Reports & Forecasts: December 2018

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268
December is traditionally a great month for trout and redfish. Redfish will be the target species most days during the month. They can be found schooling on the banks adjacent to bayou mouths, weirs, small drains, as well as under birds toward the middle of the lake. The weirs are always a great place to start your search. When fishing them, tidal movement is important. Most of the time, outgoing tides will be more productive than incoming, but either tide will work as long as there is some sort of water movement. On strong northerly winds and outgoing tides, conditions become somewhat treacherous at the structures, so use caution when anchoring. The fish will hang steady in extreme currents throughout the entire winter. Heavier jigheads become necessary when currents are strong, but mostly we stick with quarter-ounce heads and Gulp! swimming mullet. Low water is also a key to catching redfish in the winter. In order for the redfish to leave the marshes and shallow flats, the tides need to be low. This pushes them to main-bay shorelines and the mouths of bayous. See all of you out on the lake soon.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242
James had plenty of good things to say about the fishing in his area when he gave this report. “We've been slammin' 'em pretty good lately. I've been concentrating on fairly deep water in the bayous, catching fast, easy limits of trout, up to about five pounds. Other guys have been wading and catching about the same. Water's been warm, and it's fresh in lots of places with all the rain. Some people are catching in small areas in the Upper Bay, but Trinity's a mess, and many of the fish have been pressured closer to the ship channel. In wet winters, fishing in West Bay can be really good. I'll be transitioning over to more wading in the near future, working shallow, muddy flats, also drifting areas in four to six feet with a mix of mud and shell on the bottom. We've been catching well on slammin' chicken Sea Shads and the rat-tailed Bass Assassins in the same colors, also on purple Lil' Johns. In December, I like to throw 51 and 52M MirroLures in colors like pink/gold, chartreuse/gold and Texas chicken, workin' 'em slow and steady for best results.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Jim will be doing some duck hunting and fishing as the year nears its end. “Fishing has been really good. We've been catching our fish out of the boat mostly, working areas along the south shoreline and in the marshes. The freshwater flowing out of the rivers has the fish squeezed into fairly small areas. The guys who are wading are doing even better most of the time. It's been steady. Lots of solid trout up to about five pounds and decent numbers of reds too. Topwater bite has been okay at times, but the soft plastics are working better most of the time. We've got plenty of ducks too, right now. Hunting has been pretty easy. In fact, I'm about to put some waders on and head out to put out a few duck decoys. Sometimes, when the weather changes dramatically, we lose some of our ducks. Other times, the weather blows new ones in. So, it's kinda hard to predict exactly how it will go in December, but signs point to easy shooting right now. And as long as the water keeps flowing fast down the rivers, fishing will be good.” 

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323
December brings the end of the shrimp migration, which does provide some fast fishing at times, but general results improve after the crustaceans leave the bays for the winter. “Our fishing gets better after all the shrimp are gone. We can target fish with lures that imitate fish and get plenty of bites, and we catch the bigger trout more often. Lately, we've been doing best on pink Skitterwalks. The topwater bite has been consistent, especially on the warmer days. As it gets colder, the consistency of the bite on them will become less good, but the best topwater days of all usually happen on warm days in the coldest months. When temperatures are lower, we normally fish out of the boat in water over four feet deep in places with a mix of mud and shell on the bottom and throw soft plastics. Normally, we favor Norton Sand Eels in both the full-sized and junior versions, in colors like cayenne and red magic. We do best on most days rigging them on three-eighths-ounce jigheads and fishing them in close contact with the bottom.”

