Capt. Craig runs Galvestoninshore fishing Guide Service. He has been fishing Galveston Bay complex for 19 years. Out of his 24ft Lake and Bay boat, Capt. Craig caters to all levels of experience to make sure the best time is had by all.
February 03, 2016
February is Looking Up
by Capt Craig Lambert
Fishing can only get better as February progresses. It has to get better because January was rather uneventful. The very best days in January were the days before, during and right after the frontal passages. And I expect this trend to continue for the next few weeks. Stay away from those days with no wind and no clouds unless you like to just practice your casting skills. Wind, tide and more wind are the environmental conditions you are looking for to offer best results on our bay system right now. The day after a front! NW @ 20! Hammered em!
With water temperatures staying above average this winter I would expect the Black Drum run to begin a little earlier than usual. I am expecting to see them showing up along the jetties and the ship channel in the next few weeks. We typically catch them on and around areas of very thick and heavy shell while fishing for specks and reds. On light tackle they are a lot of fun but make sure and release these big brutes properly. Take a lot of care to revive them by pushing them back and forth through the water while holding their tails. They will let you know when they are ready to be released by swimming away from your hand on their own. The smaller fish are best for eating as the bigger they get the more worms are found in their meat. Typically I will keep any black drum under 20 inches and over the 14 inch limit. These are the tasty ones. Lots of Fun!
The redfish bite hasn't been very good lately. But the trout are still very thick and are spread out over shallow flats with scattered shell and muddy bottoms. I have been targeting them in the 3 to 5 ft range along and near structures like pipelines and clam reefs. Plastics are bringing in larger fish on average over live shrimp but a popping cork with a live shrimp under it is not being turned away by any size trout. The speckled trout will continue to stay shallow as water temperatures continue to hover in the low 50's. Also expect a switch over from outgoing tides being best to the incoming tides being more productive by the end of this month.
Look for fishing to improve steadily over the next few weeks. Warmer water temperatures are going to give us an early spring and the kick off to some of the best fishing of the year.
Take a kid fishing!!!
January 06, 2016
Cold Weather Fishing
by Capt. Craig Lambert
January is here and the good fishing continues with quality being the norm instead of quantity. That is typical for winter time fishing. If you really want to catch the fish of a lifetime you had better be on the water for the next 2-3 months because this is the time of year that those big specks can be targeted on the muddy shallow flats in and around our entire bay system.Just under 8 lbs
This has been an odd fall/winter because the day after every frontal passage for the past 2 months (I have fished everyone of those days) has produced decent fishing. Not sure why but I expect this pattern to continue at least for the next few fronts. Look to fishing frontal passages for best results no matter if it is the day before or the day after but the real key to catching fish right now is wind. No wind equals no fish. I know that goes against what a lot of you think but windy days just catch fish. Period! 5 mph winds are days that I dread while 15 mph is exactly what I am looking for. Nice Speck
Wadefishing the shallow flats will only get better as water temperatures continue to lower. Corkies, mirrolures and suspending plugs are all catching fish at this time but don't forget a soft plastic or even a gold spoon of which both have been the demise to many a large trout. Soft mud is tough to wade in but it is where you want to be for the next month or two. The Galveston Bay complex has many areas for the walk-in wader including Mosquito island, San Luis Pass, Sportsmans Rd, Anahuac National wildlife and McCollum Park. These are just a few that have easy access for the wadefishermen or kayaker and have a good possibility for producing cold weather specks. Great day of Fishing
Lets talk about leader length for those using live shrimp under a popping cork. During colder months is when you really need to be aware that the fish will sometimes tend to stay down in that lower water column and if you are not fishing those lines deep then you are just not catching fish. You will be amazed at the difference that a 2 ft leader vs a 4 ft leader can make during a day of fishing. Sharp drops in water temperatures, fronts and heavy rain events will typically push them deeper so be aware of your environmental conditions and don't be afraid to throw on a leader that hangs just above the shell. My optimum leader length for this situation is 1 ft above the bay floor. So keep it deep and make sure you have a weight on to hold it down there.Awesome Redfish
Take a kid fishing!!
December 05, 2015
Late Fall Tactics
by Capt Craig Lambert
Healthy Speckled Trout
As of late we have been in a mild weather pattern and it looks like we may extend fall and this fantastic fishing for a few more weeks because of it. Water temperatures are above average for this time of year and the speckled trout and redfish are eating everything in sight like it is still November. The weather is fantastic and so is the fishing so get on out there and catch some fish!!Having a blast!
Let's talk about tactics for this time of year. First of all the fish are shallow so shorelines and flats are best. I try to stay in the 3.5 to 5 foot range of water depth over some type of shell reef, grass, drop off or area of just scattered shell. One huge advantage I have over other anglers is that I know what the bottoms are like in the areas I fish. I am always testing what I can feel on the bottom with the net or my fishing pole. This is probably the most helpful information you can learn on your own while fishing. If you can visualize in your head a 3d picture of the water column and floor then you will know where the hot spots are and how to approach them. When I pull in to an area and look at the water I dont see water I see the reefs and the contours of the bottom and that is how you want to train yourself to think when approaching your fishing areas. Nothing better than happy kids catching fish!
Afternoons have been best and will continue to be even better as the water temperatures start to drop throughout the month. Since the water temperatures are still up right now it is really all about tide and although they are biting on both outgoing and incoming tides it seems like the best bite is on the bottom of the outgoing tide. Which is fairly common for this time of year. Weather patterns have not affected the fishing much the past few weeks. I have caught them best on days before the front when it is SE at 15-20 mph and they are gorging themselves on that scenario but even days after the fronts when I have expected it to be very "tough" they were still biting well. I expect this pattern to change as we cool down and a more normal pattern to occur. But so far it hasn't and they have been eating every day.Nice Red!
Live shrimp under a popping cork has been smoking them for me here lately so I have stuck with it. But dont think you can just go buy any old cork at Academy and throw a line and a hook under it and you are catching fish. Small details and proper set ups put fish in the box. So here is my exact set up and take note because it catches fish. First of all the most important part of your set up is the cork. I use a Midcoast Evolution because they have all of the qualities in a cork that I am looking for. They are durable, they cast a mile and they make a good noise or "pop". Because they are a heavier cork they work best with a spinning rod and braided line. Now that you have proper fishing line, reel and cork on the next step is your leader. I prefer a stiff monofilament leader material and not anything limp. Since I use a lot of it I just by 30 lb Ande line in bulk and it works well for me.
I always and I mean always use a 1/8 oz barrel swivel attached to my leader as a weight to hold my bait at the proper depth. You can see how I just loop it through the same hole and that way it is adjustable and will slide up or down. I typically keep the weight about 6 inches above a #6 3X strong treble hook. I have seen a lot of other guides use kahle (Croaker hooks) with a lot of success. Leader length will depend on the current environmental conditions. A few weeks ago when we had all of that rain a longer leader was a must because they were definitely holding deep. Now since we have salted up the bays again my leader length has shortened to be in the middle of the water column. If it ever gets cold this month they will hold deeper again where they will be warming their bellies in the mud. Typically you see this behavior in January and February during the coldest water temperatures of the year. Great day!
Take a kid fishing!!!
November 04, 2015
Tactics for November
by Capt Craig Lambert
It is November and the fish are hungry and wanting to fatten up before winter. But they don't just jump in the boat. Playing the circumstances and changing your patterns to the current weather and environmental conditions is the key to your success. There are some things that I definitely do a little differently this month to fill the box.Big Flatty
Cold fronts are now a weekly occurrence and yes every other month of the year the day after a front does not produce good fishing. But in November the day or two after a front is prime time for flounder fishing. So instead of writing that day off it is time to get that stiffer pole out and drag the bottom with some Chicken Boys or Gulps. Put away that trout rod when fishing for flounder and grab the stiffer Bass pole. I use a 6 ft. 8 in. heavy action rod as my flounder pole and couple that with no stretch braided line and you have the proper set up. Tighter drags and hard hook sets are a must with flounder to penetrate their tough jaws so that is why stretchable monofilament will get a lot of hooks spit back in your face right before you net them. The reason flounder spit the hook is because they are not actually hooked. They are just holding on to that bait. Proper tackle will cure that problem. I NEVER
lose a flounder during flounder season but will lose a few when I am trout fishing because of my flimsy trout rod. Trailer hook set up
For those that have kids or someone that does not have the capabilities of a hard hook set or even if you use mono still and dont want to use braid. I recommend a trailer hook of some sort in that case. Buy the sharpest hooks you can find like Owner or Gamakatsu to use as the trailer hook along with a very sharp jighead and you will not lose "quite as many"
from poor hook sets. A tandem rig also works well for the non-fishermen with the same #6 super sharp treble and a live shrimp or finger mullet. The Perfect Fish!
The speckled trout and redfish are being scattered around from all of the rain so windier days are best. The reason I say that is on windier days you can cover more water and use the wind as a way to find more fish. I dont think anglers realize how beneficial a 15 mph wind really is. Windy, rainy, yucky days are the best fishing days in fall. The fish tend to feed better on windier conditions as opposed to calmer days. Especially before a front when it is blowing SE at 15-20. That is about as good as it gets for conditions you actually hope for. Southeast at 15-20 mph that day and we hammered'em!
All of this rain is going to push the fish down in the water column so adjust your tackle accordingly by using a heavier jighead or a longer leader under your popping cork. Keep that bait low and you that will help you keep your bait in the strike zone. As salinity levels rise the fish will not only rise in the water column but return to normal areas currently over run with fresh water from run-off.
Use these tactics this month and I will guarantee that you will put more fish in the box.
And always remember to take a kid fishing!!
October 06, 2015
Red October is Here!
by Capt. Craig Lambert
Pinch me because I hope I am not dreaming and it really is October. All year long most of us sportsman wait for this month for so many reasons. First the good weather is finally here. Next it is the start of hunting season. And most importantly it is the beginning of the best 10 weeks of the year to be fishing on Galveston Bay.Fantastic Young Angler
The weather will begin to dictate fishing patterns more and more as the weeks progress. Expect fishing to be fair to good until we get our first
"major" cold weather system. That first major cold front that flushes the marshes out will kick fishing in to high gear and it will go from fair fishing to fantastic fishing literally overnight. Bird activity will increase dramatically and the flounder will also be on the move with that first major lowering of the tides created by the North wind.Over 6 pounds on the Boga. Not bad!
Bird activity has started already and I see them typically in the mornings and I bet there are some in the late afternoons also. Not much under them at this point except small specks and sandies with the occasional gafftop and redfish hanging around in them. Increased bird activity is coming so knowing how to approach the birds and what to throw will increase your hook ups. Birds in shallower waters like 4 ft. or less are very spooky and most likely you will need to anchor up "VERY QUIETLY" before you reach them and they scatter. An ideal situation is deeper water where they are more tolerant to the boat and human noises. Throwing a heavier jig-head to get down below the smaller fish is ideal. The bigger trout and the reds are typically underneath the schoolies picking up easy meals so try to get your lure on or near the bottom quickly. Color does not matter at all in your lure selection and there is no reason whatsoever to use live bait. Throw a plastic on a jig and just reel. I prefer hardy plastic lures like Norton Sand Eel jr's and TTF baits because of their durability. Hard Fighting Jack Crevalle
The northward push or migration of specks has continued. All of Trinity Bay and the northern parts of Galveston Bay are holding good quantities of specks with a few redfish mixed in with them. Soft plastics like Bass Assassins and Big Nasty's are working well right now. I prefer a 1/4 oz jig-head with some type of darker color like red shad or pumpkin seed. It definitely is not a light bite on artificials right now. They are hammering it! As water temperatures drop expect the artificial bite to do nothing but get better. I haven't had much luck with topwaters here lately but they should be kicking in hard. Don't forget to tie on a loop knot and make sure you are using noisy topwaters like Mirrolure She Dogs for best results.Fantastic Day of fishing
The reds seem like they are everywhere and they are hungry for sure. I know there are a lot of trout purists out there that don't care too much for redfish. But I am not one of them. Redfish are hard pulling bulldogs that are just eating machines and they will not pass up a plastic lure, a gulp, a gold spoon or a nice juicy shrimp dangling just off of the bottom under my popping cork. That is why I love them so. You can find them everywhere but if you just want to target reds I would focus on shallow flats with heavy shell or shorelines with pylons and piers. I typically look for the oldest set of piers around and start on them first. Make sure you have fresh line on you reels and a good drag system. Redfish will definitely put a test to your tackle.That is one Heavy Redfish
Everybody be safe and a have a great fall fishing season!
Take a kid fishing this month!
September 06, 2015
Great Days Ahead!
by Capt Craig Lambert
This was definitely an epic summer of fishing and it is quickly coming to an end as we lose a little more daylight everyday. That is the bad news. The good news is that we are approaching the very best fishing season of the year and as good as summer was this fall should be even better.
I consider the months of September through December to be the best 4 months of the calendar year for fishermen. Here is what we have to look forward to these next few months.
September has always been a transition month. The fish are starting to move and respond to water temperature changes and the loss of daylight. They are also changing their feeding habits and keying in on shad and shrimp and they aren't so keyed in on croakers anymore. Small fronts like the ones we have had lately seem to help push the fish as they follow their natural urge to move northward. For September I prefer to be in 4 to 8 ft of water when fishing for speckled trout and 3 to 4.5 ft of water when fishing for redfish. Both species like to be over heavy shell this time of year but the specks tend to be more on oyster shell while the redfish are feeding heavily on clams and freshwater clam reefs. Many other species can be found eating on these clam reefs like black drum and sheepshead.
As October approaches expect the move northward to continue in all of the bays. Any shorelines on the North side, no matter what part of the complex you are in, will hold fish. Outgoing tides are best and cold fronts begin to come in to play and start determining the best opportunities and days to be fishing. Birds begin to be more prevalent all over the entire complex as shrimp migrations occur. Look for that first major cold front to spark off a major "bird" bite as the marshes are emptied of bait. The specks begin to move shallower as the redfish are caught in heavy numbers throughout the bay system. The jetties, concrete ship and Feenor flats are great spots for some of the bigger oversized reds while slot reds just seem to be everywhere.
All year long I dream about November and it isn't because I am looking for Whitetail. What I dream about all year is Flounder season and that flounder "THUMP". My technique is to use 3/8 oz jigheads with gulp and just drag or do small quick hops as a retrieve along walls, corners, rocks/riprap and mudflats. This technique is very similar to flippin for bass and is deadly for catching large numbers of flounder. Speckled trout and redfish are also on fire during that time and the bird activity is really hot with the bigger fish found underneath most flocks. I like afternoons for best results on outgoing tides. The push to go shallow for specks continues.
December is a much overlooked month for most anglers. Perfect weather combined with extremely aggressive fish is just a continuation of November's hot bite. As the bird activity ceases the fish move to shorelines and shallow water flats but continue to be just as aggressive for most of this month.
Start planning those fishing trips now because it will be over before you know it and believe me you do not want to miss out on any of the action that is to come.
Have a great fall season and take a kid fishing!!!
August 04, 2015
The Heat is On!!
by Capt Craig Lambert
This is typical Southeast Texas August weather. Hot Hot Hot. And it seems that as the years go by the Southwest wind has become our dominant wind in the brunt of summer. This hot weather pattern will keep those fish hanging around the deeper cooler waters of the ship channel but as the month progresses expect a push northwards towards Trinity Bay and the many well pads scattered across that bay system. Great Pic!!
The ship channel area just off of Eagle Point is loaded with all types of fishing opportunities. There are speckled trout, redfish, ladyfish, sharks and a few triple tail have even shown up. The ladyfish are schooled up and tearing up bait on the surface and can be found by just keeping your eyes open and looking. This is a great way to get kids hooked up to some hard fighting fish. No they are not that good to eat but pound for pound they cant be beat for the fight they produce. If you have a shark pole with you then put a few ladyfish in the cooler to use for bait. Nice Redfish!
The redfish have been tough to find this summer. Most of the redfish I have caught have been off of the rocks/riprap with popping corks. I have seen a few schools located here and there in the channel area but it just seems like a slow bite overall for redfish so far this summer. August is typically one of the better months for redfish so lets hope they cooperate more soon. I plan on hitting the redfish hard once they do show up in better numbers. Areas of scattered to heavy clam shell in shallow water seems to be a favorite place for hungry redfish to congregate during late summer. Typically I am looking for them in 2-6 ft of water off of flats near the ship channel where I can find clam reefs.Toad!!
The artificial bite for trout has been fair to good. Days with decent tidal movement they want plastics but on weaker tides it can be tough to initiate a good bite. I have been using 3/8th oz jigheads when fishing the channel area or when I am in 8 ft of water or deeper. When fishing East bay the 1/4th oz still seems to be the best weight. Nothing fancy on color. Mostly bright colored soft plastics like limetreuse or glo but if the water is dingy or muddy I will throw a red shad or a darker color.The Jinx is broken! He can catch them on artificial!
I have been focusing mainly on slicks. If I dont see any in the area I will keep moving till I find them. But here is one mistake I see a lot of rookies make. They go right up to the slick and start casting at it. Unless you are watching that slick pop up in front of your eyes then there is no need to start chunking in it. Most slicks will have a life span of 10 minutes to a half hour so just use the slicks as a signal that fish are in the area and to do a few drifts up wind/current of it. Nice trout!
There are definitely a few sharks hanging around the ship channel and well pads. We had several redfish snatched by Jaws as we were trying to reel them in. Having "Shark Week" happen LIVE right on front of you is incredibly exciting. I have also seen a few tripletail hanging around also. Keep your eyes open for what looks like a football floating on the surface. Most likely that football is a tripletail.RipRap Redfish!
