"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-André Gide

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Should Have Been Here Yesterday

It was hard leaving to go back to school earlier this week knowing the conditions were going to be great for the remainder of the week and the tides had finally aligned for a late evening bite. I only had one class this week on Tuesday and while in class all I could think about was how good the fishing should be. Less than 24 hours after making the trek to San Marcos, I decided to head back home and fish around Galveston for a couple days during peak conditions.

My prognostication proved to be accurate because the fishing over the last two days was outstanding, especially the late afternoon bite. On Thursday after a few hours of rest, I hit the water at sunrise and managed to scratch out 9 trout and 3 flounder before noon at my first destination. I packed up and went elsewhere to catch the evening tide. From the time I made it to my second destination until just after dark the bite was fast and furious. I got bites on nearly every cast and caught a few limits of trout up to 23" as well as a stray redfish. Finished the day with 1 red, 3 flounder, and at least 40 trout.

The conditions on Friday morning were superb and I had intentions to fish that morning but overslept due to a lack of rest. I met up with Chris and Judson to see if we could muster up another afternoon bite. We fished hard for several hours with only a few bites and fish to show for our efforts. Judson has had his share of bad fortune lately so we started to question whether bringing him along was such a great idea. He also mentioned that the day was a prime example of the "should have been here yesterday" karma.

About an hour and a half before dark the bite picked up. We got bites on nearly every cast the remainder of the evening and into the darkness. Chris and Judson both managed to string a limit of trout and 1 flounder. I guess Judson's luck wasn't too bad after all. We finished the night with 1 flounder, a few reds, and at least 60 trout up to 23" between the three of us. Didn't catch as many quality fish over the last two days but the numbers were definitely up. Up to this point the bite had been extremely soft but the bite the last two days was the most aggressive all winter long.

Now to the particulars. All fish were caught deep in areas with a muddy bottom and scattered shell. Slow incoming tides later in the day have been the ticket. Water temp was approximately 65 degrees yesterday, which is quite a bit above normal for this time of year. There has been plenty of bait all over the flats adjacent to deep water and I wouldn't be surprised if the fish start to move shallow with the higher tides and warmer water. Baits of choice (pictured below) were Corky's (copper top), Corky soft plastic (pearl/ chartreuse), MirrOdine XL (chartreuse top and bottom/ silver side), Skitterwalk (blue and chrome), TTF Flats Minnow (liquid shrimp), and a Gambler Flapp N Shad (morning glory).

We need another cold front badly to blow some of the water out of the bays and lower the water temps back down to winter levels. I didn't think I would say this at all this winter because before two week ago this winter had been an extremely cold one. Another front would help stack the bigger fish and baitfish deep. It seems like the smaller fish have move in and are extremely aggressive. The water and weather lately have looked more like fall or spring than the dead middle of winter.

Released Trout

Released Flounder

Corky Down Deep

Me with a solid trout

Another solid trout after dark

Chris and Judson with full limits

Baits of Choice

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Back to Normal and Back to School

Fishing had been tediously slow since the major cold front hit almost two weeks ago. Things are starting to pick up though and the fish are starting to settle into the normal winter patterns. The water temp last Wednesday dipped as low as 48 degrees and by Friday the temp how risen ever so slightly to a brisk 50 degrees.

The good news is since then the water temp has increased to as high as 62 degrees yesterday afternoon. The amount of bait both shallow and deep has been abundant over this warming trend which has caused the fish to feed more aggressively and often. As long as the weather cooperates look for fishing to improve and remain stellar.

School starts back up today so I decided to fish the last two days before I had to head back to San Marcos. Sunday was one of those days when conditions appeared optimal but the fishing dictated otherwise; couldn’t buy a bite. Yesterday was a whole other story. Me and a couple friends fished a different location and landed around 20 reds, 4 trout and 1 flounder, including two trout over 23”.

Not a bad way to end the fishing marathon known as winter break. Logged 22 days on the water over the last 32 days, including 12 days this year alone. Baits of choice yesterday were Gambler Flapp’ N Shad in morning glory and Norton Sand Eel in plum/chartreuse.

My two best trout since the front…

23.25" Trout

23" Trout

Morning Glory Flapp' N Shad

Rats were a dime a dozen but we managed to scratch out a handful of keepers...

