Reports & Forecasts: December 2008

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
Jeff says the fishing has been on fire in Big Lake over the last month or more. "We've had birds working most of the time, catching easy limits of both trout and redfish under them. Best lures have been soft plastics, but we are seeing some days with a good topwater bite and the Catch 2000s have just started to come into play some. We are also able to find some better trout in shallower water along the shorelines under rafts of mullet. That is just starting up and should get better in December. The thing that normally takes off in December is the reef fishing. Lately, we have had some hot bites on reefs, but it usually only lasts a half hour or so. As the water gets colder, it will be an every day thing and the bite will last longer over the shell. Most of the action should be in the north half of the lake, though reefs anywhere in the lake can produce. We've seen some nice trout way up the river lately and if it stays dry, they'll stay there."

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
James was in Trinity Bay when we talked, and he said the fishing was excellent. "We've got our limits of trout already. It was good while it was calm this morning. Now the south wind is getting up and it will probably mess this bay up for a couple of days. We caught our fish this morning wading in about two and a half feet of water, mostly on tails. The dark red paddletail and the pumpkinseed/chartreuse Bass Assassin were working best. I did catch some on my pink Top Dog Jr.. too. We had some reds as well. Have been limiting out on them on some days too." He says that the fishing in various bays is about the same. "East Bay is good, but the junk is really bad. It's tough to get around at all. The upper reaches of Galveston Bay are productive; there's plenty of birds working there, and also in West Bay. Fishing after the fronts is best under the birds for bigger trout; they're mostly small on the pre-front side."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Recent outings in both Trinity and East Bays have been productive, Jim says. "There is a lot of trash in East Bay, and boaters have to be very careful. Trinity isn't quite so bad, but it's more crowded as a result. The birds are working over small and medium-sized trout. The shorelines are producing better trout and good numbers of redfish too. We were catching ours the other day out of the boat. Some on soft plastics, but they were really liking the MirrOlures, the catch 2000s and the old 51M too. I had trout up to about four and a half pounds, but I've heard of some better fish, up to 30 inches, for waders. Best bite for waders is late evening, right at dark." He says the duck hunting shapes up to be good following a steady dove season. "Our marsh over here is best on strong north winds. We usually have good hunting throughout the second half of the season on ducks. Geese too. We're seeing plenty of birds already."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall says the fishing in his area is consistent on all three of the glamour species lately. "We are boxing good numbers of trout, at least fifteen or twenty on most trips. The redfish action is fair too; we are catching several solid keepers on almost all of our trips, and the flounder are more and more often a bonus. We've had some up to four pounds lately. We did take out the Corkies the other day for the first time in a while, and the bite was steady on them. I like those best when I'm wading. Action has also been good out of the boat lately, over mud and shell in a little deeper water. We're using our Norton Sand Eels when fishing that way. The recent weather patterns have helped with our water quality tremendously; north winds and dry conditions have things greened up and salty. We're seeing trout in the lights here at the lodge at night and we're way up the Bayou. Usually, that's a sign of good fishing to come."

