Many vacationers come to the Texas Coast to spend quality time with their families and throw in some fishing as well. Most are here without boats to use, and many have limited fishing experience.
Surf fishing along the beach front is usually very productive for a variety of fish. Wade fishing the surf is easy, especially if the rest of the family is enjoying themselves on the beach for swimming and jumping waves.
Your bait choice will govern the type of fish caught. If game fish like reds and specks are your target, live shrimp would be the best choice, with live finfish being a close second. For ease and convenience, artificial baits work well for those with patience and tenacity. Gold spoons, Bass Assassins, tout tails, and Mirrolures are my choice.
Dead bait will attract pan fish, and if you are interested in just action, especially for the kids, dead shrimp fished on the bottom would be a great choice.
If you are not accustomed to wading, use an old pair of tennis shoes and be careful to drag your feet while moving around. This will help protect your feet from underwater obstacles and Stingrays.
Watch for jellyfish, and do not venture beyond waist deep water. Employ common sense and get out of the water if a thunderstorm crops up.
Surf swimmers and waders tend to be more concerned about sharks than lightning, and the fact is lightning strikes and drowning take more lives each year than all other perils around the water. As far as shark attacks go, your chances of being struck by lightning or a stingray are far greater than by an aggressive shark. If you're lucky and manage to snag a few fish, keep them on a long stringer or in a floating mess bag. The long stringer will help keep sharks away from you while they're focused on your catch.
While we're at it, let's discuss when fishing reports and fellow fishermen talk about the second and third sand bars. Those are terms that surf fishermen use to describe the distance from shore where the fish are found. When wading from shore, you will find the water gradually getting deeper (gut), then a rise or hump. That is the first sand bar. The same exercise takes place from there (another gut) until you reach the second hump or sand bar. Somewhere in the gut between the second and third sand bars is usually where most of the beach-front action occurs. I have caught some nice trout in the first gut early in the morning however.