Fly Fishing the Texas Coast

Deceivers in the Rocks: Brazos Santiago Pass

The jetties at Brazos Santiago Pass attract good shows of tarpon in the summer and early fall. Mostly juvenile fish are in the 15- to 35-pound range; tarpon frequently can be found at early morning and late afternoon, rolling and chasing bait schools at the edge of the jetty rocks.

The tarpon action gets especially exciting at sundown, when schools of juvenile silver kings begin rolling on the surface or pounding away at bay anchovies herded up against the rocks. Using intermediate sinking lines on 10- or 11-weight outfits, work Blanton Whistler patterns in chartreuse, black, and orange; red and white; and orange and yellow along the edge of the rocks. Local flyfishers recommend a slow, smooth retrieve with foot-long strips, which allows the current to sweep the fly in front of feeding fish. Rolling fish frequently show on outgoing tides from the end of the jetty rocks to about 100 yards back into the channel. Experienced tarpon hands say it is best to resist the urge to sight cast to individual fish when tarpon are rolling around the rocks. The theory is that more tarpon are feeding down below, and swimming the fly at an intermediate depth makes a more natural offering to the fish.

South Padre fly-fishing guide Eric Glass says July through September is the best time to try for the small tarpon around the jetty rocks, with mature fish usually moving in around mid-October. Glass has caught many tarpon on fly, fishing from the rocks and from a boat drifting along the jetty's edge. "If you [stop fishing] before dark, you are making a mistake," he advises.

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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