The lower Laguna Madre Bay, a hyper saline
estuary bay system approximately 60 miles
in length, has an average depth of less
than three feet. This crystal clear water
affords anglers the opportunity to sight
fish for redfish, sheepshead, ladyfish,
black drum, spotted sea trout, flounder,
as well as the infrequent snook and tarpon.
The sun shines most of the time and the
average temperature ranges from 85 in the
summer to about 70 in the winter, thus
enabling anglers to find fish year round.
As Captain Randy Rogers notes, due to the
tides, winds and constantly changing conditions,
the fishability of any given area changes daily.
Since baitfish seek out shallow water, he can
predict where the baitfish should be present
based on the tidal chart. He will pole to these
areas and if he sees bait activity, he will start
fishing. As the Lower Laguna Madre Bay is six
miles wide and sixty miles long, there are a lot
of flats to cover, so flyfishers have good odds
of landing a fish.
For the best wading on South Padre Island try
the flats north of the South Padre Island
Convention Center. Also, anglers can wade
the flats in a small limited area called
Children's Beach that's located in Isla
Blanca Park South of the Coast Guard station.
Surf-casters can target the entire 29 mile
sandy shoreline all along the Gulf side
especially during the late summer and fall
for game fish such tarpon, jack crevalle,
Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, seatrout and
redfish. Also, try the granite jetties at
Brazos Santiago Pass and East Cut to try
and land a tarpon.
Most anglers use lightweight 7 or 8-weight
fly rods for flats fishing with a floating
line and a reel that can hold at last 125
yards of 20-pound backing. Try 9 to 12-foot
leaders with 10 to 12-pound tippets, using
shock leaders when targeting tarpon or snook.
For offshore action switch to 10 and 11-weight
rods with sinking lines.
Capt. Randy finds that an olive over white
or a chartreuse and white clouser is the
perfect all around fly. He also recommends
deceivers with chartreuse or blue back or
a white, chartreuse or black popping bug.
If Shane Wilson, President of the Laguna
Madre Fly Fishing Association, is fishing
the jetties, he likes to use a weighted
fly that pushes a lot of water and has a
good silhouette. In clear water, he will
fish natural colors, switching to brighter
or darker colors when the water is stirred
up. When he fishes the sand, Shane will
usually go with a crab or lug worm imitation,
while on the grassy flats, he prefers something
red and white with a little flash. Other
recommended flies include seducers, bendbacks,
typical crab patterns and spoon flies.
While most flyfishers focus on the bay, Captain
Randy also travels from the tip of the jetties
to the Texas Park and Wildlife Departments
sanctuary in search of some offshore action.
There he tries to land a king mackerel, ling,
shark, bonita, dorado, sailfish, blue runner
or amberjack. While he enjoys catching all
species, he finds that bonita are the most
fun is to catch on a fly, as these fish can
"scream all line off the rod and give you a
The latest information about South Padre Island
fishing can be found by hiring a quality local
guide or by joining LMFFA. Either option can
get visiting anglers in touch with the latest
local fly patterns and other insider tips. A
Texas fishing license and a saltwater stamp
are required to for all fishing trips to
South Padre Island.
Capt. Randy Rogers
Capt. Eric Glass
Capt. Skipper Ray
A Destination Fly Shop
318 Queen Isabella Blvd.
Port Isabel, TX
Laguna Madre Fly Fishing Association
Website features links to the local tides,
chat rooms, bulletin boards and other
information of interest to anglers
fishing the Laguna Madre Bay.
South Padre Island Convention and Visitor's Bureau
Log on for the latest info. in lodging,
transportation, activities, events and
other information needed to plan a trip
to South Padre Island.
Texas Parks & Wildlife at 800-895-4248, menu 1.
Information on saltwater fishing licenses
and saltwater stamps. ~ Becky Garrison