On Galveston: July 2011

Howdy folks! Capt. Mickey here with another fishing report and forecast for the Galveston Bays region. Thank goodness the wind has finally given us a break believe it or not we are enjoying our second full week of sweet southerly breezes and unbelievable fishing. I mean all the open water is in play right now. We have been talking about it for months hoping we could get off the protected shorelines and work mid-bay shell; the catching is easy and life is good.

The patterns right now is real simple. No matter where you fish in the Galveston Bay complex, just remember Mickey's Three-S Formula: Shell - Slicks - Shad. We have been doing really well with these and you can hit it out of the park by combining any two. Putting all three together should get you a grand slam. Fishing over deep shell reefs with no other visible sign will likely give you decent action. Slicks over shell means you have arrived during an aggressive feed. And, seeing balls of menhaden flipping nervously amid slicks over shell reefs means you are about to get in on a dynamite bite.

We are seeing an incredible amount of bait so far this summer and it really comes as no surprise to me. A really cold winter like the one we just had seems to create an explosion in the shad population. On the up-side, it means that finding bait is easy when you are hunting the bite. On the down-side, I believe an overabundance of bait hanging on structure or in the general area you are fishing makes it tougher to get bit, especially on lures.

One thing is sure though, this bumper crop of shad is good for the trout and reds. We had a twenty-two inch red the other day that weighed over five pounds crazy and our trout are looking like footballs too! Just to give you a better idea, in Trinity Bay a couple of weeks ago, I got on a school of shad up close to the mouth of the Trinity River that stretched probably a quarter mile wide and a couple of miles in length. As far as you could see the trout and reds were just blowing them up. We spent maybe three hours working those fish and we just couldn't get 'em going. We caught a few but too much natural food was my guess as to the origin of the problem.

Look for the action at the Galveston jetties to really take off. While fish can be caught on the rocks year round, the bigger trout really congregate there during the hottest part of summer. Calm winds and flat seas enable you to work close to the rocks and observe bait and gamefish activity. Topwaters, crankbaits, soft plastics, and of course live bait, will work. My pick would be topwaters early in the morning right along the edge and then soft plastics the rest of the day, trying to bounce them down the wall without getting hung up. Lots of big trout have been caught in summers past using this approach.

West Bay has had a really good year so far and still giving up lots of fish. The major reefs along the old Intracoastal have been paying off steadily when conditions allow and I expect they will continue to do so right on through the summer. Then you have Campbell Bay that I call a "freeway bay", not because it lies next to the Causeway, but because lots of fish migrate through there. Look for this area to have tons of working birds over "keeper" trout when the shrimp move through. There are always a lot of smaller schoolies but there will be some decent "keepers" too.

East Bay; can't say enough. The south shoreline took a steady beating when the wind had everybody pinned down but, now that the wind has laid, there are lots of really nice trout coming off the deeper structure in open water.

Same way with Trinity Bay. Deeper structure is really producing on calm days and there are big schools of trout along the east shoreline. Wade fishermen working Hodges Reef and the submerged Vingt-et-un (Vantoon) Island area are doing very well. Here again shell is the key.

Along the Ship Channel, when the ship traffic isn't too heavy, you can find lots of trout on the humps, ledges and shell piles, from lower Galveston Bay all the way up to Trinity Bay. We normally work this area in May but the wind kept us off it this year. The currently light winds have changed that whole picture and now is the time to zero in on it.

For two weeks now the live baiters have been tearing up the trout on live shrimp but my plastics are working too. I have been having some stellar days with the Big Nasty Voodoo and the Bass Assassins. Old standby swimbaits like H&H Cocahoe Minnows are working for us as is the new MirrOlure bait they call Lil John. We nicknamed it "the suppository" because of its shape. This bait has a unique darting action, unlike anything I've ever seen. Rig it on an 1/8 ounce leadhead and you might get a surprise.

Now we've been hearing a lot about pier fishing under lights all year. The night fishermen have absolutely been laying the trout out. I have to say this style of fishing has never been my personal favorite, but some enjoy it. With the water conditions and quality of catching we have right now I just cannot imagine giving up a day on the water to sit on a pier all night. To each his own.

I hope all is well with the fishermen who read this and everybody can find time to get on the water and take advantage of what we have going on. I think this will be an exceptional summer season as long as the wind continues to cooperate and the dog days that will come soon do not alter the pattern too significantly. I am praying for rain for everybody as we all need it very badly. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July and take your family fishing!