Well it's Captain Mickey coming to you again with Christmas and New Year greetings and a look at the fishing prospects for the month of January. Man how time flies when you are catching fish! You can pretty much take my article from last month and just slide it over to this month. That's how similar everything is.
There are just fish everywhere right now. I am doing off the wall stuff for the last 3 or 4 weeks; going up the San Jacinto River, the Trinity River, all the bayous and sloughs into the marshes, as far up as you want and still finding trout and redfish. I've never seen anything like this - it is absolutely crazy.
Here's a clue as to how many trout and redfish we have in this system - we have salty water ten and twelve miles upstream of the bays - areas that are normally completely fresh are just full of fish - and the bays are still full of fish. No matter how you slice it that's a lot of fish. Like I tell everybody; this beats all I ever saw!
Whether you prefer to wade flats or stay in the boat and drift deeper water, all the places that you would normally expect to produce at this time of year are giving up good catches. Over here in Trinity Bay, the area around Jack's Pocket and Anahuac Pocket there near the river mouth are especially good right now. Lots of solid fish running two to five pounds hitting plastic like it's going out of style. We are drifting those deeper flats throwing the MirrOlure Lil John and also the new bait from Tidal Surge Lures they call the Maniac Mullet which is kind of like a hybrid of their old Crazy Croaker and their Split Tail Shad.
I have always liked hard twitchbaits this time of the year and there is a new one out called the XCalibur EEratic Shad Xt3 that I've been having fun with. The trout are loving them too. We're working them real hard with braided line, pumping 'em down about two to three feet and then letting them suspend. Crank down real hard and then let it kind of wobble to a stop, those bigger trout will rip your rod right out of your hand. Topwaters have been producing a few for us but the action has not been consistent. One day they'll crush them and then they won't even take a second look for two or three days.
East Bay is full of fish right now and the action has been very steady just about anywhere you care to go. West Bay is holding good fish too but the action gets kind of spotty in-between the northers. Catch it right those first two days after a northern and it's real good but as the weather improves and warms up and the wind lays down they'll slow way down on you. To be honest though it is early for West Bay. The best that West gives us usually kicks off right around Christmas and continues through January.
You're probably thinking I'm pulling your leg about the fish moving way up into the parts of the system we've never seen them before but it is true. I took some guys fishing the other day and we wandered all around just marveling at how many fish were so far up the river - and there we ended up in an oxbow just nuking the reds on Lil Johns and watching cars go down Highway 90. Is that crazy or what? We caught a bunch but I'll just bet you that if I'd had some spinnerbaits we could have really clobbered them, it was nuts, like twenty-five nice slot reds working about 200 yards of shoreline. That ought to tell you something.
One of the greatest things about this river fishing is that you have it all to yourself, everybody else is still down in the bay. I am using my bottom machine charting sandbars, clam shell bars and things like that where you have a real good undulation on the bottom and we're finding that when the tide is going out of the bay there is a pretty good current up here too. The incoming is OK but nothing like the outgoing. The key is to find you a sandbar that runs generally 2 to 4 feet deep tapering down to about 8 or 9 feet. The prime depth is right in between. Work it with the trolling motor until you get on them and then put the anchor out and enjoy the show. Once you get it figured out you can actually chart these fish on your screen.
Let's talk flounder. They have been pretty consistent around the passes like they should be this time of year but lots of guys are saying they're scarce elsewhere in the bays. I think I have discovered what that's all about - they're way the heck upstream. I have no clue what they are doing way up there fifty or sixty from the Gulf of Mexico when they are supposed to be out there spawning, maybe it is because of the elevated salinity levels, who knows. I'm guessing they'll be moving down pretty soon to do their spawning thing and lookout when they do, the guys that know how to catch flounder are already having a banner year down at Sea Wolf Park and along the Galveston Channel.
Bird action has been a pretty slim this year and the few that have been working are usually covering small fish. Just not a lot of shrimp but there is still plenty of shad and mullet and the fish are keying in on them. We are going to see some really big fish caught over these next couple of months - mark my words.
Water conditions are generally very good, too good some places, and by that I mean too clear unless the wind stirs it up. Picking your days will become increasingly important and please be sure to heed those weather warnings. Some of these fronts will come screaming in hours ahead of schedule and the open bay is no place to be when they hit. Best bet is to let it settle out for at least a full day following a frontal passage and then you'll get at least two or three really nice days to get on the water before the next one comes through.
Hope all have a happy and safe New Year's holiday season and good fishing to you in 2012!