Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - silverkingadventures.com – 409.935.7242
The Christmas month can be a great one in all the Galveston bays, including West Bay, James says. “We have plenty of fish in the open parts of West Bay this time of year. The catching can be really good all the way from Confederate Reef to Carancahua Reef. If the weather's fairly cold, the water tends to get really clear. Finding the fish out in the middle then means looking for dirty streaks in the water. When fishing the streaks, throwing soft plastics and keeping them bumping off the bottom often produces well, as does swimming a 51 or 52M MirrOlure in the lower half of the water column, by pointing the tip of the rod down at the water and pulsing it rhythmically while reeling it in. Wading this month is usually best in the afternoon hours, sometimes only in the hour or two right around dusk. A strong incoming tide bringing water back into the bay after it's been really low for a while after a front really elevates the potential for this pattern working. When this happens, topwaters and twitch baits often produce better than soft plastics, especially for bigger trout.”
Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service – 409.996.3054
November and December rank as Jim's favorite months for fishing. “Most days, we're having easy fishing lately. We're catching in drains and bayous, throwing tails. Best bite has been late in the mornings. Of course, the birds have been working in various parts of the bays on some days, and we're catching fast limits of small keepers under them. The bigger fish are usually up shallower, and wading is the better way to catch 'em. Throwing twitch baits and topwaters will be the ticket much of the time when wading. The fish are scattered around all over the bays right now, since the water's pretty salty. If we don't get any more big rains, we should be able to stay away from the crowds of people and find plenty of fish. As we get into December, we'll start fishing afternoon hours, staying out for a couple hours after dark. That's often the best way to catch big trout once the weather gets colder. It also helps me, since I run a lot of early-morning duck and deer hunts this time of year too. I have so much to do this time of year, and I couldn't be happier.”
West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service 979.849.7019 – 979.864.9323
Typically, in December, cooler weather means a shift to patterns where oyster shells play a key role in the areas around San Luis Pass, Randall says. “We'll be fishing around reefs more often, also in deeper parts of the bays with a muddy bottom with shell scattered around on it. On the colder days, the fish prefer deeper water, sometimes in the ICW itself. They'll venture out onto spoil banks with shell as it warms up a bit. During warmer spells, we catch plenty of fish drifting open areas north of the pass, in depths of five to six feet. There, we use Norton Sand Eels mostly, adjusting jighead size somewhat, to maintain fairly close contact with the bottom. Most of the fish we catch in times like that are trout, with a few reds mixed in. When conditions get really good and warm for this time of year, and tide levels rise, we do better throwing slow-sinking twitch baits like Paul Brown FatBoys around shallow shell humps in the back bays. In those situations, we generally catch a balanced mix of slot reds and some of the bigger trout.”
Matagorda | Bay Guide Service
Tommy Countz- 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
December is generally a great month for fishing in the Colorado River, Tommy says. “If the weather is cold and windy, the river really comes into play big time. Lately, we've been catching some nice trout in there, mostly throwing at the drop off on the west bank. The key is normally to get the right jighead size to match with the amount of current. The fish tend to stage about seven to nine feet from the surface, fairly close to the ledge. Usually, a three-eighths ounce jighead will do the trick, but in lighter current, a lighter one might work better, and heavier current will dictate heavier ones. Paddletails tend to work better than rat-tails, especially ones with bright colors like chartreuse on them. Early in the month, if we don't have any real cold weather, we should still have birds working in the west end of East Bay. If the birds aren't working at a given time, making long drifts around Raymond Shoal often produces plenty of fish. As the shrimp migration winds down, we tend to catch more and more redfish, and less trout, working this pattern. 52M MirrOlures work well as the shrimp thin out.”
Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam
www.palaciosguideservice.com – 979.240.8204
We're set up for an excellent run of winter fishing in the Palacios area. Trout fishing has been great over bottoms with a mix of mud and shell under birds in the northern parts of our bays. Paul Brown FatBoys in pearl/chartreuse and DSL lures in purple reign have been productive lures lately. Bird action has been steady this year, and the trout we're catching under them are running pretty big, with quite a few in the 20 inch class showing up. Fishing for reds has been even better. We're catching them on the flats, in the rivers, in the creeks and schooling along area shorelines, pretty much all over the place. We've been using three-inch pearl Gulp! shrimp and small topwaters like ShePups and Spook Juniors to target them. As the weather gets colder and we get into winter, deep holes in the river become productive. When fishing the holes, a three-eighths ounce jighead helps keep the lure close to the bottom, which is key. The bite can be really light when it's cold, sometimes feeling like dead weight on the end of the line rather than a distinct tap.
Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service – 361.983.4434
December is a month when Lynn makes some basic changes to adjust to the cooler weather. “Fishing is better for us this month in the afternoons, after the sun heats up the flats some. So, we tend to leave the dock late in the morning and fish through the afternoon hours, to take advantage of the warmth. When figuring out where to fish, we prefer areas with shallow water close to a drop off to deeper water. A muddy bottom seems to hold more fish than a hard, sandy bottom this time of year. We want either some thick, soft grass beds in the area, or some shell, either reefs, or scattered shells. A mix of all of the above is good too. We'll key on bait, like always, but seeing rafted bait isn't really necessary. Even a few mullet flipping around in an area can be a sign that plenty of trout and reds are close by. We throw slow-sinking twitch baits much of the time this month. We'll also switch up to topwaters if the weather's warm and we see more bait than normal jumping. Sometimes, a twitch bait bite turns into a topwater thing late in the day.”
Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Cast and Blast season is in full swing in December for Blake, and it's a month with plenty of great options. “We do lots of the duck hunting first, then fishing our way out kind of trips early in the month. Later in the month, the afternoon dove hunts add another element of blasting into the mix. When fishing, we will target reds in some of the drains and bayous in the back lakes, also do some wading in open parts of those areas, if tides are running high. When looking for trout, we spend more time working areas with sand and grass on the bottom, often on shorelines adjacent to entrances into the backwater areas, in bays like Aransas, Mesquite and San Antonio. When the weather's really warm, and winds blow in off the gulf, we throw topwaters a good bit, especially in black-chrome color patterns. But on an average day, with cool or cold weather, soft plastic works better. We throw dark Norton Sand Eels with chartreuse tails on most every trip. If the bite's really tough, we'll change to the split-tail Gulp! Shads in chartreuse/pearl. Generally, this month is a great one for variety and productivity.”
Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – [email protected] – 361.563.1160
Deer hunting season usually brings quiet days on the water, with light boat traffic. The weather during December can be tricky to predict and difficult to cope with. We tend to have a few warm days, then harsh cold fronts, followed by a couple cold days, then warm ones again. This is the time to keep a close track of water temperatures when planning fishing trips. If the water falls below about sixty degrees or so, the catching is usually best in slightly deeper water and slower retrieves with soft plastics working best. Lures like Bass Assassin Die Dappers in colors like chicken on a chain, chartreuse dog, salt & pepper and sliver phantom/chartreuse rigged on eighth-ounce heads produce best in this situations. When water temperatures climb above sixty degrees, the same lures on sixteenth-ounce heads thrown in shallower water work better. Lately, the four-inch Assassin Sea Shads in Calcasieu brew, plum/chartreuse and treuse goose rigged on sixteenth-ounce heads have been working great. Sight-casting drum, both red and black, continues to be productive in a foot of water or less when water quality is good. Shrimp flavored Fish-bites produce best when working this drill.
Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez—www.sightcast1.com—361.877.1230
In December, several patterns produce good catches of both trout and redfish. The fishing in the area around the JFK Causeway can be good during the afternoons. Decent winds and tidal movements increase the odds for catching on flats around the numerous channels in the area. With an incoming tide and sunshine, trout and reds often stage in sandy, silty potholes in the grass on shallow humps. Tossing soft plastic paddletails on light jigheads around the edges of the potholes and reeling them in steadily often produces plenty of bites. On the best days, when the weather's warm, it's possible to sight-cast the fish. If it's colder, which it typically is during some stretches this month, the fish tend to drop into the channels themselves. Catching them then involves matching jighead size to wind, depth and current. If the fish are lethargic and inactive, they bite best on the bottom in the middle of the channels, so slightly heavier jigheads make it easier to reach them. When they're more active, the fish tend to move up close to the edges of the channels, so throwing lures onto the shallows outside the channel and fluttering them off the ledges works better.
P. I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361-877-3583 | Oceanepics.com
After a long fall season, things have finally changed to colder weather patterns, so expect some great fishing when weather cooperates. As long as water temps don't drop below 50, there will be plenty of fish to catch. Both slot and over-sized reds roam the winter surf. On some December nights, bull reds become as active as they are at any time all year. I expect a late run of mullet down the beach this year. If this is the case, reds, Spanish mackerel, sharks and jacks will linger in the surf with the mullet. Florida pompano usually show up in numbers this month; they're tasty and easy to catch when the water is clear, using Fish-bites on small circle hooks. Whiting and black drum bite these readily too. For bigger species, live or cut mullet or whiting make better baits. Larger sharks will be around this time of year. Tigers and even makos sometimes bite, when the weather is warm. Cooler weather happening early often elevates the chances of catching large sandbar sharks. Whole whiting and pompano make great baits for these brutes. Monitor weather forecasts closely to avoid being on the beach when an Arctic blast rolls over the coast.
Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza
Snookdudecharters.com – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000
Tide levels have been running really high, but recent northwest winds have started them dropping back toward normal. We've been catching reds around the Northeast Cut Pocket, but the pattern has changed. The fish aren't east of the shelf with the lower water levels. We're doing better targeting them in water about knee to mid-thigh deep early, then wading out even deeper as the weather warms. Fishing around The Saucer is similar. Lately, the bite is good near the cabins close to the drop off, but it can also be good in the shallows farther east. The key is to locate the rafts of flipping mullet, or steady solo jumpers. West Bay can be productive when water drops out of the shallow sloughs, especially on slow-sinking twitch baits. On days between fronts with light winds, the stretch of shoreline on the west side north of town produces well. The entrance of Glady's Hole and the mouth of Little Bay just south of there produce some great trout catches this time of year when tides run low. Topwaters will work, but normally floating or slow-sinking FatBoys work better. KWiggler Willow Tails on light jigheads produce bites from big sow trout in this area too.
Lower Laguna Madre—South Padre—Port Isabel
Aaron Cisneros | tightlinescharters.com – 956-639-1941
Cooler weather has perked up the bite down here in the Lower Laguna Madre. We're catching plenty of keeper trout in two to three feet of water, throwing at large, bright potholes in an otherwise grassy green bottom. We've been using topwaters a lot on the warmer days, but soft plastics have been the most productive lures overall. KWiggler Ball-tail Shads in Mansfield Margarita rigged on eighth-ounce screw-lock jigheads have worked best on most days. The redfish bite has also been steady. Without a doubt, the best place to catch them has been on shallow flats with water less than two feet deep. We're finding lots of small schools, also good numbers of pairs and singles. Spook Juniors in bone rigged with single hooks have drawn quite a few blow ups, and gold spoons have been working well for the reds too. KWiggler Willow Tails in Lagunaflauge rigged on sixteenth-ounce heads have been working best when the reds want soft plastics, since they're easier to keep out of the bottom grass. Overall, the prospects for winter fishing look good this year down south. I look forward to a steady bite over the coming months.