absolutely crazy to go stand waist-deep in freezing cold water on the worst of days all in the hopes of catching ONE Steelhead. Then I got to see one of these fish and I thought it was one of the most beautiful creatures in the water … and then I got it. I understood the passion. When I moved back to Texas, to New Braunfels, I was fortunate to land a job at Gruene Outfitters. I knew about the hiking, camping, kayaking and canoeing gear that was sold there back in 1995, but the room with the long rods, and furs, and feathers, and tiny hooks for sale was intimidating. But I soon realized that was the room where my favorite customers shopped. They spoke with reverence about the skill needed to create a cast that resulted in a beautiful, flowing loop of line that delivered the fly lure right to the spot, and about catching fish on a fly rod. That passion, and detail, and skill … I wanted to be a part of THAT group! I studied the books and VHS tapes (this was back before the internet was really a thing) and talked with everyone that would share knowledge and stories. And I practiced diligently. I caught my first fish on fly in the Guadalupe River in January of 1996. I caught my first Redfish on fly in the late summer of 1997, an accomplishment that took me 7 months kayaking and wading the flats by myself to make it happen. I was o-fish-ally hooked … I became a Saltwater Fly Fishing Addict. Twenty plus years later, after becoming a Certified Fly Casting Instructor in 2000 and working in 6 different fly shops (including the one I co-founded and opened from scratch), I now have my Captain’s license and I am building my guiding business by being uniquely qualified to guide and coach new and developing fly fishers, and any angler seeking to build skill and improve their performance on the water. I plan to keep creating addicts like me!
What is your favorite place to fish?
Saltwater fly fishing is it for me. When I get to fish, I like exploring a new spot and finding fish there: the verification of my understanding of the species. I love a beautiful grass flat with a dynamic bottom and crystal-clear water. I love how the white sand flats in our area remind me of the Bahamas, Belize and Mexico. I love the challenge of sight-fishing in less than perfect conditions like dirty water. I hunt for big Redfish.
What conservation issue is important to you?
I have three issues that are important to me:
- Careful, considerate use of the resources – the water and the things that live in it
- The education of those who use the resources
- Fresh water to the bays
How did you become associated with FlatsWorthy?
I connected with how FlatsWorthy came to be and I have great respect for the people that started it and their mission. There is much work that can be done within the FlatsWorthy vision.
How important do you see the message of FlatsWorthy?
The mission and message of FlatsWorthy is more important than ever. As more and more anglers and boats flood the flats and waterways there is more that can be done to educate them and recruit them to the cause.