Beachfront Opportunities

Beachfront Opportunities

Here on the Upper Texas Coast, the winds and weather are starting to become more predictable with each passing day. The typical springtime pattern of high oscillating winds and frequently cooler temperatures are over and being replaced with consistently warmer days and mild southeast wind. Summer is upon us and along with the temperatures, fishing is also heating up. During the first month of summer, fishing could not be any better on the Gulf coast and anglers can find fish just about anywhere. When conditions are right, no place stands out more vividly in my memory than the beachfront.

The Texas coast is 367 miles long and this provides plenty of opportunity for all anglers. No matter what tactics you prefer to catch fish, it can all be done in the surf. One can find themselves throwing topwaters at daylight in hope to catch a quick limit of trout, throwing live shrimp under a popping cork, or paddling out the big lines for a shark; you can actually do all of these in the same day!

Growing up, I spent a majority of my weekends on the Bolivar Peninsula with my family. For the most part, my brother and I kept busy with a fishing rod in hand. Fishing in the surf gave us wonderful lessons of what it took to become an angler. It taught us the importance of being there at sunrise to catch the early morning bite; it also gave us the opportunity to learn how to throw a cast net properly and catch our own bait. It gave us a chance to break away and figure things out on our own and not rely on our parents to get us out of a bind. I’m pretty sure being waist deep in the surf is where I learned to pick out my own backlashes. You also learn to keep a good hold on a live bait and not fumble its release back into the Gulf. You think twice about these things when it’s you throwing the cast net!

One of my favorite places to be in this world is waist deep in the surf at daylight with a light north wind. We don’t get to see many days where the surf slicks off and I try my best not to miss them. There’s something about watching a trout blowup a topwater with the backdrop of the vastness of the Gulf that keeps me coming back; there’s simply nothing quite like it. On top of the picturesque scenery, the surf is an ideal place to catch not only numbers of solid trout but also a chance to top your personal best.

As the morning goes on and when the trout bite dies; it’s time to switch gears. Within my circle of friends somebody will have packed along a few bigger rods that we like to bait up with cut mullet and see if we can entice something a little bigger. We are not as serious as some surf anglers are about shark and bull red fishing but this is a fun way to pass the time with good odds that you will catch something that can really stretch a line. We have landed numerous bull reds, blacktip sharks, bull sharks, and even a few bonnetheads.

One of the most fun aspects of fishing the Gulf surf is the opportunity to hook into such an amazing number of species. Even though you may be trying to target a certain species, you never really know what you have on the other end of the line until you get it in. When I was sixteen, my buddies and I headed down to the surf to try and catch a few trout. Not long into the morning, my buddy hung into a solid fish that was putting up a good fight. I figured he had a decent redfish and when I went to grab it, I got spooked. I had never seen a fish that looked the way this one did and I wasn’t about to grab it. So we dragged it to the shore, and while examining his unusual catch, an old timer happened by and informed us it was a tripletail; one of the finest eating fish you can catch. We kept it and that old man wasn’t lying.

During my surf fishing adventures I have caught Spanish mackerel, stingrays, eels, whiting, skipjacks, and many more. I have also heard plenty of stories of anglers jumping tarpon. But, of course, light trout tackle is no match for these. If you are lucky enough to be in the right area, you may also get a chance to witness huge schools of jack crevalle and bull reds pushing bait right up onto the sand. This frenzy happens quick but it is truly incredible to get to witness it. It is a scene that even National Geographic photographers dream of being able to capture.

Another thing that is quite often overlooked when it comes to the surf is crabbing. Now this isn’t ideal when the surf is rough, but when you can find a calm day it can be very productive. My mom would always stake out several crab lines baited with chicken necks just beyond the first gut. While we were further out fishing the second bar and beyond, she would take a break from her book and go scoop up a few crabs. Also, when the time is right, and if you are willing to put in some work, cast netting shrimp can make for bountiful day. By the time we were all done we were ready for a seafood buffet fit for a king!

The beach is a prime place to head for the day if you are looking for a lot of fun and hoping to land a few fish. Especially if you have kids, this is an ideal learning ground for them. Don’t forget to take along a cast net and five gallon bucket; they will be entertained for hours. There is plenty to learn and, believe me when I say, they will come home with memories to last a lifetime. Even if you don’t catch any fish, you are still at the beach with friends and family!