The South Texas Fly Fishing Co.


United States


South Padre Island, TX + Add phone number


Latitude: 26.094576

Longitude: -97.165220




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In a typical year, my clients catch lots of redfish, lots of seatrout, a respectable number of snook, several tarpon, and all kinds of incidentals including ladyfish, black drum, flounder, jack crevalle, mangrove snapper, comb and gag grouper, lookdown, king mackerel, and tripletail, all on fly. However, I think it's safe to say that redfish are king. The majority of my clients prefer to sight-fish if at all possible, and redfish represent the best opportunity to catch a good-sized gamefish in very shallow water by sight-casting. We hunt for redfish on the flats by looking for several different things. Tailing redfish move along in very shallow water in a head-down feeding posture which often shows the triangular tips of their tails. Tailing fish occur as singles and pairs, small groups of 4-6 and in large groups up to 50 fish. We also look for a behavior known as backing. Backing fish cruise in water too shallow to cover them, often along gently sloping shorelines or on open grass flats at the lower stages of the tide. With decent light, many of the fish that you cast to will be what are referred to as "cruisers". With polarized sunglasses, you're able to make out the entire fish in the water. In low light conditions, cruising fish often push a v-shaped wake as they travel which gives them away.


While redfish are the undisputed main attraction on the Laguna Madre flats, they're not the sole inhabitants. Other species commonly encountered while sight-fishing for redfish include ladyfish, black drum, sheepshead, and some very large spotted seatrout (three current IGFA tippet class records). Three species of snook also occur in the lagoon, the only fishable population in the state. A favorite species, we catch most of our snook near Brazos Santiago Pass, in South Bay, around lighted docks near the city of South Padre Island, and in the Brownsville Ship Channel. With the exception of lighted docks, south Texas snook rarely present sight-casting opportunities, but there is a definite visual element to the fishing when they're popping sardines and bay anchovies at dawn or dusk.


Tarpon round out the inshore "big four" for south Texas anglers. Virtually all of our tarpon fishing is done in Brazos Santiago Pass at dawn or dusk. Like snook, south Texas tarpon rarely present sight-casting opportunities in the classic sense. The normal incentives are sporadically to frequently rolling fish, although it's fairly common to see aggressive surface feeding at dusk, especially when there are dense schools of sardines (pilchards) and bay anchovies ("rain minnows") around. Most of the tarpon that we catch are babies, from 10 to 40 pounds. Many of the snook that we catch are taken incidentally while tarpon fishing.

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