Look for typical late Summer patterns to begin soon as the Northern areas of the bay slowly turn on. Lower Trinity and the scattered well pads can produce a ton of fish on days with lighter winds. Remember to mark every wellpad on your GPS. One day that well head may be removed as they seem to be removing more and more these days. They do not remove the shellpad they laid down on the bottom so that is still an area that will hold fish.
Take a kid fishing!!
July 05, 2015
Can July actually get better?
by Capt Craig Lambert
The month of June was outstanding here on Galveston Bay. And I expect July to be just as good if not better. Areas that typically hold fish, that have not been, are starting to see fish show up again. That tells me that things are slowly getting back in their normal patterns. I expect things to be back to normal by the end of the month without any unforeseen tropical systems dumping on us. The last time we had this much rain was IKE and the fishing was fabulous for a year after that flushing of the bay. So I expect the same great fishing for the next 6 months or more from this event.The great trout bite continues!
East Bay is still the place to be but areas like Dollar reef, Mosquito island and Half-Moon Reef are starting to hold schools of specks and other species. This area of the bay system is fantastic for the walk in wader or kayaker. There are miles of shoreline along the levy to cruise down and look for slicks before entering the water. The point (Dollar Point) has always been a great place to start for waders and kayakers alike. Don't be afraid to move around to a few spots to look for them. Key in on areas of thick shell and bait while looking for slicks.Fantastic catch!
As salinity levels return back to normal and water temperatures rise expect a migration of fish toward mid bay areas. Speckled trout and redfish will begin holding near wells and midbay structures along the ship channel. Areas like Exxon A Lease, Redfish Island and the many newer reefs created a few years ago will start out with smaller fish like gulf trout and gafftop and as salinity levels and water temperatures rise higher the bigger specks will begin to move in most likely by the end of this month. Solid Speckled Trout
The many rock lined islands and channels can produce some very nice fishing if you fish it correctly. The first thing I look for in rip rap is depth of water. When fishing the rocks you want it to be at least 3 ft or deeper. Fishing in water less than this will be unproductive. This is where the popping cork will be very efficient in holding that shrimp at the perfect depth. Typically about 24 - 30 inches is perfect for a leader length and make sure you are in the strike zone. The strike zone is no farther than 1 meter off of the rocks. Keep those corks up close to the rocks if you want the bites. East Bay has been invaded by specks!
According to the many croaker guides finding good croakers continues to be a problem. The netters are having hard times bringing in healthy croakers with all of this freshwater. This too should change since our long term rainfall prediction is for us to be dry for the next few months.
Tight lines and take a kid fishing!!
June 04, 2015
Rain Rain Go Away!!
by Capt Craig Lambert
The best speckled trout fishing of the year is occurring right now as it usually does at this time every June. Last month's deluge of rain has had a huge affect on our fishery. It has literally pushed every fish in our complex in to East Bay or out to the beach front. The reefs in East Bay are no secret and that is evident with 20 - 30 boats on each reef everyday for the past week. Typically I would run far from these types of crowds but the fish are there and it seems like almost everyone is catching. Artificial guru at 15 years of age!!!
Every year those first 2 weeks of calm weather after the spring winds have always been fantastic. But with all of this freshwater that has pushed all of our fish in to one area expect that trend to hold throughout June. Artificials are working best since the fish are holding tight to the bottom. I have seen a few croaker guides with decent boxes but artificials are producing the best boxes. I personally think that color doesn't mean too much. Technique is what is actually putting fish in the box. I have been using mostly dark colored very soft plastics like Bass Assassins and Big Nasty's with no paddle tail. The trout are holding on or near the bottom after that sun comes up so slow rolling your baits in the oyster shell is producing some serious boxes right now.
The coaching I give to my clients all day is "Low and Slow"
The surf is also producing huge right now. All those fish from the upper bay system have to go somewhere and it looks like a lot of them have taken up residence in the surf. The dawn patrol is mopping up on a daily basis with this light North-Northeast wind occurring almost every morning. Green water has come in close and as usual the fish are responding and eating everything in sight. Topwaters, live shrimp under a popping cork, mirrolures and spoons are probably the best tools to hit that beach front with. Early morning is critical, typically that incredible surf bite turns off early but specks can be caught during all times of the day in the various guts between the sand bars. These boys are some seriously awesome anglers!!
Because the trout are staying in the lower column of the water table the croaker soakers are doing OK but I haven't heard any one say the croaker bite is fully on just yet. Quality croakers seem to be hard to find at the bait stands and healthy croakers are critical to catching speckled trout. Expect the croaker bite to kick in by the end of the month. Fat Trout!
You might as well completely write off the upper bay system and the ship channel for the next few weeks or so until the flood waters recede all over the state. That is unless you want to go catch a few striped bass or channel cats. Conditions are horrible all the way from Trinity to the Texas City Dike. West Bay and lower Galveston Bay are holding trout green waters with only a few small pockets of trout here and there but for the most part both bays are not producing very well at all. The only bright spot has been a few areas where birds are working. Not a lot of keepers under them but plenty of action.Good times!
Take a kid fishing they are the future of our sport!
May 06, 2015
Summer is Here!
by Capt Craig Lambert
When it is hot it is hot and the fishing is definitely hot right now! Lighter than normal winds and heavy spring rains has made the past few weeks a bonanza for those willing to hit the bays in search of gamefish. The abundant rain has sweetened the bays this spring and the fish seem to like it since they have been hungry and energized. NICE CATCH!
Most areas of our bay system are beginning to really turn on. Typically in May the hot areas are East Bay, Lower Galveston Bay (Dike to Causeway), Dickinson bayou/Dollar Point and of course the beachfront. Of these four mentioned only East Bay and the Dollar area have really begun to shine so far. But it is still the first week of May and by the end of the month all four of these areas should be at their peaks. The best fishing days this month will be the days when the winds lie down. Calm days will mean lights out fishing so be prepared to go when that forecast is right. THE BIG UGLIES ARE STILL AROUND
The Reefs in East Bay over the past few years have become an incredibly popular and crowded place to fish in early spring thru late summer. Finding fish off the beaten path will help increase your catches so pay attention to slicks and areas that might have nervous or scattering bait in areas other than where the crowd is at. Finding fish off the beaten path is best when you have a good wind behind you. Looking for fish is much more productive when you can drift through an area quickly and cover ground. There is no magic formula to finding fish other than what you read in all the articles and magazines. Just get out there cover ground and chunk plastic or shrimp and see what you catch. SPRING RUN!
Lower Galveston Bay and the Dollar reef area will definitely shine this month. Drifting the flats along the levies around Moses Lake and the Texas City Dike will produce quality fish for the next few months. Working rip rap and structure like points and older pylons will produce gamefish like redfish and speckled trout. Also don't rule out th enew rocks in lower galvestobn bay. Casting up close to the rocks is the key to catching a lot of fish. Also look for birds to start working this month in several bay systems. Typically late afternoon outgoing tides are best for finding birds with fish underneath them. TROUT ARE HEATING UP
Slicks are a dead give away for this time of year but identifying a true fish slick takes experience. There are all kinds of slicks on the bays. A really long slick can be made from a boat wash and seagulls and pelicans can also cause slicks from their droppings while crab traps are probably the biggest deceivers for most anglers. The key to identifying a slick is understanding the life span of a slick from its creation to its end.
Make it a point to try and visualize the entire life span of a slick from its beginning to its end. And when ever you are on the water and are lucky enough to watch a slick form then pay attention and watch how far it moves based on the environmental conditions of the day. This will be an invaluable lesson to most anglers trying to understand slicks better and how to utilize them to catch more fish.PURE FUN!
Most slicks will start out small and then grow as the tide and wind spread them out. Once you determine how old the slick is you can then make an effort to try and visualize where this slick began and how the tide and wind has floated the slick along. The smaller the slick is the younger it is and the closer the fish are to it. Not all slicks are the same. Some are bigger than others or even oilier than others and some will disappear within minutes while others will last a half hour or more. How a slick smells can tell you a lot about what it is. If you get up wind of a slick at it smells bad or rotten it is definitely a crab trap or something floating in the water dead. But if you get up wind and you smell a pleasant sweet smell you better be looking upwind for it because that will be some type of feeding fish. As you get in this situation more and more you will also start to recognize gafftop slicks. They are brighter oilier and their sweet smell is even stronger. QUALITY REDFISH!
Start paying a little more attention to reading the water when you are out there and it will definitely put more fish in the box for you.I LOVE BENT RODS!
Take a kid Fishing!!
April 04, 2015
Winds of Change
by Capt. Craig Lambert
April is finally here and the winds have picked up already for the first week as usual. However with those winds came much better fishing. It is like someone turned on a light switch and the trout fishing started really picking up over the last week or so. Thank goodness because March was a rough month for anglers on Galveston Bay with several major cold fronts and what seemed like a years worth of rain.
The next few weeks are looking fantastic!The drum are everywhere!
The black drum are at their peak in early April and can be found all over the bay system. I have good reports from the jetties, the concrete ship, Texas City Dike and all along the ship channel spoils and reefs. They seem to be everywhere that is close to the channel and loaded with shell. I have been targeting them on light tackle with popping corks in 3-5 ft of water over heavy shell. The hard part about catching them is not setting the hook right away. These fish move slowly and if you don't let them pull that cork under and chew on it for 4 to 5 seconds then most likely you will miss a lot of fish. A live shrimp is fine but a live shrimp out of your livewell and then tearing the head off before placing it on your hook seems to work better by creating more scent and an easier target for lazy drum. Nice blackie!Kids love fishing!!
Shallow water fishing continues to be paying off for best results. 2-4 ft. of water seems to be the target area for me along side dropoffs, rock walls and on top of heavy shell. Limetreuse or glo plastics are the standard colors for this time of year on 1/8th oz jigheads and topwater baits will become very effective this month as the water temperatures continue to climb. Marsh Shorelines can become hot with roaming schools of redfish after or near dark. They are typically on a feeding frenzy at this time but they are moving fast so getting a shot at them more than once means hopping in the boat and motoring down the shoreline in front of them. They will hit anything form a jalapeno pepper to a bare hook so don't worry about what type of bait to use. Just get a hook in front of them and you are on.Doubled up on Reds!
Now that the salinity levels are starting to climb back up the specks are showing back up in the North end of the bay system. I am getting reports from other guides of scattered catches all over the bay system. A few reefs in East Bay are starting to hold a fish but nothing outstanding. West Bay has about the same activity with a few speckled trout being caught but nothing to get excited about. Clear Lake and the Dollar area are starting to heat up but this last week has been hampered a bit with the stronger winds. Trinity is getting saltier by the day and will pick up soon and just these past few days has seen some decent speckled trout action in the San Jacinto River. I expect nothing but great fishing for the next few weeks all over our bay system! The rain that hurt us last month will certainly "sweeten" the bays and provide a much needed boost for April. Darn good fishermen for his age!
Take a kid fishing!
March 01, 2015
Spring Break is for Kids
by Capt Craig Lambert
March is finally here and the younger generation has one thing on their minds and that is "Spring Break." This is their chance to unwind and hopefully go wet a line and do some serious fishing. Our job as adult anglers is to do everything we can to make sure that happens so that we can pass on our knowledge to the next generation. Hooked Up!
Kids are great to have on the boat and here is why. We all feel that exciting anticipation of fighting a tough fish all the way back to the boat. Just when our excitement level is peaked and we are about to net the fish we might be seriously let down and even disappointed by the sight of a catfish or other non-target species. But not the younger anglers. They love every moment of that fish no matter what the species and that is fishing at its purest form and that is why "kids are the greatest of all anglers." Awesome Redfish!!
There are plenty of ways to get young ones on the water with a pole in hand for Spring Break and not all of them have to be on a boat. To start there are numerous piers from La Porte all the way down to Galveston. A small piece of dead shrimp on the bottom will catch numerous species for kids of all ages to enjoy and reel in. The Galveston surf and rock groins and Texas City Dike has miles of fun for not only family friendly fishing but exploring our coastal beach-fronts. So no excuses this year lets get those kids out this Spring Break with a pole in hand. Happy Young Angler
Spring Break is not the only major event in March. This month is also capped by the much anticipated return of oversize Black Drum back to our jetties and passes to spawn. Jetty fishermen will be lined up anchor to anchor along the jetties on weekends to get their chance at battling these 30 to 60 pound behemoths. These big fish are not for the faint hearted. A lot of pulling and winding will need to take place to land these larger than average brutes. Fresh crab is the #1 bait used but dead or live shrimp can also put a lot of fish in the boat. This is a catch and release species so make sure and properly release these fish unharmed so someone else can enjoy the experience of battling these huge fish.Serious Pull!
The shallow flats are still the place to be and the wadefishermen and kayakers are still at an advantage over other anglers. Speckled trout and redfish will gang up along shallow flats near freshwater and for the angler willing to spend the time to find these magic areas where the fish congregate then this can lead to some very rewarding fishing. Put your time in on the water and establish a pattern and you will have a very successful month of fishing on the flats. Typically in March we are at the mercy of the weather. But with so many great angling opportunities this month don't let the weather men scare you off. Rewarded for the hard work!
Remember to take those kids fishing this month because they deserve it!
February 01, 2015
by Capt Craig Lambert
Change is in the air and the fish will respond to the warming conditions. I have always been surprised by the amount of fish caught in February. Not only is this month your best chance at catching a trophy trout roaming the shallow flats but this is also when the fish really gang up in areas of freshwater flow coming in to our complex.Fishing the San Jacinto River
The weather is about to start changing and warming water temperatures are going to spark predatorial urges to increase feeding habits. In other words they are going to get hungry! We have such fantastic weather here in southeast Texas with 70 degree days in abundance. Several days of these warming temperatures are what you want to key in on for not only fantastic trout action near the rivers but it will also get the redfish feeding around structure and at the jetties and rigs located around our bay system.70 degrees in late January is nice!
The trout have been schooled up these past few weeks so long drifts and plenty of wind to push you along are needed. With temperatures hanging in the low to mid 50's in the afternoons the bite has been good but not great. Typically great fishing will occur as we start to see a consistent warming trend in water temperatures as mid-February approaches. Big changes are coming and the gamefish will react to the changes. Hungry Redfish!
I have thrown both live shrimp under a popping cork and artificials these past few weeks and you can definitely see a trend of bigger fish being caught on plastics. It seems like everytime we throw shrimp we catch a lot of fish but our ratio of non-keepers to keepers is much larger. Plastics has been consistent on neutral colors. Nothing too bright but not too dark either. 1/4 oz jigheads have worked best and 3.5 to 5.5 ft. seems to be the depth we keep finding them in. They are staying deep and most of the bites are coming off the bottom so long leaders and keeping your baits down is getting the most bites.Beautiful Speck!
Expect the large breeding stock of Black Drum to begin invading the jetties and our bay system by the end of the month. These large brutes will be a blast for those looking to catch a larger than average fish. We catch quite a few on trout tackle and it is a lot of fun. Trout tackle is not the recommended tackle to use for these fish. Heavy action rods with plenty of strong line to horse them in and release them unharmed will be best for these fish and their survival. Don't forget to revive them until they actually swim out of your hands. The really cool thing about these larger fish is that they will let off a large "gong" like someone has just struck a deep sounding drum and it can be heard from the boat. So if you are driving along and hear it you will have know doubt what is in the water near you.Pogonias Cromis aka "Big Ugly" aka "Black Drum"
Some of the best fishing of the year is right around the corner so do not miss the boat. And remember to always take a kid fishing.
January 05, 2015
January is not so Bad
by Capt Craig Lambert
Yes it is cold and yes it is a little rainy but that doesn't mean the fish stop biting. Hardcore anglers willing to brave the wet and cold and harshness of the Texas winter are coming up with some decent action on both live shrimp and artificials. The fish are hungry and if you aren't on the water you are definitely missing out on some good action.Cold Weather Trout!
Finding cold water trout is no different than at any other time of year. Habitat and food will be the primary focus for fish looking to survive the colder months. Areas where fresh water flows in to our bay system are key areas to target. The Trinity River, San Jacinto River, Chocolate Bayou, Clear Lake, Double Bayou and Dickinson Bayou are all areas where fresh water enters our bay system and will be areas to target this winter. These freshwater environments will deposit thick layers of muddy sediments setting up ideal conditions for creating thermal zones for the fish to seek out. Fat Redfish!
If you do not know what the bottom is like in the area you are fishing then you need to be learning the bottom with a rod tip, your net or even better yet a piece of PVC. Spending the time to understand the bottom will not only help you find those wintertime fishing spots but it will also be a big help the rest of the year. Finding soft mud and either freshwater clams and/or oysters in clumps will be the area where bait fish congregate and of course the predators will follow.
Freshwater cat and Speck caught on consecutive casts.
I definitely prefer artificials at this time of year because you can cover more area and search. As metabolisms of gamefish slow down their willingness to chase a meal slows down also. That does not mean they will not chase a bait it just means they will not chase it as far. So making casts covering a zone of area in front of you like a radar throwing left then right is ideal. Having the ability to work all sections of the water column with a soft plastic bait is another advantage of throwing artificials and just adds to its overall effectiveness. I always see other articles telling you to slow your bait down in colder weather but I disagree with this philosophy. I tend to work lures the same way in winter as I do in summer. Basically let the fish tell you what they want. Fast, slow, whatever they want that day is the answer and that is not always slow.There is nothing like the pull of a big redfish!
Live shrimp can be harder to get during this time of year but its effectiveness is unmatched. The only thing I change for this colder weather is to use a little longer leader under my popping cork. In 6 ft of water, typically, I will start with a 3 ft. leader and if that doesn't work then try a 5 ft. leader. Having a weight attached to hold your bait down in the water column is critical when using longer leaders like this. I use a 1/8 oz barrel attached to my leader near the hook and that seems to work very well. When water temperatures go down presenting your bait lower in the water column is definitely better. Awesome black drum!
