Lakecaster Online

OUTDOORS WITH KEITH WARREN

 


Week of March 21, 2005

Trying to find a good spot to fish at the coast for the angler that does not have a boat can be tough. Basically the major problem is lack of access to good water. Unless they have done their homework and spent lots of time scouting, basically the only choices the boat (less) anglers have is fishing from piers and major jetty systems. Pier fishing is inexpensive (sometimes free) and success can be had from piers. But more often than not, you won't see the numbers of fish caught from them that you would like to see.

Fishing from the major jetties is popular, but it is very demanding physically on anglers. Access is provided by jetty boat services that run on a schedule. You will see hopeful anglers being dropped off on these giant man made rock structures carrying what seems like everything they own with them. Once they are dropped off they are on their own, until the boat comes to pick them up. At times the jetties can pay off with impressive catches. But in all the times I have fished them I have never had what I would call a good day of catching fish from the jetties.

Several years ago I located an area along the coast between Corpus Christi and Portland that has proven to be the best area I know of to catch trout and redfish without a boat. The southern part of this particular area starts on the shoreline of small jetties where the battleship Lexington is docked. For those of you familiar with Corpus, Landry's restaurant is located near there. The area extends about six miles north and the area known as the Portland shoreline.

Fishing on the eastern shore of this area (Corpus Bay side) has been a hidden honey hole for local anglers for years. This area is where the Corpus and Nueces Bay systems converge and it is where water is exchanged between the two legendary bays. The water movement and the good firm sand bottom attract baitfish and naturally the trout and redfish are there too.

The best way to approach fishing this area is to wade fish. The typical southeast winds tend to lay over night and then build back up, as the day gets long. As the winds build, the water turns dirty and the fishing action slows. But if the wind is light and the water color halfway decent, the fishing action is as good as I have ever seen it for the boat(less) angler.

The warmer the water the better the fishing will be along this beach. Early morning success comes as the sun peeks over the gulf and starts to test your sunscreen. It is common to see schooling redfish feeding on baitfish that are in water so shallow that you can see their familiar spotted tails sticking out. Topwater lures like the Skitterwalk work great when presented properly. Cast beyond the feeding fish so they won't be spooked by the lure landing on the water, then work the lure into the school.

Once the sun gets up and light penetration in the water increases, the baitfish move deeper, so do the redfish. Switching up to soft plastics (like a Power Mullet) or a Silver Minnow Spoon will now start to work. But you will begin to catch more speckled trout than redfish. Trout just don't seem to get as shallow on this stretch of beach as the redfish do. While I have only mentioned lures, live bait works great in this area too.

With such a long stretch of beach to fish, it can be tough to find the best spot that is holding the most fish. Here are some clues that will help you pinpoint where to start. Look for baitfish. If you find them you will find trout and redfish. If baitfish are not visible, you will need to learn how to "read the beach". As waves come to shore they build as the water becomes shallower. These waves will break over on shallow water on what is called bars. In between these bars (that run parallel to the beach) there is deeper water, called troughs. Typically these troughs hold the fish as they run the shoreline.

To learn how to read the beach takes time and practice. Waves are constantly changing the contour of the bottom, which constantly changes the location of where the fish will be. One spot may be good today. But if the waves change the contour of the bottom overnight, that some spot may be dead tomorrow. But those fish won't travel far.

Swimmers that enjoy the beach will know what I am referring to about the wave action and how it relates to the contour of the bottom. Next time you are on the beach watch the waves, it will tell you a lot about what the bottom must look like.

There are no sure bets when it comes to fishing. But if you are boat (less) and looking for a good place to try along the Texas coast, you now know where many locals from the Corpus area have secretly had their best success.

Keith Warren is the host of two weekly outdoor television programs that broadcast on The Outdoor Channel. For questions or comments about our shows or the outdoors, contact Keith at www.keithwarren.net.

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