On Galveston: September 2010

I am happy to report that the Galveston Bay Complex is alive and well. There is a lot going on, and almost all of it is good. Since pretty much everywhere is loaded, we are catching a lot of fish. Even Trinity Bay is starting to fill up with fish as the freshwater inundation subsides and the salinity returns to more normal levels.

Trinity Bay

Redfish have been the bonus fish all year as trout were slim due to the frequent freezes and big floods last winter and spring. That weather cooled the water down and shoved a lot of those fish south of us. Now, they are finally starting to return, and we have birds working in eight to ten feet of water all through the middle of the bay. Good size trout are coming out of those flocks, up to four pounds, and most of them are keepers, good solid fish.

Water clarity is good all throughout the entire bay system. Some shoreline action is going on as the trout are still spawning on the shallow flats. The best plan here is an early morning topwater wade. Usually by about eight o'clock, the shallow action is pretty much over as these fish slide out and settle down off the deep ledges. Then you have to move out with them, fish out of the boat using trolling motor to work slicks, mud boils, and birds. There's also a little bit of well fishing still going on. Several of the yellow separator wells and some of the Exxon C Lease and A Lease wells are holding decent numbers of fish. The live baiters with popping corks are having the best luck by fishing about four or five feet deep under the cork around those well pads.

As for wading, drifting, and working slicks, my favorite ways to fish, we are using Big Nasty soft plastic jerk baits in colors such as black, red, and sometimes a little limetruese sprinkled in on the windier days when the water is a little off color. For the most part, dark colors are working the best on the better fish. White seems to catch more, but smaller, fish. When we are using swimbaits in mud boils and slicks, we stick with Yum Fat Money Minnows and the regular Money Minnows, the smaller one. Both of those are working good on 3/8 ounce jig heads, but most of the trout are coming off 1/4 ounce jig heads. The redfish are holding near the bottom, that kind of thing.

East Bay

East Bay action is a repeat of Trinity. All the mid-bay shell reefs are prime fishing spots. These big concentrations of fish, what we call herds, are holding in the mud just off the shell reefs. I think a lot of that has to do with weekday trot lining. The commercial drum fishermen are working these reefs real hard right now and some of the better reefs are just covered with their lines. I believe this pretty much runs the trout and redfish off the reef which is quite a disappointment for us. We then have to get out in the mud, work slicks, and key in on bait, tide lines, birds, diving gulls, etc. The whole nine yards.

West Bay

West Bay is still holding fish throughout the middle over all the shell, from north and south Deer Islands down to Carancahua Reef. Behind the pass has been a little spotty this year. The shallow bays such as Christmas, Bastrop, and Chocolate have not had the normally good fishing we are used to seeing this time of year. Most of the trout being caught in the Tri-Bay area, a lot of smaller school-size fish, anywhere from fourteen to eighteen inches, have been coming out of Bastrop Bay. A popping cork and live shrimp are naturally the best catching method to get these fish. Other good methods are some of the spoons, soft plastics, that kind of deal. Overall fishing is good. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate it about an 8.5.

Beach and Surf

Good days have been few and far between. We just haven't been able to get on the wind pattern that will hold for enough days in a row to keep the beachfront clean and allow those good green tides to roll all the way to the beach. However, the guys using generators and setting up lights at night are just really tearing them up. Even in the off-color water, they are getting easy limits of trout (school size, maybe up to four pounds at best) on real small soft plastic baits such as the Little Fishie or any type of minnow imitation bait that is one to two inches long on 1/8 ounce jig heads. There are a lot of rat reds mixed in with them. Bull redfish action has not seemed to kick off just yet. Most of the bull reds we have been seeing and catching, 42 to 48 inches, have been in Trinity Bay, which is kind of a weird scenario. The beachfront is producing big gafftop under the lights at night. Catches ranging up to five and even a few at seven pounds are definitely plentiful and being caught on live piggy perch and dead shrimp. I am not much for gafftop but there are lots of folks who enjoy catching them and say they are way better than freshwater cats fried.

Overall, the Galveston Bay System looks good; tides are back to normal after the tropical storms. We did get some much-needed rain, about four inches of it. August and September look real good, and it's just going to be hot. Get 'em early, get' em quick, and get out of the heat!