Reports & Forecasts: December 2015

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268
December should offer some great fishing. Trout action in December is some of the best of the year. Birds will continue picking for most of the month. They will usually slow down toward the end of the month whenever temperatures start to really fall. It is also a great month to catch a BIG trout. They will mostly be concentrated north of Commissary Point, as well as in Joe's Cove and West Cove. Topwaters worked at a slower than normal pace work well. Slow-sinking baits like Paul Brown's Lures and MirrOdines also work wonders. If you like redfish, this is the month to catch them on Calcasieu. They will be plentiful at the weirs, as well as on the banks adjacent to them. Most of the time they can be caught on soft plastics on quarter ounce jigheads. If water temperatures are low, dead shrimp will usually put plenty of fish in the boat. Flounder fishing will start to slow down in December. We will still have good days catching a few in the channel, but for the most part, the action for that species will be winding down.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242
"We're right ahead of a freshwater stack up right now. We've had limits five days in a row. Fishing has been really good, but this freshwater coming in will change things up for sure. We will still be looking for fish out in the middle of East Bay, drifting shell and looking for birds, if the water doesn't get too fresh over there. Mostly, though, we'll be targeting bigger trout while wading once the river water makes it all the way down. Shorelines in lower parts of the bays should be good. We'll be throwing soft plastics like Bass Assassins in pink ghost, MirrOlures in colors like pink and pink/silver. In the Catch 5, we like the pink/chartreuse one. When using a FatBoy, we throw the pearl/black a lot. Most likely, the heavy flood will eliminate the upper parts of the bay and force all the fish and people into the lower ends. In the past, when this has happened, we've had some really good catching over here in West Bay and in Lower Galveston Bay. I expect a repeat of those past events in the coming months."

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Jim says the fishing in December usually depends on the weather. "Right now, we've got fresh water pouring into the bay as fast as it can. The fish will likely stay in the brackish water, along the parts of East Bay closer to the Gulf. Fishing has been good lately, with the really high tides. I think our fish will be found close to the shorelines, in the saltiest parts of the bays. Normally, we catch a bunch of fish in the bayous when it gets cold, but that whole plan will be messed up with all the rainwater coming into the bays. One thing major floods do is concentrate fish in relatively small areas. Rather than fret about where we can't fish, we'll have to find the saltiest water and work it over until we find 'em. Wading will be good in those saltier areas. I'll be spending a lot of time in the blinds too, hunting ducks. We are set up for a good duck season, so that will be a saving grace if the fishing gets tough in some places. But really, I expect both the fishing and hunting to be good, at least for people who locate the salty water that's holding fish."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323
Randall reports the fishing has turned for the better after recent heavy rains. "We had a pretty epic flood event, and the bays have a bunch of freshwater in 'em right now. Both today and yesterday, we caught limits of trout and redfish on jalapeno Norton Sand Eel Juniors. We're also catching on Black Magic, Trick or Treat and Halloween. The key is all these lures have black on them. We're using three eighths ounce jigheads, because the fish seem to be hanging fairly close to the bottom. Yesterday, my guys were catching better than me. I was throwing a topwater and getting a few fish to come up into the fresh stuff to take, but the bite on soft plastics near the bottom was better. In December, when the weather cools down some more, I expect to be fishing areas out in the middle of the bays, where fairly deep water lies over a bottom with lots of shell mixed in with mud. That pattern is a winner every year when the weather first turns cold. Overall, things are looking up, despite the heavy rains."

