On Galveston: December 2011

Howdy Anglers, Capt. Mickey here with another look at the fishing around the Galveston Bay Complex.

Things have really picked up after these last two cold fronts and it is really hard to believe that it could get any better. The potlickers are doing really well now and everybody is catching fish and that is the name of the game. That is what sells products and I guess magazines too (ha-ha). But no, it is real good.

What happened up here on Trinity Bay is our water level has dropped quite a bit on these last two fronts and that has made a really big difference. With the elevated salinity we have right now the shrimp are just coming out in little spurts and that is kind of holding the fish in the upper reaches of the bay systems around here. Last week I ran twenty miles up the San Jacinto River to Oxbow Lake and caught trout, redfish and flounder and watching cars go down Hwy 90. I mean it's just crazy how many fish are so far upstream. Same thing with the Trinity River delta, we have birds working in Lost Lake and Old River. You can pretty much draw a line from Point Barrow to Double Bayou, anywhere north of that line you can find birds working and slicks. The better trout by far are being caught by waders but that open water bite is hard for some folks to pass right now.

East Bay is pretty much the same thing. The north end of East Bay has been holding some really nice fish. James Plagg has been doing pretty good over there; I went over there one day and we caught some really solid fish. The day I was there we had trouble finding keepers - most were running right at that 25-inch line and a tad over. No monsters, but a great bunch of solid five and a half to six pounders. I know that the croaker guys really worked this area over during the summer but this is good evidence that they never got all the good ones.

This "north end" pattern as I call it seems to be prevailing in all our bays right now and I really believe it has to do with the way the shrimp crop and shrimp migration has happened this year. We still have deepwater pattern fish for the boaters that like to work birds and most of those fish are running from about 14" to 18" with the majority in the 15-16" class, just multitudes of them. The bird chasers wait all year for this stuff and I'm glad to see them getting their chance. But the guys that want to catch better quality fish and aren't afraid to get out and work for them; all you have to do is slide off that bird action and find you a slick or two. You know they are not popping a lot of slicks like they do in the summer time, slicking action is rather sporadic this time of year. But if you get out away from the birds and the schoolie fish and all the boats zigzagging and chopping them up, there are a bunch of better fish to be had.

The way I do it is to look at various pieces of known structure, you know - reefs, ledges, dropoffs, stuff like that, and when I see a slick or two popping I just put my trolling motor down and stay with those fish. A traditional bait for this type of fishing has always been the MirrOlure but I want to tell you about another bait I'm doing well with - Tidal Surge's Maniac Mullet. Dana Bailey gave me some and I have been trying them out. They have been working really good for me. It sinks a little faster than the Corky, it does pretty much the same job as the Corky but it is a more feasible bait to throw out of the boat. You don't have to have as much finesse if you know what I mean. You jiggle it a lot, let it fall; kind of work it like a tail, slow it down more than that and it is working real well. Getting lots of strikes on them. You could no doubt use the Maniac Mullet wade fishing but I think it will end up making a better boat bait. I have no trouble with my Corkys when I'm wade fishing as I'm going forward very slowly so I don't need that extra sink rate. The original Corky and the Fat Boy are probably the best big trout lures ever invented.

I am also still doing real good on that Lil John from MirrOlure. The scent they add to the Lil John probably has a lot to do with the way the thing draws strikes. Lately we are dipping the tails in chartreuse and getting that kind of shrimptail look going on. I believe dipping has made a good bait even better.

Can't say enough about the flounder, last week I had eight flounder that ran twenty-two to twenty-four inches. On another trip we had nine and we are not even fishing for them, we are just trout fishing. The flounder are just now starting to fall out of the backcountry and I am catching most of them in bayou mouths and ledges along channels. Falling tide is usually the best and most of the flounder we are cleaning are full of shrimp. So that tells you the flounder have not switched over to mud minnows or finger mullet yet but they will.

They are still nuking bull reds in the surf from Sabine Pass all the way down to who knows where. There are some slots in there too. Some guys are wading for trout and getting lucky and catching some slot reds down around San Luis Pass.

It is late fall and this is the season we live for. It just doesn't get any better anywhere in the world than it is in Texas right now. We have world-class fishing going on all up and down the Texas coast and excellent hunting all across the state. (I might be a tad prejudiced about some of this but that's what being a Texan is all about you know.) My neck is swelled up quite a bit with deer season and waterfowl season open and the fishing just going through the roof. It's just good to be an outdoorsman right now.

Red tide update: They have closed oyster season on the whole Texas Coast due to the red tide making oysters unsafe for human consumption. This has not been as much of a problem here on the upper coast as it has further south but all bays are closed just the same. Hopefully we'll get enough of a weather change and the water will cool down enough to knock this stuff out.