I always hear complaints from my warm weather customers about how cold it is in winter and how it is just too cold too fish during January. They couldn't be more wrong! The best fishing of the year will happen during the colder months and the key to success and enjoying your self on a cold day is to "BE PROPERLY DRESSED." That means dressing in layers from head to toe. In my opinion, the very best protection is offered by wearing warm hunting bibs or waterproof fishing bibs. Waterproof bibs are best of course but on those colder days when no rain is expected any type of warm weather bib will be perfect. Be prepared. Dress smart and your fishing in wintertime will be better than you ever expected.
Take a kid fishing!!!!
December 10, 2014
A December to Remember!
by Capt Craig Lambert
December has always offered up great fishing opportunities for all types of anglers. It looks like this month so far has achieved above average temperatures and that is giving us above average fishing also. The bay is wide open right now to what ever type of fishing you like to do. The flounder are still running in the channel. The trout and redfish have reached their winter areas and are very cooperative. And the jetties are offering up plenty of opportunities to catch flounder, sheepshead and redfish. Take your pick because fishing is just plain good right now.
The flounder run is beginning to wind down but do not give up just yet. Trophy size fish are making their push through now, however, I think the run has been slow this year and fish are still trickling through and will continue to do so until late December. We are still catching 20-30 flounder per trip and just a few more days until we go back to the 5 fish limit. The great thing about flounder fishing is their willingness to strike almost anything presented in front of them that looks or smells like a meal. Gulps are the easiest to use but definitely not the most cost effective anymore. Just keep whatever plastic bait you are using covered with some type of spray or rub on scent product. Grab some 1/4 and 3/8 oz jigheads and head down to the Galveston ship channel. The crowds are gone so if you have never tried it then now is the time before the run if over.
From the reports I am getting the bite is excellent right now in almost every major satellite bay in our system. East bay is prime for wading the shallow flats and shorelines. Good catches of speckled trout are being caught by wadefishermen with soft plastics and corkies. For those anglers without a boat these next few months will be primetime for fishing "The Refuge" aka Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. This area offers up great walk in wading spots that will offer up protection form the wind on an East, Northeast and North wind. Water levels are critical for fishing the refuge so make sure you have normal tide heights before making the trip over there. This area has everything you are looking for in a wintertime fishing flat. Scattered shell and miles of shallow muddy flats perfect for the walk-in wader or kayaker.
Trinity Bay is also producing a lot of quality specks both in the boat and for waders. Artificials is the preferred method for this time of year but a popping cork and live shrimp will do the trick also. The northern section of Trinity and both the eastern and western shorelines will be primetime all winter long. There are miles of wadefishing and drifting flats to explore from Jacks pocket all the way down to Smith Point. Areas where fresh water enters the bay are spots to key in on. Places like Double Bayou, Lone Oak Bayou and the Van Te-uns will produce. Gamefish will seek the lower salinity levels and warmer temperatures coming from these bayous and drains. The H L & P discharge tends to keep warmer waters flowing down the Eastern shoreline of Trinity which will keep anglers busy for the next few months also.
The reports from West Bay have been mixed. The oyster boats have finally shown up down there so key in on the areas around the working oyster boats and you will find fish. These areas of dirtier water will hold both speckled trout and redfish. Corky devils and soft plastics (plum of course) are the preferred methods but a popping cork and live shrimp will work also. Don't forget the Causeway Bridge. This giant structure is a fish magnet all year long that will hold schools of trout along with a few flounder during December.
The San Jacinto river is producing speckled trout and redfish in both quality and numbers. Muddy flats and freshwater are two wintertime combinations that our gamefish rely on to survive the colder water temperatures and this area has it all. The river will provide protection from the wind in all wind directions and has plenty of open flats that will hold our elusive gamefish. Freshwater clam reefs and pipelines (marked by PVC in a straight line) are the prime spots for keying in on. Pipelines are typically covered with oyster shell and warmer bottom surfaces that the fish tend to like. This area is prime right now.
Fishing is great right now so take advantage of it and go hit it hard with this weather that is in our forecast for the next few weeks it looks like this will truly be a "December To Remember".
October 29, 2014
Finally it is November!!
by Capt Craig Lambert
November is here and I love it. This is by far my favorite time of the year because of the great opportunities that this month will offer to the coastal angler. First and foremost on my mind is the flounder run. Big giant doormats are out there and they are feeling that urge to start heading out to the gulf on their annual migration. You can bet I will be there to intercept them! The speckled trout and redfish are also fattening up for winter and they are in that feeding mode so it is on like "donkey kong" for them too. Basically November is like X-mas for both the hardcore and amateur angler.He'll reel it in, he'll eat it but he won't touch it!
Hardcore flounder anglers, including myself, will be set up all along the Galveston ship channel and surrounding areas. The flounder run usually isn't too popular with the speckled trout enthusiast which is fine with me. While they are wading the marsh outlets with topwaters for big trout I will be working the ship channel for large flounder. Fighting big 5 and 6 pound flounder is a thrill that I can't get enough of and I will happily catch them all day long. This is a style of fishing made for the bass angler because of the technique and tackle. Med to Heavy action rods work best for a strong hook set and a little shorter than 7 ft so you can do a lot of flipping in to wall corners and vertical jigging. This type of technique will land you not only numbers but large flounder if you time it right. Typically Thanksgiving week is the peak of the run for the females and the smaller males have already begun their migration.Coming soon to a flounder hole near you!
My feelings on flounder rigs and baits are simple. Gulp, Gulp and more Gulp! I will typically use a 3/8 oz jighead and a white 3 or 5 inch Berkeley Gulp Shrimp. But all types of plastics will work. I do suggest some type of scent added by spray or roll on if not using a scented bait like Gulp. No live bait is needed unless you want to throw a tandem rig. If someone is having a hard time getting a good hook set then I will put a tandem rig on for them which will consist of a 12-18 inch piece of 30 lb monofilament with a #6 or #8 treble hook and a live shrimp. This works like a charm and will allow that angler that is missing a lot to finally catch a few. Perfect size griller!
The specks are moving shallow and the wadefishing is about to really pick up. Like everything else weather will dictate this transformation to shallower waters. As December approaches colder water temperatures force those fish to go shallow looking for warmer waters. As they move up on to the shallow flats the anglers will follow. Stalking their pray through mud and stepping over oyster and clam shells like a ninja with the utmost stealth is how you have to sneak up on those big trout. Targeting marsh drains during afternoon outgoing tides is best for catching some really nice specks. The key is to find active or nervous bait. Slicks are an obvious dead giveaway but being able to spot nervous bait being harassed from specks is key. Being able to read the small signs of fleeing bait on the surface will put more fish in the boat than any other skill you have learned as a coastal angler. Jack is still hanging around!
The birds have been working often at low light conditions and during hard outgoing tides with regularity. November is again the best month for finding and catching fish under the birds. Bird activity can be found all over the bay system and in my opinion the afternoon outgoing tides are usually best. Trinity Bay, East Bay and West Bay will all have areas of good bird activity in the coming weeks. Our next major cold front that really drops water temperatures and water levels will really kick things in to gear and it will produce the bird activity to peak for several days after the front. This will kick off a few weeks of the most outstanding fishing of the year. So are the big Uglies!
Remember to TAKE A KID FISHING!!!!
October 08, 2014
Fall is Here!
by Capt. Craig Lambert
So far we have had several early cold fronts and this has made fishing not only comfortable but really good. Consequently we have had a lot of rain since summer ended and hopefully that will keep going throughout fall to keep our marshes healthy and produce a banner recruitment of young trout and redfish for next year.
I have seen a lot of birds working in the past few weeks and that is a little early. But I am not complaining at all. Birds are fun for action but tough to fill up the box. A hard outgoing tide is usually best for bird action but I have seen a few days where they were working hard on a slack tide also. A dozen or more seagulls sitting on the water is a good sign that there may be fish in the area. So do not pass up a few birds sitting in the middle of the bay.
We have finally arrived to October and I personally look forward to this time of year like it is Christmas everyday. This month offers tons of opportunities for catching a lot of fish so lets start with the basics. Our best tides this month will be the afternoon outgoing tide. The jetties are full of redfish and so is the concrete ship, Feenor flats, the Bolivar wells and other structures along the ship channel. They will all hold some big reds at one time or the other this month. Live or fresh dead shrimp on or near the bottom will produce in a big way.
The speckled trout are still holding in deeper areas (3-9 ft) like the wells in Trinity, the reefs in East and West bays and there are still a few scattered along the reefs of the ship channel. Other areas to mention are Campbells bayou, Dickinson bayou and the San Jacinto River. The croaker soakers are crying because October 1st is typically the "official " end of the season but they will still catch a few fish. However, the shrimp and artificial bite is now in the full "ON MODE".
I prefer live shrimp under a popping cork and there are certain methods and techniques that just work! I am going to give you my exact set up for those that are not so confident in what they are throwing. The most important part of this set up is the cork. I personally only use one cork and that is the Evolution by Midcoast Corks. These corks are superior for many reasons. The first is the concave top which allows for a really strong "pop" which pushes water and gives you the desired noise and water movement. The second reason I like these is that they are durable. Unless you lose one they are going to last a long long time. The third reason and most important is that they just catch fish. Underneath the cork I use 30 lb monofilament and it is best to use some type of leader material or Ande line which is what I use. Its stiffness makes Ande line a good leader type material. Consequently a sotfer limpert mono like Berkley Big Game does not make for a good leader. I also use a 1/8th oz barrel swivel that I run the line through twice so that is stays on the line where I want and I can slide it up and down. Last but not least is the hook. I have always used a #6 treble hook that is 3x strong and that seems to work best for me. Use this set up and I guarantee you will catch more fish this year!
Take a kid fishing they deserve it!!!
September 03, 2014
School is in Session!
by Capt. Craig Lambert
The kids are back in school and it is time to reflect on what a great summer of fishing we have had so far this year. Cooler than normal temperatures and superb fishing has been the norm which has definitely made this a summer to remember. My thoughts toward this fall are that we are going to have an above average fall fishing season.
The abundance of rainfall we have had this year will help our bay system tremendously as fall approaches. A healthy marsh is one of the benefits of above average rainfall totals and a healthy marsh means a healthy fishery. Moving on from our hottest months of July and August will cause water temperatures to slowly drop as the amount of sunlight per day slowly fades away. These two events are the catalysts that trigger a northerly migration of gamefish up the Houston ship channel towards the San Jacinto and Trinity rivers. This is known as the fall migration and it is definitely the best fishing of the year here on the Galveston bay complex.
As cooler temperatures and cold fronts become more prevalent the fish will respond to these conditions and will allow the average weekend angler to put more fish in the box. Less crowded conditions will prevail with the absence of deer hunters spending their weekends and time looking for that big whitetail rather than that elusive trophy speck. So this is the time of year to really get out there and hit it hard because it doesn't get any better than these next 12 weeks of fishing. Good fishing now turns in to great fishing as the weeks go by.
September is a great month of fishing typically because of the consistent weather we get all month long. Light winds in September will allow most anglers to get out to the hundreds of wells and well pads scattered through out our bay system. Just make sure you start marking every well you fish with your GPS because they are removing these wells at an alarmingly fast rate. Even though the well is gone the shell pad on the sea floor will remain and therefore the fish will continue to use that area to feed. Expect the fish to concentrate around the ship channel early in the month and as October nears and water temperatures drop they will transition from that summer to fall pattern and spread out more.
Flocks of birds with very small trout underneath them can be found in the open areas of the bay on most calmer days. The activity is sporadic but it is a good sign of things to come and could mark a good beginning for fishing under the birds this coming fall season. Expect the good bird activity to really kick in about mid October. The larger than average golden croaker tend to show up in September and there is not a harder fighting fish out there. Amazingly we had a few croakers on our lines these past few days that we thought were redfish. That is how hard they were fighting. Areas like the Moses Lake flood gates and H L & P spillway up in northern Trinity are great areas to find these hard fighting and great eating fish.
September is also a great month to catch oversized redfish as they make their annual migration thru our passes to spawn. The north and south jetties are very popular areas to catch these brutes but don't pass up the concrete ship, Feenor flats or the Bolivar wells and the many structures located along the ship channel. This species and breeding stock is very important to our fishery and should be released with great care. Holding them in the water by the tail until they swim away is best. Sometimes it can take a few minutes to revive them so keep pushing them back and forth thru the water to get them oxygenated and lively. Only one fish may be obtained over 28 inches and that is to be tagged from your license. Make sure and call Operation Game Thief at 800-792-GAME if you see anyone illegally harvesting this precious commodity. These redfish are an important and vital resource and we as anglers have a responsibility to make sure that the future generations can enjoy these wonderful fish.
Take a kid fishing today!!!
July 28, 2014
Hot Weather Means Hot Fishing!!
by Capt. Craig Lambert
Summertime fishing has been outstanding this year. And after a windy spring it is excellent timing for all of the families and vacationers that inhabit the Galveston and Kemah areas. The influx of tourists to our area beaches and our beautiful estuaries keep areas businesses including fishing guides very busy. We have had some great fishing days in July and it should keep going thru August. Happy Boys!!
Open water areas have become accessible in our bay system with calmer conditions and trout green waters located throughout the complex. Every satellite bay system is producing fish and is fishable. Water temperatures have been in the upper 80's so the summertime pattern are beginning to kick in strong. As the ship channel pulls in cooler gulf waters a large migration occurs towards this area. Reefs, spoils and wells in deeper waters are all potential structure and fishing havens to find a variety of species including speckled trout, redfish, shark, gafftop, sheepshead, black drum, sand trout and if you are lucky maybe even a triple tail or two. The migration to the middle of the bay seems to be in full force now and fishing from Eagle Point Marina in San Leon will put you closest to the channel and the action.Slammin the Reds!
As August approaches expect a slow migration north and a consistent deep water pattern for most gamefish. Deep water structure fishing with tout tails, croaker or live shrimp will keep bent rods abundant. The reefs in East Bay and wellpads in Trinity will continue to be consistent during feeding times and especially during midday when you have a changing of the tide and low wind. Topwaters will definitely work this time of year. I like throwing topwaters during low wind periods in the very early morning or midday. Typically between those periods I have a soft plastic lure of some type on a 1/4 oz jighead. A lighter jighead has been the key this past week and at times they have also wanted a straight retrieve with a pumpkinseed or chicken on a chain colored plastic. Pig or Redfish??
These past few weeks I have had a blast with tons of kids on the boat. I have been throwing live shrimp under a popping cork with a short leader and the kids have had a blast catching all species our bay has to offer. The main attraction has been the reds and they have been cooperating very well. Speckled trout, black drum, sheepshead and a few catfish have slammed our natural baits and the action has been outstanding. As a guide the greatest thing to hear from kids is that they just had the greatest trip of their lives and I have been hearing that a lot here lately. Who is Bigger??
Of course the croaker bite is still strong and will continue to be good until well into September but expect a shift towards shrimp as September approaches. Keeping those croaker lively and oxygenated is a major key to using croaker as a bait. At 8 dollars a dozen making the most of them is a wise decision for your pocket book. Dredging croakers seems to be the most popular method by most croaker guides for our bay system. Capt. George Knighten does not get enough credit for perfecting this technique back in the late 90's that he created on his own and taught to others. I have to admit that getting that good thump when a trout first strikes that croaker is enough to get your adrenaline and excitement level at a maximum. Texas Gold!!
There are a few weeks left before school starts so make sure and get those kids out on the water and get them hooked up. Having the privilege of taking hundreds of kids on my boat I can see how special these days are to them and special days are great days so TAKE A KID FISHING!!
June 29, 2014
by Capt. Craig Lambert
Summer is finally here and for me this is the time of year when I have families and kids on the boat almost everyday. We have definitely had a lot of fun with exciting catches of speckled trout, redfish, flounder, black drum and sheepshead crashing our lines. With the winds finally giving us a few days of reprieve the bite has finally improved and allowed for some good catches to hit the docks. Nice stringer!
The summer patterns like fishing the ship channel spoils and mid bay rigs have not quite kicked in as of this writing. The fish are still stuck in a late spring pattern where they are holding over sand and/or heavy shell in 3-6 ft of water. Cooler than normal water temperatures have kept the fish comfortable enough where they are content for now. However, as July heats up we will definitely see that migration towards the ship channel and the cooler waters. The fishing forecast for July looks excellent. I believe that July will be one of the best fishing months of the year so far and fishing will just explode all over our entire bay system. Huge flounder!!!
As gamefish migrate towards the cooler waters of the channel spoils they will inhabit many of the new reefs located between Eagle Point, April Fools point and the ship channel itself. The reef building projects that Texas Parks and Wildlife began 2 to 3 years ago has had plenty of time to grow and proliferate with an abundance of life. Gulf trout, gafftop, redfish, sharks and hungry specks will inhabit these reefs and will hit many a lure, shrimp or croaker chunked their way. TPWD are also building several new reefs in East Bay which is long overdue with the amount of pressure that bay receives in early summer. These reef building projects will do nothing but improve our fishing over time and also allow more fishing areas for the constantly growing number of anglers on the water. Nice redfish!
East bay has been a parking lot for the past 2 months with dozens of anglers on each reef. Better weather will mean less boat pressure and that will do nothing but improve fishing over the reefs of East bay. The fish are there but nowadays you have to share them with 15 other boats on each side of you. Trinity bay has been tough to fish with Southwest and Southerly winds blowing hard these past weeks. There have been some reported catches of trout and redfish along the eastern shoreline but high winds and the absolute worst wind direction for this bay has almost completely shut this bay down for a lot of anglers. Lighter winds will clean Trinity bay up fairly quickly and it will be an area to focus your angling efforts for redfish out in the open waters and speckled trout should be targeted along the reefs and rigs. Family Fun!
