Reports & Forecasts: January 2013

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268

January can be a great or really frustrating month to fish. What makes it tough is you have to be able to pick your days. Most of the fast and furious action that we have been experiencing in November and December will be over. We will move on to big trout, and the bites are sometimes few and far between. We will fish Paul Brown's Original Lures and other suspending baits 97% of the time. Most of our fishing will be done by wading. Where we fish depends on water clarity, water temperature, and tidal movement. With big north winds being the predominant wind of the season, we are usually on the northern end of the lake. Also Joe's Cove and West Cove are protected from these winds, so they are great places to start your search. Look for bait, but I wouldn't necessarily stop the boat because I saw one mullet jump. When I pull up to a flat, I look for any signs of life. If the flat is alive with bait or slicks then usually some kind of predator fish is around and active.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242

The quality of the fishing in the Galveston area is always heavily dependent on the weather, especially in a month like January. It's been lock and load lately; you can catch 'em pretty much however you want to. We've had birds working over school trout and reds making mud stirs and slicks out in the middle, and the coves hold plenty of both species when the weather's been warmer. That's been the key, the good weather. In January, if this weather pattern holds, it will be much the same. We'll wade the coves when it's warmer and winds are southeast, and fish out in the middle soon after the fronts. Bass Assassins rule the roost out of the boat, while twitch baits are better for the wading. I still catch plenty on my old standby 51 MirrOlures whether we're wading or boat fishing. Catch 5s and Catch 2000s and Corkies work better in the shallows for most people. Topwaters will produce some big catches at times in January, but it's more of a hit or miss thing. Can't go wrong with a dark Bass Assassin for the most part.

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim was busy with both duck hunting and fishing when we talked. I fish two or three days a week, hunt the others. There have been a lot of ducks; hunting is pretty easy. Fishing has been excellent too, with the good weather. I've been catching them out of the boat and wading. Catching lots of fish in the two to five pound range, a few bigger ones. Other people have been catching some really big trout. Mostly, those guys are wading and throwing Paul Brown's Original Lures, Catch 2000s and topwaters. Best bite for the bigger fish is around the frontal passages. Right now, we've still got some birds working, but that will probably end by January. During the middle of winter, we'll key more on reef edges and colored streaks in the water when fishing out of the boat, and we'll also make some afternoon wades. Particularly if the weather gets colder, wading around dusk and into the night is a great way to catch 'em. Most of the action will be on soft plastics and slow-sinking twitch baits.

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323

Randall says the fishing has been good lately, and they've been catching some big trout. Yesterday, we had two over 28 inches and some others around five pounds. Most of the time, we're catching good numbers, like today we had 16 trout and four reds. Best bite the last few days has been on Corkies fished with a slow twitch. Seems a little early for that now, but it was there, so we took advantage of it. In January, if the weather gets cold, our fish will move deeper, but if it stays the way it is, both wading and working open-water mud streaks will pay off. I like to key on streaks in areas with a mix of mud and shell on the bottom in the deeper parts of the bay when I'm fishing out of the boat. By the way, the guys at Gulf Coast Trolling Motors did a great job for me recently, repairing my Talon. I really like to use that thing to enhance precision when we're fishing out of the boat, and to eliminate work when we're wading. Also, I'm still loving my JH Performance Outlaw boat. Every time I get into something else, I appreciate it more.

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski | Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401
Charlie mentions a variety of options for fishing around Matagorda in January. The weather hasn't been cold very much yet, so all kinds of patterns are in play. Since the marshes haven't emptied, it's possible to catch plenty of fish in the coves and lakes, and the birds are working. Most likely, those things will come to an end at some point in December. The river is holding some fish right now too, because we don't have much fresh water flowing. One of the best lures to use in there is the Maniac Mullet. It sinks faster than Corkies, so it seems to work better in the depths and currents. Fishing in the river and Diversion Channel is usually good in the middle of winter, especially when it's too windy to work the open areas of East Bay. When winds are lighter, the mid-bay reefs in both ends of East Bay will produce plenty of fish, as will areas adjacent to those reefs, where the bottom is a mix of scattered shell and mud. Soft plastics tend to work best when we're fishing from the boat; Corkies and Catch 2000s work great when we wade the reefs.

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204

Fishing has been outstanding on our home waters. White Gulp! shrimp rigged on a chartreuse quarter-ounce jighead has been deadly. We have been fishing this about three feet under a popping cork over shell and mud, and it has been effective. Later in the day when the flats warm up, we are catching some good fish on small topwaters like the Super Spook Junior in bone and the MirrOlure ShePup in black/gold/orange. Night fishing continues to be good as well. The fish have seemed to eat best on incoming tides, taking small salt/pepper paddletails rigged on sixteenth-ounce jigheads best. Hopefully, with colder weather likely on the way, we will have some bigger trout start showing up. As of now, we still have tons of shrimp in the bay, and the fish have not changed their diet over to mullet yet. The ledges and drop offs in all three local rivers hold good fish on bad weather days when it is windy and cold.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
With all the warm weather, Lynn has been fishing a little differently than he might if the weather were colder. Lately, we've been fishing the back lakes quite a bit. The water is warm and the tide is pretty high most of the time, and the fish are stacked up in the shallows pretty good. Mostly, I'm keying on soft, muddy bottoms with some grass and scattered shell mixed in lately. And that will be the pattern in January too, especially if we continue to have a warm winter. The back lakes will produce well as longs as it's not too cold. If temperatures do drop quite a bit, it might mean we have to make a move toward the drop offs closer to the deeper areas of the bays. Either way, we'll throw soft plastics and slow-sinking twitch baits most of the time, saving the topwaters for those really nice weather days when lots of mullet are jumping. And, we'll sleep in and leave the dock a little late, around nine thirty or ten o'clock in the morning. In winter, I see no reason to be fishing really early in the morning. I'd rather let the sun get higher in the sky and heat up the flats some. The fish tend to be more active then.

