Our first trip of the summer was a quick road trip down to North Padre Island. Just a few short hours from Austin and you're out of the Hill Country and can hit the beach. Our hotel was the very affordable but decent Wyndham - Corpus Christi Resort North Padre Island. The rooms have nice beds and hardwood floors, the pool is pretty nice and has a bar with $3 beer and a deck that overlooks the ocean. The $7 breakfast was pretty good too, and it included all the bacon one could eat.
We hit the road in the middle of the week as the fishing report said the reds and trout were "On Fire" in the surf. No need to tow the boat to go hit some nice game fish. We decided to pack the kayaks into the back of the pickup, as there are some great places to fish in Laguna Madre behind the Gulf. We got into town after dark, and went to bed early.
The bait shop under the causeway bridge opens a little before first light around 5:30. I let my young buddy sleep in and headed to the shop and got a bucket of live shrimp, some frozen mullet, and made it back to the parking lot right before first light. We rigged up and walked out to the beach and had lines in the water shortly after sunrise.
The waves were calm, which made wading out into the surf to cast our bait easy. There are two sandbars on the beaches in Padre that are easy to walk out to. The second one can start to get above your head at times depending on the surf and tide. The Reds were supposed to be hitting cut bait in the between the first and second sand bar, and the trout were hitting shrimp just over the second bar.
About 15 minutes into the fishing, BANG, and nice fish took my bait and started to pull the line. I saw him briefly and it looked like I had a really big trout on the line. I made it almost back to shore before my prize busted off. As quick as I could, I tied on a new hook and popper and headed back into the surf.
It wasn't long before I got my second fish. I had done a little better job ringing up the bait this time, and the fish made it to the beach. It didn't take long to figure out that I had a baby black tip shark, and not my prized speckled trout. I'm positive the first one I had was a black tip as well. For the next few hours we reeled in shark after shark, while occasionally trying our luck and getting some cut bait at the bottom for the reds, and our shrimp past the second sandbar to target the trout. But no luck, it was an action packed morning of shark fishing.For the rest of the afternoon we made a trip out to the grass flats in our Kayak, but there was too much grass
We made our second trip and dusk out to our shark spot, conveniently located right in front of our beach front hotel. It wasn't long before we were pulling in shark after shark. At this point the beach was packed and we started to draw some attention for pulling sharks onto the beach. The ladies right next to us were at first thrilled at this show, until one of them asked, "Ya know when you see baby deer, the momma deer is normally close by. Are you worried there are bigger shark out there in the water where you're fishing?" I guess I should have been a little more concerned about wading in 4 foot water 50 yards from shore with bait in my hand and sharks all around. We assure them only tiny sharks come in close to shore. My answer had enough obvious sarcasm, the figured out this isn't true. They and a few other spectators decided they were done swimming in this particular ocean for the day.
We didn't keep any of our catch the first day, as I wasn't sure the size or bag limits of for black tip sharks. After looking it up on the Internet, you can keep 1 shark per person over 24". I could hardly sleep that night, filled with excitement for the coming morning of action packed shark fishing, and putting some game fish in the cooler.
The next morning the alarm went off, coffee was made, and I was down stairs before the sun peaked over the horizon. But all was not fine in paradise, the sea was angry today. The waves were 5 foot plus, some of the biggest I've seen in the Gulf. Normally when I see such wind and waves, beach fishing is a total no go. But, after yesterday's action, I had convinced myself I could tough it out and go get one shark in the cooler. It was a rough go at it for about an hour, the waves would come crashing in and keeping upright, with bait in the water was a chore. No sharks were to be had. The frenzy was over.
We spend the next few hours with some big cut bait rigs on the bottom of the surf with the rods in the rod holders on the beach. Then we tried our hand and boogie boarding without fins, which is about as pointless as beach fishing is 5' waves. After a wild and exciting day and ½, it was time to pack up and head back home.
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