Saltwater Fly Fishing Shamrock Cove

One of the greatest things to do on the Texas coast is to be on the beautiful shallow water grass flats at Shamrock Cove first thing in the morning. Imagine redfish, the strongest fighting fish on the flats, tailing all around you. Redfish continuously cruise the crystal clear flats of the lagoon stopping when they find a shrimp or crab to snack on.

Shamrock Cove is located between Port Aransas and Padre Island on the east side of Corpus Christi Bay. It always has been one of my favorite bodies of water to fly fish.

These flats are famous for holding good numbers of big redfish. The water depth ranges from 1 to 4 feet in the flats and about 6 feet in the channels that run through it. The flats are shallow and have a hard sand bottom, which lets the fly fishermen wade or pole around from a boat.

Wading is great for fly fishermen who have not yet accomplished their long distance casting techniques and skills because you are able to get very close to tailing red fish. This makes for an easy solution for the fly fishermen who have yet to master casting 60 or 70 feet.

Flats Perfect For Wading
Another advantage to wade fishing is that one is able to position himself at the correct angle to the target. This is very important because of the wind and light. When possible, it’s always advisable to try and get the wind to come from the left side for a right-handed caster; from the opposite for someone who is left-handed.

Adjusting to the direction of the light is just as important because light is critical in helping you to see the fish, especially the ones that are not tailing. A good pair of Polaroid sunglasses is essential for any fishing situation, especially if there are ripples on the water catching the sun’s reflections. In flats fishing particularly, they’re critical. When the fish are not tailing, you have to know which way the fish are moving so that you’ll be able to cast in front of them.

Poling the boat around on the flats is very productive. It lets you cover a lot of water fast and effectively. A huge advantage of fly fishing from a boat is the distance above the water that it places you. Since you’re casting from a platform atop the boat’s deck, the higher you are elevated. It also makes it easier to spot the fish. In turn, this gives you more time to cast to each fish that you will see.

The most suited rod and reel combination for fly fishing down on the Texas Coast is a well-balanced 8-Weight outfit. You also can use a #9 Weight, which works well in high-wind situations. However, lots of folks who might be unseasoned to all-day fly fishing will find it to be a little too heavy for continuous use. It’s also okay to use a #7 Weight when you are fishing in light winds.

Good Equipment Is Essential
Ultimately, it boils down to having good equipment that is well designed, well balanced, appropriate for the occasion and feels comfortable and in sync with an individual’s casting style.

When fishing for redfish and trout, plan on using a reel that holds close to 100 yards of backing. One much larger than that will likely be too heavy to balance properly with the rod.

Scientific Angler’s #WF7F & #WF8F Saltwater and Bonefish Tapered Fly Lines represent the two line styles I most frequently use. The Saltwater Taper is a great year-round fly line when temperatures are not factors. The Bonefish Taper works great in tropical conditions that exceed 90-degree temperatures.

Leader lengths should be from 7 to 9 feet. On very calm days you may want to use a longer leader anywhere from 9 to 12 feet. An 8- to 12-pound test tippet works great for red fish and trout. Lots of anglers also go to the trouble to reduce leader glare by taking an artist’s felt-tipped pen or other similar device to put a tint of color on it. Color should match the overall hues of the areas being most frequently fished.

The flies I use include the Clouser Minnow (chartreuse and white), Sliders, Bent-backs, Shrimp and Crab patterns. Hook sizes 2-4-6.

The fly fishing in Corpus Christi is great year-round. The water and skies are clear and the winds are light. It is a great place to get away and do some fly fishing in the fall and winter. The winters are very mild and there is very little boat traffic on the waters. The short drive from Houston, Austin and San Antonio make it easy to get to Corpus Christi from all over South Texas.

Until then … clear water, clear skies, light winds.

For more information on fishing Texas, contact Joe Mendez at 361-937-5961, or visit his website at

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