Live shrimp under a popping cork has been my preference for live bait so far this year. My exact setup is the Midcoast Evolution Cork with about 25 inches of 30 lb monofilament on a #6 3X treble hook. There is not a game fish in our bay system that doesn't respond to that setup. On some of the windier days I have thrown a few croakers in the boat and have had mild success. I have noticed this year that the croaker bite has not been aggressive. As it gets hotter that croaker bite will improve and the fish will attack those croakers with a vengeance. But right not it seems like the bite is very soft and they just are not aggressively hitting croakers. This makes it much harder for the novice to feel the bite and know when a fish has a hold of their bait. 28 inches 7 1/2 lbs and not signed up for the STAR tourney!!
Do not forget to get those kids and yourself signed up for the STAR Tourney this year because it is not too late. This is by far the very best tournament for anglers in our great state of Texas. Just imagine what it would be like to catch a tagged redfish or a scholarship winning fish and not be signed up. What a sickening feeling that would be. For less than $50 you have a chance at several huge prizes including trucks, boats, scholarship money and thousand of dollars in cash. Sign up today before you lose out on a fish of a lifetime! Very happy young man!
Take a kid fishing!!
May 29, 2014
In like a Lion and out like a Lamb!
by Capt. Craig Lambert
No, this is not the month of March even though at times it felt like it with cold fronts rolling through our area bringing overnight temperatures down in to the high 40's. Crazy weather for Southeast Texas!!! Since mid-April the winds have been constant and strong with 15-20 mph being the average daily wind on the water and bay temperatures have been cooler than normal. Most areas of Galveston Bay have been off colored throughout the month of May and at best barely fishable. That is the bad news. Notice the jacket in Mid-May!
The good news is that June is finally here as the winds are beginning to subside and some of the best fishing of the year for speckled trout has arrived. All areas of the central portion of our bay system from Eagle Point to the Galveston Causeway to Rollover Pass will experience good and even great fishing in the coming weeks. Look for birds to work under feeding fish during late afternoon outgoing tides in several areas of our bay system including East Bay, Lower Galveston Bay, Moses Lake and also West Bay. As our daily temperatures get hotter so will the fishing. Grinding out a Box!
As winds settle down and water clarity improves expect to see some large speckled trout and redfish hitting the cleaning tables from all corners of our bay system. The croaker bite has not turned on yet with the recent release of brown shrimp from the marsh but that bite will improve quickly over the next few weeks. Live shrimp about 24 inches under a Midcoast popping cork is ideal for live baiters. Hungry trout will not be able to resist this offering especially as the bite improves with the weather. Oyster reefs, well pads and depth changes while concentrating in 4 to 8 ft of water will be key areas to target. Nice catch!
The artificial bite will be quite good throughout the month of June. This is definitely a good month to finally make that jump and switch from live bait to artificial baits if you have not added that to your repertoire yet. The first and most important part of throwing artificials is to have the proper rod and reel combination. You do not want a big meat stick when chunking plastics and topwaters all day long nor do you want a big heavy reel. A light graphite rod from 6.5 to 7 ft long with a medium or med-light action is best. This pertains to both casting and spinning rods. The perfect size spinning reel is a 3000 which will hold 150 yards or more of 20lb braided line. When it comes to casting reels I prefer to throw a 200 size model which will hold more 30lb braided line than is needed. Plastics should be the first artificial you learn to throw. These past few weeks I have been using Norton Sand eel jr.'s inthe colors of glo/chart or chicken on a chain. A 1/4 oz short shank jighead will work just fine along with a small swivel and a about 12-15 inches of fluorocarbon and you are set. Do not get lazy and tie direct to your main line use the leader for better results. After that you are ready to get out and start chunking plastics. The beautiful thing about plastics is that it is hard to throw them wrong as long as you follow a few basic rules. The most important and hardest to teach is keeping up your slack so that you can feel anything that touches your line. Trout bites can be very light natured on plastics so feeling those small bites is the key. Kids love Redfish!!
Chasing slicks is your best bet for filling coolers in June. Understanding the characteristics and how to recognize slicks is tough so here a few simple tips. Once you see a slick the first thing is to look up wind and look for a crab trap. If there is not one then take a look at the size and shape of the slick. A good fresh slick is typically round and less than 5-6 yards across and will usually have a fruity or sweet smell to it. Conversely a crab trap slick will give off a bad smell so that will tell you if you are on a good slick with a few crab traps around. Remember slicks are not standing still they are drifting with the tide and wind so fishing in a slick does not make sense unless it just popped up in front of you. Don't get hung up on fishing the slick itself. Just use it as an indicator that there are fish in the area and to take your time and drift thru. Adults love Redfish!
The state of Texas has taken on several reef building projects off of Eagle Point and April Fools Point in the past few years and these newer reefs have had a few years to grow and they will be holding fish throughout the summer. Launching at Eagle Point Marina in San Leon will put you right next to multiple new reefs including Todd's Dump which has been producing fish in the hotter months for decades. These reefs are well marked with PVC poles and buoys in their corners so finding them should be no problem. What a fighter!
East Bay is also being refreshed and new reefs being made with tons of rocks being sprayed off of large barges on to the bay floor where oysters and clams can begin to grow and proliferate. As more and more anglers fish our bay system this will definitely help our ecosystem especially in East Bay where the oyster reefs can get quite crowded at times especially during the months of June and July.
We have some great fishing and beautiful weather ahead so call your local fishing guide or fishing buddy and get out on the water soon!
Don't for get to take a kid fishing. They deserve it!!!
April 25, 2014
Spring is Here!!
by Capt. Craig Lambert
Springtime fishing can be an outstanding adventure but it can also be an all day grind with only a few fish to show for it. As usual the weather is the biggest factor in your decision making on where to focus your angling efforts. In particular consideration for springtime is wind velocities and areas to hide but still be on fish. That is the tricky part. I JUST LOVE REDFISH
If you like to be in that position where those elbows are dipped in the water and your waders are sucked to you like a latex body suit then you have no worries about where to fish. Most of the protected shorelines are holding some fish. Staying shallow is still the place to be with that magical mark of 70 degrees in Galveston Bay waters. The wadefishermen still has a distinct advantage over the boater. Having both options opens up just that much more opportunity to be in front of hungry fish. Targeting shallow flats for angry speckled trout and hungry redfish near bayous and marshes will produce especially in that first hour or 2 of daylight. Jumping out of the boat with a corky or topwater tied on as the sun comes up is about as majestic and exciting as life can get. Don't just read about it on 2cool get out there and make it happen!!! BIG SPECKS!
Summertime temperatures are right around the corner so that will definitely heat up the fishing action. Especially for speckled trout. May and June can be 2 of the best months of the year for catching the mighty yellowmouth. It doesnt matter if you are a hardcore artificial angler, croaker soaker or you like shrimp under a popping cork these next 2 months are really going to shine for you as long as you get on the water and take advantage it. Areas like Lower Galveston Bay, Dickinson Bay, East Bay and Trinity Bay begin to really heat up with angling action. Oyster and freshwater clam reefs tend to hold large concentrations of hungry predatory fish looking for an easy meal. Small crustaceans, eels, crabs and clams are a regular source of food that will be found living among the reef. Sheepshead, black drum, redfish and speckled trout stay in these areas as long as there is a constant food supply. And as the food chain continues anglers target these reefs for predatory fish.CATCHING NOT FISHING!
Look for roaming schools of speckled trout to start moving off of the shallow flats and on to open water reefs and structure. Limetreuse bass assassins are my favorite plastic for this time of year on a 1/4 oz jig head. I also like to have a noisy topwater on like a She Dog. You do not get as many bites as you would on plastics but it sure is exciting watching that lure get crushed by some vicious snaggle toothed yellowmouth. My go to bait for live is of course a Midcoast Evolution cork with about 30 inches of 30 lb Ande line leader and a #6 treble. This combination is deadly all year long for all species in our bay system. Eventually that croaker bite starts to take over in full force about the end of June. Then the almighty croaker becomes the best bait for live baiters over the next 8-10 weeks. GOOD DAY!
Cruising Jack Crevalle will be seen at various times chasing bait along the open waters of the bay near the ship channel areas in the coming months. Catching these hard fighting brutes is hard to do but not impossible on trout gear. Getting a lure (any lure) in front of them is the hard part since they are extremely fast. Typically they are seen visually as they are chasing or busting through bait on the surface. They are always moving so trying to get in front of them or at least meet them at a predetermined spot is the plan. DOUBLED UP ON JACK CREVALLE
When they are on the surface riled up in a feeding frenzy is their most vulnerable time and it is your chance to get in close and get a bait in to them. It will not matter what type of bait it is because they will devour anything. Setting the hook is not required as long as you have a sharp and very strong hook. If you can get the fish out of the frenzy without breaking off on another fish then you have won half the battle. On trout gear you are looking at a 30 minute to 1.5 hour fight on your hands depending on the size of the Jack.30 MINUTES IN TO THE FIGHT
Wearing the fish down by letting it pull the boat around is the plan from then on. Keeping the boat at an idle and moving around barriers pylons or other boats will be the drivers responsibility as the angler lets him know the direction the fish is moving and if he/she is low on line. The hardest fighting fish in our bay system will easily run out 150 yards of line so keeping close to the fish is imperative for the driver. Getting a jack in the net is not easy and will be a struggle especially as you get closer to the boat. Do not expect to land a lot of them because the hook up ratio is low but it sure does pay off when you get one on the line.THE BIG ONE THAT DIDN'T GET AWAY
I want to put out a BIG THANK YOU to Shimano USA for looking out for me as a valued customer. I have always used their reels and will continue to do so especially when they have such great customer service. Great reels and a great company!
March 22, 2014
Winds of Change!
by Capt Craig Lambert
As we approach April and our typical springtime patterns the winds will increase. 15-20 mph winds most likely will be the norm for the next 6-8 weeks. Those strong winds can really work to your advantage. Redfish and trout will get themselves in to an aggressive bite as the leeward shoreline creates deflection and turbulence from the waves. The prey they are after becomes an easy meal in this washing machine effect in which smaller finfish can not navigate very well. This same effect can occur on semi protected shallow flats in strong winds. So don't stay home and think the fish do not bite on windy days. They do!! The Slam!!
Spring is coming so it is time to get ready for another fishing season. That means updating tackle, breaking down and respooling reels, stocking up on glo and chartreuse colors for plastics, purchasing more Midcoast corks and of course a few topwaters. Water temperatures lately have been hovering in the 60's and this has put our fish in to that aggressive bite that makes them pull even harder on your line. Lets face it, what is better than having some big fish run you in circles around the boat as she tries to break you off on the motor or anything else she can wrap that line around. That is my kind of fishing and it has already started!! Very Nice Speckled Trout!
Glass minnows will be pouring out of the marshes soon and the specks can become very selective and picky about what baits they eat. Matching the hatch on color is first so some type of glo/chart or white color is needed. Then try to match the size. Bone Super Spook Jr's, Norton Sand Eel Jr's or some type of imitation glass minnow from Tsunami or another company should put a few fish on your line as your buddies wonder why they can't get any bites. Match the hatch becomes extremely critical during that few weeks of April when glass minnows are out so be prepared and see what happens. Typically this type of bite occurs near marshes and bayous where glass minnows are in abundance. If you are not prepared with the proper baits in can be quite frustrating. Big Fish!
The black drum are definitely starting to show up along the Texas City Dike and throughout the ship channel. Catching these big brutes on light line is a heck of a lot of fun just make sure and release them properly by reviving them until they kick out of your hand. I personally think live or fresh dead shrimp is the best bait for these big brutes although a blue crab cracked in half will be the other choice. The best places are the North and South jetties, Feenor Flats, Sea Wolf park, the Texas City Dike and the Bolivar wells. Black Drum will create slicks like speckled trout and redfish do so pay attention and look for them. I have caught these big brutes in all depths from 2-3 ft of water cruising over heavy shell all the way to the tip of the jetties in 50 foot of water. No matter what type of fishing you like to do the chances are you will hook in to one of these brutes this spring. Hang on and have fun!The Drun Run is on!
Take a kid fishing!!
March 04, 2014
Spring Break fishing for kids
by Capt. Craig Lambert
Can you remember as a kid the excitement you felt when finding out you were going fishing? The anticipation and excitement made it almost like Christmas morning. Spring Break is the perfect opportunity to take a day off to take those kids fishing and make them happy. He can outfish most adults!
There are plenty of piers located around the Galveston bay system such as Sylvan Beach Park in LaPorte, the Texas City Dike, Sea Wolf Park and the many piers and rock groins along the beachfront in Galveston. As the black drum season kicks in to gear places like the beachfront,Sea Wolf Park and the end of the Texas City Dike will give plenty of chances for young anglers to land some of these larger fish and have an experience of a lifetime that they will never forget. Big Uglies are in season!
Young anglers spending time off of their cell phones and computers and out in nature will allow them to experience life from a non-cyber point of view and that is important in today's world of growing technology and their quest for a digital self image. The smell of salt air and the sounds of waves crashing are the joys in life that we do not want our kids to miss that is why it is so important to get young boys and girls out on the water as much as possible.Loves to fish!
Girls love fishing as much as the boys and sometimes even more believe it or not. So don't overlook taking any kids fishing based on gender. Like adults young lady anglers are more patient than their male counterparts and at times I have seen the sisters outfish their brothers. A good competitive spirit between siblings seems to bring the best out of both of them and really makes for a fun fishing day. Brother & Sister going at it!
Fishing lately has been good if you are in the right areas. Fishing areas near freshwater seems to be the key to finding fish these last 3 to 4 weeks. The fish are cold and confused with our water temperatures going up and down like a yo-yo. Bayous and rivers bring warmer waters from up stream and just a few degrees can make a huge difference especially for speckled trout which are not as tolerant to colder waters as redfish and flounder are. Bayous and canals will still be holding fish this time of year so do not overlook any wintertime areas that will offer warmer waters and some type of food source. Darker plastics have been working well and outfishing live shrimp if you can get live shrimp. Live bait has continued to be very scarce lately so switching to plastics has been a good trade off.Happy kids!
It looks like the polar vortex is behind us now so nothing but warmer temperatures and tight lines ahead.
Take a kid fishing. The future of our sport depends on it!
February 06, 2014
February can be Hot!
by Capt Craig Lambert
The month of February is the beginning of the fishing calender year. We will have milder temperatures and longer days as we progress thru the month and the fish will respond to this change. When the days get longer and the water temperatures warm up so do the body temperatures and metabolisms of our gamefish. These events will increase their instinctual urge to feed on the shallow flats on a variety of food sources such as crabs, crustaceans and small finfish. Warming flats with rising tides are my go to areas for February. That is why I am fishing shallower flats in less than 4 feet of water in most cases. THIS YOUNG LADY WILL OUTFISH MOST ADULTS!
If we could get a more consistent and calmer weather pattern with fewer frontal passages it will no doubt help our cause and introduce more stable fishing patterns. If it stays like it has the last few weeks with two frontal passages a week then that will make fishing a little tougher. What I have noticed in my few days on the water lately is that the fishing are only feeding a few hours each day so grinding it out and not giving up is the key to a successful trip. Trying to get a decent day between fronts that isn't hovering in the 30's and 40's is another reason why the bay has been void of anglers lately. GRINDING IT OUT!
February has a lot of good fishing to look forward to with the influx of larger than normal black drum. This migration typically begins during the last week or so of February. Oversized black drum (AKA Big Uglies) begin their annual congregation in our bay system and jetties to spawn and repopulate their species. Black Drum are much overlooked by a lot of anglers for their fighting qualities and table fare. The legal bag limit is 5 per person with a slot of 14-30 inches. Fresh dead shrimp under a popping cork dangled a foot above the bottom in 3-5 foot of water is a proven method to target this species. I have caught a handful on artificials but if you want to really target black drum you will need some type of natural bait like shrimp for the slot fish and fresh crab for the larger drum. Sea Wolf Park is an area that tends to see the larger black drum in good numbers. The pier and wall facing the channel offer plenty of opportunities to hook in to one of these beautifully "ugly" creatures. Slot size fish can be found around the gas wells and reefs that are associated with live clams and oyster shells. Black drum it is the other white meat. EVERY SPECIES IN THE BAY
The hardcore wadefishermen loves February because it can lead to some excellent fishing opportunities while stalking the shallow muddy flats of our bay system. Bigger fish tend to hang out in knee deep water so a slowly worked Corky of some kind will be a must. If you are really hardcore and older like myself you will be using an "original" Corky. Exploring shorelines is great but make sure and take your time and work slowly thru the area you are wading. A fish may need to see a bait 2 or 3 times before triggering a strike or before committing. Many times I have made a cast and while working my lure I felt a bite or what I felt as a small "tick". A cast back to that same spot will always end up with a fish fighting on the end of my line. The same thing can happen without you knowing it. A fish may make a move on your bait but did not commit fully so a second or third cast is needed to make the hook up. Slow and slower is my motto for wadefishing.ANAHUAC NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
The walk in wader is blessed this time of year with the Anahuac National Widllife Refuge and its miles of shoreline offering the walk in wader and kayaker beautiful scenery along with great angling opportunities. An easy 1-2 hour drive East on I-10 from Houston depending on traffic will put you in the middle of miles of excellent walk in wading opportunities and possibly the fish of a lifetime. Just make sure and watch your wind direction and water levels before going out there. An incoming tide with average of above water levels will give anglers an opportunity to catch some nice fish.