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894

Blake's cast and blast season will be winding down during January. Both the hunting and the fishing has been good. We've had plenty of birds in the back lakes, and with all the warm weather, the fish haven't been too hard to find. On some days, we're finding them inside the lakes, by running around in the air boat. On other days, the shorelines adjacent to the drains hold more fish. If the weather continues warm through January, I look for the trout fishing to be a little easier. The shoreline wading will remain productive. If it gets colder, the fish might move into deeper water. We usually catch 'em pretty good in some of the deep holes in the bayous leading into the lakes when it's like that. Wading around the drop offs of mid-bay reefs is good when the weather settles after a front too. Mostly, we'll be keying on areas with a mix of mud and shell or mud and grass, slowly working Corkies and other suspending lures to try and catch some big trout. Of course, if the bite is slow, we pull out the old Norton Sand Eels to grind.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
January is a quiet month on the water because many fishermen are still hunting for monster whitetails, while others are hunting for their trophy trout of a lifetime. The colder water temperatures will drive the trout into deeper water, especially during frontal passages, but they will quickly come up to shallower water as the sun warms shallow areas with soft muddy bottoms. Signs that the trout could be in the area will be diving brown pelicans and swirling or jumping mullet. Try a medium to slow retrieve with a Texas Assassin in plum/chartreuse, bone diamond or pumpkinseed/chartreuse or the three-inch Berkley Gulp! Shrimp in new penny/chartreuse or pearl/chartreuse rigged on an eighth-ounce 5/0 Bass Assassin Spring Lock jighead. Sightcasting for reds, black drum and some trout continues to gain popularity with my clients, and this will continue through the month of January. The fish are going after shrimp-flavored Fish Bites. Good polarized sunglasses are necessary tools when working this drill.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Joe says he plans on fishing around the channels and drop offs in the northern reaches of his area during January. Usually, January is a pretty tough month for fishing out of the boat. The keys to catching are to stay close to specific parts of the area. When working deep open basins like Beacroft's and Emmord's Holes, it's important to stay in contact with the deep grass beds. Lots of times, the fish will be lurking in the areas where the deepest beds can barely be seen. Other times, dirty streaks in the water indicate the fish have moved off the edge entirely. A more productive drill during this month is to fish around the drop offs of all the channels, including the ICW. As always, it's important to cast right to the edges of the shallows and let the lures flutter down the face of the drop off. Maintaining contact with the edge during the drop is best done by matching jighead size to the conditions. Calmer conditions mean lighter heads, while stronger winds and currents bring heavier ones into play.

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446

Its all about picking the right time to go surf fishing this time of the year. The angler MUST target calm periods in-between incoming cold fronts. Beware of NE winds as they make for very high tides and muddy water. Pompano will be readily available in green water and along with whiting will be readily taking fresh dead shrimp and Fishbites scented lures. Slot and oversized reds will be available as will slot black drum and sheepshead. Sandbar and occasional other shark species will be available; mostly on kayaked baits during the cold months. Make sure you have all your emergency supplies with you as the beach can get really empty during this time of the year no passersby for help. It is possible there may be some speckled trout available but for the past few winters they have been in such low numbers as to not justify fishing for them. Expect a long grind if theyre your target. M51 and M52 MirrOlures were always the top choice for winter surf trout when present.

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal | 956.944.2559

We are seeing lots of ducks and geese arriving to the Lower Laguna Madre - still waiting for the winter fishing pattern a good signal will be flounder moving off the flats and concentrating along channels. Redfish and trout remain more scattered than wed like to see this time of year. Schools of mullet and other baitfish are the best keys right now to finding a decent bite. Sometimes it takes only a few waking or breaking the surface to point the way giving away the location of feeding predators. Resist the urge to race about from one spot to another. Once bait is located you need to fish slowly and thoroughly. Even though the water is not that cool yet the slower presentation will usually accomplish more when feeding activity is not visible at the surface. Snapper fishing in state water is very good right now. Lots of boats fishing the new structure about 6.5 miles off Port Mansfield. Keep what you will eat; release the rest.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747

Fishing these past months has been super; we've cast at tailing slot reds, herds of oversized, and caught some huge trout and flounder. The excitement of walking the boat up to a group of six to eight reds nosing the bottom, and casting a Berkley Gulp! three-inch shrimp or a plastic worm just past them and then hopping it right in front of their eyes is hard to beat, unless you hit a small school of oversized reds ready to grab anything. Both of these activities are more likely to happen when conditions are calm, which has occurred often this fall, allowing the water in the LLM to clear up for a change. Freddy says, Usually were fishing around northers, to the tune of about one a week, but this season the weather has been pretty mellow, and the crowds have been a non-issue. However, the winter Texans are beginning to make their presence known on the water. We've had some exceptional days lately, limiting on reds and trout, and are looking forward to a new year. Please help us try to stop open bay dredge disposal, before its too late!