Reports & Forecasts: December 2021

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - – 409.935.7242

December is a great month to fish in James' area, he says, with a variety of options, depending on the weather. “We have warm weather right now, so there's still plenty of shrimp in the bays. We might have one of those years where birds are working all the way through Thanksgiving and beyond. If it gets colder, and the tide dumps out, that will all end sooner. Then, the pattern of fishing the mud streaks out in the middle of West Bay should improve. Some years, the wading can also be good in December. Best results there occur on days when the water first gushes back in after it's been cold for a couple days, with a low tide. Fishing around the spoils along the ICW, and the reefs around both North and South Deer islands, and on Confederate Reef, can be great in such a situation. This is especially true for people who are willing to fish late in the afternoons and into the night. Cold weather means clear water in West Galveston Bay, and the fish bite better in low light conditions when the water is so clear, except where some turbulence creates some color.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service – 409.996.3054
Jim mentions the same basic plan he's been working for many Decembers in the past—hunting ducks on the weekends, fishing during the weeks. “I will spend most of my weekend time setting up and running duck hunts, also running some when the weather is nasty. We'll fish more when the weather's nicer, and on the weekdays. My favorite kind of fishing this time of year happens when we have strong east winds. I like it when it's really pumping, and the tide level rises. During a situation like that, we catch some of the bigger trout in the bays tight to the banks. They feed up really well before the strong fronts arrive. You can usually catch 'em the way you want to, on a variety of lures, in a situation like that. Once the fronts blow the tide out, everything changes. You have to fish out of the boat in deeper water for a while, and catching the bigger trout becomes tougher. Lately, we have been having an easy bite, once the tide came back in after the freakish low levels caused by that strong front. We're catching plenty of solid keeper trout, up to about two and a half pounds.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service 979.849.7019 – 979.864.9323

When he submitted this report, Randall noted that the onset of cooler weather had come later than usual. “The normal fall patterns are delayed somewhat, with this warm weather. We've still got plenty of shrimp in the bays. We've found a few flocks of gulls working over migrating herds, but the big push hasn't happened yet. When it does, fishing for both trout and reds under the birds will get good for a while. During lulls in that action, drifting around in fairly deep water where concentrations of mullet are found works better. For the most part, throwing soft plastics works best when this is the plan. Normally, we throw Norton Bull Minnows or Sand Eels in natural looking colors like chicken on a chain this time of year. The white, brown and chartreuse colors work well to mimic shrimp. We rig them on three-eighths ounce heads most of the time, going a bit heavier if currents and winds are strong. This month can also be a good one to wade in the shallow areas where a mix of mud and shell covers the bottom, throwing slow-sinking twitch baits, if catching bigger than average trout is the goal of the moment.”

Matagorda | Bay Guide Service
Tommy Countz- 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037

Tommy says the fishing in East Matagorda can be excellent for bigger than average trout in December. “Many of the really big trout I've caught here bit in December. If we're targeting a wall-hanger trout, we like to wade, mostly in the coves on the south shoreline. We throw slow-sinking twitch baits and tails around the mouths of drains for best results. Topwaters work well at times too, when the weather is warmer. Best bite window seems to be in the hours ahead of the arrival of a strong front. Drifting the mud flat in the east end and the scattered shell in the west end of East Bay can produce good catching too. When fishing out of the boat, we always keep an eye open for working birds. If the weather in December isn't too cold, we usually still have some. And, the Colorado River produces excellent catching this time of year, if the water isn't too fresh. In there, it's a lot like bass fishing. We drift with the current and throw at the banks, working our lures down the face of the drop off. Heavier jigheads are often required on soft plastics, due to the depth of the water.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam – 979.240.8204

We've really been whacking the trout and redfish so far this fall. Our trout bite has rebounded well since the lull after the freeze and the record rainfall we had this summer. We've been finding trout under working birds in lots of locations, basically all over the local bays, from Oyster Lake to the north shoreline of Tres Palacios Bay. Most of the action is occurring around patches of shell in fairly shallow water. We've also been catching a few out at the rigs in West Matagorda. The big shrimp hatch has made for easy catching on trout, with most ranging from seventeen to about nineteen inches. DSL lures in chicken of the sea and pearl/chartreuse Norton Sand Eels have worked best. The redfish have been schooling in the marshes and chasing grass shrimp and shad. We're catching plenty of reds most days, throwing the same soft plastics that have been taking the trout. Fishing at night on the piers continues steady, with all three piers in town holding solid keeper specks and some quality sand trout too. As we head into December, the rule will be the same as always. First order of business is to locate some bait!

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service – 361.983.4434

In December, Lynn returns to working the cold weather plan, meaning leaving the dock later in the mornings and fishing through the warming hours of the afternoons. “Lately, we've been targeting redfish more than trout. The action for the reds has been more consistent. We've been having great luck on pink SkitterWalks and bone Spook Juniors, drifting around in the back-lakes and waiting for the reds to find them and blow up. We are catching some trout mixed in with 'em, up to around twenty-three inches. We've been releasing most of the trout. As the weather gets colder, the typical drill becomes more focused on making sustained efforts around sandy pockets in the grass, or patch reefs adjacent to the drains. We will throw slow-sinking twitch baits some, also soft plastics on light jigheads. One of the best patterns for catching occurs at the end of a bright afternoon, when the water has had time to warm up in the shallow recesses of a lake, then the tide begins to flow out. We usually have fast and furious catching for a while when that happens. In the middle of the day, an incoming tide often produces a better bite.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894

