Surf, Sand and Super Fishing

Padre Island
National Seashore

Visit the world's longest undeveloped barrier island, famous for its shorebirds, solitude, and surf fishing. And go now, while the breaking waves are boiling with gamefish. "We call it the time of the frenzies," says Capt. Bill L. Sandifer (361-937-8446; www.billysandifer.com). "In October, Padre Island becomes Fantasy Island for surf fishermen."

The Fishing Simply check the surf to find red drum up to 50 pounds mauling schools of finger mullet, then cast into the frenzy with MirrOlure She Dogs and Catch 2000s, as well as white-and-red lead-eye Clousers. Or watch acre-size schools of 100-pound tarpon inhaling dusky anchovies. Look for large groups of birds hovering just above slashing, rolling fish. "You can't miss it," Sandifer says. "If you do, take up golf." The top tarpon lure is a Super Shad Rap. For fly patterns, try a 13/4-inch Clouser in chartreuse and white.

Hotspots No one spot trumps another. To find the best action, Sandifer says, "Go road hunting." Drive along the beach to find the heaviest concentrations of baitfish-revealed by feeding birds and fish.