Welcome to Salt Water Fly Fishing

Welcome to Fly Fishing The Salt! If you are just discovering the joys of fly fishing the salt (or salt chuck as some call it) here you will find information to steer you in the right direction. Tips on what equipment to use, why, where and how to fish. And we will try to include a little inspiration to get you going. For the experienced salt water angler, there will be personal stories about real fishermen and their experiences, tips on what flies for which fish and techniques that work. Your stories and articles are also most welcome. Share the knowledge and adventure. Pass it on! This is for you.

South Padre Island: A FlyFisher's Paradise

By Becky Garrison, NY

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 good fight."

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
1-877-930-0462; 956-943-2798


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

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