76 THE COASTAL BEND MAGAZINE • January/February 2018 TheCoastalBend.com For lucky Coastal Bend residents, it’s easy to take for granted the fact that we are surrounded, quite literally, by saltwater. Aside from the Gulf of Mexico, our bays and estuaries provide some very fertile fishing waters, some of the best in the state of Texas, which are virtually all accessible to the public. Some of the best Fall fishing spots are located on, and on the way to, North Padre and Mustang Islands. For easy reference, see Upper Laguna Madre Fishing Map in back. JFK Cause- way—This is the over water highway from mainland Corpus Christi (Flour Bluff) to North Padre Island. Take the“low road”exit be- fore the curve at Humble Channel, which is straddled by Cos-Way and Red Dot bait stands, both with fishing piers that run along the channel, a major migration route for Redfish, Speckled Trout and Flounder. Continue on the low side of the causeway toward the island for easy wade fishing access to Laguna Madre. Packery Channel—From Padre Island, turn north on Highway 361 toward Port Aransas. You will see the Packery Channel Bridge and easy parking areas on both sides of the bridge that provide direct access to this very busy route for migrating fish between the Gulf of Mex- ico, Laguna Madre and Corpus Christi Bay. Mustang Island State Park—Far- ther north on Highway 361 you will see state park structures on the ocean side, but you will also see unpaved access roads on the west side of the high- way, which lead you to productive wade fishing along the back side of the island, in Corpus Christi Bay. Feeling Lucky? Just pull over and start fishing! Padre Island National Seashore is the native island experience in its rawest form, including the best shore fishing in the country—a bold statement to be sure— but consider that one of the world’s strongest ocean currents, the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current, enters the gulf at Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and exits at the Florida Straits, and makes its sharpest turn along the National Seashore. The result is that the“gut,”or drop-off between sandbars, can be up to 15 feet deep between the shoreline and first sand bar, among the deepest in the world. In those deepest near-shore guts, big fish are fed on by even bigger fish, which makes “Big Shell” and “Little Shell” exceedingly popular with shark hunters and other big game fisher- men. The park boasts that some 380 species of birds, half of all those identified in the United States, have been spotted here. nps.gov/pais/ • (361) 949-8068 Experience the island in its rawest form at PINS