Reports & Forecasts: December 2007

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
In late November and early December, we may still be catching fish under the birds but the sow trout will begin showing up over the reefs. December is one of the better months for the "Big Girls". Fish shallow flats that are holding mullet using twitch baits. Several of the top ten trout in the record book were taken on a fly rod in the month of December. This is a great time of year to fly fish, as water clarity is often at its best. The top flies will be Deceivers in olive, chartreuse, white or any shallow running mullet imitation with lots of flash. The best areas will be south of Turner's Bay along the west bank and north of Pelican Point along the east bank. The West Cove area will also be holding good numbers of large trout. The timing of your trip will be of great importance if you want to succeed in hooking your trophy. Try to be on the water on the calm or south wind days, leading up to a front. If you try right after a strong cold front, you might find that you don't have enough water to even leave the dock.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
James' report echoed that of Jim West. "We are really catching 'em up lately. East Bay is best, Trinity isn't far behind. Birds are still working in select areas of Trinity and all over East Bay, but the quality of fish underneath them has dropped off. We have been keying on mullet on the shorelines instead of chasing the flocks. The East shore of Trinity and the south shore of East Bay have both been holding schools of shallow specks and reds, and a few flounder are mixed in too. Yesterday, I stopped on one reef that is shallow enough for wading on one end and about four feet deep on the other. We jumped out with Mirrolures and Slurp Assassins and had full limits in no time flat. Then I called one of the other guides in my group over and he put his guys on limits too. That's basically the way it's been. It reminds me of the year of the big freeze in the eighties. We were wading without jackets all the way up to the big front that killed the fish. As long as it doesn't get too cold, the fishing should only get better when the water cools even more."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim says that the fishing and hunting have been exceptional in the mild weather we've had lately. "Duck hunting has been steady. Limits are the norm, and the variety of birds is good. We are still killing quite a few blue wing teal, and that's a little unusual for this time of year. Lots of gadwall and wigeon and green wings too. As long as we keep getting some fronts, it should stay good." Fishing is even better, he reports. "It's wide open in most of the bays right now. Fish are up shallow for the most part. We aren't having great success on topwaters, mostly Catch 2000s and soft plastics. I've been focusing on drains, marshy areas and shallow flats. On the calm days, I'm staying in the boat, but wading works better on the windy days, since you don't get all the hull slap. There have been some pretty decent fish too. I've had several trout over six pounds, and a good number of fours and fives. The average size is just awesome, though. The numbers of two to four pounders is about as good as it gets. Trinity and East Bay are just hot right now."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
"We've been expecting the old pattern of fishing scattered shell and mud to kick in, but it really hasn't yet. We are still catching most of our fish on mid-bay reefs. Some days, it's just outstanding. Like yesterday, when we caught fish all morning on topwaters, mostly solid keeper trout. They weren't huge, but we were catching them like we want to. Best lure during that session was actually a chartreuse Skitter Walk. We caught some on pearl too. That's been pretty predictable; when the winds are light, the topwater bite will be better. Under stronger winds, we are switching to soft plastics mostly. We are doing well on the red magic Norton Sand Eel as usual, and also on the glow Norton shrimp. It looks kind of funky, but it really works. We've still got a little sporadic bird activity, and it's late for that. I can't wait for all the shrimp to migrate out and the birds to quit working. That will mean that the water is colder and lower, and it'll open up that pattern we want in winter. We'll be drifting mud flats with scattered shell four to five feet deep."

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service | 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
Though there is still some sporadic bird activity right now in the Matagorda area, Tommy says all of that will likely end sometime in December. "When we get a few more strong fronts, the tide should drop out and we should see the classic winter patterns kick off. We'll be targeting East Bay mid-bay reefs and areas adjacent to those reefs both by wading and drifting, throwing mostly soft plastics. Fishing is best out there when winds are relatively light; it doesn't take much of a blow to make a mess of the open water in East Bay. When it's windier, it's better to wade the shorelines. Both sides historically produce big fish in December. We'll target the south shoreline mud and grass with Corkies and topwaters when winds are onshore or during or immediately after the fronts arrive. Once the winds blow out of the north for a half day or so, it's wise to move to the north shoreline. Wading mud and shell over there can be great in December, particularly around any of the cuts that move water from the bay in and out of the intracoastal."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Fishing continues to be fantastic in the local waters. The trout bite has picked up considerably on the shorelines and under the birds. Solid fish in the 20 inch range have been located on shorelines with a mud/shell mix in two-four feet of water. The best lures for these fish have been Fatboys in pearl/black and chartreuse. Super Spooks in bone and chrome/black have also accounted for some good fish. Trout under the birds have mostly been on the small side with most fish running 15-17 inches. The best lure for fishing the birds has been a pumpkinseed/chartreuse Bull Minnow on a quarter ounce head. Redfish are still all over the place. Lots and lots of reds in the 20-24 inch class are still in pods chasing shrimp and mullet down area shorelines. Gulp in new penny and pearl along with quarter ounce weedless gold spoons have been working best on those. Look for the seawall area from the Baptist Encampment to the Harbor to produce some good fish during next month. The Tres Palacios River ought to hold some quality fish also as temperatures decrease.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn will be looking to target big trout in December, by focusing his efforts on shallow grassy flats next to deep waters. "I like flats with a lot of mud and soft grass. They can be pretty shallow as long as they are next to deep water. The key is to find areas close to where the fish go to hide after the cold fronts. We'll start a little later than normal, usually working Corkies and Catch Vs early in the day. If it warms up and we see bait jumping quite a bit, we'll try the topwaters then. On bright days, I stick with my chrome topwaters; on darker days, I like the black/chartreuse She Dog. If things get more negative, I will switch over to soft plastics. When using those in cold weather, it's important to work them really slow, right along the bottom, without a lot of hopping and action. Sluggish fish are reluctant to chase at all. In fact, slow presentations are best for me on all the lures in December. A bonus catch when using soft plastics this month will be flounder. We are catching some flounder regularly right now and should continue to into next month."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
The dove and duck hunting are as hot as the fishing in Rockport lately, reports Blake. "We limited out on doves on every trip in the first half of the season. The duck hunting is steady too, even though we haven't had much cold weather. Fishing has been easy as well. We are targeting mostly grass and sand shorelines where there is some off-colored water. Both trout and redfish are in there. Best bite has been on soft plastics, notably the Norton Sand Eels and Berkley Gulps." Things should change some in December, but he predicts continued hot action. "This is some of the best dove hunting I've ever seen. Duck hunting should remain outstanding throughout the season. Fishing patterns will change some. We'll be targeting more soft mud and mixed mud and grass, and if it gets really cold, some of the deep holes will stack up with fish. If it's warmer than normal, we usually have some of the best topwater fishing of the whole year in December. I'll be doing it all, sometimes all on the same day, casting and blasting away!"

