You haven't experienced great fishing until you have fished for redfish in the great state of Texas. Not only are there plenty of fish, but you can also catch them using a variety of methods. From throwing flies to tailing fish in the marshes to chasing large bulls in the surf, there is a place in the Lone Star State for everything. Let's take a closer look at what awaits you on a Texas redfish adventure.
Marsh grasses remain a favorite destination for anglers hoping to hook reds. A subtle fly or plug pulled gently in front of a raised tail is hard to beat. Equally exciting is witnessing the "chug, chug, splash," as a hungry fish hits your popping cork. If this is what you are looking for, Texas has mile after mile of a productive coastal marsh to fish. East Galveston Bay, San Antonio, and Copano Bay top the list as must-visit spots for hot redfish action. The seagrass beds offer plenty of food & cover for the fish and ready access for you the angler. Early in the season, when the water is clear is the best time for sight fishing. As the water darkens, you will need to read the sign a bit more, but tell-tale swirls and the occasional raised tail will let you know fish are still plentiful.
Another exciting opportunity, and one that can produce big fish, is surf fishing the fall bull run. September through November, large numbers of mature redfish frequent the surf off many of the beaches, and each is a potential trophy. Almost any beach offers the opportunity to catch reds from the surf. Still, South Padre Island, Surfside, and Sabine Pass have gained a reputation for being bucket list redfish destinations. Cut bait such as mullet or croaker and the ever-popular crab are the go-to baits from the beach.
Of course, it is also important to remember that redfish only spend the first three years in the shallow marshes or bays. Once they reach maturity, they head into the Gulf, only returning to shore occasionally. So it stands to reason that if you want to catch BIG bulls, you need to hit the open water. From May through November, you can find big schools of bull reds cruising the Gulf, larger bays, and shipping channels of South Texas, including Galveston Bay. Be sure to key in on food sources. Find the large schools of shrimp or baitfish, and chances are the reds won't be too far away. Approach slowly to avoid spooking the schools and once within casting distance, throw a golden spoon, Gulp! Shrimp and your favorite popper are bound to land some big ones. Now to divulge the SECRET LURE, are you paying attention? The Down South swimbait in Tequilla is an absolute fire bait. We caught dozens of redfish on this soft plastic. The jig head of choice was the 1/8 oz Hell Razor.
Finally, there are freshwater opportunities. While many anglers ply their trade in the coastal or brackish waters of the Lone Star State, it also offers freshwater fishers a chance to hook a Texas red as well. Lakes such as Calaveras and Fairfield offer freshwater populations that are both plentiful and trophy worthy; however, chasing them is different than their cousins in the marshes. The lakes are deep, and the redfish tend to stick to the deeper water, much like mature bulls discussed earlier. Trolling is very popular with plenty of fish taken on spoons or lipless crankbaits, but it is not the only path to success.
Live bait, such as tilapia or crayfish, on a Carolina rig, is always worth a try. Dropping a bucktail jig and your favorite plastic is another way to get deep reds to hit. If you do find the freshwater fish have moved shallow, make sure you have a selection of casting spoons, crankbaits and topwater plugs available. Best of all, these freshwater reds do not leave when temperatures drop but instead head to warm water discharges so the action can last all winter long.
Fishing South Padre Laguna
Over the last few years, I have had the pleasure of meeting with my Friend Capt. Andy in south Texas with O-Fish-al Charters. More specifically, the Arroyo City, Brownsville area. Andy has been fishing the South Padre waters for years. He specializes in lure only fishing. The redfish population is so abundant that you can throw topwater all day and have great success. We would typically leave the dock right before sunrise and head out of the channel to the expansive flat. It's essential to have a shallow watercraft, or you won't get very far. I would say the average depth in the laguna is two feet or less.
The first trip down, I was white-knuckling the grab rails because, at times, we would be running in 10 inches or less. Andy says the key to getting to the hotspots is his Shallow Sport and TRP prop. That and knowing the waters of course. Andy has quite the setup; you can rent a room on the water that accommodates three comfortably. The rental space leads to a fishing pier that is very productive at night. When the lights turn on, the trout show up in incredible numbers. We were catching gator trout 40 yards from where we slept.
