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South Padre Jetties on the Fly

South Padre Jetties on the Fly

A different day with huge combat crowds close to shore.

Sunday morning, out at the end of the South Padre Island Jetties, I passed three young men casting spinning rods with huge determination. 

They saw my fly rod, actually this day I was carrying only an elephant gun - twelve-weight, a guess for a tarpon fly and a huge helping of patience. We conversed about fly fishing, and one said he had fly fished around San Antonio (their home base), but never on the salt. 

I took the time to mention Los Pescadores Coffee & Outfitters, soon to exist in Port Isabel, gave directions, and offered up some of everything he needed - information, lessons, gear and guides - to get him going on the salt the next time he was down in the Borderlands. 

It was one of those mornings where a fly fisher is a watcher. We’re just looking for that last tarpon on the migration, bringing up the rear and in a hurry to get back … to where we still are not completely certain. 

The calm was refreshing, and unusual for the end of the Jetties. Bait was plentiful as it seems to always be along the jetties current … moving without being inspired to move by predators. Not exactly a “setup” for success, but then I had come to believe hooking a tarpon on the Jetties was like catching lightning in a bottle. 

No conventional rods - staked out by more bait casters on the end of the rocks - moved with any inspiring bow. The young men were tiring from spinning their reel’s knobs, and changing out artificial lures at a faster pace as time passed.

The evening before had inspired this early morning granite rock hop. A run of bulls had hit the jetties bait users - much closer to shore and in the channel - right before dark. My guess was the presence of reds could indicate the presence of other species.

As I left my watching post, and headed back in, the spinning fisher offered up one last piece of conversation. It was a doozie. “Yeah, I caught my biggest snook here last night. Twenty-eight inches.” I gathered a little more information and filed it for another day.

Watching for the last tarpon? That gets you ready for watching the first tarpon when the migration makes the turn once again next year. Will I, or will YOU catch lightning in a bottle on the next migration? Not if you’re not here, that much is always certain. There’s a lot of waiting involved with tarpon here, and we all know it is just like Tom Petty said, “The waiting is the hardest part.”

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