Fly Fishing the Texas Coast

Lower Coast Flats: Three Islands Area

The flats on the east side of Three Islands near the old houseboats provide excellent wadefishing and sightcasting options for waders. The expansive flats extend to the east shoreline of the Laguna. Water levels can vary from a few inches to waist deep along light sand and grass beds. It is about a 45-minute run by flats boat from Port Mansfield to these flats. The resort condos on South Padre Island are visible to the south. This is a prime sightcasting area where flyfishers often will find reds, trout, and ladyfish cruising and feeding together. The most productive areas are the edges where grass beds meet the light sand bottoms.

From The Cullen House To Stover Point

Cullen Bay, a small bay system located near the Cullen House, a private residence and local landmark, offers an attractive mix of flats and shoreline features that draw trout and redfish on moving tides. The area can be adversely affected by boat traffic, but there are a number of more remote flats nearby that will draw fish on a high tide. Waders should move in with the incoming tide to the shallowest areas and then move out with the retreating tide. The shoreline from the Cullen House to Stover Point has many small islands with sandbars, patches of grass, and light sand bottoms. The area can attract single tailing redfish and pods of tailing fish as well as groups of ten or more cruising fish.

The tidal lakes in the vicinity of nearby El Realto Bay are excellent for redfish during high-tide periods, especially in the late summer and fall.

Another intriguing feature on this lower end of the Laguna Madre is Unnecessary Island. Once exposed and visible, Unnecessary Island is now a subsurface high spot with a sand-and-shell bottom where big sow trout are known to hang out. An old gas well channel dead-ends at this feature, and large trout tend to move up on the high spot. The area is wadable but most often is fished from a drifting boat with towers for spotting trout. Unnecessary Island is located roughly on a line drawn between the southernmost spoil island on the west side of the Laguna Madre below the Arroyo Colorado mouth, and the Cullen House. If you can find the island, you might get a chance at big trout and redfish, local guides say.

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


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »