Fly Fishing the Texas Coast

Bessie Heights Flats

The Bessie Heights Flats are part of an estuary connected by a network of canals and bayous originally dug to provide access to marshland oil field sites on the Neches River between Beaumont and Orange. Its finger channels and backcountry shorelines are prime habitat for redfish, speckled trout, and flounder.

Veteran Sabine Lake guide Skip James says there is a big population of redfish on the Bessie Heights Flats, holding all the way up to the outfall of the Gulf States Power Plant. The warm-water discharge from the plant also makes this a productive fishing area during the winter months. James says the Windfree Ditch in Bessie Heights, a group of old pipelines and high spots that run in straight lines mostly parallel with the Neches River, is a good fish-holding feature with shell bars and deep drop-offs.

To get to the Bessie Heights Flats, launch a johnboat or shallow-water skiff at Port Neches Park. Proceeding upriver, there are two channel openings to the estuary, one 1/4 mile up on the right and another 1 mile up, also on the right. Each is about 12 feet deep.


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