December is smack in the middle of cast and blast season for Blake, so he'll be on the water lots of days, starting out in the blinds in the shallow parts of the bays, working out to the main bays later in the days. “We usually start off hunkered down in the marsh shooting at ducks this time of year. Hoping we get a good push of birds. Remains to be seen, with so much water on the ground inland. When fishing, we like to start off by targeting reds in the same areas where we hunt. I usually see plenty when running around in the air boat. Weather's been warm lately, and we have lots of reds in the shallows right now. If the tide falls out and it gets colder, which it usually does in December, we find more reds and trout in the holes in the bayous, and along main-bay shorelines. Once we get out to the deeper parts of the bays in the middle of the day to target trout, we like to key on areas with a mix of mud and shell on the bottom, or in places where warmer water dumps out of the lakes and coves.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – [email protected] – 361.563.1160

Once hunting season gets into full swing this time of year, we fishermen have our quietest times on the water. With both air and water temperatures cooling down, the fish will be slowing down some, but not as much as they will in the colder months to follow. On the colder nights, the fish will move into deeper water. As the sun rises in the morning, they will move back toward the shallows, since shallower water warms up faster than deeper water. This time of year, I like to use Bass Assassin four-inch Sea Shads in colors like magic grass, opening night and chicken on a chain rigged on sixteenth-ounce Spring-lock jigheads. These lures work well when we're targeting slot-sized redfish. The trout have been more scarce since the freeze, but they will also take the small soft plastics well in cool weather. If lots of floating or suspended grass becomes a problem, dangling the same lures under an Assassin Kwik Kork works better. Best bet is to place the lures about fifteen inches under the cork, using a twenty-pound fluorocarbon leader. Drifting in about a foot of water on sunny days and sight-casting at red and black drum with shrimp-flavored Fish-bites also produces well.

Corpus Christi / Joe Mendez——361.877.1230
Fishing in the ULM and Baffin Bay can be outstanding in December, Joe says. “We have some really good places to hide from north winds. The catching in places like the Boat Hole and on the north shoreline of Baffin can be excellent in the wake of cold fronts. The flats from the Badlands to East Kleberg Point produce some big trout and reds this time of year when the water temperatures cool down into the fifties. If the weather's warmer, the fishing is often better in the lagoon. Drifting around the outer edges of the grass flat and throwing soft plastics at deep grass beds can produce plenty of bites if the tide is low and the water temperature’s pretty low. If it's a really warm day, and when the tide is higher, the fish will sometimes be really close to the bank, especially on the west side. Areas with large mats of dead grass, some sandy potholes and a few rocks on the bottom often hold more fish than areas without any of these things. Best bet this month in general is to work the lures low in the water column, and slowly, with rhythm.”

P. I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361-877-3583 |

December can be one of the most exciting months in the Texas surf. This year has a chance to go down as phenomenal, if warmer temperatures linger. The mullet migration is currently delayed. It is not out of the question for us to get a run of December jackfish. Things could explode at any moment. One thing that is certain—the monster bull reds will be in the shallows, and hungry. Anglers wanting to catch the red of their lives should cast out half a whiting after dark. Other questionable species which may be present for December could be Spanish mackerel and bluefish. Both these toothy creatures love cool (not cold) water and if given the right conditions they could be around. Mullet are a great bait for these, but everyone must follow the regulations for size usage. In regards to sharks, December can be stellar for blacktips and sandbar sharks. In additions, if all variables line up there is a rare shot at a beach mako—my first surf specimen came in early December. One of the more desirable and targeted fish this time of year is the tasty Florida pompano. They are often caught on small hooks and either Fish-bites or pieces of shrimp.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000

Wader season has arrived. With cold fronts rolling in, conditions can get rough in a hurry, so keeping an eye on the weather is important this month. During fall, locating concentrations of bait is critical. With cooler water temperatures, this can become more difficult, as the activity level of the bait drops. Keying on scant signs of the presence of bait can be really productive. The deeper parts of West Bay produce well during colder weather this month. The reds tend to concentrate in the middle or around the edge of the break. The areas on both sides of the Pipeline can also be good, especially the part south of it, east of Bennie's Island, where numerous potholes provide habitat for reds to use when ambushing their prey. Behind the cabin at the Saucer is also productive. Gladys Hole is another December hot spot, especially after a front. Fish tend to concentrate around the entrance to the big cove when the tide falls out. Another favorite spot is the flat just north of Butcher's Island, which has a great mix of sand and grass. Wagner's Bar can also hold plenty of fish, especially when some mullet are seen jumping in the area.

Lower Laguna Madre—South Padre—Port Isabel
Aaron Cisneros | – 956-639-1941

Our recent fishing has improved as the water temperatures have fallen from the really high levels we had earlier in the fall. We've been finding decent numbers of trout schooling in water about belly-deep. We're focusing our efforts in areas that have an abundance of sandy pockets breaking up the grass on the bottom, where we see plenty of signs of active bait fish. We're working KWiggler Ball-tails in plum/chartreuse, rigged on quarter-ounce jigheads close to the bottom, making just occasional, light jerks with the rod tip to hop them a short distance up into the water column for best results. Redfish numbers have remained steady, with most of the reds feeding on small bait fish like finger mullet and glass minnows along shorelines in the shallower backwater areas. Tidal movement has been a key to catching them. When we have some movement in the water, bone Spook Juniors have worked well early in the mornings to cause the reds to blow up. Later in the days, KWiggler Willow-tails in bone diamond rigged on eighth-ounce screw-lock jigheads work much better. These patterns should remain consistent throughout December, barring a long stretch of really cold weather for this time of year.