December 24, 2013
Winter is here!
by Capt Mullet
The glory days of November are in the past and the onset of winter has roared in like a lion these first few weeks of December. It seems like every weekend we get some type of major weather event that is keeping a large percentage of the outdoorsman off the water and in the tree stands and blinds. The winter patterns have set in already and it is time to adjust or be left behind at the cleaning tables.BIG REDS MAKE FOR HAPPY KIDS!
We have a lot of good fishing to look forward to these next few months. At the jetties you can expect to catch sheepshead and flounder. Everyone's favorite fish the speckled trout will be feeding and cruising near shallow flats, marshes and river systems. Bruiser redfish will be plentiful at the jetties and on shallow muddy flats cruising along or in the same locations as speckled trout. The opportunities for properly dressed anglers that can withstand the elements of nasty weather is better than at any time of year. Cold conditions make for hungry fish so don't be left sitting on the couch when you could be on the water chasing bronze backs and large yellow mouths. NICE TROUT YOUNG MAN!
Winter time patterns are the same from year to year. The resident bay fish typically feed based on weather conditions attributed with frontal systems that move thru the area. The optimum conditions are close to or during frontal systems when light rain, low cloud ceilings and low pressure prevail. Lockjaw conditions would be the day or 2 after a front when high pressure blue bird skies and no wind dominate the conditions. That is not to say that you cant catch a few fish (in the late afternoon usually) but they definitely will not be jumping voluntarily on your lines during the day. That is why nasty sticky rainy days are for hardcore fishermen while bright sunny days are for other duties. I SMELL A FISH FRY SOON!!
The tackle I use for throwing live shrimp during colder months is exactly the same for the rest of the year except I like to use longer leaders in wintertime. A Midcoast Cork (Evolution) with a 30 lb. Ande line leader at 3-5 ft. in depth and a #6 treble (3X strong) is my standard set up. I do add on a 1/8 oz barrel on to my line near the hook for holding that bait down in the strike zone. This set up is perfect for fishing heavy shell in 3-5 ft of water where plastics might have a tendency to become hung on shell. A smaller sized shrimp hand picked from the net is usually the preferred bait for hungry predators. Make sure you let your cork completely submerge underwater for 1-2 seconds before reeling up and setting the hook. Most of the time redfish, black drum and sheepshead will play with the bait before swallowing it so that extra few seconds will mean the difference between a hook up and a lost fish. Specks will most likely hit it on the run and there is no waiting for them since your cork will be long gone when you take that split second to react. CPR FOR THIS 6+ LB BEAUTY!
When using artificial I am throwing plastics like the bass assassin, big nasty and TTF's Killer Flats Minnow. I prefer darker colors like plum, pumpkinseed and red shad as my go to colors. Another great bait for the upcoming season is the Corky Devil which has always worked well this time of year when fishing from a boat over shallow flats so give that a try if you have not done so before. I like to fish it over heavy shell in 3-5 ft of water. It is easy to work with just slow twitches while trying to keep it in the middle column of the water table. Because of the single hook on the Devil you will miss a few bites that is OK because of the ability of this bait to produce fish. MEAT HAUL
The walk-in wader has multiple options around our bay system to encounter excellent fishing during our winter season with places like Galveston Island State Park, Sea Wolf park, Anahuac National wildlife Refuge and McCollum Park. Our bay system here in Galveston offers miles of pristine wading flats for everyone from the walk-in wader to the angler lucky enough to have access to a boat. A pair of good waders and stingray guards are a must for comfort and safety. It is corky season so you better have a few of those in your wading box along with a few soft plastics with 1/8, 1/16 and maybe even a 1/32 oz. jighead inside. A couple of topwaters and a mirrodine or mirrloure and you are ready to do battle with some head thrashing yellow mouthed specks. JUST LIKE PULLING IN AN ANCHOR!
The anglers that love getting their feet wet by jumping out of the boat and in to the mud to do some wadefishing are extremely happy at this time of year. Shallow water fishing is a must for the serious angler looking for that once in a lifetime fish. There is just something special about getting in their environment and stalking your prey like the alpha predators that we are. When you are hooked up with a fish of a lifetime don't forget to keep those legs squeezed together when playing your catch. Having a large angry redfish or trout running between your legs with waders on can be a problem so don't be that guy! Unless you want your buddies making fun of you for the next few months.AWESOME FLATFISH!
This years flounder season was mediocre at best. The anticipation of a run like we had last year really crushed my spirits this year. The slow run this fall makes me wonder if this 2 fish limit in November will be an effective conservation method in years to come.
Don't forget to take a kid fishing!!!
October 31, 2013
Late Start to Fall
by Capt Mullet
Fishing has definitely been good. The birds are working and the fish are hungry. But I still think our best fishing is just around the corner with the arrival of a hard blowing front. Our water levels have been high and none of the cold fronts coming thru have done much to lower the water levels. So what we really need is a hard blowing Northwest wind for an extended period of time to really lower the water levels and flush the marshes out. When that happens it should go from good fishing to incredible fishing.
I think the next cold front that pushes out a few feet of water will really get the flounder moving and staging in there typical haunts. Thus sparking a really good flounder bite. I haven't done any flounder fishing just yet but it looks like we will have an extended flounder season this year with the arrival of a later run because of the lack of a good lowering of the water levels to get them going. The peak of flounder season is typically from the the 10th of November till the 5th of December. I am predicting this will be delayed by a week or more.
The birds are working in several locations around our bay system. As usual smaller than normal fish are found under these birds but the action is still hard to pass up. Look for hard outgoing tides and days after fronts to be the best conditions for finding fish under the birds. Do not waste your time or money using live shrimp when bird fishing. Just throw on any durable plastic and a jighead and get after it. Even the worst fishermen can catch them with this rig on a straight retrieve. Trying to get your bait down below to the bottom is your best bet for catching keepers so a heavier jighead like a 3/8 OZ is what I use. Color does not matter but durability of your plastic does. Using softer plastics like bass assasins or Big Nasty's voodoo shad is a waste of good baits. Save them for wadefishing or fishing for bigger fish. What you need is a durable bait like a Norton Sand Eel jr., TTF trout killer or TTF Hackberry Hustler for best results.
A lot of anglers are headed to the deer lease in November and are missing the best month of the year. Make sure and take advantage of this and get out there as much as you can this month because it doesn't get any better than November fishing!!!
Take a kid fishing!!
October 02, 2013
Fall is in the Air!
by Capt Mullet
The dog days of summer are over and we are now getting in to the best season of the year to be on the water. We have a lot to look forward to this fall including bird activity, the flounder run, the beginning of wading season and just plain excellent fishing.I love kidfishing!!
The birds have started to show up in spurts already near areas of freshwater drainage sheds and lakes. Outgoing tides are best but don't plan on targeting the birds just yet. It will take a few more weeks and some major cold fronts to pull those shrimp out of the marsh en mass to get the major bird activity going. Fishing the birds is not always a no brainer. Stealth is the key. If you find yourself pulling up to a set of birds and they dissipate quickly then you know that you were too loud and you will need to drift or troll in from a farther distance. If the fish are skittish then sometimes you will never be able to get on them. Plastics that are very durable are your best bet to throw under the birds. I prefer a Glo Norton Sand Eel Jr. as my go to bait for fishing the birds but any plastic will work like a TTF Hackberry Hustler or Trout Killer. The key is having a hard durable bait that will catch lots of fish without having to change it every other fish. Stay away from throwing softer baits like Bass Assassins and Big Nasty's. These are excellent products but you don't want to catch one fish per plastic and waste them on a feeding frenzy of smaller fish so to speak. Typical areas to look for birds will be Trinity Bay, Tabbs Bay, Clear Lake, West Bay and East Bay.Low pressure redfish!
We have already had a few small cold fronts hit our area and it seems like after each of these fronts we end up catching a flounder or 2. So the migration is starting and it is time to be prepared. When I am targeting flounder I prefer a heavier jighead like a 1/4 or 3/8 oz. The idea is to maintain constant contact with the ground. Any plastic or spoon will catch flounder but I prefer a white or glo Berkley gulp shrimp. The 4 inch version is the one I use exclusively. A stiff rod is needed for those very hard hook sets needed to pierce the bony mouth of a flounder. Live bait is not needed but if you have kids or someone inexperienced a tandem rig will be a good choice for them. Use a 12 inch leader of 30lb test tied on to your leaders swivel and put a very sharp #6 treble hook with a live shrimp on it and this will do the trick for the inexperienced. Flounder season is my absolute favorite 3-4 weeks of the year. If you have never specifically targeted flounder then you should try it this year. I promise you that it will be a blast!! Areas along shorelines, walls, rocks, drainages and the intracoastal canal are all good places to look for flatfish. Dragging the bottom until you feel that flounder thump is the best way to catch them. A small count of 3 before you rip there lips off with a very hard hookset will cause the hook to penetrate and keep them from spitting the hook at the last minute. Nice Flounder up against the wall!
Trout and redfish seem to be everywhere from October thru November and targeting them on live bait like a shrimp and popping cork is just as effective as using plastics and topwater lures. Clear Lake, Trinity Bay, East Bay and West Bay all seem to shine during these 2 magical months. As cooler temps arrive the fish tend to pull out of their deeper haunts and look for shallower venues like shorelines and reefs. They leave their deeper holes because water temperatures become more comfortable for them. Shallow flats offer better feeding opportunities also. The lack of a large water column means their pray can not escape as easily with less water to "swim away from the predators chasing them". Future fishing guide!
Wadefishing the shallow flats will get good again soon. At the time of this posting we are still early in the wading season but as fronts come thru and water temperatures drop wadefishing becomes the best way to not only catch larger female trout but also to find schools and really work them over without spooking them. Large female trout do not get big because they are dumb. Somehow they have learned earlier in life that boat noise and hull slaps mean danger and they stay clear of these dangerous vibrations and pressures they feel in the water with their lateral lines. The wadefishermen will typically be like a hunter stalking his pray by silently moving thru the water making fan casts while keeping his eyes and ears open for signs of feeding fish. Looking for slicks, boils and nervous bait is the main focus of the angler who is aware of his environment and in the "zone". Wadefishing is an art and like any type of fishing it takes experience on the water to master its skills and techniques. Being focused on what is going on in the natural environment around you is the key in my opinion to recognize what is happening and becoming a good wadefishermen.The Mother Lode!!
Take a kid fishing. The future of our sport relies on it!
August 15, 2013
The Wonderful Days of Summer
by Capt Mullet
We have had unbelievably mild temperatures compared to the past few years and this has made it a great summer to be on the water doing your favorite thing. The top-water bite for speckled trout continues to be good. There is just something about hearing that top-water get thrashed on by a hungry gamefish that just gets me pumped up and I love it! When the wind dies down is when that top-water bite really turns on. Walking the dog quickly back to the boat without hesitations seems to be the best retrieve. Having the patience to set the hook only when you feel the fish pull on your rod is the key to successful hook ups or missed fish. That is a really nice speckled trout young man!!
The croaker bite has continued to be the best bite. Especially in less than perfect weather/water conditions. But this constant change in wind/weather patterns has caused fishing to be good one day and bad the next without any real consistent pattern taking hold. I am ready for shrimp season again which typically happens about September 1st but everything is a few weeks behind right now so it could be mid September before that live shrimp bite is back again in full force. I will catch it just wont touch it!!
The tourist season is almost over with the return of the kids back to school. I have had a ton of families with young ones these past 2 months and it has been great watching our future anglers having a blast. It is very important to try and teach or expose all kids to outdoor activities like fishing and hunting and how to respect the outdoors and our outdoor resources. Teaching them conservation early in life gives them the education to be responsible anglers in the future. Panfish heaven!
Redfish have been kind of absent lately. Every few days or so a big school will come thru and slam our lines with hard pulling bronze backs while we are trout fishing and it is typically a chinese firedrill once you get a few bruiser reds running around breaking off lines and looking for props to rub on. But this is what makes it so much fun!! Soon the oversized redfish will begin their annual spawn and start infiltrating our bay system heavily. The schools will break up and the redfish will seem to be all over the bays in October. Chinese Fire Drill!!!!
Everybody seems to be spaced out well along the ship channel, East bay and Trinity bay. East bay has been a ghost town this past week or 2 with this Southwest wind blowing. I am seeing only a few boats at most even on the weekends. Water clarity has been poor in the mornings and clearing about noon. The fish continue to be all over the marked reefs and they definitely prefer croakers over live shrimp. When the wind is down artificials like plastics or topwaters are working just fine. Colors do not seem to matter much once you find a good feeding school but I have been throwing typically light colors on 1/4 oz jigheads. Summertime speck!
The Houston ship channel is still holding a lot of fish and will continue to do so for a few more weeks. They have been moving around quite often by being in a spot one day and not around the next day. So moving around is key. Slicks are a major factor in finding good schools along the spoils. Typically I am looking for several sets of slicks but 1 small freshly popped up slick will do just fine. Watch out for the dreaded gafftop. They are all over the channel in good numbers and will eat a croaker very quickly and aggressively. Your younger brother still thinks his is bigger!
Fall is coming soon and with it brings some of the best fishing of the year. As the days grow shorter the bite inevitably gets better and better. And we also have a lot less anglers on the water. Less anglers, cooler weather, hungrier fish!!! It is all just around the corner just a few months away!
July 17, 2013
July's Fantastic Fishing
by Capt Mullet
Fishing has been really good this month except for a few of the windier days that it blew almost 20 mph +. I started out the month in East bay but have been switching over towards the ship channel as the month has progressed. For me the artificial bite has done much better than the croaker bite. Maybe it is my clients having better angling skills on arties but I am not sure. All I can say is that I can't wait to get out there with another group of artificial anglers again.
The croaker bite has been solid (of course) with lots of strikes. I am still amazed at how effective croakers are at drawing bites during the heat of summer. I still have not anchored up yet on any piece of structure while throwing live bait. My method has been 100% dredging the reefs in East bay and along the ship channel from Eagle point northward. I am using a 5/0 or 6/0 kahle hook with approximately 14-18 inches of 30 lb leader attached to a 1/8 oz weight and a a swivel. If there is a well near the channel I will hit it hard and typically they have produced a few bites if not more. Also TPWD has made several new reefs in the middle section of the bay and they haven't turned on just yet but good fish are just starting to show up slowly. As our water temps rise these reefs should get better and better.
The few artificial trips I have had were fantastic. Limetreuse Bass Assassins and glo Norton sand eels are producing fish up to 6 lbs. I am using heavier jigheads(3/8 oz) along the ship channel and 1/4 oz jigs on the reefs in East bay with good results. The topwater bite has been very good on the reefs in East Bay. She Dogs and Super spooks have been tearing them up during that midday bite. When it gets hot and that wind dies I am switching over and it is a blast. You don't catch as many as a plastic bait but I personally would rather catch one on topwater than a few on plastics or live. A slow steady walk the dog action has worked well and they rarely miss it.
The ship channel should have turned on a few weeks ago but those lower water temps have kept the fish comfortable in other areas of the bay without too much heat stress on the fish. We have made it to the middle of summer now with only 2 more weeks till we hit that time when daylight stops increasing and we see less and less light during the day. This will get those fishing moving in a northward direction and really turn on those wells in Trinity bay.
There is a ton of good fishing going on right now so just get out there and get after it and don't forget to take a kid fishing!!
June 16, 2013
June is Speck Season!
by Capt Mullet
Fishing has been phenomenal these past 2 weeks since the wind has died. It is amazing how light winds and green water just puts our fish in to a feeding mode. The live shrimp bite is tapering off and croakers are beginning to dominate the scene in the bays. Although I hate to admit it, I have also switched over to the croaker soaker crowd and began throwing them for the first time in my guiding career.
I consider June to be the best speckled trout month of the year and it is definitely living up to that reputation so far. 4 and 5 pound speckled trout are a daily occurrence and our fishery seems to be very healthy. All areas of the bay have turned on including the new ponds created in lower Galveston bay. The new areas of rip rap in the lower Galveston bay system (Between the Causeway and the Texas City Dike) offer up hundreds of yards of rocky shoreline/riprap and the fish are there. Throwing popping corks and live shrimp up against the rocks will definitely produce redfish and a few trout.
East bay is almost unfishable because of the crowd on the weekends. You could walk across the bay on boats this past weekend. I have been fishing this bay system for almost 20 years and I have never seen so many boats out on a weekend that wasn't a holiday. Most of the reefs are holding trout but very few if any redfish. The redfish seem to be gathered up in schools and roaming the open bay and they are tough to catch because they are moving very fast. We have found a few of these schools but it takes a lot of work to stay on top of them.
West Bay is still the toughest bay system to fish especially with lighter winds. Many of the croaker guides have begun fishing the open shell but the reports haven't been that great. Long drifts are needed to fish that bay system effectively and the lighter winds are hampering those long drifts.
Trinity is really the place to be. There are definitely fish showing up on the wells and the crowd is very minimal compared to East bay. Soon the ship channel will be turning on also. It is still a little early for that area but as this summer heat continues and July begins expect the ship channel to explode with specks and reds.
Remember to take a kid fishing!
May 30, 2013
Say Goodbye to the Wind!
by Capt Mullet
There is one word to describe this past month of May and that word is WINDY!!! 15-20 mph winds have plagued this bay system for the past month and consequently the bite has been tough. But brighter days are on the horizon and this coming up week is going to be epic. Before I was a guide it seemed like every weekend was windy and every Monday and Tuesday while I was working it was perfect. That looks like the case again this week. Starting Monday calm winds green water and hungry specks and reds are going to bust loose all over our bay system. I am expecting epic days of fishing in just a few days from now.Lots of reds on Memorial day!