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service | 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
The options for fishing in the Matagorda area in December are many Tommy asserts. "We really do have about as many different types of good fishing as any area of the coast in December. Of course, East Bay has great wading for big trout in the guts on the south shore, around reefs on the north side and over shell out in the middle at times. Not to mention that the birds are often still working in the bay this time of year. In West Bay, the wading along the south shoreline for redfish can be world class, especially after the fronts when the winds knock all the water out of the lakes and marsh. It piles all the reds up in the guts and locating a few often means locating a mother lode. In addition to the bays, there is the Colorado River. When it's salty and we don't have heavy rains, the trout fishing in there can really crank up in December. In fact, we're already seeing plenty of trout in the lights, so it sets up well if it stays dry."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
When fishing in the Palacios area, December is one of the best months of the year in which to catch a wallhanger trout. The big specks have ready access to deep water in the Tres Palacios River and an abundance of good mud and shell bottoms to hang around looking for food. Corky Fat Boys in pearl/black and dayglo are two of my favorite lures for taking the big trout in the cold winter months. The key to finding fish this month will be finding the large schools of mullet. When good concentrations of bait are found, it pays to grind out the area with patience, waiting for the trout to bite. Redfish should be easier to locate on the flats, with clearer than normal water in our bay system. Gold half ounce weedless spoons and Berkley Gulp Shad in watermelon are my two favorite lures for reds this time of the year. Also, the deep wells in West Matagorda will provide good action on solid keeper trout.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn was splitting time between the deer lease and the waterfront when we spoke, and he says the fishing has been good lately. "The Corky bite has been hot. I'm really partial to my slow sinking Corky when the water cools down some this time of year. I'm liking that new Mardi Gras color they are making, especially for some of the dark days we get in the coming months. I'll be fishing mostly drains and guts connecting the marshes and shallow areas with deep open water. This time of year, I favor a mix of mud and shell as opposed to the sand and grass areas. When it gets really cold, the deeper drains with soft mud on the bottom become favorable. I'll stick with my Corkies and soft plastics mostly, unless it gets nice and warm and lots of baitfish are jumping. I do like my topwaters, but I get impatient with them if I'm not getting blow ups. We usually catch some big trout on slow sinking twitch baits in December. I love it."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake will be in the middle of his cast and blast season this month. "I'll be steadily hunting the local marshes for the ducks most mornings, fishing my way out during the middle of the day. Also, we have another part of the dove season starting up right after Christmas and carrying into January. The hunting looks to be good; we have been seeing plenty of birds." On the fishing front, he expects to be using some of the old standby lures in some familiar places. "I like a muddy kind of fishing hole this time of year. Somewhere with relatively deep water next to shallow water and a soft bottom. Preferably, there's a little scattered shell too. I throw mostly Sand Eels in pumpkin or purple and chartreuse and also the Gulp baits. When the fish are more active, I will switch over to my topwaters, especially the Super Spooks. Usually, December is a great month for catching reds and trout, and some of the trout will be big."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
Last December was the most productive month of the year for Florida pompano on fresh, peeled, dead shrimp and pink or green Fishbites. Look for deep cuts through the outside bar. Sandbar sharks should be in good supply with lesser numbers of blacktipped and bull sharks. Most of these will be caught in late afternoons and at night on kayaked baits. Rays seem to be the best winter baits. The three mako sharks landed off the beach of PINS were all winter fish. Slot and oversized reds, scattered Atlantic bluefish and Spanish mackerel are usually present in varying numbers, finger mullet and cut bait being most productive. Speckled trout are available in the December surf with 51M Mirrolures being the bait of choice in a variety of colors. Tsunami minnows, silver spoons and plastics could possibly produce some trout but the 51M reins supreme. Large jack crevalle are often present the first half of the month. Watch for diving brown pelicans to locate the jackfish. Beware of NE winds which bring high tides.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
Thank goodness for the good supply of redfish in the Laguna Madre. I have not had to go very far to find reds in the northern end. We have also been catching fair numbers of trout. The water has not gone back down to its normal level since the passage of Ike, but the clarity is good. The trick has been finding concentrations of bait and chances are the reds and trout will be in the same area. In coming weeks, I'll target water that is three to four feet deep, with grassy bottoms. I will be using Texas Assassins in plum and pumpkinseed/chartreuse, bone diamond and the Bass Assassin five inch Swim Bait in gold shiner rigged on eighth ounce Bass Assassin Spring Lock jigheads. For redfish, I will be targeting water two feet deep or less, with potholes and long sandy shorelines. I will be using Johnson Silver Minnow weedless spoons. I'm seeing many stingrays while wading, so don't forget your Ray Guard boots.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | | 361.937.5961
Joe reports good fishing for redfish lately on the flats around the JFK Causeway. "There are lots of redfish schooled up lately, and we are finding them pretty shallow, so they are easy to spot. Of course, by next month, that pattern won't work so good. We will be focusing mainly on edges and drop offs when it gets cold. I like to fish the main channel of the ICW a lot. The fish really seem to stack up in there when the water temperatures first drop. The key to catching them will be to control both the boat and the presentation of the lures. The boat needs to stay away from the edge so casts can be made to allow the lure to fall along the drop off. We will use fairly heavy jigheads for this drill, up to three eighth of an ounce and more. A slow overall presentation works best, so that the lure will maintain contact with the bottom and make little puffs as it works its way down. Light colors on bright days, dark on dark ones."

Port Mansfield | Bruce & Brandon Shuler
GetAway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000
Fishing in the Port Mansfield area is as good as it's been in a long time, Bruce says. "You can catch good numbers of solid trout all over our bays right now. We've had light pressure for some time now and the influence of the Hurricane was good, flushing out the system. They are also getting the jetties open again, and that helps with water transfer. Lately, small topwaters are taking lots of fish in gravelly potholes in thick grass beds. As we get into December, the fish will transition over to a darker, softer bottom, relating to drains between shallow and deep water. We'll get away from our topwaters then, preferring Corkies and Catch 2000s more of the time. I also love Pradco's new Money Minnow. It's a slotted swim bait that can be worked really slow with lots of action when rigged weightless. It should prove to be a killer bait on some of these winter days. I predict fishing around here will be as good as it's been in a decade this winter."

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
The shallow flats of the LLM are full of trout and redfish, and we're taking full advantage of the situation. When we have any wind at all, we're limiting on both species, sometimes in one drift, hitting herds of oversized reds when it's calm. Gulp three inch shrimp in glow, nuclear chicken or pearl under a Mauler or Cajun Thunder cork are working best, rigged on a twelve inch leader with a quarter ounce head. The fish are filled with more shrimp than perch, so the Gulps are our first choice. Retrieving the cork much like a topwater keeps the hook riding high in the water and out of the grass, but can make it harder to stick the fish. Freddy says, "As long as you don't jerk the lure away from the fish, they'll keep after it until they get it. You might have to stop reeling and let the lure drop in order to hook up." Fall is a great season for fishing the bay or the surf with tons of bait and less traffic now that deer season has started.