Hi, I'm Cade. I'm just your everyday do it yourself kind of guy with a great passion for the outdoors. Like many of you, I have often found myself a little lost when planning a fishing trip to a new area. Well, break out your Hook-N-Line Fishing map and follow me each month as I travel along the Texas coast, learning the ins and outs of fishing the saltwater along the way.
Christmas Bay is one of the last decently large bodies of water comprising the Galveston Bay system. The bay is surrounded by marshland and Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. One can approach Christmas Bay from the northeast, driving down from Galveston; otherwise drive up the coast a short way from the Freeport/Surfside area. For this outing I chose Surfside as my home base.
When and Weather
The online reports as well as my fishing maps indicate Christmas Bay to be best from the spring through the fall. However, I wanted to try my luck at some winter kayak fishing. To wrap up the holiday season, I thought to myself "what better body of water to fish than Christmas Bay?" The forecast had called for high chances of rain right until it was time to head off for the weekend, thankfully it let up and the skies were partly cloudy at the most. The one big hindrance was the wind blowing a steady 15mph, with gusts above 20mph. Day time temps stayed in the low 50s, night time temps dipped into the 40s.
Tackle and Gear
ROD: Allstar 7' M
REEL: Shimano Curado
LINE: Suffix 15lb monofilament, clear
LURE: DOA Shrimp, Gold Glitter 3"
I needed to rent an extra kayak for this trip because my girlfriend would be joining me for her first ever kayak adventure. Austin Canoe and Kayak of Houston, is my go-to kayak resource. They are very friendly and knowledgeable and got us set up perfectly.
For bait, stop in either Saltgrass Bait Shop or Denver's Bait Camp. Both are located on Hwy 332 just before the bridge as you approach Surfside.
Hitting the water
Before leaving ACK, they gave me a business card with the website www.austinkayak.com/app. From the link you can download a cell phone app that allows you to find kayak launch points for various bodies of water. It immediately came in handy for this trip and will be useful for those to come.
I found Christmas Bay is set up quite well for kayaks. The launch points are easy to find. Also, much of the water is never deeper than a foot or so around the marshy banks. We beached the kayaks a couple of times and did some wading as well.
Referring to my Hook-N-Line map, we launched from location K23 and paddled northeast directly into the wind. Once we reached the pass we paddled a few hundred yards up the pass to a post structure in the water. From here we let the wind do the rest, drifting us back towards the launch, casting and trolling along the way
The next morning was a repeat of paddling into the wind, though it was stronger and coming more out of the east. We drifted a cut in the marsh for a while then paddled and casted along the leeward side of the northeast bank of the bay as we made our way back to the launch.
My Hook-N-Line map shows a couple of sunken boats in the bay that I wish I had had time to fish around. Also, the northern most shore of the bay is a supposed hot spot.
When launching further south in the bay, I recommend fishing the oyster reefs that lead into Drum Bay.
From what I have read and heard and now experienced, for the majority of the year gold spoons, top water lures, and jigging artificial minnows will yield good results.
Where to eat and where to sleep
Choosing Surfside as my home base involved a deeper factor than just close proximity to the water. I grew up playing on the beach in Surfside when my family came to visit my late great-grandmother who lived in the area. Coming back to Surfside after having not been there in nearly 10 years was quite heartwarming. Any who, if you have been to the town, you know that Surfside does not offer much in the way of accommodations; Hurricane Ike certainly did not help the matter.
Pitching a tent on the beach is an easy solution for you primitive campers. If traveling in an RV is your cup of tea, The Breeze Hotel and RV Park, offer convenient services. If you are looking for a hotel or motel, the Anchor Motel and Ocean Village Hotel are other options.
I chose the Ocean Village Hotel to get a room for the night. In conjunction with the hotel is Pirates Alley Café, making a tasty and convenient breakfast.
For a nice sit down meal, The Red Snapper Inn is the choice seafood restaurant of the community. Located literally at the end of the driveway to the Ocean Village Hotel, The Red Snapper Inn put a big smile on a couple of very hungry and worn out kayakers.
Hammerhead Bar is a where you need to go if you are in the mood for a nice cold one after a long day of fishing.
The Other Angles
As mentioned before, Christmas Bay is really a great spot for kayakers and wade fisherman. When wrapping up the first evening of fishing, there was a half dozen wade fisherman just kicking the night off. They were casting as soon as they stepped in the water from the launch area. The same goes for the wade fisherman I saw when launching the next morning, at least four guys were wade fishing within a couple hundred yards of the launch point. I was also impressed to see the number of kayakers. Kayaks vastly outnumbered the boats, and the only boaters were duck hunters traveling to and from their blinds.
You won't find any piers on the bay and the only real bank fishing opportunity is fishing from the launch points, but it isn't very ideal unless you are wading out a bit. Of course, you could walk across the road and find yourself on the beach surf fishing.
Less wind would have been nice, but most times you have to deal with nature in some way shape or form. Christmas Bay is an easy body of water to get to. I also like its manageable size; with enough time and energy, one could cover a lot of water from just a paddle boat.
If you would like more information on the Surfside area, visit www.surfsidetx.org
Austin Canoe and Kayak(Houston) - www.austinkayak.com, 713-660-7000
Ocean Village Hotel - www.oceanvillagehotel.com, 979-239-1213
Red Snapper Inn Restaurant - www.redsnapperinn.com, 979-239-3226
For questions regarding this article, I can be reached at 936-776-7028, by email to [email protected], or find me on Facebook to follow along in my outdoor adventures.