The specks have left the rivers and are heading out to the open bays where very few have been able to get to them. The San Jacinto river is starting to see redfish show up along rip rap and points along the channel and that is where I have been hiding from the wind these past few weeks. Flounder have also started to migrate up in to the San Jacinto and if you can get on a big school it will seem like it is November again. Capt Robert Liebert had a party out about 2 weeks ago where he ran in to a huge school of flounder and they ended up catching 23 in a few hours on live shrimp. Talk about some good eating!!!Nice flatty!
The reefs in East Bay have been holding a lot of fish. However, getting them to eat with 30 to 40 boats on them constantly harrassing them is making it tough. Everyone fishing East bay is piled up on the reefs near the south shoreline looking for some protection from the wind and waves. Now that this wind is about to calm down it will allow everyone to spread out and things wont be so claustrophobic. Beautiful trout
The brown shrimp have finally made their arrival and have caused sporadic bird activity in their usual areas from San Luis Pass all the way to Rollover Pass. The few groups I have come across have been tough to fish. They would break up quickly not allowing us to get on a good "bird" bite just yet. Shutting the motor down up wind and drifting or trolling in from 100 yards is best. Also 2 boats on 1 set of birds just doesnt work well. Typically that is the quickest way to break up the school and both boats lose out. If someone is on a set of birds just let them have it. If there is one set of birds then most likely another set isnt too far off so let the other guy have his set and you will get the next one. trust me you will catch much more by this method. The big uglies never stop!
The croakers soakers are in their full glory now that the croaker bite has begun. Most of the croaker guides have now switched over but the live shrimp bite is still going strong and will continue to be strong thru the month of June. Artificial baits have been tough in this wind but we are still catching a few on plastics. Glo or limetreuse on 1/4 oz short shank jigheads has worked best even in dirtier water. I have been throwing topwaters a lot to see if I can find a few that way but not too many takers so far. I expect that to change this coming week.Big trout in tough conditions!
I had a very special guest on my boat on Memorial day. I had the honor and privilege to take fishing a member of the "greatest generation". A world War II pacific theater veteran that was incredibly vibrant and in great shape for 90 years old. I was amazed at how many things he taught me about the area we fished and its history. What an amazing man and I want to take this time to wish him well and to wish all the veterans who have served our country. Our warriors and veterans are the ones that make this country free and allow us to live the life we do. Happy memorial day to all of them!!What an amazing man!
April 19, 2013
April is Looking Up!
by Capt Mullet
Spring is in full swing and if it weren't for these fronts coming in every 5 or 6 days fishing would be off the charts. As soon as we get a southerly/southeasterly flow the fish just kick in to a feeding mode. Hungry speckled trout, redfish and black drum are pulling up on to feeding flats and hitting every bait in sight. Great Pic!
Black drum have invaded the ship channel and just seem to be every where this past week or so. There are a few areas holding several of these big brutes and catching several a day mixed in with speckled trout and redfish has been very common these past 2-3 weeks. The Jack Crevalle have made an appearance also. Last week one of my clients had his line spooled completely off in less than a minute. One of many big uglies!
The Specks are getting hungrier and bigger every week it seems. They are definitely becoming more and more aggressive as these water temps keep rising. The majority of the trout are moving shallow so 2-4 ft of water is best for targeting specks while fishing in the boat. If you have the ability to go wade fishing then do it, now is definitely the time. Nice Fish!
Pink topwaters and limetreuse plastics are working great for the anglers throwing artificials. Popping cork and live shrimp is king still on the live bait scene. Longer leaders seem to be the ticket for live baiters still so keep those leaders deep especially this weekend after this front hits.Solid Speck
The next few weeks will produce some excellent fishing for trout, redfish and black drum. Watching the fronts and playing the wind will be the big hurdle. Keep focusing on heavy shell and transition areas along marshy shorelines. Areas of mud next to sand seems to offer the best of both worlds to hungry predator fish looking for quick meals. The walk-in wade fishermen should have plenty of areas to focus on including Mosquito Island, Dollar Flats, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge and San Luis Pass. Hooked Up!
Typically every year during this time we are playing the wind. 15-25 mph winds seems to be the norm from now until mid May. By the end of May we will see calmer winds and awesome fishing. May and June are the peak months of the year for Speckled trout in my opinion. The oyster reefs all over the complex are stacked with anglers itching to get a chance at a trophy Speck. 5 to 6 pounders are a daily occurrence during these next few months especially as we hit that peak in late May. Big redfish!
The kids have been having a great time this April and as usual outfishing the dads and moms. We all know how important it is to expose children to the outdoors and fishing. Shaping young minds to grow their love of the outdoors is a cherished consequence of my job as a fishing guide. And that is why I love it.Getting Bigger!!
Take a kid fishing!!
March 21, 2013
Signs of Spring
by Capt Mullet
Spring is just around the corner and more consistent fishing should follow with it. We had a some great days of fishing this past week and some tough days also. But all the kids off for Spring Break had a great time and that is what matters most. Nice Red!!!!
This warmer weather we are experiencing should keep our water temps above the 60 degree mark and improve fishing or at least make it more consistent from day to day. As we move closer to April expect the jetties to really light up with spawning size black drum. Do not overlook areas around the Texas City Dike like Mosquito Island, Dollar Point and April Fools Pt. These areas always hold fish this time of year and on in to May. Excellent Young Angler!
I talked to several guides who made it out to the jetties during spring break and all of them caught a variety of fish like specks, reds and sand trout but nobody commented on the big black drum making a major influx or run. They are definitely showing up off the ship channel near the Fred Hartman Bridge in Baytown but not thick enough to target them exclusively. Big Ugly!
Live or dead shrimp and crab are the best baits for those big bruiser black drum. Hook size doesn't matter too much. I have caught them on everything from 6/0 kahle hooks to #8 treble hooks. A bottom or fish finder rig is needed and fishing locations should be easy to find. Places like the concrete ship, bolivar wells, the jetties and almost anywhere inside the Galveston ship channel should put a few drum at the end of your rod. Just make sure and release them carefully by bringing them back to life along the side of the boat before letting them go.Fishing Maniac!!!
Speck fishing has been good it seems every other day. One day we catch 20 or more the next day it is 5-10 so the bite has been unpredictable up here in the San Jacinto river for the past few weeks.
A more consistent weather pattern and a climb in water temperature should really spark up a bite these next few weeks.Bruiser Redfish!
Both trout and reds should be moving over shallower flats with this warm up and wade fishing is prime time right now. I am still using long leaders when throwing live shrimp under a popping cork. Keeping the bait near the bottom is still working best. The Mrs Trout killer by TTF has been my plastic of choice here lately. Lots of trout that day!
Just because Spring Break is over doesn't mean that the kids should be back in school and off the water. The best weather of the year is coming up for the next month or 2 so make sure and get those kids out on the water and get them fishing. Not going to touch a fish just yet!
February 28, 2013
Take the good with the bad!
by Capt Mullet
Fishing this month continues to be solid but definitely not off the charts just yet. For every 3 or 4 trips on the water there is always a tough day in there where the fish don't want to cooperate. But don't give up hope just yet. Spring is on its way and warmer water temps will put these fish in a much more aggressive mood. That smile says it all!!
We just need a little warm weather to get a good feeding frenzy to take place over the shallow flats of our areas. The last 2 weekends have been fun but we have had to work hard for our fish. Quality time with a dad and his son!
Specks have been showing up in all different areas and moving around steadily. Thankfully we have had some decent winds to keep us covering ground and locating schools. Lots of black drum have been caught in the 2 to 35 pound range. Flounder have been rare and usually undersize but we have been catching about 1 to 3 a day and if we are lucky 1 might make it in the box. Very special time with dad!
The redfish haven't been around as much these past two weekends with only 1 or 2 hitting the cleaning table each trip. We have run in to a several schools of rat reds which are fun to catch but they won't fill up the box till next year.
We are still in that wintertime pattern where the fish want to be hanging around thick mud and shell. 1/4 oz jig heads and soft plastics like the Mrs Trout Killer in Morning Glory have done very well in 4-8 ft water depth. For live bait the standard popping cork and shrimp has been working well for catching the big 5.
Spring Break is just around the corner so make sure and take a kid fishing. They deserve it!!!
February 10, 2013
February looking good so far
by Capt Mullet
Had a great weekend of catching. With warmer water temps in the low 60's I decided to go back to fishing shallow flats in the 3-4 ft depth over heavy shell and it payed off big time. Had some great guys down from the North part of the country and they kept telling me about how good the ice fishing was up there and I just kept thinking "poor fellas". It really made me appreciate Texas and our winter weather. These guys had a blast catching a ton of reds and trout up to 6 1/2 pounds. I don't think we had any trout under 3 pounds but we actually caught more reds than trout that day.6 1/2 pounder Nice!!5 pounder!
Temperatures have been above normal for the past few weeks and the fishing has been hot because of it. The outgoing tide seems to be the best bite but we are definitely catching them on the incoming also. There are still a lot of fish in the 5-7 ft depth but I haven't caught any of the bigger ones in it. Just regular sized trout (15-20 in.) in that depth. The bigger ones are definitely in the shallower waters. Lots of redfish that day!
Boats had covered up my fishing spot and killed the redfish bite on Saturday so we moved around a little bit and still found some really nice trout but couldn't manage to kill the reds like we did the day before. Young Alec was on fire catching twice as many fish as his dad that day. This was his second fishing trip ever and he caught the super slam all by himself. Redfish, speckled trout, flounder and black drum and I think we now have an angler for life.8 year old with his 4 3/4 pounder!!
It didn't take Alec long to figure out how to pop the cork and keep up with his slack properly and he caught a ton of fish. His dad and I were amazed that it seemed like he was getting twice the bites that his dad and I were getting. We were both completely impressed and I have a feeling they wont wait 6 months to come back on another trip this time. This is what fishing and guiding is all about. Memories that will last a lifetime between father and son. I am just glad I was a part of it. Nice flatty!
January 09, 2013
Good start to January
by Capt Mullet
The fishing continues to be excellent!!! I have seen a few reports in the paper and other publications saying that fishing is fair at best. I am not sure where they are fishing but that isn't the case where I am at. Live shrimp under a popping cork continues to be the best bet for catching lots of fish. I keep seeing guys at the boat launch with 2 foot leaders and noticing they aren't catching much. They must not be reading my articles about LONG LEADERS. 4 ft leaders or longer with a 1/8th oz. weight by the hook is what is working best for me. They are tough to cast but those fish are holding on the bottom and do not want to come up very far to feed.
The San Jacinto and Trinity rivers seem to be the hottest areas in the complex. Fishing deep water up in the bayous and canals of the Trinity have been producing lots of trout and redfish. The reports from over there have seen the best bite in the 6 to 15 ft range using 3/8th oz jigs and I keep hearing that the Red Killer from TTF has been the bait to use.
The usual areas up in the San Jacinto river like Tabbs Bay, Burnett Bay, Scotts Bay and San Jacinto Bay have been producing reds, trout sheepshead and some really big black drum. The artificial bite was going strong up there until about Christmas and then it turned tough using artificials for some reason. keying in on pipelines and areas of scattered shell in the 4 to 8 ft depth has been producing lots of fish.
This 3 to 5 inches of rain may slow fishing down for a day or 2 but I expect fishing to be great again by this weekend.
December 24, 2012
Trout Action Heating Up!
by Capt Mullet
Cold weather fishing is by far my favorite of the year. Typically the day or two after a front passes the fish are sometimes picky. Not the case these the last few days with specks and reds hanging on the edges of deeper water with that dramatic drop in tide. With water temps hovering from the mid 50's to low 60's these fish are feeling the milder temperatures and the feeding frenzy from fall is continuing.
Last Friday, the morning after that front passed, the tide had dropped about 2.5 to 3 ft. It was super-low! We started out drifting the edges of the ship channel and never had to leave. 4 to 7 ft. was the magic depth. Long leaders (4-5 ft of 30 lb mono) with a small 1/8th oz weight near the hook under a Midcoast Evolution cork has been my setup for the past week.Beautiful speckled trout!
The trout bite is getting better as our water temps drop and we get more in to a winter fishing pattern. The best bite the last few days has been in the morning and late evening. I had a pair of father and sons on the boat and it was awesome. We caught a ton of undersize specks and also ended up with a few keepers. We did have a swimmer. One of the kids decided to make an extra umph on his cast that sent him overboard. Luckily he had a change of clothes in the car and we just gave him a cool blow drying back to the dock to change and head back out. Luckily the fishing was hot to keep him warm.Proud dad!
Look for the next few weeks to be excellent fishing. The fish are responding well to artificial lures as well as live bait. Wadefishermen are cleaning up right now. The typical wading areas in West Bay and East Bay are producing right now with East Bay being the better of the two. My recommendation for the walk-in wader at this time is Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. Just make sure the water is at normal levels and preferably some type of easterly component to the wind. Lower tides are going to put these fish in the canals and bayous so that is where the boaters should be. The Trinity river above the bay is very good right now for specks and reds as well as the San Jacinto river. Canals in East and West Bays will hold fish also. The flounder continue to hang around the ship channel although in depleted numbers compared to November and early December.
Continue to look for great fishing and definitely improved fishing with the onset of a few fronts and some much needed rain to sweeten the bays. See you on the water!
December 20, 2012
A December to Remember!
by Capt Mullet
This year's flounder run was awesome. Plenty of big fish and lots of them. The run was still going strong in to the first week of December. We weren't catching them like the week before Thanksgiving but 20 to 30 flounder a day was still easy to do through early December. We caught flounder on almost every flounder rig I had in my box. Gulps caught most of my fish but I did catch a few on Flounder Pounders and I even caught some on the Chicken Boy lures that a client had given me to try out. Actually my first cast with a chicken boy was a 5 lb'er. Go Figure!! For customers who didn't have the skills a tandem rig of gulp and shrimp seemed to do the trick.
For those who are serious about catching trophy flounder then now is the time to go. Some of the biggest flounder of the year are caught during the month of December and January. Don't expect to kill'em but that 8 lb'er is out there waiting for you no doubt. Tight drags, heavy line and fan casting to cover a lot of ground is the key to finding them. I like structure and lots of it. This is definitely not the time to take the kids down to Sea Wolf Park or the Galveston ship channel area to have a great day of floundering. Right now is for the hardcore, trophy chasing, flounder enthusiast only. I will be looking for that 10 lb'er this winter myself.
Mr. Wayne Pedigo was generous enough to purchase one of my donated trips at the West End Anglers Charity Tournament earlier this fall. He had been entered in Chester Moore's Flounder Revolutions Catch photo and release tourney and was hoping for that big girl to weigh-in. Well he got his wish and the last time I spoke to him he told me he ended up in a respectable 5th place. Wayne was a really good fishermen and a big flounder enthusiast like myself. His big flounder shown above was 24 3/4 inches long but a little skinny which is why she only weighed a little over 6 pounds.
I love pictures of important firsts in fishing. The pic above is his first flounder and first time using artificial lures. A 5 lb. doormat is extremely impressive for his first ever!
November 02, 2012
Here Comes November!
by Capt Mullet
It is finally here! The best fishing of the year has just kicked off with this latest cold front. We fished in some crazy winds on Friday and Saturday but it was worth it. As that North wind blew and that tide dropped last Friday the bird activiy erupted in almost every satellite bay in our complex. I have heard reports of outstanding fishing in East Bay, West Bay and Trinity during the passage of this long awaited front.
The flounder have been flushed out of the marshes on this latest blast and are stacking up in Galveston and Bolivar. Look for them in their usual places along the Galveston ship channel with Sea Wolf Park being the best and most crowded spot. Flounder season offers an excellent shot for the beginner fishermen to go out and hammer a hard fighting and delicious fish. The great thing about flounder is you really do not need to mess with live bait at all. Any soft plastic or spoon hopped along the bottom will work but I think a Berkley Gulp is by far the best bait for floundering. You don't need a big fancy boat or a trolling motor or any high dollar GPS/Sonar units. A boat (that floats), an anchor and a pole in everyone's hand and you are probably going to catch a few flounder. Launching at the Galveston Yacht basin puts you right on top of the fish and anywhere in the Galveston ship channel is a potential flounder catching spot. Typically areas where there are depth changes and structure like rocks or bulkheads are areas to target. A heavier jighead like a 3/8 OZ is what I use to make sure and keep the bait on or near the bottom. If you have not tried it before you are missing out on some of the most exciting and fun fishing of the year.
The speckled trout and redfish fall pattern has also begun in full force. Trinity bay has erupted with spurts of bird activity from Tabbs Bay all the way to the pocket. Typically the best times are early morning and late evening but every day seems to be a little different. Lots of throwbacks under the birds but there are enough keepers to make it worth your while. For bigger fish look for shorelines, shell humps and shallow flats in that 3-4 ft depth to find hungry predator fish. Popping corks with live shrimp will work for drifting the flats but for hardcore lure chunkers plastics or topwater is the way to go.
Birds have started in upper West Bay according to Capt. Thomas Barlow of Notorious Guide Service. He also reports that redfish are showing up on just about every shoreline including Greens Lake, Jones Lake and Charanchua Lake. He did mention that he was concerned over the lack of rainfall we have had over the past few months. His thoughts are that "if we do not get some rain before winter then West Bay could have another 'off year' again". West Bay is the shallowest and warmest bay system we have and typically it is an excellent winter fishery especially in years of normal to higher than normal rainfall. The Texas City Dike plays a big factor in the health of West Bay. The San Jacinto and Trinty river watersheds are both blocked by the Dike and their waters are diverted out thru the Jetties. This blocks a lot of freshwater and pollution from entering West Bay. Flooding in the upper areas of the bay will send speckled trout to find saltier waters in West Bay. If you like to fish West Bay in the winter then start praying to the rain gods!
