On Galveston: April 2011

Howdy folks, Capt. Mickey here to bring you another fishing report and forecast for the Galveston Bays. Now everybody knows that springtime fishing is all about wind and more wind and I have to say that I never would have never believed we would get such beautiful weather as the last two have been. When February began with an arctic blast I was ready to say we'd get a late spring but it does not appear that way now. Spring is about to bust loose and the fish are starting to come around.

Morning bites have been pretty slow of late, with low tides and all, but if you are willing to wait them out the afternoons have been pretty darn good. Here lately I have been taking a later start to cash in on the afternoon action. I have been leaving the dock around noon and then finding the fish and just sitting on them till 3:00 or 4:00 pm as that is when they are lighting up pretty good. The best part of the day has generally been from about 4:00 pm to dark.

Wade fishing could be better. We are starting to catch a few wading, but most of the trout have been out of the boat in around five to six feet of water. The best redfish action has been shallower, anywhere from one to two feet of water and some days a bit deeper at maybe three to four feet. For the most part, shorelines with scattered shell and mud mix have been holding redfish pretty good. Pretty near any lure you like to throw will catch reds right now. My wading plan has been covering lots of water fairly quickly with topwaters until I stick a few or see some blowups and then slowing down and continuing with topwaters or switching to Corkys or tails for more consistent action. You know one day they will eat the topwaters and the next day they only swirl on it, either way it's a great plan for finding them. I do not typically throw spoons as often as I once did but I had some customers the other day throwing spoons and lit the reds up real good with 1/4 ounce gold weedless and Sprites. Here lately the best trout (six to seven pounds) I've seen landed or received reliable reports of have been caught in Burnet Bay, believe that or not. The grapevine says some of the tournament guys have been on them pretty steadily up there in Burnet Bay.

I have not been fishing on the west side of upper and lower Galveston Bay or down the west shoreline between Seabrook and San Leon, but reliable reports indicate they have been catching some nice trout drifting outside the pier pilings in seven to eight feet of water. Some of the guys are using their trolling motors to get inside the pilings and work the shallower stuff and they are doing well too.

Over in East Bay, one of Mickey Ray's buddies has been on a good evening trout bite along the south shoreline and that seems consistent with other reports we have been receiving. It is pretty much an afternoon bite all over the bay systems but that should change soon as the approaching moon phase will bring higher tides and better morning and midday action. The water conditions are great everywhere as we have very minimal freshwater inflow. Clarity and salinity are great all across the system.

West Bay is still producing fairly steady trout action around North and South Deer Island reefs. Look for the coves along the south shoreline to really turn on. There are a couple of coves down that way that are full of redfish right now but as the bull tides of spring sweep into the area the trout will take the spotlight. Early spring always includes good numbers of solid trout running those guts up into the back of the coves on incoming tide and then retreating back toward the bay as it falls. Hardcore West Bay waders that get in there and pattern them should see some of the best wade fishing success the Galveston Complex can offer and it should kickoff real soon.

The Tri-Bay area (Chocolate, Bastrop, and Christmas) has been holding its own lately with pretty consistent catching going on down there, and with the arrival of bigger tides I expect it will only get better. I received a photo via email the other day of a solid six and a half pound trout caught in Christmas that was released (way to go!) along with information he and his buddies also caught twenty-something solid fish that ranged three to five pounds that same day. Looks like the trout on that end of the system dodged the freeze bullet too!

Taking an overall view, it's still early, things do not happen as early around here as they do on the Lower Coast. Large schools of baitfish are prevalent everywhere you look and that's a good sign. The drum run is underway and the folks that enjoy catching them are having great days down around Texas City and also out at the Galveston jetty. The old timers always said that when you have a good drum run you can expect the trout fishing to turn on in about ten to twenty days.

I have great expectations for our spring season here in the Galveston bays. Everything is looking as though it could really come together. We have plenty of fish and we dodged the bullet on the freeze; hopefully the traditional spring rains will not bring excessive flooding and freshwater inflows to change the clarity and salinity we have been enjoying. If my guess is accurate, April should deliver some of the monster nine and ten pounders this region has the ability to produce. We haven't seen any really heavyweight trout yet, but have no fear, they are out there and somebody is going to pop one any day now with continued good water conditions.

In closing I want to offer a word of caution in regard to boating and fishing safety.
Springtime brings lots of wind and squalls can form and move across the bay in less time than it takes to wade back to the boat. If you get in a rough situation, always remember these deep bays in our region can get ugly in the wink of an eye and running back across to the safety of the dock is not always the best option. Anchoring in the lee of an island or a cove to wait it out is a much better bet. If in doubt, always wear your PFD!