Fly Fishing the Texas Coast
Christmas Bay is another favorite of area flyfishers because its clear, shallow grass flats and shell reefs offer excellent sightcasting opportunities the year around. Harboring abundant redfish, trout, black drum, flounder, and sheepshead as well as many species of wading birds, gulls, and terns, Christmas Bay affords the flyfisher one of the most engaging angling environments on the upper coast. In the summer, look for tailing and waking redfish along shorelines early and late in the day. At midday, look for trout working under birds out in the deeper water, or for redfish cruising the shell bars and cuts around Arcadia Reef at the southwest end of the bay. Beach roads on either end of Christmas Bay lead to drive-up wadefishing.
Redfish, black drum, and sheepshead provide exciting sightcasting targets in the late fall and early winter, when the water is clearest. Use smaller flies, such as a #6 or #8 snapping shrimp pattern, to entice a strike from these high-strung porgies decked out in convict's stripes. In the summer months, water temperatures can warm to the mid-80s, restricting the best fishing to the morning hours. Flyfishers should time their trips to Christmas Bay to coincide with strong tides that move gamefish into the back reaches of the little bay. Work slow-sinking shrimp patterns and small poppers along shorelines in the early hours, and as the day progresses, move out gradually to waist-deep water. Deceivers, bendbacks, and Clouser patterns are a good choice for blindcasting over the grass flats bordering the deeper water and around cuts.
A ramp for launching boats, as well as drive-up, walk-in wadefishing, is available at Christmas Bay Outfitters (formerly Sy's Bait Camp) on the west end of Christmas Bay. Look for the sign for the marina on the north side of County Road 257 (the Bluewater Highway), about 3.5 miles from the San Luis Pass Bridge on Follets Island. Another access point for wadefishing is located 5.5 miles from the bridge. Take a right off County Road 257 to the subdivision road that runs past a group of houses on the south side of a boat cut. The road ends on the shoreline of Christmas Bay. Wadefishers can walk the northeast shoreline toward Christmas Bay Outfitters or turn left and wade southwest toward Arcadia Reef and Rattlesnake Point. The bay is less than 2 miles across; but flyfishers will need a skiff or kayak to reach the north shoreline, which also offers prime gamefish habitat and opportunities for sightcasting over light sand and submerged grass bottoms.
Drum Bay, a smaller estuary lying southwest of Christmas Bay, also offers drive-up wadefishing from several access roads off County Road 257. Redfish and trout hold around the shell bars and the cuts near the spoil islands.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication