Fly Fishing the Texas Coast

Mesquite And Carlos Bays

Thick grass beds and two large oyster reefs attract a lot of gamefish to Cedar Bayou Flats, near the fish pass that separates San Jose Island from the southern end of Matagorda Island. Accessible by flats boat, these flats have a firm bottom for wading, and their grass beds and shell reefs hold good numbers of redfish, especially on high tideswhich is exactly when the access to this shoreline is easiest and when the fish are holding. The Cedar Bayou Flats don't get a lot of traffic from levelwind anglers because the grass makes lure fishing tough. They are ideal for flyfishing, especially with pencil poppers, Dahlberg Divers, and other small, hard-bodied poppers. Clouser Minnow patterns with bead eyes also work well.

Pluggers fish the deeper water and seldom wade the strip of water within a hundred yards of the shoreline. This is a good area for flyfishers to sightcast to tailing and cruising redfish.

Bray Lake

Bray Lake is well known for holding redfish. The reds have easy access into the lake from deeper water. There are stretches of soft bottom around the creek mouths, but boaters can run to the back ends of the creeks, shut down, and find firm bottoms for wading. Bray Lake attracts fish throughout the summer months and into the fall and winter. The far side of the tidal lake is the best side for fly fishing because baitfish move out along the shoreline when the tide falls out, and as the current turns, they circle the back end of the lake, where gamefish lie in wait for them. The best fishing is on a falling tide. Look for subtle water movement coming out of the creeks.

Blackjack Peninsula (Eastern Shoreline)

Blackjack Peninsula's eastern shoreline is a consistently productive area for redfish and trout that is often overlooked by many anglers. It has a firm, light sand and grass bottom. The critical factors for good year-around fishing on the Blackjack shoreline are clear water and baitfish activity. The shoreline, part of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, is a short run by flats boat from the launch ramp at Goose Island State Park. It can be fished on the"inside" along the east shore of St. Charles Bay or on the "outside" along Dunham and Sundown bays.

Located off the Intracoastal Waterway along the southeast shoreline of the Blackjack Peninsula is Sundown Bay. This site can provide "awesome fly fishing," according to veteran middle coast flyfisher Jim Dailey. Shorelines on the inside of the waterway have submerged grass beds and are wadable. Sundown Bay is also accessible by boat from the launch ramp at Goose Island State Park.

From Cedar Point to Cape Carlos

Carlos Bay is a small bay system that offers excellent fly fishing on northeast winds. One of the more productive areas that is often ignored is the north shoreline of Carlos between Cedar Point and Cape Carlos. Fish-holding features here include scattered shell, drop-offs, and sand flats that offer excellent sightcasting optionsespecially during the fall monthsfor redfish and black drum. Boaters also can anchor on the south shore of Carlos Bay near Ballou Island and walk in to several very productive tidal lakes.

Located on the north end of San Jose Island, Carlos Bay is accessible by shallow-draft boat from Goose Island State Park.


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