On Galveston: January 2011

Let me fill you in on the great fishing up here: when the weather conditions are right, it's just crazy! We had a good summer and are still wondering where all the fish came from. East Bay and Trinity Bay are fantastic! Even in upper Galveston Bay, around Sylvan Beach and Seabrook, the pier fishermen are catching a lot of good trout and redfish, especially at night under the lights. Good fish are popping up just about everywhere.

Upper-North Minor Bays
Starting out on the upper end: it is that time of the year that the back bays up to the north end of the complex, such as Scott Bay, Burnet Bay, and San Jacinto Bay, are producing a lot better catches of trout and redfish now that the water temperatures have dropped significantly. Mostly 52M MirrOlures and Corkys are catching the nice trout and redfish. The best way to find the better fish is drifting over soft mud and shell bottoms in 6 to 8 feet of water under mullet. Water conditions are good: pure salt and real clean and protected. The water temperatures stay a little warmer in those smaller bays because they are surrounded by so much land. As you know, we had a pretty good front come in the other day and drop the temperature about 10 degrees, but in those back bays, it only dropped about 5 degrees, so that tells you how protected they are.

Trinity Bay
The north end of this big bay is still producing good solid bird trout up to 20 inches. For easy limits, just draw a line from Double Bayou over to North Point and all the waters north of there. After a big front comes in, and the next day has that calm weather and high pressure sliding over, there are flocks of birds working everywhere. But the shrimp crop is shrinking after each one of these fronts. Low tides come out of the marsh and bring these micro-sized juvenile shrimp out. You can barely see them jump they are so tiny, but the trout and reds continue to school up real hard on them. Under birds, we are catching the better fish using MirrOlures, slow rolling the 52-M near the bottom. The closer you get your bait to the bottom and the bigger baits you throw, the better fish you will catch as you avoid all the smaller specks and sand trout off. The MirrOlure swimbaits, the shad-tail type, are doing real good, too. Water conditions are excellent, especially on post-front patterns and calm days. For the better trout, stick on the south end or east shoreline and wade fish. It seems the better fish are coming over shell anywhere from 2 to 6 feet of water. Some days you have to get in and wade to stay on them, other days you can find great action while drifting.

East Bay
Can't say enough about this bay. It is crammed full of fish. I haven't been fishing East Bay behind northers, but before northers, with those pre-front pumping south winds, we've been doing real good wade fishing along the south shoreline near drains, drop offs, and points in 2 to 3 feet of water. An area with mud and shell mixed bottom is where you'll find the better bite, especially using Corkys and swimbaits on an outgoing tide. The north side of the bay is good on post-frontal conditions, when the skies are clear and sunny and you have an incoming tide bringing water back up on those flats. The bigger fish are moving up on those flats. Corkys and Catch 2000s are doing pretty good for the better bite. Some pretty large flounders are also showing up behind the drains on the north side after fronts.

West Bay
West Bay's starting to click pretty good also. Trout fishing is good over the shell, and for the red fishermen using soft plastics and 52-Ms out of the boats, the key is drifting those streaking reefs along the old Intracoastal Waterway behind north and south Deer Island and Carancahua. That streaking water is usually found on a tide change, incoming or outgoing, and you can catch a good amount fish this time of year in those streaks, especially right behind a front. Wade fishermen have been doing real good in the Deer Island area, wading all those towheads and using Corkys and swimbaits. The water temperature is finally consistent in the 50s, and the upper 50s is when West Bay does its best. The fish congregate all along the old ICW channel, especially over shell.

Galveston Channel
I don't usually talk about flounder. I understand that the population is down, and they are generally hard to find in the spring and summer because they are so scattered. But this time of year, when they all migrate toward the jetties, they stack up hard in the Galveston Channel, and there are people down there catching 20 and 30 a day, including 8 pounders, really solid doormats. They can only keep two during November but the limit returns to five in December. The better flatfish are coming on finger mullet, jigs, and soft plastics along the drop offs in 6 to 12 feet of water. During the migration they are stacked along the channel like cordwood before they head offshore to spawn. Flounder fishing is very good right now; even with 20-25 mph wind during the fronts people are still catching them.

Well that's it in a nutshell folks. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 10! The bays are just full of fish, and I sure hope we don't get a big freeze or anything because next year could be unreal.