One of the biggest thrills of fishing the Texas Coast is a pre-dawn wadefishing trip to the beachfront. There’s nothing like walking into the calm trout green water amidst the throngs of scurrying mullet and just knowing that there are schools of speckled trout waiting for you to make your first cast. Unfortunately, for most of us, timing is everything for a successful surf trip. The water conditions have to be right. Which means calm and green to the beach. And let’s face it, that doesn’t occur every day, especially on the upper coast. So, what’s a fisherman to do? Well, there are several ways to handle this problem. One is to only go to the surf when someone calls and says it’s right. Another is to call one of the piers or a friend every morning around three A.M. and get them to take a walk down to the beach and check the surf for you. I personally don’t have any friends that would appreciate my calling them at that tie of day. Finally, the best and really only way to catch the surf right is to leave yourself enough time on each trip to swing down along the Sea Wall on your way to the launch and check it out for yourself. Once you’ve decided that everything is right there are a few places that always seem to attract more fishermen. And the winners are: the Bolivar Pocket, west end of the Sea Wall, San Luis Pass, and Roll Over Pass. I know, especially for some of us who have been wading the surf for a long time, there are other more famous areas such as the cars, the cedars, and the boilers, but these areas just aren’t what they used to be and are a lot harder to find for someone just getting into this aspect of fishing. Now for the fun stuff. Once you’ve made up your mind that the surf is right and you’ve picked out where you’re going to try your luck, there is still the problem of what equipment to take into the water with you. This can get a little tricky unless you follow one simple rule. Less is best This rule applies to everything from nets and stringers to lures and lure containers. For a truly successful surf wading trip take as little into the water as you can get away with. A few soft plastic shadtails with extra heads will fit nicely into your shirt pocket while MirrOlures and Corkys will fit into a small enough box to slip into your shirt. As for stringers, a 15 footer is plenty long enough to keep sharks away from you and hold your fish. Nets are an item that is truly up to the individual angler. But, if you’re not sure you can hand grab a big trout or redfish then by all means get a net with a short enough handle so that it will stay within reach, but won’t be tripping you up every time you try to change positions. I also have a word or to about dressing for your trip. On any given day you’ll see fishermen in the surf wearing shorts, going without a shirt, and some even without shoes. None of the above are good ideas. You need a shirt with at least a 3/4 sleeve to protect you from the sun, but also from the occasional jellyfish which may be lurking in the next wave just looking for a fisherman to tangle with. Long pants such as light weight cotton or khaki will not weigh you down when it gets wet and will also help with the previously mentioned jellyfish. Shoes are a common sense item considering how much trash is picked up off our beaches every year. I can’t think of anything worse that stepping on a broken bottle or any thing sharp and not having on shoes. This is the time of year when the surf can be very productive and a whole lot of fun. Watching the sun rise above the horizon while casting to a school of nervous mullet, I can’t see it getting any better than that.
– Texas Saltwater Fishing Guide