South Padre Island is a premier land based shark fishing location. Positioned south of the Padre Island National Seashote, the beach has a tropical, green water wonderland appearance. South Padre Island has an abondance of Tarpon, Snook, Speckled Trout, and Sharks in the surf. This is the best shark fishing beach in Texas. Here is a Shark Fishing Report from South Padre Island from late August.
The rain was persistent as we drove along Highway 77, making our way to South Padre Island. When we arrived, some five hours after loading up gear and topping off the fuel tanks in San Antonio, the rain had let up, though the lightning continued to accentuate the dunes against black of night. When the moonlight broke through the clouds, the breaking waves caught the light, creating a rolling incandescence that was otherworldly. Deaver decided we ought to try to get some bait for the morning run, and everyone was pretty eager to get their lines in the water. The clarity of the warm gulf waters was unbelievable. Even at night, with the moon directly above, you could see small whiting darting around your feet in waist deep water.
After catching a few small whiting we set up camp and tried to catch a few hours of shut-eye. Sunrise came in a hurry, a welcome sight indeed.
We were all still a bit groggy from the long drive and very little sleep, but we were all motivated and ready to go. Deaver called a huddle to discuss the plan of action for the day, and to talk about the camp layout and how we were going to fan out across the beach. Afterwards, we hit the sand running - literally. Before long, rod spikes were set, baits were rigged and kayaks were cutting back and forth through the waves like some kind of miniature beach assault. I ended up on the northernmost end of the fan with my Penn Senator 9/0, running my trace out about 300 yards at a slight angle into the southeast wind. The water had a beautiful emerald green hue out past the third break and the sky was clear for the moment. The way Deaver was coaching us along at such a quickened pace reminded me of my drill sergeant back in basic training many years ago, but he was adamant that this was our window of opportunity and we had to get those baits in the water now. Truth is, I was having a blast! Once the first wave of baits were run out into deeper waters, everyone switched to lighter bait rods or cast nets and began catching skip jacks, blue runners, whiting and mullet closer to shore.
Not an hour later I noticed my line had moved north and there was a large amount of seaweed clinging to it as far as I could see. Hen Feen came over to help me out and I began reeling in what I figured was going to be a 300 yard long seaweed seamonster, only something else happened. Hen Feen was clearing off the seaweed and once the line became tight again the resistance became significantly tougher. Then came the pull that forced me several feet forward. Hen Feen was watching the line and I told him I believed there was something other than seaweed on the other end. I took several steps back and heaved on that Mariner standup rod. Once I got that trace up near the second bar there was some pretty strong resistance and I told Hen Feen again I was pretty sure we had something big, and as soon as I said that, the unmistakeable dorsal fin cut through the surf, followed by the tail. Though still splashing through the waves, the distance between the dorsal and tail fin was enough to tell me this shark was a big one, and before we got it over the second sand bar we could see it was a big bull shark. Every time the shark made a swoop with its tail I could feel the strength of this powerful animal. Hen Feen was on the leader and Charles and Deaver ran over to lend a hand. Hen Feen popped the hook out the shark’s mouth and Deaver had us move it further up onto the sand to take a measurement - my first experience trying to lift a shark of that size. That shark was a heavy beast, all head and teeth and tail. Ray brought over the tape measure and from nose tip to tail end the bull shark measured just over six feet long. We worked fast and kept the shark in the water as much as possible, and after a few shots were taken for the photo album, Charles and Hen Feen helped me release the big bull back into the wild. Deaver filmed the bull as it reorientated itself before gliding back off into the deep.
Thanks to all the guys that were there that day who all contributed to the overall success of this trip; most of them are in the video. Hen Feen, I know you are proud of your son, he watches you like a hawk and it’s easy to see how much he’s learned about fishing in the process. He got more double hookups on those whiting than anyone and caught about half the bait we ran this weekend!
Although we didn’t get the evening hookup as the sun set behind a stormy horizon and thick clumps of seaweed began to roll in, I had a feeling of accomplishment by nightfall, and a sense of respect for sharks of that size. Most of the trip was rainy, and the one big shark that was caught took the bait during the few hours of the morning when the rain decided to let the sun have a turn. It was also during that “window” that I saw for the first time the emerald green water I’d only heard of before. I’m still feeling a little tired from the trip, but you can bet I’ll be ready for the next time. Thanks to the team for all the motivation and optimism that kept us going after hours of rain and paddling in the salty surf. And thanks to Deaver and Hen Feen for the coaching, I was lucky to have gone with you guys. Good traveling with you all.