Taming A Mustang On Foot

Wade Fishing On The Texas Coast

On The Fly Saltwater

Featured photo courtesy of Mustang Island State Park

Summer 2023

By Jimmy Jacobs

Looking for a good place to do some wade fishing or fly casting from shore along the Texas coast?  If so, Mustang Island is hard to beat. The redfish and seatrout action can be dependable, while seasonal casting to flounder and black drum can be accessed. The flounder show up in the spring months, while the drum are wintertime visitors.  

Redfish and spotted seatrout are year-round targets on this part of the coast. Photos by Jimmy Jacobs.

This barrier island lies just north of Corpus Christi, with the Gulf of Mexico fronting it, while Corpus Christi Bay forms its inland back door. The 18-mile-long isle is bordered on the north by Aransas Pass at Port Aransas, while the southern end is connected by road to north Padre Island. Texas Highway 361 runs the length of the island, with a number of sand roads running off it to Corpus Christi Bay.  

The island gained its name from the herd of wild horses that once roamed its expanse. Those mustangs were thought to have been descendants from horses that escaped or were left there by Spanish explorers. Another possibility was they swam ashore from shipwrecks. Regardless of how they arrived, by the end of the 19th century, ranches encroaching on their range wiped out the mustangs.  

Both the waters inside and outside of Mustang Island are noted for producing outstanding angling from boats, but fly casters also have some good options for tangling with game fish while planted firmly on the shore, wade fishing, or paddling a kayak. Especially on the fringes of Corpus Christi Bay, there are several areas that offer hard sand flats, where sight-casting for redfish is available.  

The more accessible areas for this action are located toward the southern end of Mustang Island. Several can be reached using sand roads, but be aware that especially during wet weather, the roads can be treacherous. Also, wrecker fees to get your vehicle unstuck can be stiff. Fortunately, there also some spots that have good road access.  

A couple of other things to be alert for when fishing this area, are the abundant stingrays, and the occasional hole or drop-off on the flats. In the case of the rays, just remember to “shuffle” along to keep from planting a foot on one of them. And, of course, be aware of where you’re are stepping to avoid the deeper water. This paragraph is beginning to sound like a lawyer in a television commercial!  

With all that out of the way, let’s have a look at some of the better places to fish on foot. We’ll start on the north and work our way south toward Corpus Christi.  

Locate just south of the mid-point of the island, Mustang Island State Park stretches for 5 miles along the beach side of the isle. It also crosses over to the bay side, but offers poor access to the water on that shore. However, in the midst of the park, Fish Pass intrudes from the bayside, offering a good area for casting from the seawall along the south side. A marsh grass edges is within reasonable casting distance along the opposite shore.  

Fish Pass in Mustang Island State Park. Photos by Jimmy Jacobs.

There is a parking area on the south side of the pass, while a sand road runs toward the bay just north of the pass, eventually angling in to follow the water to its mouth on the bay. On the Gulf side of TX 36, a water exchange pass cuts through the park to the north of the campground, ending at some jetties on the beach.  

The pass along the parking area and seawall to the west of TX 361 usually holds some bait fish, which in turn attracts reds and seatrout, along with the seasonal flounder and black drum.  

At 2.8 miles south of Fish Pass and beyond the boundaries of the state park, a sand road leads west to an area called Kate’s Hole. This is a deeper channel in the flats that is a remnant of the now silted in Corpus Christi Pass. A kayak launching area and wadable flat is located 1/2 miles down this road, and the area is known for year-round action for redfish, trout, black drum and flounder. The site is shown on Google maps as the Corpus Christi Launch Point.  

Another prime wading area is at Packery Flat. Another mile south of the turn for Kates Hole, a sand drive runs west to a parking area that is within site of the highway. Just before reaching the turn, the Island in the Son Methodist Church is on the bayside of the highway.  

Packery Flat with the powerline in the distance to the north. Photo by Jimmy Jacobs.

This site also is known locally by several other names. Some refer to it as “behind the church,” “under the powerline” (for the powerline that crosses the bay to the north within sight of the parking lot) or Dead Man’s Hole. The latter of these names should not be confused with Deadman Hole that is located two miles north of this site on the bayside.  

This is another place that offers easy wading access. All four of the species of fish mentioned earlier are possibilities here.   For the most part the waters fished in these locations are shallow, so floating lines with an 8-or 9-weight rig should do the trick. Clouser Minnows are good choices for the trout in chartreuse and white or electric chicken color patterns. Darker colors for crab or shrimp imitations should work for the redfish.  

The bottom line is, wading and shore-bound fly casters can find some very good options for fishing Mustang Island this summer.

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