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.
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.