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September 25, 2008

Deep in the Heart of Texas

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

When fishing topwater lures on braided line, many anglers tie directly from the braid to the terminal eye or split ring on the lure. Although it gives a more direct connection, adding a short trace of fluorocarbon leader (15- or 20-pound test) can help improve the action of your baits. The higher-density fluoro actually sinks in the water, creating a different line angle. In the case of Spook-style walking baits, this means a better side-to-side motion; for poppers, it translates into a louder fish-attracting pop. Also try making the connection with a fixed loop knot to give the lure more action.

Texas has a lot more to offer than cattle and oil, so if you're a redfish nut like me, head to the southern end of the Laguna Madre. You're bound to strike it rich. And you don't have to worry about the sharks.

Essentials

  • Rods: 712- to 812-foot light- to medium-action spinning and baitcasting rods.
  • Reels: Spin and baitcasting models holding 150 yards of line.
  • Line: Monofilament or braid, 8- to 12-pound.
  • Lures: Topwater lures, including the Zara Spook Jr. or Bomber Poppin' Shrimp. Soft plastic jerkbaits, including the YUM! Houdini or Samurai shad, either rigged weedless or on jigheads.
  • Other: Wading boots and a chest pack or utility belt to hold pliers, stringers and a BogaGrip.

In Depth

  • Fishing the Laguna Madre involves a lot of wading, with the boat acting primarily as a transport vehicle from spot to spot. During the winter months, Shuler recommends that fishermen invest in waders, but most of the time, anglers can get by with quick-drying shorts and wading shoes.
  • Quailty salt water wading boots like Patagonia's Marlwaker ($140; patagonia.com), Orvis' Wet Wading Shoe ($89; orvis.com) or Simms' Flats Sneaker ($99.95; simmsfishing.com) are solid investments that your feet will thank you for after a long day on the flats.
  • A pair of neoprene wading socks with gaiters is another good investment. The neoprene flap serves as a shell guard, keeping unwanted debris out of your boots. Some of the better ones include Chota's Gaiter Sock ($29.95; chota.com), Simms' Guard Socks ($29.95) or Patagonia's Insulator Socks ($30).