The annual Padre Island National Seashore fishing trip was sparsely attended, but very successful.
Nobody got skunked.
Driving conditions were ideal.
Very few people driving on the beach.
But if you want to know more…
4 Texas FlyFishers met at the parking lot of Malaquite in three vehicles, Joe F. John E., Puck and Tim S.
By 1200 all gear was ready and vehicles prepared.
Driving conditions were perfect. Less than half a dozen short patches of shallow soft sand that we could easily get through with just 2 wheel drive.
Over 100 fish, most of them ladyfish with the occasional baby jack, were caught on a variety of flies as we made out way down the beach that afternoon. The casting was a bit tough at first, but new skills were quickly learned.
Mullet schools were everywhere. We even saw a few schools of menhaden make their way through. When the predator fish went though the bait, it looked like rain on the water.
By 1730 camp was made about the mile marker (MM) 40.
The fine sand was blown by the wind getting into everything. The few days of dry weather allowed the wind to pick the sand up, and put it wherever it wanted.
No campfire Friday night. The fine blowing sand and the higher than desired breeze made a fire a bad idea.
John E. fed the group Friday evening by careful cooking over a one burner stove hidden from the wind by a break made from coolers in the bed of a truck. John’s lentil soup was chased with a bit of red wine as we sat around upwind of the trucks, sharing stories of the day.
Everybody was in their tents by 2300.
A light sprinkle about 0230 knocked all of the fine sand out of the air, so when we got up the irritating sand was completely missing.
Saturday started out great. Coffee and breakfast under our belt as we packed up camp. Eduardo D. joined us as we finished packing up camp Saturday morning. He had come later than the meetup time, and fished for a while before camping at about mile 12.
The wind had died down, and shifted slightly, making casting a fly much easier. The challenge that day was the waves. The wind from Friday had built the waves up, and now they were being delivered. That didn’t stop our entrepid anglers from braving the waves, and catching a few fish, before moving on.
Driving south on the beach, we watched the waves and looked for birds feeding. We made it all the way to the jetties, seeing nothing.
We had hopes that the anchovies were migrating as we found a freshly dead one washed up on the shore near the jetties.
Birds were scattered and didn’t tell us much, so we fished the deeper troughs that were close to shore.
These close troughs were where we started picking up whiting. A nice slow retrieve and the whiting would almost inhale the fly.
Saturday afternoon, we set up camp early, started a cookfire, and went fishing.
Once we had a good bed of coals, the bratwurst were laid on the camp grill, and cooked to dripping perfection. Once everyone had eaten, and were just about to sit down in the camp chairs, John notice that the air temperature had dropped and that it looked like we had rain on the way. Rainflies erected, gear, and cooking tools put away, the rain hit. We sat in the truck, A/C running, comfortable, as we watched the lightning show. About 2230, the rain had stopped, but so had the wind. We could see the vampires through the windsheild, looking for a way to sample our blood.
A mad dash to the tents, and Saturday night was over.
Sunday morning the wind had died down, and the vampires were out in force. Deet was our best friend as we made coffee and breakfast, and we were taugh, once again, the value of being prepared to combat these little blood suckers.
With the sun came the dragonflies, quickly wiping out the population of mosquitoes.
We fished for a while in front of camp after we broke it down, but not much was willing to bite, so we started back towards the showers at Malaquite. The plan was to watch for birds or feeding fish, and stop along the way if we saw anything.
At one particularly good looking trough, we pulled over to watch it for a few minutes, only to have “Blue” get stuck. It seems that the 4 wheel drive would not engage, and he had to be pulled back out onto the hard sand.
This is when we decided to head directly to the showers.
Within site of the gate, there was a flock of pelicans working the second and third trough pretty hard, so we just had to stop and fish “one last time.”
We saw fins cutting the water, but they were moving too fast for sharks, and were the wrong shape. A few breakoffs later, we learned that there were spanich mackerel and gafftop catfish devouring the school of mullet just out of casting range.
More pictures later, as I get them from other participants.