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service - 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
Tommy wanted to send a clear message to the fishing community when he made this December forecast. “Never write off the fishing in Matagorda in December. People tend to do it, but it's a big mistake. If weather patterns stay warm, we sometimes still have working birds in December. If it's colder and the tides get really low, several other productive options come into play. We like to drift open areas of East Bay, where the bottom has a mix of mud and scattered shell. When fishing this way, I throw MirrOlure Marsh Minnows on three-eighths-ounce jigheads much of the time. Of course, wading the shoreline areas of East Bay in the vicinity of drains leading out of the shallow waters on the peninsula can produce monster trout for patient anglers throwing slow-sinking twitch baits like Paul Brown Lures and LeLes. Wading the same kinds of areas in West Bay can be great for redfish, especially on extremely low tides, which concentrate the fish in guts. They are easiest to catch on soft plastics on sixteenth-ounce heads and weedless gold spoons.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204
Redfish are plentiful right now. We have more reds in our locals bays, bayous, and creeks than I have seen in a long time. Equinox tides have pulled fish far into the marsh in places that are usually dry land. Pumpkinseed and pearl DSL lures have been working, since there are hordes of shrimp in the backwaters. Schools of 10-15 fish are roaming shorelines chasing shrimp and mullet, and at the mouths of drains on falling tides. The trout action has been a little slower due to all the freshwater we had. Night fishing at the local piers on South Bay has been the most consistent. Flounder gigging has been picking up as well, with lots of solid fish coming to the boats. December should be a great month along the Palacios Seawall and in the local rivers. The Seawall from 1st street to the harbor has scattered shell on the bottom, and fishing is hot when bait is present. The rivers offer some of the best fishing around as the water starts to cool off. Fishing ledges and drop-offs in these winter holes can produce some solid trout and reds.

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434
December is a great month to target the bigger trout in the Port O'Connor area, Lynn says, and he'll be out there trying to get his share. “While north winds are blowing strong soon after the fronts, fishing will be tough. But once the weather turns the corner a bit after a front, fishing for the big trout can be really good. On low tides, in cold water, fishing is best outside the mouths of the lakes, along main bay shorelines, or in some of the deepest parts of the lakes and drains. Once onshore winds return and the tide levels come back up while the weather warms, the shallow parts of the lakes become better places to target the big trout. Of course, since it's cold, the best time of day to catch fish is generally after lunch. Dusk can be the best window of all, so I don't usually leave the dock until late in the morning, then fish all afternoon. We like to throw slow-sinking twitch baits most of the time during December. On the tougher days, we will switch to soft plastics like the Down South Lures in colors like watermelon red.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
“We've got really high numbers of ducks out there right now, all kinds of 'em. The duck hunting has been and should continue to be really good,” Blake reports. “In December, I'll be running as many cast and blast trips as I can, taking the air boat into the backwater areas and hunkering down in the blinds early. When we're able to shoot our limits of ducks, we'll fish our way through the rest of the outing. Normally, fishing for reds in the back lakes is good. I'll know that when I'm running around in there setting up for the hunts. When the water gets really cold and the tide drops out, the fishing for both trout and reds gets much better around grassy areas on main-bay shorelines. Lately, with the weather pretty warm for this time of year, we've had a really steady bite on topwaters. I'll throw them in December too, when I see lots of mullet jumping around us, but soft plastics like Norton Sand Eels work better most of the time as the year winds down. On the toughest days, we wind up pulling out the Gulp! split-tails and throwing them.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – [email protected] - 361.563.1160
With the hunting season in full swing, it has become quiet on the water with light boat traffic. The cooler air and water temperatures are slowing the fish a little, but not like they will during January and February. The fish will move into three to four feet of water overnight, particularly during cold nights. As the sun rises and warms the shallower water, the fish will move up into less than three feet of water. Lately, the Bass Assassin Elite Shiner in colors like meat hook, Houdini, mama’s 14K and salt & pepper/silver phantom rigged on sixteenth-ounce Spring Lock jigheads have been producing many slot-sized redfish and trout. If there is much floating grass, use the Assassin Kwik Kork rigged with Assassin Shrimp in colors like drunk monkey, bone diamond or electric chicken on a sixteenth-ounce jighead and about fifteen inches of twenty-pound test fluorocarbon leader. On warm, sunny days, drifting in the shallows and sight-casting for reds, trout and black drum with shrimp-flavored Fish-Bites on a sixteenth-ounce jighead will prove to be much fun.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez – - 361.877.1230
Fishing productively in the Upper Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay in December demands versatility, Joe says. Cold weather patterns favor certain kinds of fishing, while warm weather dictates other tactics. “If the weather is warm and sunny, we do well making long, controlled drifts and targeting trout, reds and black drum in shallow water, casting at them after we see them. The water in the lagoon is really clear right now, so that will be a good tactic as long as we have warmer than normal weather. If the cold fronts push water temperatures down into the 50s, and they stay below 60 for several days, fishing along the edges of the ICW and channels which connect to it will provide better results. Another good pattern for the cold weather is fishing the deepest edges of the grass beds fringing both Emmord's and Beacroft's Holes. Wading the north shoreline of Baffin Bay also produces nice catches during cold snaps in December. Folks fishing that way do best with slow-sinking twitch baits and soft plastics rigged on very light jigheads.”

