Texas-Size Flats

Two ways to find reds and specks.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Springtime on Texas' gulf coast is a flats fisherman's paradise. The expansive shallows offer excellent fly and plug casting to powerhouse red drum and spotted seatrout that routinely weigh 4 to 8 pounds. Aransas Pass is a great place to base your trip, and now is the time to go. Here are two options.

Do-it-Yourself
Kayak fishing around Aransas Pass got an upgrade from exceptional to spectacular recently with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's creation of the Lighthouse Lakes Trails, a scenic area that protects seagrass beds from boaters. Armed with a map and a handheld GPS, kayak fishermen can explore a seemingly endless string of secluded flats. Rentals are available from Slowride Guide Service (866-758-5307).

Wade the flats, looking for the broad, colorful tails of feeding fish. Pluggers need only dog-walking topwaters, soft-plastic jerkbaits with light jigheads, and weedless gold spoons. Flyfishermen should carry a selection of shrimp and minnow patterns, as well as poppers, in natural and bright colors.

**From The Lodge **
One of several premier base camps in the area, Shoal Grass Lodge (866-758-5307; www.shoalgrasslodge.com) offers 12 double guest rooms, private dock space, and a kitchen that will have you loosening your belt after every meal.

The fishing is as good as the food, beginning within minutes of leaving the lodge and stretching as far as a half tank of fuel will push a flats boat. Instead of employing a stable of guides, the lodge maintains working relationships with the area's top pros. Chuck Scates and his flyfishing expertise are a phone call away, as are Lefty Chapa and his custom-rigged kayaks.