Howdy folks, Capt. Mickey here to bring you the lowdown on fishing around the Galveston Bay region. Looks like nothing much has changed over here although we did receive some much needed rain recently. Even though some areas had several inches you have to remember how dry the whole countryside has been and it really soaked in more than found its way into the rivers and the bays. The Trinity and the San Jacinto River have both come up a bit but nowhere near enough to change the bay fishing picture. Some of that trout and redfish action I've been telling about up in the rivers will likely change but I haven't seen anything yet to alter the bay patterns.
The fishing patterns have been stable for the longest period in my memory. You could almost say they are exactly where they were in October and all through the winter. We are beginning to see a few more fish in the shallows and we are wading, trying to catch some big ones, but it seems that most of the bigger and better fish are still out deep.
The pattern for drift fishing has been to key on the streaks and tide-current lines, schools of mullet and maybe a pelican or two sitting on the water is kind of how we are finding them. There has not been a lot of slicking going on. I have been making long drifts to start and punching the GPS when we get a fish. This is in open water and unless your GPS can show you the structure such as reefs and other features, you pretty much have to go by memory or rely on feeling the bottom with your lure to know what's down there. Scattered shell (clam and oyster) mixed with soft mud has been most productive for us. Once you make several drifts and then go back and look at your tracks and MOB punches, and hopefully see the reefs etc. on the chart, you can pretty much piece the rest of it together to decide how to continue. Once you find them it's a no-brainer to hang on them and get a limit.
The 52M MirrOLures and various soft plastics are producing the majority of our fish right now. The MirrOlure bite is a lot of fun once you get them figured out but the soft plastics are definitely better for finding them as you can cover a lot more water. We are currently throwing 1/8 and 1/4 ounce heads in 4 to 6 feet of water and the reds and trout are kind of grouped together right now when you find them. Especially in the back of Trinity Bay, places like Jack's Pocket, Booth's Pocket, Anahuac Pocket, all those river mouth areas have been holding these fish for a long time. I don't know how many fish are back there. They have been pressured and caught for months now and there is just no end in sight on them. It is just an overabundance of fish, I think the majority of our fish are as close to the freshwater as they can get and sticking with the bait.
Another bait to look at is the Maniac Mullet from Tidal Surge Lures. In just a couple of months this bait has turned out to be one of my favorites - it works that good. The trout seem to like them in MM3 pearl pink, MM4 pink, and MM11 dayglow. Check out their website for a look at all their products and the retailers that are carrying them.
Topwater action is pretty spotty but always worth a try. About one day in a dozen you'll find them feeding high enough in the water column and they'll just go ape for floaters.
Something that seems strange to me this winter, based on how good the fishing has been all year, parts of Upper Galveston Bay just haven't turned on for us. Maybe it's the lack of freshwater inflow or maybe the relatively mild temps but, areas that are traditionally really good through January and February, like Sylvan Beach and Seabrook Flats, just haven't taken off. You know you can go over there and grind around and catch some fish but it is just not hot and heavy like you expect it to be this time of year. My guess is that a lot of the fish we would normally find there are still up in the San Jacinto watershed scattered out in all your small back bays like Burnett, San Jacinto, Scott Bay, and places like that. There is just a not a big concentration of fish on the flats due to lack of freshwater.
Fishing remains good over in East Bay. Like Trinity Bay; the areas in East Bay that had good numbers of trout back in October and November are still holding good numbers. I'm guessing that more heavyweight trout will show in late-February and March as we get further into the spring warm up. Basically what it is going to take is fewer fronts out of the north and more days of sunshine and sustained south wind. This will also mean increased water levels in the bay. Guys that rely on drifting as their primary method will not be too keen to see the strong southerly flows messing up the water clarity but the wade fishermen in the crowd will be smiling when those big old sow trout pull into the shorelines. You just have to pick your days and how you're going to fish.
There is still a lot of controversy over the disposal of ICW dredge spoil that covered a bunch of the grassbeds and grass flats on the north side of West Bay in a thick layer of silt. I know that area is designated for spoil disposal but I wish more could have been done to keep them from destroying that seagrass. Seagrass is really hard to come by up here in the Galveston region.
I know you guys down south have a lot of seagrass and some might even take it for granted but, up here we finally got that entire north shoreline with beautiful pristine grassbeds and potholes just like you see in South Texas and, the next thing you know that dredge project comes in and puts the kibosh on everything. Hopefully it will bounce back and will not be ruined permanently. A lot of people are disappointed in what the Army Corp of Engineers have done over there. The Galveston Bay Foundation halted it for a while but I had more callers this weekend telling me that they are putting a tremendous amount of spoil in a lot of areas that is just covering the grass too thick it may never recover. Only time will tell on this one. FYI - West Bay trout fishing has really taken a dive and I'm going to say it is because the salinity rates are so high and the fish are up north around the river mouths.
It won't be long we will be talking about a drum run entering Galveston Bay through the jetties and down through Texas City. That is when our trout fishing gets really good and that is when wade fishing kicks off in Galveston Bay, we get those water temperatures stabilized and then we have some really cool fishing for the spring.
That is pretty much where we stand right now. We've had a great winter season, thanks to the mild weather, and that is a big plus. Keep an eye on the weather, go fishing when you can, take a kid, and good luck to all!