Flora & Fauna

March 2, 2016

Fly Fishing for Redfish in the Laguna Madre

Fly Fishing

We really enjoyed reading this article by Jonathan Gluck for the New York Times published on February 10, 2016.  The amazing photography is by Michael Stravato.

Rick Hartman had just navigated a pair of husband-and-wife anglers to a pretty little stretch of sapphire-colored water along the scruffy sand-grass shoreline of the Lower Laguna Madre, off the South Texas Gulf Coast. Normally when a redfish guide pulls a skiff into an area he wants to explore, fish bolt from it, at least until the guide cuts the motor and begins poling. But when Mr. Hartman steered his craft into this spot, he told me when I called him to ask about a trip to the little-known but beloved angling destination, reds were everywhere, “circling, tailing, in the middle of the water, just offshore.”

Rod and fly at the ready.

Rod and fly at the ready.

Right away, his charges began catching fish. Before long, things got just plain silly. When one of his clients would make a cast and hook a fish, a second would chase the fly in the first one’s mouth, and his other client would cast to that fish and hook it. “We must have had eight or 10 doubles,” Mr. Hartman said, referring to two fish hooked at once. “I think our grand total was 41.”

A collection of flies

A collection of flies

A championship fly fisherman who has plied these waters for more than 25 years, Mr. Hartman knows that saltwater fly-fishing can just as easily be a brutal, ego-bruising pursuit. He was dumbfounded by the virtually unheard-of haul. “All I remember thinking was, How is this possible?” After five or six hours of more or less nonstop success, his clients asked to head back to shore early. “They were too tired to catch any more fish.”

Tucked between the Texas Gulf Coast to the west and South Padre Island, the popular spring break destination, to the east, all just a long cast north of the Mexican border, the Lower Laguna Madre is, as its name suggests, a mother of a fishery. Measuring 59 miles from north to south and seven miles from east to west, the shallow, hyper-saline estuary is one of just a handful of bodies of water like it in the world, a wild and sprawling aquatic Elysium. And the adjacent Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge — 97,000 acres of broad tidal flats and coastal prairie inhabited by a menagerie of flora and fauna from sea lavender and prickly-pear cactus to egrets and ocelots — is a natural wonder in its own right. If South Padre Island is MTV, the Lower Laguna Madre is the National Geographic Channel.

Read the full article here

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La Vida Valle
La Vida Valle was created in June, 2011 as a platform for all things related to the arts, the people and the culture of the Rio Grande Valley.

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