Inshore Fishing Gear
What will you need if you want to make the jump from fishing along the bank to going almost wherever you please? The first thing you will obviously need is a boat. To get to where the inshore fish species are you will need one with a very shallow draft and preferably an outboard motor that you can raise or lower as needed. You should also become framiliar with the laws for operating a small craft within Texas territorial waters. These can be found at the Texas Parks and Wildlife's website located here. As you will be on the bays and estuaries you will need to pay special attention to the Coast Guard regulations.
It is problably not even worth mentioning that you should bring along rods and reels and a well stocked tackle box to actually catch your fish. The best rods are fast to extra fast action rods in the 7 to 8 foot range. You should use reels that are specified for lines with test weights of 5-25 lb. test.There are a couple of other things that you might want to bring on your trip. They are optional but you might find them useful.Soft Plastic Lures - Be sure that you have plenty of these in your tackle box. You need to know what are the best colors for the right conditions. In clear water use lighter brighter colors, in darker/murkier water use darker colors.
Bait Gear - Be sure that you bring some gear for using live and dead bait. This includes popping corks, sinkers, and different size hooks. You never know what the fish will be biting. There have been days when I could not pay a fish to take a live croaker or shrimp. But throw fresh dead peeled shrimp out and I would not be able to keep bait in the water.
Drift Anchor - A drift anchor acts like a parachute that you place in the water. It will slow down your drift significantly when you find the fish, and will let you stay on them longer with out having to cricle back.
Ohter Artificials - There are some other baits that make great additions to your trip. These are crankbaits, rattletraps, topwater lures (my personal favorite), and gold/silver spoons. All of these are great additions to any tackle box.
Be a Conservationist
First I will preface this with the fact that I am not a raving environmentalist lunatic. I prefer to think of myself as a common sense conservationist. I do believe in habitat conservation for our bays and estuaries. Boaters using their outboard motors to push through the areas where seagrass grows are doing lasting damage to these delicate ecosystems. I support a charity that I suggest any fisherman should at least visit, if not support themselves. It is the Save Our Seagrass organization which is part of the Nature Conservancy. While I don't agree with the majority of their politics, I do happen to agree with their efforts to prevent further damage to the seagrass in South Texas.
Shallow Water Navigation
There are several ways that you can use to get around the shallows which might be too shallow for you to navigate with your main outboard motor. The easiest way to do this would be with a trolling motor. Basically it is a small battery driven propeller that you mount on the hull of the boat. You can use this motor to move around the shallows without digging trenches in the seagrass, or damaging other habitat.
Another option if you do not want to invest in a trolling motor is a push pole. This device is a little more labor intensive to use, but it has even less impact on habitat such as seagrass. It is a long pole around 10 to 12 feet long with a hinge-forked foot and is used to push your boat along the bottom.