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361-877-3583 |
Surf fishing during December can be unpredictable. An early-arriving arctic front could limit opportunity, while prevailing warm weather could provide stellar fishing. Redfish and black drum will be available. Over-sized reds will be feeding on mullet, whiting and crab. Black drum will feed mostly on crabs and other crustaceans. Pompano action will be good on calm days with clear water. Shrimp and Fish-bites will work best. Winter isn't the most consistent time to catch trout in the surf, but we may see some surprising results. Trout will be best on calmer days with clear water. Slow retrieves of suspending lures will produce best. The majority of shark species will leave the shallows, except for mature sandbar sharks. Whiting, sheepshead, and small rays are prime offerings for them. Note – sandbar sharks are federally protected and must be released. Anglers desiring to harvest a shark could target the Atlantic sharpnose for table fare. Other possibilities will be Spanish mackerel and jack crevalle. Be wary of weather and driving hazards!

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000
Fronts will be arriving more frequently in December, leaving shorter windows to fish. The good news is that fishing can be outstanding between the fronts. Fishing up north behind a front can be very productive as trout and reds usually stack between the west shoreline and the ICW. There will be some good topwater days but soft plastics, FatBoys, and Paul Brown Devils will produce better on average. Productive Brown Lure colors are pearl/chartreuse, pearl/pink, pumpkinseed/chartreuse and chartreuse glow. I also recommend the KWiggler Willow Tail Shad on sixteenth-ounce heads or their new weedless hooks. Recommended colors in this lure are Bone Diamond, Pink Flamingo, Turtle Grass and Texas Roach. Another great spot between fronts is the Saucer area behind the cabins. For short runs, try Community Bar and the Weather Station. On really cold days, I do well in the deep water along the ICW and East Cut. The bite can be soft, maybe more like a “heavy” line than a thump, so stay vigilant while working slow.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Aaron Cisneros | – 956-639-1941
Fishing has improved significantly with the recent decline in water temperatures. Our most productive trout bait of late has been the KWiggler Ball Tail Shad in plum-chartreuse on 1/8-ounce jigheads. Our go-to technique for keeper-size fish has been working potholes just off the ICW and they seem to prefer a moderately fast presentation. There are lots of smallies but be patient, there’s plenty of solid fish in the mix. Redfish are holding on shallow grass flats on incoming tides during warming trends behind the fronts. On receding tides they retreat to adjacent deeper guts and potholes. Reds are loving smaller topwaters but floating grass remains a problem – single-hooked plugs are still the ticket. I look forward to the winter pattern developing and the grass problem going away. As water temps continue to decline, look for both trout and reds to move toward deeper water with mud and shell bottoms. Warming trends will send them temporarily back into the patterns described above. What we are seeing thus far in November is very encouraging and we expect December will be even better. Come on out and see for yourself!