Fly Fishing the Texas Coast
Located on Redfish Bay, Stedman Island offers drive up, walk-in wadefishing for trout, redfish, flounder, and black drum. To reach the best wading sites by vehicle, take the wellpad roads near Fin and Feather Marina to the back side of the island. This is an ideal place to work a small popper on top or bounce a bendback around the edges of the oyster reefs and potholes. A visit at low tide will reveal numerous shell banks, small channels, and guts. The hard sand bottom is easily waded, well out into the bay. This flat is often alive with finger mullet, pinfish, shrimp, and small crabs that frequently draw the attention of passing reds, speckled trout, black drum, ladyfish, and flounder.
Although blindcasting is the normal drill for working these flats, flyfishers should stay on the lookout for the V-shaped wakes of cruising redfish and the oily slicks characteristic of feeding seatrout. Any unusual wave pattern or"nervous water" on the surface can indicate larger schools of redfish. It is not unusual for schools of 50 or more redfish in the 6- to 10-pound class to move out of the deeper channels and waters of nearby Redfish Bay to feed in the shallows around Stedman.
The Stedman Island flats can be accessed by boat from public launch ramps at Aransas Pass or at the Fin and Feather Marina, which offers half-day and full-day skiff rentals.
Hog Island, also located on Redfish Bay, is another good site that is accessible by boat from public launch ramps and marinas at Aransas Pass and Port Aransas. Around the shoreline are deep holes that collect gamefish during low tides. Look for redfish around the shallow edges and for trout in deeper holes.
The South Bay flats are located across the Aransas Shrimp Boat Channel from the causeway road that links Aransas Pass with the ferry landing on Harbor Island. The nearest boat access to this area is available from marinas along the causeway and from the public launch ramps at Port Aransas and Aransas Pass. Kayakers frequently paddle across the channel to fish South Bay's expansive flats.
The expansive Brown and Root flats are known for holding schools of redfish. They also attract solitary female trout in the 25- to 30-inch range on occasion, says Corpus Christi fly-fishing guide Joe Mendez. The flats are marked by oyster reefs and by occasional soft bottoms on the north end. The south end has a mostly hard sand bottom that is excellent for wading and sightcasting. Tidal movements and changing water levels dictate whether anglers can enter the area by boat. If the tides are uncooperative, the site can be accessed on foot across a marshy shallows, from drive-up locations on Harbor Island, along the causeway road .near the Port Aransas ferry landing. Only shallow-running skiffs or tunnel-drive boats should attempt to enter the flats even when tides are running high.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
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