Fly Fishing the Texas Coast

Espiritu Santo Bay: South Shoreline

Pringle Lake

Pringle Lake provides excellent habitat for redfish and is a favorite wadefishing and sightcasting destination for flyfishers, being protected against the prevailing south-southeast wind.

Shallow-draft skiffs can enter the lake and run in water of depths from 1 1/2 feet to 3 feet at the lake's middle. Veteran flyfisher Jerry Loring says he prefers to run his flats boat into the north pocket of Pringle, to a series of coves along the shoreline including Bird Cove, Bathtub Cove, Fencepost Cove, and the Rock Pile. All hold clear water over hard sand bottoms. Pringle Lake stays clear and shallow and offers a firm base for wading. From 50 to 100 feet out from the water line on the beach is a grassline. One of the best places to look for cruising and tailing redfish is where the light sand bottom meets the grass. The peak period to fish Pringle is from June to December.

An ideal time for sightcasting to redfish on Pringle Lake is from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun is more directly overhead. Most boaters who travel to Pringle Lake stay out in the middle and driftfish, leaving the shorelines to wadefishers.

When sightcasting to redfish on the south shoreline of Pringle Lake, waders must be extremely quiet and move slowly. The fish, which usually travel singly or in small groups of 20- to 24-inchers, are easily spooked in the clear, shallow water. Sometimes it takes an hour to cover 100 yards, Loring says. He says wading is productive as long as there is about 1 foot of water on the shoreline. When the water level drops below 1 foot on a low tide, the fish tend to move out into the middle of the estuary. Loring says big speckled trout also will move up on the Pringle Lake shorelines in April and May, and again in November and December.

The shoreline along the inside of Vanderveer Island on the Espiritu Santo Bay side of Pringle Lake can get boggy because the prevailing southeast wind pushes grass and other debris up against the shoreline. There is a cut at Rahal Bayou that allows boaters to exit Pringle Lake, but it is difficult to navigate because of extensive oyster bars.

About 100 yards past Rahal Bayou is a cut leading to Contee Lake, another prime wadefishing area on the back side of Matagorda Island. An excellent fishing site on Contee Lake lies just south of the main part of the lake, behind a series of finger islands. On a high tide, shallow-draft skiffs also can run from Contee back into Fifth Lake. This series of lakes can be productive for wading and sightcasting to redfish. Contee has rich grass beds that attract a variety of baitfish and shrimp, which in turn frequently draw the attention of gamefish.


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