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401
Charlie says the patterns are delayed somewhat in the Matagorda area. "I guess December is going to be like a normal November. Right now, our water temperatures are very high for this time of year. We haven't had a shrimp migration yet, so I expect December fishing to be outstanding. Normally, the bird activity will begin to wind down in the second half of December, but with this warm weather, who knows how long it might last. We normally catch our best fish in the west end of East Bay during the last month of the year, but I believe we caught most of the big trout last year in the east end during this time frame. They can be caught around the shell humps and over areas with scattered shell and mud out in the middle when winds are lighter, and along both shorelines when the wind is blowing a bit harder. We'll catch best on soft plastics in general, but will also have good days on topwaters and MirrOlures too, depending on the weather. We are set up to slam 'em good this month."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204
December is one of our favorite months to hunt trophy trout in the Palacios area. We have long stretches of shorelines with a good mud/shell mix that holds lots of bait during the colder months. Paul Brown's FatBoys in pearl/chartreuse and pearl/black are my two favorite colors to throw. They can be worked fast just under the surface in a dog-walking pattern or slow twitched to trigger big bites. Full-sized topwaters also seem to work better during December because mullet is usually the only food source around. Bone Super Spooks and black/gold/orange Skitterwalks are two of my favorites. When it gets super cold, we have one of the deepest harbors along the coast. Slow-rolling VuDu Shrimp on bottom can produce lots of eating sized trout out of the deep holes. I know you will probably read this a hundred times in this magazine, but the key to locating fish in the winter is locating bait. Find bait, and find fish. No bait, no fish. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434
In December, Lynn expects to fish shallow, muddy flats covered with scattered shell, throwing slow-sinking twitch baits like Paul Brown Lures. "The bigger trout have already started biting pretty good, and the action in December should be even better. We'll sleep in on most days, and leave the dock late in the morning, to allow the sun some time to heat up the flats a bit. Then we'll target our big trout by staying close to the edges where the flats drop off into deeper water at first, then moving farther into the shallows as the afternoon wears on. The key is to locate the bait fish and stay close to some while throwing the twitch baits and soft plastics. Slow, deliberate presentations usually work best, because the fish are somewhat sluggish in the cold water. On the days with the highest activity levels, it can become possible to have a really vigorous bite on topwaters this time of year, especially closer to dusk on the warmest days. But the percentages say to stick mostly with soft plastics and slow-sinking lures."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
In December, Blake is hoping for cold weather. "I'll still be hunting ducks for sure. After the shooting is over, I spend quite of time fishing the deeper holes in the back lakes, targeting mostly redfish, but we do catch quite a few trout in there too. For the redfish, I love to throw a small curly-tail Gulp! this time of year. I mostly stay around Aransas and Redfish Bays, with a few visits over to Corpus Bay to hit some of the deep potholes when the tide gets really low. I will fish areas along sandy, grassy shorelines late into the afternoons when targeting trout. I'll stay in water about waist deep or so, focusing on areas with dark grass beds, which tend to hold heat well, especially on sunny days. If quite a bit of bait is showing on the surface, and I get some blow ups fairly easily, I like to stay with topwater lures like Super Spooks. Of course, most of the time, I'm using my favorite soft plastic when working this pattern, either a pumpkinseed/chartreuse or purple/chartreuse Norton Sand Eel."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata [email protected] - 361.563.1160
There are not many fishermen out on the bays during December, so it's very quiet on the water this time of the year. The water temperature is dropping, so the trout are moving into a little deeper water during the night, but they will come up into the shallower water during the daylight hours. They will also slow down some because of the water temperatures, but not quite as much as they will during January and February. If the water temperature drops into the 50s, it will be best to wade and slow down the retrieves made with natural-colored Texas Bass Assassins rigged on eighth ounce Spring Lock jigheads. If you will be drift fishing, try fishing with Bass Assassin Kwik Korks rigged with Slurp shrimp on an eighth ounce jighead. On warmer days, drifting while using with live shrimp under a popping cork will work for trout and redfish. The water level has been very high for a while, and this has given us more areas to look for fish. I will be looking for the fish in areas with potholes in about four feet of water.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez - 361.937.5961
The tide had been freakishly high for several weeks in the Upper Laguna Madre prior to the time Joe gave this report. "We've got a really high tide, so we've been able to target our fish in some areas which are normally too shallow to fish. The water in the upper parts of the bay are crystal clear, so we've been able to see the fish on lots of occasions. The fishing for redfish has been steady, but we're getting a few trout too. When the tide is really high like this, fishing is best on shallow crowns, tight to shorelines, and in remote backwater areas. Places like Shamrock Cove, East Flats and parts of the Boat Hole can be really good while temperatures are warm and tides are way up. Most likely, we'll get some strong fronts in December, pushing the tide out and the water temperatures down. When that happens, I'll be targeting my fish around the edges of channels and drains which lie close to the areas where we have been catching our fish in the shallows lately. We'll throw soft plastics and flutter them along the drop-offs and ledges."

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
December's bluebird days can be enjoyable on the beach. Driving should be generally good, although tire hazards are plentiful–fish skeletons remaining from red tide. During previous red tide years we have seen an impressive pompano fishery develop, due to lack of competition. Pompano will begin moving heavily into the surf around late-November/early-December and should remain for much of the winter. Brightly-colored Fishbites and fresh-peeled shrimp are traditionally the ticket. Expect red drum action on live and dead baits. Mullet is a top choice if you can find them. Depending the water temps, jack crevalle may still be present. When things begin to get really cold, the larger stock of whiting will move in and are easily caught on dead shrimp. Trout can be hit or miss in the winter surf. Years ago this was a predictably productive pursuit, but the past few have been spotty. It will be interesting to see what effect the red tide might have had on this species. Avoid beach travel during northers–tides can rise to the dunes!

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000
Fishing's been good–lots of redfish staged in the Northeast Pocket for several weeks before gradually making their way through the East Cut. We are still finding some in that area but we are working a bit harder. Trout fishing has been steady with good numbers coming from deeper grass on the east side. The west shoreline north of Port has also been producing some solid trout and occasional reds. Early morning periods are providing topwater action in this area–the Super Spook Jr. in clown and bone-silver have been working well. K-Wiggler Ball Tail Shad in Mansfield Margarita and Bone Diamond on light heads have been our go-to when the surface action slows. During December when fronts become more numerous, lots of anglers tend to blow off fishing. This is a mistake! Yes, it will be cold but the bite can be awesome, especially the afternoon of the day following and second day behind the front. Corkys, MirrOdines and Catch 2000s on slower retrieves can work like dynamite in deeper holes on the flats and along channel edges.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty 956.943.2747
There has been an abundance of freshwater in the LLM, which is not great for trout fishing, but the reds aren't bothered by it much! We're continuing to limit on redfish, but the trout are hit or miss, usually resulting in three or four keepers a trip. We are still having a banner year on flounder, easily the best in a decade! Freddy says, "If you wanted to target flatties only, you could limit out daily. Don't forget the bag limit changes from five a day to two during the month of November and they must be caught by pole and line only. Also, from December first through the fourteenth, you can keep only two, caught by any means, including gigging. The possession limit equals the daily limit, so stay on top of changes in Texas fishing regulations and help preserve our resources!" We're catching all our fish on Cajun Thunder round corks trailing a Gulp! three inch shrimp in New Penny and Sugar Spice on a quarter ounce jighead, adjusting leader lengths.