Galveston’s East Bay

Galveston’s East Bay
Rollover Pass is enormously popular, even in pouring rain!

Our fishing adventure this month takes us to Galveston's East Bay to try our luck for redfish. Good friend and fishing partner, Mark Campbell, is joining me for a day of kayak fishing.

Dig out your Hook-N-Line Fishing Map and come along! Connecting to Galveston Bay and Trinity Bay, East Bay is a section of water on the northern side of Bolivar Peninsula. On this outing, we chose to access the bay from Crystal Beach, TX. More specifically, the Stingaree Marina in Crystal Beach was our home base.

It's no secret that late summer and fall is a great time for pulling in redfish on Texas's saltwater bays. With the summer season coming to an end, the air temperatures are still hot, and the bite is even hotter. Autumn's pleasant temperatures only make it better.

Tackle and gear
I generally bring three rod and reel outfits on the kayak. The rods range in length from 6'6" to 7'6" and are of the medium heavy to heavy action type. I use baitcasting reels loaded with mono-filament line ranging from 12-17lb test.

To my preference, I do not overload the kayak with an abundance of fishing lures and other terminal tackle. It has proved much more efficient to gear up for the specific trip I am on, filling only a specific tackle kit I bring on the kayak. Depending on the location, I will change out lures accordingly. For this trip, my kit was filled with a few topwater lures, various spoons and slabs, Rat-L-Traps, artificial shrimp, jig heads and plastic minnows of a few varying colors, and a few other related items.

Hitting the water

Launching from the marina, we headed north across the ICW, hugged the grass line on our right and turned east into what is called Yates Cove/Big Pasture Bayou. With the northeast wind on our backs, we were able to cover the span of the cove with minimal paddling. This allowed for easy fishing along the way. Watching the action of the bait as well as catching a glimpse of an occasional tail or the back of a red, we concentrated our presentation along the grass line on the south side of the cove. I positioned myself to cast and retrieve parallel to the grass line in front of me.

Spoons and my 'Traps proved to be the lure of choice for the redfish. Given the murkiness of the water, I mostly threw a gold spoon. I didn't have any golden Rat-L-Traps on board with me, but the chrome Trap worked just fine.

Given the shallowness of the water we were fishing, I ended up removing the front treble from my Rat-L-Trap to prevent it from catching so much crud on the bottom. At first skeptical, my worries were soon eased as misses were not an issue without the front hook.

We worked through the cove and into some of the deeper cuts and channels through the marsh. It was no problem getting our limits on reds. We even managed to pick up a few trout and flounder along the way. It's a good day when you land a Texas inshore slam.

Where to eat and sleep
Mark and I live within a couple hour's drive from Crystal Beach. We opted to drive in the morning of our trip and return late that afternoon rather than turn the trip into an overnighter. For the angler planning a multi-day trip, lodging at the Joy Sands Motel in Crystal Beach seemed the best in the local vicinity or if you don't mind a short commute before and after fishing, 30 miles up the road in Winnie, TX, there is quite a selection: La Quinta, Holiday Inn Express, and Comfort Inn, to name a few. For camper owners, Stingaree has RV spaces available.

For a place to eat, Stingaree Marina Restaurant takes the prize again. A long day of fishing makes a body hungry and Stingaree Restaurant has the solution with a full seafood menu and the Down Under (downstairs) specializes in burgers, pizzas, po boys, etc.

For those who prefer live bait, you will find a couple of bait camps along Highway 87 and Stingaree has live bait year round. They also have a fish cleaning station open to the public. With tackle, ice, cold drinks, and snacks you could call them a fisherman's one-stop shop.

The other angles
Although our focus was on redfish from the kayak, there are plenty of other angling options in the Crystal Beach area. With a shallow running boat, covering a lot of water in and around Yates Cove and Big Pasture Bayou would be a blast. Of course with just about any type of boat you can get out to the deeper parts of the bay. Just across the highway from Stingaree is the Gulf beach; a major hot spot for surf fishing. Rollover Pass, a channel that runs from East Bay to the Gulf, is a very popular target for bank fisherman.

All in all, Mark and I had a great fishing experience in the marsh off East Bay. We fulfilled our goal of reds from the kayaks, putting another good memory in the books and bringing home some choice fillets for the table.

Contact Info
Bolivar Peninsula Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-386-7863. Stingaree 409-684-9530.

Comments or questions for the author: Cade can be reached at 936-776-7028, by email to [email protected], or find me on Facebook to follow along in my outdoor adventures.