Port Aransas Texas – Lay of the (Is)land

| July 20, 2016

port aransas fly fishing texas #flyfishing

PART I – Port A Overview 2016

I am still processing all the information in my head about the sights, sounds and pluses and minuses I found at Port Aransas, Texas, during my stay July 8 to 13, 2016. I have to say that Port A is a combination of the best that the Texas Gulf Coast has to offer, and some of the bad things the coast is faced with these days.

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The fact that there’s camping and driving on the beach of Mustang Island means there’s a mass of humanity that shows up – from the south across the bridge coming from Corpus Christi, and from inland coming across on the ferry system. And they come in this huge wave that begins Thursday and ends Saturday night and early Sunday morning. The crowd is so tuned into this timing that rentals even run their weeks from Thursday to Thursday instead of weekend checkout days! This influx of thousands and thousands of party goers … CHOOSE AN OPTION TO CONTINUE READING –[ppw id=”138094112″ description=”Intro to Port Aransas Life” price=”.10″]

every weekend causes long waits (up to an hour) at the ferry – coming and going. And these folks have no qualms about throwing up a tent three feet away from you on the public beach camping – on both sides. Our family tarp was set on the beach directly out front from the condos my parents had found for the family’s gathering, an area not designated for overnight campers. If you leave anything out there  (in this “private” area) overnight, like folding beach chairs, bungee cords, etc… IT WILL BE GONE the next morning. I am guessing the noticeable contingent of local homeless people scavenge the beach at night, and consider anything left (anything they can carry and conceal) to be theirs. Contact me if you want more information about condos on Port A.

Now the upside of this is; if you’re ready to do a DIY trip to Port Aransas, you can time it now that you know to get there on a Sunday and get the heck out early on Thursday. (Distance from my door to Port A is 425 miles and you’ll want to get off the main highway at Waco and take 77 the rest of the way down) Or, run for cover when the crowds converge! And if you’re DIY’ing it, this is great beach camping. Port-a-potties are strategically placed, and they have huge trash cans for waste. It’ll be loud if you catch the crowds, and you have no control of the noise or the persons camping next to you. There are mile markers along the beach road that give your converging friends an idea of where to go to find you, but I am finding the most effective way to find fly fishing friends when scattered all over nearby is to use the Apple application “Find-a-Friend,” and turn that on while you are on a fly fishing weekend, turn it back off when you go your separate ways. It is extremely accurate, and you don’t have to bother each other with phone calls, “Where are you!?” while concentrating on fly fishing. Just open the “Find-a-Friend” app and find them on the map. I use it all the time with family, and used it on a temporary basis to find a friend who happened to be at Port A at the same time as I.

In general, Port Aransas, Texas, is all things for all people. While still maintaining the charm of a place existing before the “boom” (like my youth on South Padre Island), it is still a “booming” place. Unlike Port O’connor, a town totally geared for fishing and nothing else, or a town like Rockport that seems to be caught up in trapping tourists, Port A is all things to all people. Take it slow though! For example, if you’re wanting to hit all the tackle shops, you can knock that out in a single morning. And if you are thinking about hitting art studios or galleries, everyone has their own pace, but I bet that would take a day at most. So if you have plenty of time there, shift your gears down to “island time” and enjoy the things you like at the Port A pace. Two places that helped me shift my gears, and really tune into the local scene were Potters on Cotter and long discussions about Texas potters and a artist couple that creates ceramic impressions of real fish (they’re not from Texas though), and I even got a look at her charming Air-BNB which looks like part of a long past time in Port A, hidden away behind the working studio / gallery. The conversation at The Saltwater Line ranged widely, from antique Bingo Lures, to unique information on conventional winter fishing for gator trout. I noticed that there are a lot of businesses, like The Saltwater Line, that also rent those golf carts for daily use (at about $150 a day), and I am guessing those rentals are a big source of “base income” for many businesses. Depending on the logistics of where you are staying, renting one of these pimped carts can be a very convenient form of transportation for families.



  • A Photographic Look Inside the Tarpon Inn
  • Gallery Tour – Potters on Cotter and recommended Galleries and Studio
  • Restaurants and/or Buy off the Boat?
  • Fly Fishing Port Aransas in Wind and Slack
  • New Information on Conventional Winter Gator Trout Translated to Fly
  • The Jetties & Piers


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Category: Adventure, Culture on the Skids, Destination Fly Fishing, Eating and Drinking, Fishing Reports, Fly Fishing for Redfish, Fly Fishing for Trout, Industry, Life Observed, On The Road, Paid Reading Content, Reviews, Texas Gulf Coast

About the Author ()

https://www.shannondrawe.com is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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