Mid-Coast Bays: December 2008

Mid-Coast Bays: December 2008
Wade slowly and fish thoroughly, plant your feet when you get that first bite, trout school very tightly on December reefs.
In December, when the weather allows, I will be spending a lot of time on the reefs in San Antonio Bay. With all the numerous reefs in this bay you are probably wondering how I decide which reef will be most productive.

For starters, like any other bay system, there are areas that have always held fish during this time of year. These areas were either learned by reef hopping or by information from other fishermen; and oh yeah, we also spent a lot of time in November fishing these reefs. There are reefs north and south of the Intracoastal Waterway.

The reefs that I like to fish will have drop-offs and fingers that jut out from the main reef, giving my speckled friends more ambush points. These ambush points will normally be located on the east side of the reefs.

There are some key factors you will need to look for before committing to a wade. Bait must be present whether it be mullet or shrimp. An added plus is to have current moving, either driven by wind or tidal flow. Slicks are another indication that feeding fish are in the area, and some sort of bird activity doesn't hurt either whether they are hitting the surface or just walking up and down the reef; birds are always a good sign when looking for fish.

The next thing we need to decide on is what lures to start the day with. When the fish are ganged on reefs you can pull just about anything from your box and catch fish with it in the month of December. I have told many customers that this is the time of year that you can use up the lures you couldn't catch fish on during the summer months.

I say if you like to throw topwaters for the excitement of the explosive blow-ups, throw it! If you like to hop soft plastic off the bottom or over humps in the reefs, throw it! We will always have someone throwing a topwater in the mix of Sea Shads and Texas Assassins, at least 'til they get tired of watching the rest of us catch fish.

A very important tip to remember when fishing the reefs or shorelines is that you must have patience. The fish this time of year are much more tightly schooled up then they were in earlier in the fall. The trout will be schooled up so tight on the reefs that if you don't place your lure within a 10ft. radius of a point or hump in the reef you may think that there is not a fish for miles. So remember keep plugging until you get your first bite then plant your feet and don't move until you have fish the area thoroughly.

Being patient and fishing an area completely is something I can't stress enough when fishing reefs with my customers. I use a fan cast, casting all directions when trying to locate fish on points and drop-offs on the reefs. Once I hook up I plant my feet. If one guy decides to move towards the fish before we have thoroughly worked the area, the school will move and this will shut down the fishing for the whole group of fishermen, until you can relocate the school again. Pay special attention to your buddy when you are reeling in your fish. Make sure he doesn't walk into the area that you just plucked your fish out of. One more time; plant yourself after you find the first fish!

My favorite lure for reef trout in December is the Texas Assassin on a 1/16 ounce unpainted Assassin jighead. I prefer the pumpkinseed/chartreuse, limetreuse and glow/chartreuse. The color I select depends mostly on water clarity, using limetreuse when the water is really torn up and off-color.

Fish hard, fish smart!