Fishing is excellent now and will remain great thru late December and on in to the winter. The time is now to get out and go fishing because it is on fire!! Take a kid fishing and see you on the water!
October 21, 2012
by Capt Mullet
It has definitely been a "Red October" on my boat this month. My redfish patterns have not changed since early September and I keep hitting them hard every week. A transitional pattern has set in and seems to be putting everything on hold for the time being. The fish still have not begun their fall pattern and until they do fishing is going to be fair to good but not great.
The redfish bite continues to be strong in every area of the Galveston bay system. Continued reports from the beachfront and jetties are that the bull red run is in full effect. The concrete ship and the jetties are two of my favorite bull red spots that produce year after year. A half of a blue crab is as good as it gets for bait but they will hit anything from shad to shrimp to cut mullet and even piggy perch. The wells in Trinity Bay are producing a lot of reds and I am getting reports of plenty of redfish in East Bay & West Bay also. The HL&P spillway in upper Trinity is loaded with small reds. A freelined shrimp or shad with a split shot on it will be met with a some type of guaranteed tug on a line from a variety of species up there.
My redfish pattern has been best on a falling tide. Shallower flats in 3-4 ft of water over areas of pipelines and heavy shell seem to be most productive up in the San Jacinto river. Midcoast popping corks (Evolution) with 24-30 inches of 30 lb leader is my set up. A kahle hook or treble will both work for live bait. TTF KFM XL's, spinnerbaits and Gulps under corks will all work very well if you like throwing artificials.
The Speckled trout are a different story. Summer just doesn't want to leave and this has us still holding in a transitional pattern. Mother nature will not let the mid 80's go and the speckled trout think it is still September. So wherever you were catching them in September then they are probably still there. A big drop in water levels is needed so that we can flush the shrimp out of the marshes and that will get the birds working in Trinity and kick that speckled trout bite in to gear. The clam reefs in Upper Trinity are holding lots of fish along with the oyster reefs in East Bay. The San Jacointo river only has a few trout in it and West Bay hasn't turned on just yet but there are a few trout starting to show up in deeper areas over heavy shell.
The wells in Trinity are still holding specks and lots of redfish. The bull reds are starting to show up also in that upper bay system but I havent seen any real bird activity to speak of. Every week the redfish just seem to get bigger in that lower Trinity/ship channel area. Right now I am throwing dark colors and catching most of our fish on TTF Killer Flats Minnows or Hackberry Hustlers. 1/4 & 3/8 oz jig heads have been working well on the well pads. Of course when using live bait a Midcoast cork with a 30lb leader is my go to set up on every trip. Don't forget to experiment some with the length of your leader when throwing popping corks. I will sometimes use a longer leader in the 50-60 inch range on windier days. Definitely use a split shot to keep that bait down in the water column especially when using a longer leader.
East Bay has continued to produce fish drifting the major reefs with artificials and live bait. I have only run a few trips in East Bay this month but we had a blast over there chasing birds and drifting over heavy shell in deep water. The North shoreline continues to produce lots of smaller fish in large schools usually found by bird activity. Afternoon outgoing tides are best. Do not pass up a group of birds sitting on the water because it can be just as good as seeing working birds in the air. Typically the seagulls are sitting right on top of the fish so break that trolling motor out and slowly work your way over to them until you are within casting distance. Fishing the birds is an art and paying attention to the school and its movements are critical. As conditions improve and we move in to a fall pattern look for that east end to turn on. Wadefishermen are beginning their preparations for the colder weather and trophy trout fishing which usually occurs all winter long over deep mud in areas like "The Refuge" (Anahuac Natl Wildlife Refuge), Robinsons bayou, Blacks Cove and Rollover pass.
West Bay is finally starting to come to life as water temps are hovering in the mid 70's. Redfish have been steady in West Bay all year long and they continue to be the best bite over there. Slicks over heavy shell in 4-6 ft of water will give away hungry predator fish to target. The back lakes are holding redfish along the shorelines and early mornings and late afternoons are key times to catch them when they are very agressive and easy to see. Drifting or trolling along shorelines or reefs in the back lakes throwing spinnerbaits, gold spoons or corks will almost always find a hungry redfish. Deeper holes in the back of Greens Lake are perfect spots for anchoring up and loading the boat up with sand trout, puppy drum and croakers.
September 19, 2012
Falling into September
by Capt Mullet
Get your reels respooled, lubed up and geared up because fall is finally here and it is time to get serious and take advantage of the best fishing season of the year. The opportunities this season brings to anglers is almost overwhelming so let's take a look at what is on the agenda for the next 10 to 12 weeks.
September's transition from summer to autumn keeps the fish moving around and heading to different areas as the bait they are following adjusts to the cooler water temps. Fleeing shrimp are starting to show up everywhere in Trinity and Tabbs Bay so I expect good things to come in those areas very soon. Redfish have been thick in the San Jacinto river. Although they have fooled me on a few days they are usually found along rip-rap walls along the channel and areas near underwater pipelines. The well pads in Trinity are producing best on outgoing tides and areas of East Bay are beginning to really shine also on moving tides.
The end of September offers the last few shots for most anglers to land that most sought after and world's greatest gamefish, the mighty tarpon. This weekend is forecasted for a day or 2 of light winds and minimal seas so I am sure the tarpon guides and anglers will take advantage of this great weather and go look for them along the beachfront. Drifting fresh shad or mullet will keep you busy catching sharks while coon-pops drifted or trolled just above the tarpon will offer the best opportunities for jumping a silver king.
The jetties will be lighting up also as breeding redfish are ganging up for their annual spawn. If catching big brutes on light tackle is your love then get ready for the bull red run. Lots of areas along the beach front and ship channel will offer opportunities for targeting bull reds including the concrete ship, bolivar wells, channel structures/markers and spoil banks. Trying to time your trip at the turn of the tides is usually your best bet for getting on that good redfish bite. These beautiful fish are the health of our fishery so let's all make a conscious effort to release these fish properly back in to the water. Hold their tails and shake them back and forth for 10 minutes if you have to but usually a few minutes will do it. They will swim out of your hand on their own when they are ready to go.
As October begins Trinity Bay, West Bay and East Bay begin to light up with bird activity on hard outgoing tides in the afternoons. This will offer non-stop fishing action for hours. Topwaters and plastics are on the menu and catching is the order of the day. As the feeding frenzy occurs below the surface it attracts gulls and terns to fleeing shimp on the surface thus giving away schools of hungry predatorial fish. This fast paced style of fishing will keep you coming back for more. October is by far the best month for chasing the birds.
If wadefishing and getting in up close to stalk the shallows is your thing then mid-October is the beginning of what I consider the "wading season (Oct to April)". The excitement of spotting a fish, making the perfect cast and hooking up is about as good as it gets. Seeing that beautiful big yellowmouth speck come dancing out of the water is enough to take your breathe away on that perfect moment in time. My first thoughts after that are keeping those knees tight together. The last thing you want is a large redfish or speck running between your legs and tripping you up. I guarantee your buddies will think it is the highlight of their trip while you are probably cold, wet and/or fishless.
Finally November arrives and the fishing becomes even better than October with trout and redfish practically gorging themselves on every moving tide. As the bird season comes to an end the flounder run and the trout bite are peaking at that same mid-November time frame. The topwater bite is awesome this time of year and it will offer a lot of incredible fishing action during this time.
Flounder season is in full swing during November and the flounder will get larger in size thru their migration with the peak being Thanksgiving. Feeling that flounder thump is another moment in time I just cherish and look forward to on every fishing trip. Setting the hook like Kevin Van Dam is in order for my style of flounder fishing and those flounder pull like bull dogs.
The fall equinox arrives on September 22nd as does the beginning of our best fishing of the year. SO don't keep talking about going fishing. Make some plans and go take advantage of our fabulous fall fishery here on Galveston Bay.
August 19, 2012
by Capt Mullet
I keep seeing the signs of autumn coming around the corner and it has me really excited. White shrimp have invaded all over upper Galveston Bay and the fish are responding. The past week or two I have seen much improved fishing on both live shrimp and artificials. However I am seeing signs and hearing whispers of the croaker bite beginning to decline. Spawning redfish are getting ready to invade our passes and the beginning of bird season is just around the corner.
A mid-morning and/or a mid-day bite has been happening for most of August. The better days are typically when that wind dies down and that water cleans up but we have had some steady catches in the wind also. Redfish are still schooled up in the mid-bay areas but there are a few singles out on the wells. Artificials work best when you can find these pods of feeding reds. I like a 3/8oz jig in water over 8 ft. and a 1/4oz when fishing shallower. Work that bottom agressively and cover a lot of water. Almost any plastic will work but I prefer something with a paddletail like a Killer Flats Minnow or a Killer Flats Minnow XL. When redfish are schooled up and feeding color really does not matter. Of course a large shrimp or croaker thrown in the middle of these reds will be gobbled up quickly.
The west side of the bay has been the place to be these last few weeks with this consistent southwest wind which seems to plague us every summer now. Protection from the wind has kept that side of the bay with green water and fishable conditions all month. Anglers are catching lots of speckled trout and other species from Dollar Reef all the way to the San Jacinto River. The other species is of course gafftop, ladyfish and a few redfish. The croaker bite is not king anymore on the north side. Which probably explains the absence of the "croaker guides" at Eagle Point. With the invasion of the shrimp in to the main bay popping corks with live shrimp under them are now the go to bait. It is important to keep your shrimp in that mid to upper water column where the trout are staging. I have been throwing a 3 to 4.5 ft leader with a weight on it to get that shrimp down in the strike zone.
The lower bay system still holds a consistent croaker bite. Dredging croakers over heavy shell has been producing consistent gamefish in 4-6 ft. of water. The croaker will begin to fizzle out down there in the beginning of September which is typically when we will start seeing a few birds working on afternoon outgoing tides. The causeway continues to hold a consistent bite all summer long on both croakers and free-lined shrimp. The Campbells Bayou area offers some protection from westerly winds and continues to produce a few decent trout along the rip rap. Fishing the drop offs will keep you with consistent bites but if you are using live bait the undesirables will keep you busy also. Live bait has worked best over there.
East Bay is still fishable but that hard Southwest wind has made it tough at times. It does'nt seem like there are a lot of fish on the reefs since everyone is ganged up in the same 1 or 2 spots on them and not anywhere else. That should change as September arrives when areas like the reefs on Smith Point, Whitehead Reef and other areas along that shoreline will begin to shine. Look for outgoing tides to begin to produce some decent afternoon fishing as early September arrives.
I picked up quite a bit of monofilament somewhere that wrapped around my prop stranded me and ruined my gearcase and I want to thank Outboard Performance Services (Old Witt Marine Guys) for letting me borrow one of their gear cases and getting me back on the water in a day or 2 thus saving me several trips and many dollars. They are located in Baytown and are Yamaha Certified mechanics. Thanks again Roberto and Mike!
July 10, 2012
by Capt Mullet
Redfish have been dominating the scene this July and they have been a blast. Open water schools of upper-slot reds are hanging out in several bay systems of our complex. If you can find them you are in for a treat. Look for this pattern to continue thru August on these open water reds. UNDERCOVER REDS
The trout bite was excellent in late June when we had a nice southeasterly flow but July has been a tougher bite so far with a return of southwest winds on most mornings. A combination of factors including increased boat traffic from the holiday, the full moon and unfavorable wind direction have been the culprits for the slower start to July. Look for fishing to quickly rebound especially if we can get back on an easterly wind flow. As water temps rise look for specks to stay deep and continue hanging out near well pads and deeper oyster reefs. HOOKED UP!
The croaker bite is in full-swing and is dominating the catches at the cleaning tables. Lots of trout and reds are being taken on the main ship channel reefs and spoils by croaker fishermen. Drifting or "dredging" continues to be the best producer for most guides. Capt. Robert Liebert says there are 2 things for succesful dredging. "Getting the bait out far enough behind your boat (20 plus yards) and constantly twitching that croaker and keeping him out of the shell" He likes to us a 5/0 Kahle hook with a 1/8 oz weight seperated by 30 lb test line. NICE CATCH
Artificials are working well near the channel but make sure and use a heavier jig like a 3/8th oz in depths over 7 ft. to keep that bait low in the water column. My go to bait continues to be the TTF Killer Flats minnow (color-Texas Shrimp). Spinnerbaits or gold spoons are working well against riprap for redfish. Just make sure and get those baits in tight to the rocks where the fish are. TRIPLED UP ON REDS
Shrimp and a popping cork are cleaning up on redfish and sheepshead along riprap and in shallow water. Keeping your baits in close to the structure is key to catching fish. Using your trolling motor is best but anchoring up on the rocks will catch a few as they swim by. RIP-RAP RED
My walk-in wade spot would be the surf if the conditions are right. Slick calm mornings and green water to the beach can be magical in the surf in July so make sure and pay attention to the Galveston webcam for current water clarity and color.KIDS LOVE REDS TOO!
Tight Lines everyone!!
June 09, 2012
by Capt Mullet
Hot summer temperatures are just around the corner but hot fishing is here already. Our weather patterns continue to be erratic and these same weather patterns are dictating how well the fish bite or don't bite. Light winds and clean water are what anglers are praying for these days. The specks are lighting it up and hitting everything from live bait to artificials during these brief periods of calm winds. Windier days have been tougher and this southwest wind and no tide movement for the first half of June really killed the good trout bite we had going before the Memorial day weekend. A return to a constant onshore flow is needed to green the water up and get those fish back on an excellent bite again.
Artificials are definitely working better than live bait on good weather days when drifting reefs and flats looking for specks. The key is to keep that bait "low and slow". Limetreuse and glo continue to be the hot colors on my boat and we are throwing limetreuse hackberry hustlers and glo/chart Killer Flats Minnows. On slick calm mornings the topwater bite is awesome.
Days where live bait is required a popping cork and shrimp are my go to set up. I am using midcoast corks with about 3 ft of 30 lb leader and a #6 treble hook. A small split shot is being added to keep the shrimp down in the middle water column.
The croaker bite is in full swing and they are definitely the hot baits right now. I was talking to Capt. George Knighten the other day about how many guides and individuals are dredging croakers and the popularity of this technique that he invented back in the mid-90's. It seems like 50% of the boats on Galveston Bay are now doing nothing but dredging croakers. This technique is obviously very effective but it does require some skill to feel the difference between a fish and hanging up on the bottom. I am actually amazed at the amount of hardcore lure chunkers that have converted from lures to croakers during this time of year.
Islands and reefs along the ship channel are producing nice fish and should really turn on in the coming weeks as our water temps rise. Fishing the wells is about to be a good bet on days with light winds and clean water. I have hit a few wells in recent weeks and haven't had much luck but that will change soon.
The crowd in East bay is still there. Soon Trinity Bay will begin showing signs of life again and then we will see some relief from the heavy crowd in East Bay as anglers move North. Slicks have been the key to finding fish in East Bay. Find the slicks and the fish are there. However, just because you find the slicks does'nt mean that the fish will bite. That dreaded Southwest wind has a way of boogering up the trout bite and cause frustrations in every angler from beginner to pro. This Southwest-westerly wind direction has been the cause of the poor fishing this month. That wind direction actually stops the tide from moving and that is one of the reasons a SW wind shuts the bite down.
West Bay has had some brief moments of good fishing also in the past few weeks. Reds are holding out in the middle of upper west bay and the speck bites seems to be happening better from Karankawa reef all the way to San Luis Pass. Long drifts are needed in West Bay because the fish are spread out so windy days are best over there. Dredging croaks and throwing shrimp seem to be equally effective over there since I am coming in with the same numbers of fish as the croaker guides.
Seeing the space shuttle replica on Galveston Bay the other day was an incredible sight. At first we couldnt believe what we were seeing until we drove up to it and took a few pics.
May 18, 2012
by Capt Mullet
Summer is definitely on the way. The Galveston Bay system has transitioned over to a late spring/early summer pattern and the brown shrimp are invading our bays in full force which has increased bird activity in all areas of the lower complex. There are not a lot of birds in West bay but when you do find them they usually have decent trout underneath them. Lower Galveston Bay (Causeway to Dike) is the most consistent area for birds but you may have to catch 30 or more before you can get a keeper out of them. Look for schools of Jack Crevalle in that same bay system.
DOUBLED UP ON JACKS!!!!!
They are hanging around the causeway/intracoastal area and can be found by sighting them boiling the surface or by watching the birds. Usually the birds will hover high above the jacks and just follow the school around without diving. Jacks will cause a huge boil when they corral bait to the surface so look for those boils and get over to them quickly with any type of artificial bait from a mirrloure to a topwater or even a plastic.
35 MINUTE FIGHT ON A TROUT ROD!
The calm winds have finally allowed East Bay to clean up. Trout green water can be found everywhere and artificials are preferred when you have water like this. Limetreuse or glo is the hot color for specks right now and I have been using Hackberry Hustlers almost exclusively.
East bay is crowded so if you plan on going you will not be alone. The trout are on most of the major reefs along with tons of bait and boats. Reds are good on pockets of grass and small bayous just off the intracoastal waterway. Popping cork and shrimp is king for those reds but a gulp will work also.
West Bay has been holding some nice redfish along the north and south shorelines. Grasslines points and shell humps have been holding reds and windier days have produced best. The trout are shallow so wadefishing is best for targeting specks in West bay. Water clarity has been excellent in lower West bay for the last few weeks. Keying in on pelicans and terns can produce good results if you dont mind catching a few gafftop as by-catch.
This latest rain is not helping salinity levels or water clarity in upper Galveston Bay. Seems like the North side of the bay just can't get a break. I havent heard any good reports from up there but hopefully soon it will pick up. Trout fishing was fair to good in early May and like clockwork at the end of May every year the specks really turn on when we get the first few calm days and the water greens up. These last few days we have seen phenomenal speckled trout fishing in every portion of the lower bay system including the surf.
