Reports & Forecasts: Dec 2009

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
Calcasieu Lake is known for monster trout and this is one of the best months to catch them. If wadefishing is your forte, then the flats on the north end of the lake would probably be your best bet for catching one of these wallhangers. Other flats that are good are in West Cove and Joe's Cove. These two smaller lakes are big trout factories located west of the ship channel toward the south end of Calcasieu. I prefer throwing Corky FatBoys and Catch 2000's. My favorite all around color, no mater the water clarity, is gold with a black back and orange belly. If you don't care for the trophies, there should still be plenty of school trout under the birds. Best baits to throw are shrimp imitations. Glow H&H Grubs and glow Norton Sand Eel Jrs. are good colors to start with. If the water is a little stained, switch to avocado or black. Redfish should be peaking in December. The weirs along the east bank will be stacked with both fish and boats. To avoid the crowds leave earlier, or just fish the banks around the weirs where the reds are just as plentiful.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
The trout fishing has been pretty easy lately, James says. "Trinity's getting a little fresh, but the fishing is still good over there at this point, especially on the reefs on the west side. There are a lot of boats working in there right now, so I've kind of switched my plans. Lately, I've been wading, mostly to avoid the crowds. We are really spanking them, catching early limits almost every day. Best lure lately is the small Bass Assassin Sea Shad in chicken on a chain color. We've also had a decent bite on bone Top Dogs at times, but the fish are the same size, so I just stick with the old worm mostly. One day in East Bay we did catch a few trout over five pounds, but mostly it's just nice eating sized fish. If you do want to catch a bigger fish, it pays to stay shallow. You won't get as many bites, but you'll eventually catch bigger fish on average. If the freshwater situation gets worse in the upper parts of the bay, we should be set up for an excellent winter in West Bay. The fishing over here is already good and should only get better as it gets colder."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
"The fishing is on fire!" Jim says with enthusiasm. "We're catching good numbers of both trout and reds lately. The marsh is full of reds of all sizes, mostly under about twenty six inches. There are some even better fish on the outsides of the drains, along main bay shorelines. A caution to those who choose to enter the marsh on low tides; watch out for junk and sand bars! The trout fishing is outstanding too. We've been wading the shorelines close to the drains on outgoing tides some and catching quality fish, up to about seven pounds. Had four nice trout between six and seven pounds in one week. Mostly, it's just regular fish though, between about a pound and a half and four pounds. The water in the back of the bay is fresh, and there's a line about Marsh Point between the sweet and salty water. The birds are working that area like crazy. When the bite is on, there's birds working as far as you can see. Under them are trout of all sizes; it's easy to catch a box of fish. We are catching them pretty much on whatever we want to. Location is key."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall reports that the fishing prior to recent heavy rains was excellent. "The fish are here; we just need a little break from all the freshwater. I did find a bunch of trout recently in an area that was fresh on the surface. The water tasted sweet, but there was a layer of salty water underneath and the catching was easy. Mostly, we are finding them around patches of shell. Sometimes, you have to move around and hit several piles of shell to find one that's holding fish, and it won't be the same reefs day after day, but the pattern is reliable if you know how to run it. The best lure lately has been a purple Norton Sand Eel Jr.." He predicts that the pattern of fishing mud with scattered shell will be a consistent producer in December. "With the colder water temperatures in December, the fish will stay over mud more and more of the time. Then we make our best catches where there's mostly muddy bottom with some scattered shell. Eventually, the mud streak pattern will kick in; that usually starts late in December and works through the winter."

