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".
Upper West Bay this time of year has always been one of my favorite fishing locales. The vast amounts of shell and shallow flats produce not only our most beautiful bay but during winter it is probably the most productive bay system in our complex. This year we will not see the numbers of trout in West bay as in years past. We have the drought to thank for that.
When fishing for specks in winter, artificials are the preferred method so a 1/8th or 1/16th oz. jighead on a larger plastic such as the Texas Tackle Factory Killer Flats Minnow XL is an excellent choice. Plum has always been the traditional color for West Bay so if you had to pick one color that is what I would choose. Don't rule out a big bait like a Corky Devil either. The key to fishing open water is to make long drifts thru the dirtiest water you can find. The presence of a few flipping mullet are a must so keep your eyes open for them and make sure you coincide your drift over that area.
For redfish concentrate on shallow spoil reefs or small shell islands along the intercoastal. Fishing extremely close to the shell (1.5 to 3 ft of water) will offer plenty of opportunities for redfish and a few trout. A weedless gold spoon will keep you from hanging on the shell and is a timeless redfish bait that will never fail. For those guys not in to spoons the TTF Killer Flats Minnow, in pumpkinseed on a 1/16th, is about as good as it gets for a redfish locator bait. The back lake areas will be another environment to target redfish in. Drifting shorelines, humps and over areas of scattered shell in these back lakes can produce not only redfish but a variety of other species as well. For live baiters a popping cork and live shrimp will work effectively.
If this year is anything like last year then West Bay is the place to be to stalk and catch that trophy trout of a lifetime. All of the coves in West Bay offer incredible wadefishing opportunities. And wadefishing is the only way to get down and dirty and catch a gator trout with any consistency. Being in the water an hour or so before the sun comes up has always been my sure way of catching a big girl. Big trout want big baits so my favorite topwater for this time of year is a Super Spook and my favorite plug is a Corky. When you get in the water and actually stalk these fish it is a totally different experience than fishing in the boat. The excitement level doubles when you are trying to grab a thrashing fish at your waist as she makes run after run away from you. Hand grabbing a 25 inch or larger fish while thrashing at your side is as exciting a moment as the hook up itself. The range of emotions you go thru in those few seconds are what keeps you wanting more. The great thing about West bay is that it offers several areas for walk in waders. Finding areas to walk in from your car ot truck is easy. There is Sportsman's Rd., San Luis Pass, Galveston Island State Park, Virginia Pt. and of course Sea Wolf Park. With a little ingenuity and Google Maps it wouldnt be hard to come up with a few spots on your own to walk-in.
Flounder are still hanging around in the Galveston ship channel. The last few days during this cold-spell I spent some time flounder fishing and although it was definitely slow we managed to barely scrape out our limits with a few 5 pounders in the box. The weekday crowd is non-existent now in the channel so anyone wanting to get out there these last few days of the run will have no problem getting in to their favorite spots. See my prior Blog named "Flounder Bites" for more info on targeting Flounder.
Happy Holidays to all!!!