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Alive and Well

I've been all over Galveston Bay the last five days and have only spotted dead fish at one location in Upper Galveston Bay. It was limited to only mullet from what I could tell. Good news is I still haven't seen any dead game fish in the Galveston area. I measured the water temp as high as 53 degrees yesterday afternoon and by nightfall it had dropped to around 48 degrees. Me and Chris caught and release numerous trout and reds yesterday but almost all of them were undersized. If the weather continues to stay warm and water temps increase to normal winter time levels, fishing should pick up very soon. Let’s hope the warming trend continues.

Fishing since the front hit last week has been very slow, which has given me ample time to play with the camera...

Fish Kill: Mullet

Wedge Tail Relfection


High and Dry

Low Tide

Oysters Anyone?

Sunset Buoy

Clear Water

Chris - "Hardest Hit I've Had All Winter"

Stomach Contents: 6" Mullet

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hit or Miss

If I was asked to sum up winter fishing here on the Texas Coast in as few words as possible “hit or miss” would be the most fitting choice. Fishing during this time of year can be gruelingly slow at times and fast and furious at others. When the fishing is slow bites are few and far in between but when you get in the right area during peak conditions the action can be nonstop. Fishing throughout the winter is a true test of your patience.

Over the last week I’ve had the opportunity to hit the water on 8 separate occasions from Upper Galveston Bay all the way to East Matagorda and few spots in between. I’ve had my fair share of misses with the occasional hit over that span. Fishing has been on the slow side as far as quantity is concerned but the quality has been superb. Prior to Wednesday, I had caught and released quite a few in the 3.5 – 4.5lb range at nearly every spot.

This past Wednesday was my birthday and I planned to celebrate by spending the entire day on the water. I made numerous phone calls looking for a partner but to no avail after a few back outs and probable’s, I ventured out alone. At the first spot I hit the fishing was monotonous. I fished all morning long with only a handful of bites and three small keeper trout landed. After heading in, regrouping, and getting a bite to eat, I moved locations in hopes of scratching out anything worth writing home about.

I fished the second spot for a few hours without as much as a nibble. With my patience wearing thin and the prospect of catching anything dwindling quickly I set my alarm for an hour later. I decided if I didn’t get a bite within the next hour I was going to pack up and head home. About 45 minutes later and still without a bite the tide slowly started to creep in. A few minutes later like clockwork I got my first bite a solid hit but it didn’t connect. The next 45 minutes the bite was completely relentless. I was getting bites on nearly every cast including many trout in the 18” – 21” range as well a few redfish up to 24”. In the midst of all the chaos I managed to catch my largest trout of this winter a 25”/5.5lb fish.

The bite began to slow down and then I got the bite I had been searching for all winter long. When I felt the hit and weight of the fish I knew it was a solid fish but wasn’t sure if it was going to be the right species. After seeing the big girl surface my heart began to race with excitement. After short battle I subdued the sowbelly and I raced to the shoreline to capture a few pictures of my trophy measuring in at 28.75” and 7.75lbs. The picture quality isn’t the best because I tried to snap the pictures as quick as possible to return the fish unscathed and taking self portraits is not the easiest thing to do.

After releasing her back in the wild to produce hopefully millions of offspring, my reaction was one of pure enjoyment. I just couldn’t stop laughing. There I was standing on a shoreline in the middle of nowhere by myself with a smile on my face so big I could light up the sky. I wore that smirk all the way home and still can’t get if off my face thinking about what happened the other night. I’ve never felt more of a sense of accomplishment while fishing ever.

This is my second winter of seriously chasing big trout and I’ve logged countless hours in that short window “paying dues.” I’m a redfish guy at heart and still am but that big girl the other day brought me more enjoyment then any redfish ever has. I’m not sure if it was because it happened on that particular day or the fishing had been so slow all day prior to the short window of absolute mayhem. Maybe it was because I had been working so hard to get that big bite or a combination of all of the above.

The typical winter pattern of deep water over muddy bottoms with an incoming tide has been producing lately. All fish over the last week were caught and released. My personal philosophy is any trout over 20” goes back into the water if fit to do so. Lures of choice have been Catch 5 (21), Gambler Flapp’n Shad (Morning Glory), and Flats Minnows (Liquid Shrimp, Roach, and Mumpy Glo).

Greg with a solid trout

4lb Trout

4.5lb Trout

Andrew with a 27.75"/6.25lb PB Trout

28.5"/8.25lb Red

Chris with a 5lb Trout


3.5 lb

21 Spot Red


PB Trout 7.75lbs