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September 25, 2008

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Texas offers some of the best redfishing in the U.S.

The weapon of choice for serious topwater anglers?

Baitcasting outfits.

Not so sure about using one? Then ask yourself this simple question: Would you rather put up with good-natured ribbing because you insist on using a spinning outfit (referred to by Shuler's father, Bruce, as "cross-dressers" because you can switch the handle one side to the other) or because the guide can spit farther into the wind than you can launch your baitcaster. You're going to get it either way.

I opted for the latter, and after the first couple hours, I finally got to a point where it didn't take me 15 minutes to undo a professional overrun after each cast. In fact, I got pretty good at it, thanks more to the reel than any skill on my part.

The average water depth throughout the bay is about 212 feet, and although the bottom types vary from hard-packed sand to "ploof" mud, in all, it's very comfortable wading. Texas strategies are pretty similar to wading elsewhere; use the boat to get yourself into position and work downwind, fan-casting and covering as much ground as possible.

"A lot of times, what we'll do is set the anglers up and then drift the boats down to the other end or have a second boat down there to pick us up so we can walk with the group," says Shuler. "We have so much fishable water that we can pick and choose based on clients and what they want to fish and what type of wade they want to do, based on any physical limitations."