On Galveston: December 2008

No matter how you look at it fishing is just plain good right now, good all over. The whole bay system is rocking and rolling. This is not to say you can get a limit every place you try, but anglers who understand fall fishing and how to fish under the birds have been doing very well. We are beginning to see an increase in the number of boats on the water and folks seem to getting the hardship and disruption of the hurricane behind them, and that is a very welcome sign.

Trinity Bay
The birds have been working steadily for about a month now and it seems there is an endless supply of shrimp. They are so thick the fish can't eat them all up and there are almost no shrimpers working. It's crazy out there some days. Birds can be sighted all over the bay, especially after a front when the wind lays down. With all this going on it seems most people are focusing on the mid-bay stuff and not wading. This makes it especially nice for those of us who prefer to wade and you can fish uninterrupted just about anywhere you like. Wading is producing solid trout in the 20 to 24 inch class and every now and then a 27 to 28 incher shows up, but in general waders are not getting the numbers the boat anglers are catching. I think it needs to get a little bit colder and we'll see a change along the shorelines. Redfish action is good and we're not even targeting them, limits and more have been found mixed with trout schools. We are focusing on concentrations of mullet along protected shorelines and only seeing a few shad at this time. Topwater bite has been good on many days, sometimes all day, and of course we're getting them to hit MirrOlures and soft plastics when the surface action slows down. Last year we had an uncommon number of hybrids and stripers in Trinity Bay and it looks like they're back. The numbers are not quite what we saw last year but the size is impressive. We hear that fish in the 12 to 14 pound have been caught in the last few days. The best area is up around the Center Point Spillway and in the cooling canal.

East Bay
The same as Trinity, the birds are just tearing it up. There are a lot of the reefs holding fish at this time and in general the water is in real good shape. Trout action is good to excellent, and again, East Bay anglers are finding reds in there with them. There is a lot of debris from the hurricane all over East Bay which makes it really tough to navigate. I urge that anyone heading to East Bay should use extreme caution and take their time because a lot has changed and you never know what you're going to run up on. I don't like running it but I have gone over there and checked it out and there's a lot of good fishing going on.

Dickinson - Dollar - Upper Galveston Bays
Like I said the whole system is rocking and rolling and these areas have it going on too. Even though the trout seem smaller there are a lot of fish in these areas. They are easy to find on the reefs and under the birds the same as in Trinity and East Bays.

West Bay
West Bay has been producing real nice fish even though most oldtimers would say it has not been cold enough to turn it on yet. West Bay usually shines during the coldest part of winter and on into early spring. Just goes to show you what kind of fall fishing season we're having all across the Galveston System. Reports from fishermen working behind San Luis Pass indicate lots of action. There is a lot of bird action throughout the middle of West Bay from Karankawa Reef all the way down to San Luis.

Chocolate - Christmas - Bastrop Bays
It's just plain good everywhere you go right now and these little bays are no exception. The redfish have been a bonus here too, coming steadily with the trout.

I really hate to jinx our winter fishing by using the "F" word, but in my years of experience it seems that some of our worst freezes have occurred in the same years as bad hurricanes and Ike certainly was a bad one. Our bays and fish populations are in excellent shape and having seen what a really hard freeze can do I sincerely hope we do not get one this winter. The stage is set for outstanding winter fishing and we have trout and redfish pretty near everywhere they should be during fall. Unlike recent years when all the rivers in East Texas swelled out of their banks sending floods of freshwater into the bays, we have good salinity everywhere right now. In fact we are seeing spadefish, pompano and other offshore species way up in Trinity and over in East Bay which is quite a switch from being fresh-watered to death. I was working a cove up in the back of Trinity Bay last week and we were sight-casting at redfish when a school of pompano swam right by the boat, there must have been 20 or 30 of them. That ought to tell you how salty our bays are right now. I rate fishing all over the Galveston area bays at 9.5 with good potential to become a solid 10 over the winter months. We could definitely use some rain to help with the hurricane recovery in our marsh and nursery bay areas but not a flood. I know this been a tough year with fuel prices, hurricanes and the economy, and lots of folks have been missing out on this great fishing, so get out there and enjoy what we have going on right now. The weather has been beautiful; Indian summer is what the old folks used to call it. We've only had one or two blown-out days in the past month, let's hope it holds. Merry Christmas and good fishing.