On Galveston: November 2010

Fall is upon us. It’s nice, cool weather here, and  it looks like November patterns will be in full swing before long. The week before and the week following Thanksgiving are traditionally some of the best of the whole year here on the Upper Coast, barring ugly weather, of course. We get flocks of birds, particularly in Trinity and East Bays, covering some really nice trout. The shrimp crop is phenomenal this year and with shrimp prices in the tank there haven’t been many boats working. While the great number of shrimp in the bay means you can find birds working just about anywhere, the fish stay full nearly all the time and the bite may not last too long. That's a tough problem to have, huh?

Trinity Bay and Upper Galveston Bay Region
Redfish are fair. Catches in general have been spotty but when you find a school it’s good. The bigger slot reds are staying in deeper water still, but the small rat reds/juveniles are coming along the shorelines. Brooder size redfish are in deep water along the ship channel up near the Fred Hartmann Bridge, not sure why they haven’t moved to the Gulf yet. Spots like behind Exxon, along the rocks and discharge pipes, are producing 30 to 40 reds a day with soft plastics such as the Big Nasty Voodoo and the Little John. That new MirrOlure shad swim bait is also a good producer right now; I just started trying them, and they’re working real well, scented too. Besides soft plastics, we’ve been getting a little bit of spoon action and topwaters are starting to come around.

Most of our trout at this time are still deep, though a few are starting to move into the shorelines as the water temperatures drop. Two or three more fronts and we will be in full wade fishing mode. Even out of the boat in Trinity Bay, in 6 to 10 feet of water, we are working slicks in open water. The bigger fish are coming on topwaters, soft plastics will get you more bites.

Flounder are still a little spotty along the shorelines. Most of the flounders being caught right now are at bayou mouths and marsh drains. They’re starting to stack up where the good outgoing tides are bringing bait out of the marsh. That’s pretty much the drill in Trinity Bay. The water clarity is Goldilocks-good: not too clear and not too off-color; it's just right. Fish are really responding when we get the slick-offs like mid-morning to mid-afternoon. That's when the trout, especially, really get to schooling on top and birds start working. The tide dictates a lot of it, of course.

East Bay
There has been some fairly consistent bird action down the north shoreline between Richard's Reef and the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, generally in about five to six feet of water along those tow heads and all that area. Some of the deeper reefs in the middle of East Bay are producing some pretty good trout on soft plastics, up to six pounds.

West Bay
The coves over at West Bay are starting to show a few fish in the shallows, running the guts up into the coves.  For anybody willing to fish real late in the day, the best action is usually right before dark. You’ll get a fairly decent topwater bite late in the evening in the coves of West Bay.

The bull red run is still going real good on the beach front, West Galveston Island, and Bolivar Peninsula. All the way down to High Island, they are still catching bull reds up and down the surf. Baits such as gizzard shad and cut mullet are paying off real well. The Texas City Dike has reopened, and a lot of interest has evolved around that. Several people going out on the dike have had a really nice bull red run this year on the last quarter mile of the dike on the Texas City channel side. Spanish mackerel are starting to show there too. The croaker run is a little bit light right now, but it will kick off about the same time as the flounder run. Once the water temperatures hit the lower 70s consistently and begin dropping into the 60s we will really see the fall patterns kick in. That's when your big trout start showing consistently on the shorelines, great for wade fishing.

Talk a bit about topwater lures here; I have been throwing a combination of Super Spooks, Skitter Walks, Spook Jr., Top Dogs, She Dogs, etc. It just kind of depends on conditions and your personal preference. A favorite of mine this time of year (when I feel I need to downsize) is the old 7M Mirrolure. This is a floater that I work like a twitch bait on top but can also be taken down about foot or so when you really get on it, work it hard, then stop it. The #19 color combination in the 7M has always been real good for me. The green back, silver sides, and white belly (#18) has also been a longtime favorite. The other day we got into some trout that ran four-to-six pounds on 7M MirrOlures and they were really hitting them hard, taking them deep. We had to switch to soft plastics to avoid killing every one we caught. That right there ought to tell you why I like that old 7M so much.   

It's great to live in Texas this time of year. We had a great teal season up east of town and Chambers County in general had as good a teal season as I have ever seen. Prospects for waterfowl are very good, our deer are looking fat and sassy, and fall fishing is set to take off like a rocket. What else could you ask for?

Happy Thanksgiving!