Thursday, April 22, 2010
Texas Outback Magazine
Un-fished Fly Waters… in Texas?
On the middle Texas Coast, boat traffic, fishing pressure and airboats are something that all shallow water anglers must contend with these days. More and more people are finding out that shallow water sightcasting is an exciting way to fish, either with light tackle or a fly rod. Boat manufacturers are designing boats that run and float in no water at all. Uninformed boat drivers run these shallow water craft right along the popular shorelines and “burn” flats and lakes “looking” for fish. Some airboat anglers are using illegal techniques such as “herding” redfish to catch them in shallow water back lakes. All of these things together have driven me to begin a search to find the un-fished fly waters on the Texas Coast.
This quest began in Baffin Bay. Although primarily known for its rock formations and legendary trophy trout, Baffin also has some of the most pristine and clear shallow water lakes and shorelines. Anglers don’t run shorelines in Baffin and most certainly don’t fish the back lakes on a regular basis. Most have bigger boats that relegate them to deeper water running and the fear of hitting rocks keeps most of them off of the shorelines and out of shallow water.
A complex and unique system, Baffin proper is an east-west running bay with many finger bays that feed off of it. Although connected to Baffin Bay, the Cayo del Grullo, Laguna Salada and Alazan are mini bay systems in and of themselves. Within these bay fingers are many protected shorelines, sand bars and back lakes, such as the Cayo de Infernillo in Alazan Bay. With one tiny entrance, the massive lake system on the King Ranch is the home to fish that have never seen a fly or boat, not to mention a kayak! A series of small lakes and protected shorelines line the eastern side of the Cayo del Grullo. Further back you’ll find a large, shallow, grassy system named Drum Point.
The Laguna Salada has a secret shallow water place mysteriously named “Site 55”. Muddy and grassy and almost never fished by a boat, schools of redfish, black drum and big trout haunt the shallow water there.
The entire south shoreline of Baffin is nothing but shallow grass and potholes with sandy bars and sloughs mixed in. On any sunny day in May and June, this shoreline is loaded with reds, trout and flounder lounging in just inches of water, ripe for a sightcaster to toss a fly to. One long pole, paddle or wade, this shoreline sees almost no pressure at all.
Moving toward the mouth of Baffin on the south is a big back lake called Los Corrales. Because the mouth of this lake is very skinny, big Baffin boats don’t dare to enter. Pristine grass and hungry fish await anyone who knows the way in. Fishing in this little lake can be an all-day affair, sightcasting with topwaters, spoons and plastics to reds, trout and black drum in the grassy shallows and sandy potholes.
Across the mouth of Baffin is the Tide Gauge Bar. Either on the bar, or on the shoreline, you’ll find no other poling skiff. Just outside of Baffin is the Meadows, then down south a little, Penescal Point, Rocky Slough and the Land Cut, all very lightly fished for shallow water and great for poling and paddling.
The legendary 9-Mile Hole is just a little farther south down the Intracoastal, for those who want to sightcast to gigantic redfish that never leave the area. Miles and miles of very shallow, clear water await those that commit to the one hour or more boat ride to get there.
Although there isn’t a Wal-Mart or an HEB or much civilization within close proximity, un-fished fly waters do await those who seek it. Riviera is home to a couple of great restaurants, however. The Kings Inn and the Baffin Bay Café serve fantastic food and plenty of it. So, for your commitment to fish these un-pressured places, you will be rewarded with pristine waters, hungry fish, the King Ranch and Kennedy Ranch shorelines and vistas, less boat traffic and some really good food.
Come with me on this journey to discover the un-fished fly waters in Texas. Just past Kingsville on Hwy 77, Riviera, Texas is worth the drive. The magic and mystery of Baffin Bay is here, along with great hospitality and the promise to satisfy the untiring sense of adventure that leads all anglers to the saltwater.
Capt. Sally Moffett
Facebook: Sally Ann Moffett