After a long but exciting day of fishing, Andy would fillet up the redfish and trout. He then showed us a quaint but popular restaurant in town by the name of Chilly Willy's. You can take your fresh catch in, and they will prepare it however you like. I happily gained a few more pounds on this trip. I highly recommend you reach out to Andy to book a charter; you'll have a great time, limit out in fish, and learn about the beautiful Texas fishery. You can call him at (956) 455-7323. Check out the most recent trip that we had with Andy; it's action-packed:
South Texas Bait Shop
In our downtime, we would shop for fishing gear and tackle. You know how that goes. One of the best shops we found was located 30 minutes into Harlingen. It's called Hook Line and Sinker. Joe, his wife, and brother run the store, and they are very knowledgable and friendly. Are you looking to learn about fishing? Please stop in and ask questions; they have a wide array of tackle, gear, and apparel. The shop is located at 712 N 77 Sunshine Strip, Harlingen, TX 78550. Their telephone number is: (956) 970-1349
Chris Shares His Texas Experience
Fishing in Texas was an experience that I will never forget! Growing up in the "Fishing Capital of the World," I didn't think many places would have an equal or better fishery than the Tampa Bay. Arroyo City, Texas, has some fantastic fishing. The first thing I noticed when we got on the boat was what type of boat we were on. A boat nothing like I have ever ridden in. A Shallow Water Sport is what was taking us to and from our destination. Come to find out as we are on plane riding through the channel to the bay; EVERYONE has a Shallow Water Sport in Texas. I found out why very quickly! As we are doing about 40 Knots, the channel opens up to this vast bay. The water goes from chocolate milk-colored to some of the clearest grass flats that I had ever seen; it reminded me of a lot of Crystal River, FL.
As soon as the water got clear is just as fast as the water level dropped to about 8-15 inches. Talk about freaky! I had never been on a plane in such shallow water for an extended period, but the entire bay was like this! Once I was settled in and remembered our Captain does this every day, I could take in the beauty of Texas. The sun coming over the horizon was breathe taking, and the water was glassed over. You're practically running over the fish while you headed to your fishing spot.
Once we reached our desired location, I asked Capt. Andy, what I should tie on as a lure. He had me tie on Rapala Skitter Walk, in the white bone color. Come to find out later on in the day that I would continue to use this exact lure all day. Capt. Andy was adamant that the Redfish and Trout have been slaying the topwater bite. We fished a couple of different locations in the first hour and caught 1-2 fish, but I learned that fishing in Texas relies heavily on the winds. As the winds picked up, the bite did too. I would say when the wind was blowing 12-15 knots, and I was catching slot redfish every other cast with the occasional trout. There is nothing quite like a topwater bite coming from a 10lb fish. As soon as you set the hook, the drag is screaming, and the battle is on! These Texas redfish were aggressive and hungry; they were not skittish like redfish back in the Tampa Bay.
When they hit my topwater, there was no doubt the monster redfish were committed to the bait. I caught so many redfish my arms were worn out by the end of the day, but it was oh so worth it! We limited out in redfish and trout and had no more room in the ice chest. Capt. Andy, Capt. Taylor and I were tired and ready for some dinner. To top off the great day, Capt. Andy took us to a local restaurant, "Chilly Willies," to have our redfish prepared to eat. This was the first time I have eaten the cheek meat of a redfish, and boy, can I say I have been missing out. To sum up our Texas trip, I would put it in three words exciting, windy, and unforgettable! If you would like to see more of this experience, check out the videos that are attached here, and you can see everything from my perspective:
If you want to have a good time and catch some of the best redfish of your life, go to Texas, shop with Joe, and fish with Andy. Then come back and tell me I was wrong. We look forward to going back. If you enjoyed this article, please like, share, and subscribe to our YouTube channel. We will have plenty more adventures to come.
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