by Capt. Craig Lambert
These mild conditions have continued now thru early January and the the water temps are hovering in the mid 50's. The weather is great with 50's and 60's as the normal high temps for our area. I have had several anglers down on vacation from Minnesota and places where they are ice fishing right now. My first thoughts when I talk to these guys are "how desperate and hardcore they must be to want to catch fish in the ice". Of course, I have to ask about how they do it and it doesnt sound that bad. After talking to these guys, you have to appreciate what wonderful winter conditions we have here in Texas. It just amazes me the amount of fair weather fishermen here in Texas that just do not want to be on the water this time of year. I really do look forward to winter fishing. Lots of good memories and lots of catching!!
Now is the time of year to get the neoprene waders out and find some mud and go for that big girl. There have been some really nice trout caught in all areas of our complex so far this winter. All it takes is patience, persistance and a lot of confidence. There is no magical bait needed. Like any type of fishing situation confidence is the key. For me a soft plastic bait on a 1/16th or 1/8th oz jig is what I like to throw most of the time while wading. I try to use a 1/16th as much as possible but the wind velocity will determine what weight to use. The windier it is the heavier the jig. Being able to feel your bait as you work it thru the water column is the key. If you can not feel your bait then go heavier. You can use a heavier jig or use a bigger plastic like a KFM XL or Red Killer. Bigger baits produce bigger fish so large plastics and big topwaters like the the Gundog Dummy in black or bone are perfect baits for chunkin at low light. Everybody has their own personal favorite Corky's to throw and mine happens to be the Corky Devil. But again it is all about your confidence level and using the bait that you know will catch fish for you.
On my days off when I decide to go wadefishing I usually dont take the boat out. My favorite drive-up wadefishing destination this time of year is Anahuac National Wildlife shoreline. Couple factors to keep in mind before taking the drive over there. The first is the water level. Make sure the water level is running at normal to higher tides. Not enough water on that flat will slow things down tremendously. The second variable I look for is the wind direction for the prior day or 2 and of course the direction predicted for that day. A hard SW or W wind a few day before will be detrimental to your trip. An E or NE wind is preferable. A 12-20 mph wind is best and if you are serious about a trophy then plan your trip on an incoming tide if possible close to the Full or New moon and be in the water 2 hours before the sun comes up and 2 hours after the sun goes down. Otherwise just show up when the tide is moving and you will most likely have a nice day of fishing. Don't forget San Luis Pass, Galveston Island state Park, Sea Wolf Park, Seabrook shoreline and McCollum Park are also good destinations for drive up wadefishing this time of year.
December fishing was excellent but so far this January has been a dud. Light winds, clear water and the lack of fronts have made for a tough bite for the past week or two. Conditions look to improve this week with 2 fronts scheduled to hit our area by late week. Live shrimp and a popping cork is the preferred method still for live baiters. While throwing shrimp I have been targeting fish over heavy shell along areas close to deep water. Muddy bottoms in 3-5 ft have been the best depth for both live baiters and anglers throwing artificials. The TTF Red Killer (color:Sabine Machine) was working well the last week of December. Capt. Robert Liebert and myself were catching both reds and trout while using the TTF Red Killer (color:Sabine Machine) on a 3/8 oz jig fishing in 8-12 ft of water in deeper bayous. Upper Galveston Bay has been the preferred area in recent weeks for me. Staying close to the fresh water outflows has been the ticket all year with this drought and so far this winter things are still the same.
Get out and enjoy our wonderful bay system!