It doesn’t take Einstein to figure out a long pile of boulders stretching out into the ocean is going to attract fish. Along the Texas coast, dozens of jetties offer easy access to tarpon, redfish, snook, sheepshead, king mackerel and more. The biggest challenge is being ready for anything.
Some Texas jetties are easy to reach while others require an off-road vehicle. Once on the water, the paddle is usually short and the wall of rock can provide protection from the elements.
A typical day of fishing begins with the sun rising on the horizon. Crashing waves and seafoam are the backdrop while pesky seagulls heckle from above. The tide is high and the wind low.
Launch through the surf and paddle to the jetty. Simple as that. Start on the protected side and cautiously work towards the end. On the inside, keep an eye out for passing ships. Duck behind the jetty to avoid the wake.
Each day is different, and each species requires a different approach. The action could be on the surface, mid depth or on the bottom. To cut to the chase, side-imaging sonar marks the depth where the fish are holding allowing me to choose the best technique.
• 4-ounce Tsunami Slimwave lures
• 3-ounce Gator Lure spoons
• 7-foot, medium-heavy Tsunami
• Air Wave Elite Rod
• Tsunami Forged lever drag conventional reel
• 80-pound braid
• 75-pound Knot2Kinky wire
• Tsunami No. 8 Glow Sabiki
• 2 and 3-ounce egg sinkers
• 65 pound fluorocarbon
• 4/0 Owner Gorilla hooks
I can fish a variety of rigs with a seven-foot, medium-heavy rod and beefy 6000 series spinning reel spooled with 80-pound braid. For extra protection from sharp teeth, add a two-foot-long nickle-titanium leader.
When the fish are crashing on the surface, I cast a three-ounce silver spoon and work it back fast. With luck, a cobia, redfish or kingfish will latch on.
If I mark fish deep, I switch to a four-ounce, silver Tsunami Slimwave lure. Bounce the thin spoon off the bottom or cast out and slow jig it back.
When the marks are deep and I can’t get a bite with artificial lures, I switch over to a Carolina rig. Start with a three-ounce eggsinker on the mainline. Attach a swivel and tie on three feet of 65-pound fluorocarbon leader and a 4/0 hook.
Mullet and shrimp are reliable dead baits, but live bait will get a finnicky fish’s attention. Keep a medium-action rod armed with a Sabiki rig and two-ounce weight. I drop the rig near the rocks and pull up pinfish, a favorite snack for my favorite target fish.
Hook the pinfish on the Carolina rig and drop it into the rocks or drift along the bottom. Redfish, king mackerel or cobia could pick up the bait. Be prepared for battle with heavy drag and a stiff rod, jetty rocks offer protection for the fish, too.
Structure and current create a diverse fishery. | Featured photo: Chris Castro