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
Timing is all important in planning a trip to the Padre Island National Seashore surf in December. The weather can be severe at times, and passing cold fronts will make conditions unfishable. Trips should be aimed at the second day behind the arrival of a moderate norther and possibly a full three days behind passage of stronger ones. Northeast winds will bring tide levels prohibitively high, while north and northwest winds will blow the water away from the beach and make for good driving. Pompano and whiting will be in good supply and are susceptible to fresh, peeled, dead shrimp and Fishbites fished on the bottom. Both slot and bull redfish will be available on live finger mullet and fresh cut bait. Some large jack crevalle and scattered sharks and Spanish mackerel may be available, mostly early in the month. Winter trout fishing with 51M and 52M Mirrloures and soft plastics will began in earnest in December. Best action for the trout will be in calm, clear waters behind fronts with plenty of west in the wind.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
We have had a few cold fronts come through our area in recent weeks and even though they were not major cold fronts they did cool the water temperatures considerably. The water temperatures went from the upper eighties to the mid and lower seventies and this calls for us to bring out our breathable waders. I believe that the cooler temperatures and the northerly winds are responsible for much of the water in the upper end of the Laguna clearing up. There is a lot of gin clear water in the upper end of the Laguna Madre, but the fish have been more concentrated in water that is slightly off colored. On my charters, we have been catching a fair number of speckled trout ranging from 15 to 20 inches and redfish from 20 to 25 inches. The best lures have been the three inch pearl and new penny Berkley Gulps and the five inch good penny Bass Assassin Blurps rigged on sixteenth ounce jigheads. For the next few weeks, as more fronts blow thru the Laguna, I expect the water to clear up closer to Baffin and I'll be following, fishing along grass lines and potholes.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | | 361.937.5961
Joe says he's looking for the edge of the intracoastal to kick off first if the cold weather comes in December as it usually does. "We should get a good run of fishing along the edge of the channel after the first couple of strong fronts. December can be one of the coldest months here, and the fish will react by moving deep and concentrating along the dropoffs. I'll be targeting them with soft plastics mostly, rigging them on heavier than normal jigheads, at least a quarter ounce, up to a half ounce at times. Colors will vary; I'll throw everything from strawberry to pumpkinseed on dark days and limetreuse on bright days. Mostly, it will be a trout thing and some will be pretty big. That's what most of us around here get excited about starting in December; cold weather will stack up the fish and make the big trout easier to find." On warmer days, he likes Shamrock and East Flats. "For some reason, those flats are good in early winter. When you get a warm wind prior to a front, it can be really good in there for sightcasting big trout and reds."

Port Mansfield | Bruce & Brandon Shuler
GetAway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000
It's been a little tough for this time of year, reports Bruce. "I'm just tired of fishing eighty degree water in the middle of November. The fish are tougher to pattern with high tides and hot water in the fall. When colder weather does arrive, our fishing will likely improve, especially for trophy trout. We will be concentrating our efforts near backwater sloughs that have drains leading to deep water. There are areas like that on the west shore both north and south of town, but the key will be to find those that have significant water exchange, muddy bottoms in the drains themselves and deep water (over four feet) on the outside. If you can find areas like that, the trout will be hanging around in different parts of the area, depending on the timing. After the fronts, they'll move out to the deeper water and will follow the drains up into the marshes as the water returns and warms. We'll be throwing lots of slow sinking lures like Catch 2000s and Corkies and working them at a snail's pace. In order to make the big trout bite when it's cold, a slow presentation is best."

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
What a great time of year to fish! The weather has been about perfect and except on weekends there's almost no traffic. We've had a couple of fronts, but nothing that would keep us at the dock. Our recent outings have been a roller coaster of ups and downs. On some days, we get our reds quickly and on others it can be tough, but we're managing to limit, despite sluggish morning tide movement and loads of floating grass, using gold weedless spoons or Maulers trailing Gulp shrimp. The same can be said for trout, with days of nice catches of 15 to 23 inch keepers on the same rigs we're throwing for redfish, usually in depths about 10 to 18 inches. There have been some nice trout holding on shallower grass beds, but you have to get to them early. This time of year the water clarity has improved and there's plenty of bait. Freddy says, "Once that harvest moon was gone, things started picking up real fast. It never fails to slow down the daytime bite when you have clear nights and bright moonlight." We're expecting outstanding winter flats fishing.