by Captain John Havens
In the past 2 weeks I have spent quite a bit of time on the road traveling and fishing, I fished Galveston, Sabine and East Matagorda. Most of my trips have been in Galveston lately, but with the recent fronts I felt it was time to begin checking the other two bay systems to see if the trout were in their winter time patterns in all 3 bay systems. What I saw was very encouraging, we had trout in the seven pound range or bigger in each bay. The time that many big trout anglers wait for each year is definitely upon us, I feel from this point forward you will have a chance to catch the trout of a lifetime any day of the week. The main things are going to be putting yourself in the right place, at the right time, throwing one of the right lures. Each day and situation is different in that you can not define that situation until it is truly happening. So the right places, times and lures will not be the same each and every day. Learning to adapt and overcome is going to be very beneficial in your pursuit. You must always remember that no matter who you are, there are going to be tough days. Days where the bite seems nonexistent and the fish seem nowhere to be found. These days can be some of your best learning experiences, especially when you can figure them out and walk away feeling victorious. Use each and everyday as a learning experience, walk a new area, try a different approach. Just do not let yourself keep doing the same thing time and time again if it is not working.
This past week we were faced with a few different challenges such as extreme low tides and super clear water. On top of that we are facing super high salinity levels which are allowing fish to spread out way beyond places they would normally be this time of year, this is more than likely something we are just going to have to accept and deal with. Unless we have a huge amount of rainfall in a short period of time I do not see this changing. What does it mean? In some areas and bay systems the numbers of fish normally in certain areas are going to be down compared to normal years. Many of the fish that would normally be in these areas have travelled right past them up into the many rivers, bayous and canals lining our bays. In reality it is just spreading our fish thin, but that is all right, because our bays and fish populations seem very healthy otherwise. There are still lots of fish out there to be caught. I will talk more about this in coming weeks as to how we can use this to our advantage, especially during and after hard fronts blow in.
When facing the clear water situation this past week we really had to work hard at getting bites and figuring out what lures we could get them to eat. We were standing waist deep casting into less than knee deep water, fishing a windward shoreline. We chose the windward shoreline knowing it would be some of the first water to get stirred up by the increasing wind, thus giving us a better chance at getting more bites. At first the fish would not have anything to do with my favorite pearl/chartreuse fatboy. Understanding I needed to be throwing something that looked natural in these conditions, most all our bites came on some what natural colored Corky's. I say some what because I caught most of my fish on the "#07 Silver chartreuse tail", which it is hard to call chartreuse a natural color. The other colors that were working well were the "#04 Glow" and "#10 Pearl black back". Another lure that drew some strikes was a Yo-zuri "Crystal Minnow", everything else we threw seemed to go unnoticed.
I had a good feeling we were standing amongst a good number of big trout, it was just that they were not showing themselves at all. Very little bait activity, but just enough to keep me interested in this particular area. Knowing we had a minor feeding period approaching I decided it would be best to give these fish a little longer before moving on. It certainly turned out to be the right decision, the fish began doing their thing right on schedule. The bait became more active with the occasional big swirl here and there, and it was not long before we landed our first of many fish that we almost walked right through. This day we were not concerned with numbers, our efforts were put toward catching big trout. We spent many hours casting in knee deep water just waiting on that one bite. In the end we were rewarded for our efforts as we landed numerous trout between 5 to 8 pounds. This day could have easily gone the other way, but because of our confidence in the area, patience in knowing we could catch them when they were ready to feed, and knowing the feeding times, this day turned out to be one to remember. One of the most important things to know this time of year before hitting the water is the feeding times for that particular day, it can change the entire outcome of a fishing trip when used to your advantage. One of the easiest sites to find this information is: http://www.tides4fishing.com/us/texas#fishing-map
Another easy option is in "Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine", they have a graph with "Tides & Solunar Table" that has a lot of very good information, as well as a small explanation of how it works. The page is perforated to allow easy removal from the magazine to be carried along for easy access. Till next time, good luck and be safe.