When hitting the surf you should be making your first cast by 5:45 AM or at first light. Popping cork and live shrimp is king in the surf but mirrolures and topwaters are hard to beat for the hard core lure chunker. Light winds and green water are the 2 key factors so pay attention the galveston surf cam for the latest water conditions. The surf would be my number one spot for the walk in wader with Mosquito island being my second choice for windier conditions.
NICE FISH MAX!!!
The bay is crowded and with Memorial weekend coming up it is going to get busier. Everybody stay safe, be courteous and just have fun being in the great state of Texas.
April 17, 2012
by Capt Mullet
So far the fishing in April has been good. Fish are showing up in all areas of the lower Galveston Bay system from San Luis Pass all the way to the Texas City Dike.
The new construction they began last spring just south of the Texas City Dike area and Pelican Island has finally finished. We will see this year how all of this new construction will affect fishing in that area. I would love to be an optimist but they have already ruined many great areas to fish so my feelings are already tainted by this new construction. Eventually we could have some decent riprap for fish to congregate against in the coming years so we will see what opportunities this area will provide. You can bet I will be exploring this area for new fishing spots in the coming weeks.BIRDS, BIRDS, BIRDS!
Signs of birds working have begun but not in full force quite yet. They consist mostly of undersize specks and gafftop but we have pulled a few small keepers out of them. The trout are extremely spooky and they are hard to approach so start way up wind and work your way slowly towards them with your trolling motor. A TTF killer flats minnow or Hackberry Hustler on a 1/4 oz jighead in pumpkinseed is perfect. This is the beginning of the brown shrimp migration back in to the bays so make sure you are using a darker color on your plastics. WE SMOKED'EM THAT DAY!
The redfish bite has been hot in lower Galveston bay and I have spent most of my time chasing redfish. Typically April is a windy month but other than this last weekend when it blew 25-30 it has been great weather and the conditions have been good. We have been throwing mostly shrimp or Gulps under mid-coast corks with short leaders of aprox 18-24 inches. The reds are hanging in the 2.5 to 3.75 ft water depth wherever the bait is at. Be it pelicans diving or just areas of excessive mullet, find the bait and you usually find the fish. Prepare to unhook a few gafftop because they are definitely hanging around.
NOT BAD FOR 30 MPH WINDS!!
The trout bite has been fair out of the boat. I am definitely not loading the boat up with specks but I am also not really chasing them much either. There are a few Speckled trout hanging around over heavy shell in 3 to 4.5 ft of water out in the middle. But they are really spread out so a strong wind is needed for long drifts to catch a few. I have never cared for fishing the causeway because of the crowd but there have been reports of some decent fish being caught in all areas of the railroad bridge. A light tide is needed and live shrimp seems to be the best bait either free lined or under a popping cork. PASSING ON THE TRADITION FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION
The hardcore wadefishermen still has the advantage for numbers of fish being caught. Wadefishing is very good in the lower galveston bay right now and will be for the next month or 2. Wading coves or shorelines that have transition zones from sand to mud are deadly and are good places to find. The San Luis Pass area and the coves of West Bay are traditionally good wade fishing spots this time of year. They offer plenty of drive-up and walk-in wade opportunities. This would be my hot spot area for the walk-in wader. Other areas for the walk-in fishermen would be to focus on the Dollar Point area and Mosquito Island. Every April offers great wade fishing opportunities along the levees from the Moses lake entrance all the way to Mosquito Island. April can be magical over there. Topwaters or corkies are preferred but soft plastics will work also. LOTS OF PUPPY DRUM!
I have not spent any time in the other areas of the bay system due to the fresh water run-off which continues to be a problem for the Galveston Bay system. The 1 or 2 scouting trips on the north side of the bay produced only a few fish and lots of fresh and dirty water. These latest rains will not help anything either. The lower bay system is in best shape right now so that is where I will be for the next few weeks. Hope to se ya'all on the water!
April 04, 2012
by Capt Mullet
While the NCAA Basketball hoop-la is at its twilight I regularly find myself daydreaming about stalking that beautiful trophy yellowmouth on a perfect day on my favorite spot. Other guys are thinking about basketball. Not me! My mind is on specks that look like basketballs. As I write this blog I catch myself thinking of the exact piece of shell I would like to be casting to. Dreaming of that instantaneous hook-up that almost scares you when that fish rips the rod right out of your hands. Those are the kind of yellowmouth basketballs I am thinking about!
Big speckled trout are shallow so if you want a chance to catch one then you had better be stalking them quietly with all of your senses attuned in. When an athlete is in the zone he sees, hears and computes everything in his environment. As an above average angler you must be able to do the same. Paying attention to every little detail from reading the water to noticing every little wake, slick, pod and mullet around you is something I try to teach or stress to my clients who already have their own boats but just want to learn how to get to the next level of angling. If you really pay attention to the natural world and get in the zone then your catching ratio will go up dramatically.
Springtime patterns give the wade fishermen a serious advantage over other anglers. Finding a flat or cove along the shorelines of West Bay, East Bay or Trinity and grinding it out is what the serious angler is doing this time of year. Days of planning and watching the weather is critical to get the water depth, tides and winds just right. My general rule on wadefishing is the nastier the weather; the better the fishing. Drizzly, cloudy, windy days of low pressure are good days and should not be ignored. If you are waiting for that beautiful sunny day then good luck and have fun practicing your casting all day long with no bites.
Most of the time I have been throwing the Hackberry Hustler on a 1/8 or 1/16th oz jig but you will find a few broken backs, topwaters and corkies in my wade box also. Be sure to have something that imitates a small glass minnow also. The glass minnow hatch usually happens about the 1st thru 3rd week of April. So be ready for it. The Glo 3" inch Killer Shad from TTF works very well as a small glass minnow imitation so I keep a few of these in my box as April approaches.Nice catch Alex!
Drift fishing should continue to improve as long as it stops raining. The flushing of the bay we experienced in February was a big plus and should allow us to have a productive spring. The February flooding event was really a good flushing and should be over now and the whole bay is fishable again. Salinity levels have been on the rise for the past 2 weeks even in the northern part of Galveston Bay. The beginning of March end of February was tough for most boat fishermen but if you looked hard enough you could find a few for the freezer. Every other day we would catch the occasional blue cat or redfish.
The Spring Season is full upon us so follow the weather. The timing of early spring fronts will be the most effective way to know when the "bite" is on. Areas like the Kemah Shoreline and the Dollar Point shoreline will be turning on soon and are definitely spring hotspots for walk-in waders and drift fishermen. Your favorite soft plastic will work. Lately I have been throwing the Mrs Trout Killer by TTF when fishing out of the boat. I also like throwing some type of broken back or even a corky devil when drifting over heavy shell. When in the presence of mullet these type of plugs can be deadly so make sure and have a few rigged and ready to throw. The fish are going to hang shallow for a few more weeks. So areas of mud with scattered oyster or clam shell throughout are going to be priority areas. Theyw will be switching to sand by th enext full moon. Any type of shoreline leading in to or out of these type of areas are highways so taking your time to look along shorelines for slicks or signs can pay off. Live baiters will do best with a popping cork and shrimp. Try to keep your bait in the lower level of the water column so adjust your leader depths accordingly.Now that is a Big Ugly!!!
The "Drum Run" is already happening and should peak in the next few weeks. This time of year these species are overlooked for their ability to fight on light tackle. These fish have no food value (Unless you like worms) so take the time to release them carefully back in the water. The jetties, ship channel and Sea Wolf Park are definite hot spots throughout March and April. A great drive in spot for Big drum would be a day at Sea Wolf Park. Big black drum are caught on a regular basis at that location during the run on all types of baits including shrimp, crab and shad. Fishing off the rocks with sturdy poles and heavy lines will definitely give you a fighting chance at one of these beasts. Rock walkers at the jetties are also scoring well on these brutes.
The beachfront surf is another good area for spawning Black Drum to be found. Fish for them in the same way you would a bull redfish. Use Med-Heavy long distance poles so you can get your bait in to that 2nd or 3rd gut with a spider weight to keep it in place. Kayaks and canoes work well for paddling your baits out to that second and third gut. 3-4 ft leaders of 50lb+ will suffice with circle hooks for catch and release. Live mullet caught with your cast net is a preferred bait but isn't always there. My next choice would then be blue crab and/or fresh shad.
From a boat the preferred areas would be the rigs along the ship channel, Feenor Flats, the concrete ship and other deep areas that offer bait and tidal flow. Most of the rigs along the ship channel will hold black drum at this time of year. A weak tidal flow or the changing of the tides is the best time to target these big brutes in my opinion. Eating size!
March madness really is here!
March 03, 2012
Spring Break Fishing
by Capt Mullet
March is finally here and along with it is Spring Break. And that means a lot of boys and girls on my boat. Kid trips are very special and they are totally different from an adult trip. Most kids do not care what they catch so targeting "the Big 3" is not necesarily the goal. Making sure the young ones catch a lot of fish is how you make them happy. These lucky boys caught a 7 pounder! WOW!!!!
Let's start out with the really young ones (ages 5-9). For young ones I keep a few 6 ft rods (med-heavy) with very small rod handles(6 inches or less) so that they do not have to struggle with adult size rods. Try to find areas similar to the rock walls in Campbells Bayou or the deeper holes in the back of Greens Lake or the Galveston ship channel that are ideal areas for catching lots of panfish. Nice croaker!
The experience of being on the boat is new and exciting to them so stopping along the way to look at dolphins in the water and birds on the shorelines is critical to give them the whole experience. Once you get them fishing and catching a few then let them do whatever they want from there. I will sometimes throw a few panfish in the livewell because they will be entertained by watching them swim around. Playing with their catch and the live shrimp in your baitwell is something that every boy and girl will love to do so don't force the issue of making them just fish the entire time. Happy Kids!!!
The next age bracket is 9-13 years of age. The experience level of kids this age can go both ways. I have had 10 and 11 year old kids that were better than some of their parents. Experienced young anglers like this can drift fish for trout and reds and they will have no problem fishing like adults. This young man will outfish most adults.
But kids that have never fished before at this age are better off just learning to catch panfish and the occasional big 3 fish. Trips anchored up at the jetties, deep holes, rock walls and gas rigs are perfect for them. That way you will keep them busy with panfish and the occasional drum, speck or sheepshead will come in to play. I recommend the same size rod of 6 to 6.5 ft in length with a short rod handle. Fishing on the bottom with carolina rig style set ups is preferred in deeper waters (8 ft or more) and popping corks works well for kids in shallower waters especially against the rocks. What a catch!!!
Kids 13 and up can definitely fish with adults. Just make sure the guide or one of the adults (if not on a guided trip) are working with them the whole time. Casting for them if neccesary, baiting their hook and helping teach them how to use the rod and reel properly. Don't forget to talk to them about conservation. Most kids want to keep everything they catch so make sure and take the time to talk to them about catch and release and the importance of our fishery for their future. Kids love to catch sheepshead!
Always remember that safety is very important. Making sure the kids are wearing eye protection 100% of the time is critical. Safety glasses or sunglasses both work just fine. Life jackets that fit them properly are also important. There are a lot of ways for young kids to get hurt on a boat so make sure that they are safe when driving to different locations.
Make it all about the kids and I promise you will have a young angler for life to go fishing with all the time. Take a kid fishing and tight lines!!
February 10, 2012
Early February Report
by Capt Mullet
Not a lot of days on the water this past week with rain hampering almost all of my trips. Really can't complain about the rain since it is so desperately needed here in Texas. Wednesday and Thursday were scouting mission preparing for future trips I have to admit that fishing has not been very good this year so far and all of this rain has just wiped out my patterns in the upper portions of Galveston Bay. After talking to a few guides it seemed that the only ones catching fish were doing so way up in creeks and back lakes so that was the plan. Capt Robert Liebert and myself launched around noon on Wednesday and decided to hit some back bay areas that most people do not fish and it was crazy good. I think we had a our first fish on the 3rd cast and it was almost every cast or every other cast for 100 yards. Whenever we are scouting we don't like to sit there and hammer them out. So we moved on to the next spot and it was the same thing. Lots of trout being caught. The key was finding the right water depth. Fishing in 3 ft of water wouldn't produce a bite but as soon as we would hit that 4 ft depth it was on.
We hit a few more spots in the back lakes and caught fish on every stop. Not a lot of keepers in the other spots but plenty of bites. We hit some areas in the open bay without a bite. The next day we wanted to come up with plan B and we hit a totally different area but with the same environment. A shallow back lake with a few areas that held the magic depth of 4 feet. We made a few long drifts in areas of 3 ft without a bite. But again as soon as we hit the right depth it was on again.
We ended up doing 2 drifts thru a very small area and caught 11 trout 3 rat reds and a 5 pound freshwater cat. That sucker came up on the surface like a big trout does just thrashing on the surface and we were both excited to see it. I was scrambling for the net as Robert was struggling to get this fish close to the boat. We were both thinking that it was huge trout since it was like a bulldog making hard runs away from the boat. He got it close to the boat and I slipped the net under it and we couldn't believe what we were seeing. A 5 pound freshwater catfish! Right in the middle of all of those specks. Fishing has been on and off since then. One day we get'em good and the next day they are nowhere to be found. Spring is almost here so just keep grinding because conditions have to get better sooner or later. This rain has kept me off the water with lots of canceled trips. Dirty water and lower salinities are pushing those fish southward toward the gulf. West bay should be turning on with all of this rain but I am not hearing good things yet about that bay system. East Bay is fair at best for drift fishing The anglers doing best are the wadefishermen. Late afternoon continues to show the best results but if you can find a big quantity of fish you should be able to catch them all day long. Things are bound to change over very soon so keep on chunkin. Tight Lines
February 04, 2012
Late January Report
by Capt Mullet
I have gotten a lot of requests from 2coolers to begin a report style blog similar to the reports I used to compile here on 2cool that seemed so popular in years past. So here it goes.
This last week of January had a few ups and downs. I started out last Sunday (29th) on the water as a scouting mission. A good friend of mine and myself were chunking lures all day long while drifting. Didn't seem to matter what we threw because they didnt want to eat. Conditions were not good with blue bird skies and light winds. We fished all up and down the San Jacinto river and just couldnt get a bite. We ended up the day with 1 keeper trout and a few sandies and that was it.
Monday was a different story. SE winds that picked up along with a lot of cloud cover changed the attitude of those fish. Hitting the same exact areas we starting catching fish on the first drift. I had an 80 year old retiree who still has the energy to fish and golf every week. I hope I can do that when I am his age!! Fishing in 3 - 3.5 ft of water over heavy shell was the preferred target area. All of our trout were in the 18-21 inch range with no undersize fish mixed in at all. Just solid trout and 1 black drum. All of our fish were caught on a popping cork with live shrimp. We didn't have a lot of time on the water since we launched at 2 pm but we ended up with 9 solid trout and 1 black drum.
On Tuesday I decided to launch late morning and that was a mistake. After about 2 hours of fishing in the rain and no bites my guys were soaking wet and ready to go in to try it again another day. This was a good lesson for them to come prepared on their next fishing trip. They had no rain gear and 1 guy didn't even have a jacket. To say the least they were miserable and I got them back to their cars quickly so they could dry out and warm up. After I dropped them off I called Capt Robert Liebert and he jumped in with me. We had a great afternoon catching easy limits of trout. We weren't keeping any so I am not sure of the total. Unfortunately I didn't have any clients on the boat. I wish I did because it was the best fishing of the week.
My guys on Thursday wanted a full day so we launched at 10 AM. I had warned them about the afternoon bite but they just wanted to be on the boat and have fun. Luckily the rain stopped at 10 AM about the time we hit the water. It wasn't until noon or 1 PM until we started getting bites. And bites seemed to be the norm without fish. I can't tell you how many times our corks were pulled under and nothing would stick. Finally started hooking a few trout but they were all undersize and then the big ugly struck. I forgot to mention that these guys were all young doctors and they obviously work hard because they were a lot of fun and definitely were blowing off steam. Every time a fish was on they were yelling and screaming like schoolgirls. They were having such a good time I didn't have the heart to tell them that this loud yelling might be detrimental to our fishing. As this big black drum ran one of the young Dr's around the boat about 5-6 times he was constantly harrassed by his buddies. It finally got within netting range and I stuck it with the net but the net pulled the hook out and he swam away without us getting a picture. The harrassment soon went from the angler to the captain. I didn't live that one down all day long. Every time I grabbed the net to snag a fish I was met with some type of hilarious and degrading comment. This was one of the funnest trips I have had in a long time. All they did was laugh and cut up all day long. We grinded it out until our last piece of shrimp at 5:45 and then we ended up back at the launch. We ended up catching aproximately 12 trout, 2 reds, 1 flounder and a big ugly. We didnt kill'em but this is the kind of trip that reminds you that having fun on the water is what it is really all about. And a lot of fun is what we had.
Hope you enjoy the reports and I will keep them coming!!
January 05, 2012
Good Winter Fishing Continues
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.
December 09, 2011
by Capt.Craig Lambert
Time to get those warm winter clothes out and get ready for some of the best fishing of the year. This last cold spell has brought our water temps down to the mid-50's with lower water levels. Because of those conditions West Galveston Bay becomes a great fishing destination to target the "Big 3".
November 14, 2011
November's Hot bite
by Capt. Craig Lambert
November is an epic month for fishing and outdoors here in Southeast Texas. I look forward to November every year like it is Christmas.
November 11, 2011
by Capt Craig Lambert
Every year the excitement and anticipation for flounder season grows as fall arrives. Come late October, I am already buying gulps and 3/8th oz jigs preparing for my first few trips of the season.