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service | 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
Tommy's outlook on December fishing is dependent on rain. "If the water in the river stays clear, meaning it's salty, December is usually a great month. In the river, we use heavy jigheads, like three eighths ounce, with a soft plastic that's got plenty of wobble in the tail." He prefers Norton Bull Minnows and the old Crme Little Fishie. "If the river's fresh, both bays will be better. In West Bay, I like a really low tide. The fish will stack up in the guts and drains and you can catch them on spoons and on black magic Bull Minnows. I like the paddle tails because they look more like a little fish and work better when the shrimp are all gone. In East Bay, we'll be drifting scattered shell and mud in the west end. Lately, the best bite over there is on relatively heavy jigheads which make it easier to keep the lure down in contact with the shell. When the weather's cold, it pays to keep the lure low and work it kind of slow. Many of the bites come after the lure has contacted some shell and pops back off. Of course, lighter winds will make East Bay better."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
We have already moved over to the cold weather patterns, with most of our fish now found over a mix of mud and shell. We will focus most of our efforts for trout around mud flats that have close access to deep water. Our main lure of choice for next month will be the Corky FatBoy. Colors that seem to be productive in the Tres Palacios area are pearl/chartreuse, pearl/black, and dayglo. The best areas to work these lures are along shorelines with scattered shellpads relatively close to a dropoff. Slow-rolling FatBoys around pods of baitfish will almost guarantee strikes in the winter months. Other focal points for us when the weather gets real nasty are the Tres Palacios, Colorado and Lavaca Rivers. Fish can find safe haven in these rivers after drastic drops in water temperatures. Soft plastics fished along the dropoffs usually account for most of the bites. We like to use a little heavier jigheads (normally quarter ounce) when fishing the river in cold weather, since the added weight helps keep the lure down in the strike zone.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
"Trout fishing is beginning to turn the corner and become a little more consistent," Lynn reports. "We are catching a few trout on most trips again, even though we aren't really fishing specifically for them. Most of the trout we're catching are running between fifteen and seventeen inches, with a few stretching beyond the twenty inch mark. We're finding them in the same places as the redfish, which is where the focus of our efforts has been. Mostly, we're throwing Bass Assassins in chicken on a chain and plum with a white tail." He predicts that those lures will be the go-to choices in December. "Depending on the weather, we'll use soft plastics a lot in December. We will also throw topwaters when we have some warmer weather and surface activity. But the old one eighth ounce jighead with a Bass Assassin will probably catch the most fish. I'll target soft muddy bottoms with some scattered shell, especially on flats which are close to dropoffs to deep water. Staying close to deep water is key in December."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake indicates that he has high hopes for the duck hunting and the fishing for both trout and redfish in December. "I'll be doing my typical cast and blast thing, hunting early then fishing my way out of the marsh. I like to target the deeper holes in the marshes when it's cold and the tide's low. The reds typically stack up in those holes when it's like that. We also do some wading in other parts of the marsh and along shorelines adjacent to marsh entrances. Our trout fishing is becoming more steady. We are catching decent numbers of fish on area reefs and should have a shot at some big fish when the winter patterns kick in even more. Duck hunting looks to be potentially very good too. We've had plenty of freshwater dumped into the marshes over recent weeks with the rainy pattern that's set in. Usually, when the marsh is not so salty, the ducks like it better and it makes for more consistent action. The numbers of ducks are up, according to the counts made by federal authorities, so there should be plenty to see and shoot."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
I have a lot of changes to report for the Upper Laguna Madre this time. The only thing that is still the same is the water level, which is still high. I believe the water level is up because of all the rain that we've been getting and because of the north winds that have been blowing water into the Laguna Madre. A big change is that the water temperature has dropped to the lower seventies and upper sixties but that's not too cold for most fish. The rain has diminished the water clarity and in some places we have brown tide blooming again. The lack of water clarity has caused me to use the Bass Assassin Kwik Korks in order to create noise and attract the trout and redfish. There are still some areas with clear, shallow water and when you find these areas, keep your eyes open for redfish and black drum so you can sight cast for with your favorite stinky baits like Bass Assassin Blurps and Berkley Gulp shrimp rigged on sixteenth ounce jig heads. Continue to look for the fish in shallow water.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Joe reports some good sight casting for redfish on recent trips. "The water quality's still really good in the north half of the area I like to work. There are plenty of redfish and even some big trout to be caught shallow. When attempting to catch these fish, it pays to incorporate several fundamentals. Normally, I like to use an eighth ounce jighead and a paddle tail soft plastic. When a fish is sighted, it's best to cast the lure beyond where the fish is and quickly pull it into place maybe eighteen or twenty inches in front of the fish. I like to do this by reeling it fast at the surface, so I can keep my eye on it. Then I drop it in front of the fish and hop it by its nose. On the good days, all of the fish will bite it if this is done right. On tougher days, experimentation with colors might be necessary to find something they like." In December, strong fronts typically drive the fish deep and change the game. "When it's really cold, our fish drop into the channels, and I have the best luck with heavier jigheads worked in contact with the bottom along the dropoffs."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
For the past several years December has proven much more user friendly than the months to follow and had been the peak time for large numbers of Florida pompano. Puppy black drum, whiting, sheepshead, slot and oversized redfish will all be available throughout the month. Speckled trout and Atlantic bluefish are possible as are sandbar, blacktipped, bull and mako sharks. Peeled shrimp and "Fishbites" will continue to be the best producers on bottom feeders and cut or finger mullet for the redfish. Traditionally, the trout lure of choice this time of year is the 51M MirrOlure in a wide variety of colors and preference changes from day to day. Target pockets and narrow openings in the bar for trout and the deepest, widest guts you can find for pompano. Plan your trips to fall on the second day behind cold front passage for best conditions. Be extremely cautious about traveling high up on the beach as hardhead catfish killed by red tide will be plentiful in this area and will be a nuisance puncturing tires all winter.

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal | 956.944.2559
The good news is that there hasn't been any red tide in the Port Mansfield area of the Lower Laguna Madre. The red tide is one of Mother Nature's humbling experiences that brings us all back to earth and reminds us of a greater being that rules the natural world. The coming weeks should produce some very good flounder catches in the East Cut, thanks to the new regulations. Huge schools of menhaden have been moving north along the King Ranch shoreline. The fish working these schools are holding deep making it tough for wade fishing but offering very good for drift fishing. The water temperature is dropping with each passing norther and we should see better results on the flats before long. Just about every day you'll hear of someone releasing a big trout. The first truly blue norther should result in fish moving to deeper holes.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
The red tide was definitely a factor on the beach side of South Padre Island, and there have been reports of a light fish kill, nothing like a couple of years ago. Thankfully, the effects were not felt in the bay. We've had a few days, when the wind was out the right direction, where you'd get an occasional cough or two while fishing, but nothing anywhere near bad enough to call it quits. In fact, if you didn't know about the red tide event, you wouldn't even notice. Fishing has been up and down; we'll limit on trout and reds one day and struggle the next. Definitely not the excellent fishing we saw on a regular basis at this time last year. We're throwing the Cajun Thunder cigar corks with Berkley Gulp three inch shrimp in the white colors for both of our target species. Freddy says, "We're getting into the winter months when the big trout start moving into the shallow waters of the LLM. With the tides beginning to run lower and the water colder, this is a good time to add topwaters and the larger oval Cajun Thunder corks to your arsenal."