Fly Fishing the Texas Coast

Fly Fishing the Surf: Padre Island Beachfront: Port Mansfield To South Padre Island

In the late summer and fall, look for birds working over schools of ladyfish and Spanish mackerel in the clear surf right in front of condos in the South Padre Island resort area. Concentrations of"rain minnows" sometimes will draw predators right to the foot of the beach, and you will see gulls and terns moving up and down the beach to take part in these feeding frenzies. Six- and 7-weight rods are adequate, and it's important to have a good supply of Clouser Deep Minnow patterns dressed in white, yellow, or chartreuse bucktail.

South Padre fly-fishing guide Eric Glass has made as many as thirty trips a summer along the beach, looking for tarpon, redfish, and other species in the surf, from the resort area northward to the Mansfield channel. Although four-wheel drive is a must, an outgoing tide can provide favorable driving conditions on hard-packed sand near the water. "If you are down on that little apron near the water's edge, it is like a highway," Glass says. "You look for dark patches of baitfish, big masses in the surf that are scaled sardines or threadfin herrings. Then you stop and watch them." Glass says sometimes you will see the schools of baitfish around noon, when the light is very bright, and you won't see the tarpon rolling in them. But as the afternoon winds down, if there are any tarpon around, you will see them rolling behind or among the baitfish. He adds: "The neatest single thing I have seen along the surf was one night at dusk. There was a group of tarpon that had pushed this one big school of sardines right up against the bank, and they were making these big, slashing arcs through these sardines within 2 feet of the sand." Another option on this stretch of Padre Island beach is to look for trout holding right up against the shore where the banks are

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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