Winter Fishing on the Lower Laguna Madre

When anglers shivering through a winter snowstorm in northern climes consider a tropical escape, Texas rarely enters their mind. However, located on latitude 26 - the same as Miami, Florida - South Padre Island, Port Isabel and the waters of the Lower Laguna Madre which separate these two towns, as well as Port Mansfield some 20-odd miles to the north, are warm year around and offer excellent shallow water fishing opportunities even during the dead of winter.

During January and February, light-tackle anglers are able to enjoy plenty of action from redfish, spotted seatrout, flounder, ladyfish, and jacks on the flats, as well as snook in the port areas. Surf fishing for pompano, redfish, shark, and other species is also available.

Not only are anglers able to chase a wide variety of species during the dead of a South Texas winter, there are also a variety of ways in which these fish can be targeted. Cooler temperatures certainly do make their way to this border bay, but unlike northern areas, there is always a warm day right around the corner in Deep South Texas. Agile anglers and guides have learned to be flexible to the rapidly changing weather conditions, taking advantage of the best both warm and cold weather offer during the winter months.

Due to its semi-tropical location, the Lower Laguna Madre sees plenty of warm days year around - even in the dead of winter. Given a few sunny, warm days redfish, speckled trout and black drum will get on the shallow flats to feed. Because of winter's notoriously clear water, these warm days offer some of the best shallow water sight-casting opportunities of the year.

Along the beachfront, warm days often coincide with calm wind and seas, allowing the surf waters to turn green and clear. At times like these, fishing spoons and small jigs can result in variety of species, including pompano, jack crevalle, speckled trout, ladyfish and redfish.

Snook are also more active during these warm spells. Although they will remain in deep water areas such as the local ports, the warm conditions encourage them to feed closer to the surface. On these days, snook anglers can count on reliable topwater action.

Of course, even Texas' southernmost body of water sees its share of cold days during the winter months. However, in some ways the occasional cold snap makes fishing easier for Lower Laguna Madre anglers.

Since it is a shallow bay with relatively few deep areas, the Lower Laguna becomes very predictable during a cold snap. When the temperature drops, fish head to the handful of deepwater spots located within the Lower Laguna. Find a deep hole during a cold spell and you'll find plenty of fish.  And, despite their disdain for cold water, speckled trout, redfish and snook will still feed readily on jigs and natural baits suspended at depth.

Surf fishermen are usually greeted with roiled, dirty surf water during and immediately after a front. However, these 'ugly' water conditions often yield the best catches of bull redfish and black drum during the winter months for fishermen willing to pin natural baits on the bottom and play the waiting game.

By and large, winter visitors to Texas' Lower Laguna Madre can expect balmy conditions. When cold conditions settle in, they rarely extend for more than a few days and really don't disrupt the quality of fishing. Best of all, fishermen traveling to Texas' southernmost bay, which is located less than a dozen miles above the Mexican border, will find few crowds and plenty of water in which to 'spread out.' Visitors will also find plenty of land-based restaurants and attractions in South Padre Island, Port Isabel, Brownsville and Matamoros, MX to round out a full fishing vacation.