The desolate sands of Padre Island National Seashore are the closest thing you’ll find to a fishing time capsule. The park encompasses the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world and separates two hypersaline lagoons.
Its rich history includes sunken treasure, pirate shipwrecks and oil rigs. Rock piles and natural reefs hold trophy king mackerel, cobia, triggerfish, tarpon, sailfish and one of the best places to catch red snapper.
Mother Nature gives and takes. To reach the fishing grounds, you’ll need a rugged four-by-four to cross miles of fluffy sand. Wind and rough seas can shut down the party.
Modern technology won’t save you in the land before time. Anglers launching from the beach get first shot at these fertile waters far from boaters leaving the nearest inlet.
King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, bonito, snapper, tarpon, mahi, grouper, spadefish, and sailfish.
Fishing is great year-round. Weather is best July through October.
Pick up a dozen ribbonfish at the bait shop to slow troll on a stinger rig for kings, Spanish, mahi and sailfish. Keep spoons and knife jigs handy to fish bottom structure. Catch live bait on a Sabiki rig.
Drive the beach and look for nearshore oil and gas rigs. To find wrecks and reefs, look for sea turtles. A fishfinder and GPS makes it possible to locate structure.
Camp on the beach. Make a room with a view of the fishing hole.
Mike Morales Fin Factory Charters
Padre Island Burger Company has the wildest burgers in town. Corpus Christi,
Paddle a long, narrow offshore fishing kayak with a moderate rocker to handle rough seas and surf launches.
4000-5000 spinning reels. Eight-foot, medium-heavy rod. Twelve-inch stinger rigs; lead with a 2/0 J-hook followed by two or three 3/0, 4x strong trebles. Troll saltwater-grade diving lures. Jigs ranging between two to four ounces. A bucktail jig and rubber eel will cash in on a cobia.
Mother Nature gives and takes. | Photo: Chris Castro