On Galveston: March 2011

As you know we have had quite a bit of cold weather with several nights into the twenties during the first week of February. We have received an inch or two of rain across the area and this is definitely beneficial to the bays. Everybody chewed their fingernails to the quick worrying over a fish kill and rightfully so. Luckily, it appears we came through in good shape here in the Galveston region. Water conditions are good, the salinity levels are right where we like to see them all across the Galveston Bay complex. Weather is our greatest challenge right now and you just have to pick your days during one of the brief warm-up periods for the best fishing. With major fronts passing through every four or five days our water temperatures get down below 50 and while that is okay for redfish it slows the trout bite significantly. Staying on steady trout action is hard given the few days when we can really get on them and start to put a pattern together. It would be nice to be a guide down in South Texas this time of year where it is always warmer and you have better conditions to fish. We have a lot of fish and they are still pretty much where they have been all winter but the weatherman doesn't let us play with them very often. This time of year we all long for the water to reach that 60 mark and hold there.

I have been pretty much sticking to deeper shell in anywhere from four to eight feet of water when looking for trout. Signs of bait can be kind of tough to locate sometimes because it just stays down and won't come up when the water is cold. Probably the most consistent catches have been coming out of West Bay around North and South Deer Island and all that deep shell around there. What makes that area so good this time of year is all the deep guts through those reefs like you find around Anderson Ways and behind South Deer Island and along the Confederate Reef. I would guess that during the last big trout tournament up here that is where pretty much a good number of the bigger fish came from. The guys were wading Confederate Reef throwing Corkys, I am told. There was some really good fish caught and I'm pretty sure that was where the tournament was won. Those guys paid a dear price as it was very cold weather conditions and they had to grind it hard all day long to get their fish. My hat is off to them as it makes for a long and tough day! For a guide, it is really tough to try to get customers to stick with you all day and grind them out looking for that one big bite but that's the way most of the big ones are caught this time of year.

As far as Trinity Bay goes, there are still a lot of redfish in the far upper reaches around bayou mouths and deep points off the bayous. They are not on every day so you can catch them one day and miss them the next. The feeding pattern has been inconsistent but water conditions are good. You just have to pick you time between the northers and hope for the best. All the smaller upper bays like Burnett have been producing fairly well for drift fisherman in seven to eight feet of water; keep making long drifts with soft plastics and MirrOlures. Catches have included some real decent fish in the two to three pound class.

West Bay gets the nod for most consistent fishing right now. There is considerable Gulf influence throughout most of West Bay and those warm Gulf tides coming in sparks a more reliable bite when the rest of the Galveston system is colder on average. As we get into our early spring pattern with warmer overnight temperatures and some good sunny days, the coves in West Bay should produce lots of better than average trout and very good redfish action throughout the month of March. West Bay wade fishermen and kayakers should have lots to look forward to down on that end.

Over in East Bay, look for the far upper reaches to turn around and really kickoff during late-February and early-March as the warming trends become more prevalent. Of course if we get a week or so of colder than average temperatures the pattern I'm describing could be delayed for a week to ten days. Theoretically the upper coast turns on a little later than the rest of the Texas bays but it also stays on longer once the spring patterns fade into summer. That's just the way it is up here. As far as fish population is concerned, we have plenty of fish. Look for East Bay to really crank up once we get that water in the mid to upper 50s and stabilized. Wading the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge a day or two behind fronts will be real good. Once all the water blows out, you have some real shallow mud flats back there, but as soon as that water returns the bait comes with it and the fish will pull right back in there making for some excellent fishing in late-February and all through March. In the upper ends of Trinity Bay, once the weather begins to warm up and stabilize, we'll see the same thing happening up there. The fish will move to shallower water and will feed with greater consistency day to day. Until that happens, though, drifting out deeper will be the game plan especially when the tides are low. You can almost always guarantee being able to pluck a few fish off the deeper flats that have some amount of shell in Upper Trinity and East Bay while you're waiting on them to pull into the shorelines.

That's it for now folks.
We are pretty much at the mercy of the weatherman until we get further along into spring weather and then we'll be fighting the famous non-stop March wind. Pick your days carefully and be safe on the water; everything else should fall into place as the water is in great shape and the Galveston Bay complex is full of fish.