May 2nd, 2013
Live bait best, plastic alternative
For some saltwater anglers, the recent shortage of live shrimp in Galveston Bay has put their weekends on hold. Others do not seem to notice.
Keep in mind there are times and places in which live shrimp is a must along with live croackers, but sometimes along the Texas coast, the use of soft plastic will add to your ice chest .
Fishermen who like to fish for the fun of it, shouldn’t let the absence of the white flag alter their fishing trips.
With a little persistence and some well placed luck, the use of plastic can be every bit as productive as the real thing on speckled trout, redfish, flounder, and maybe almost as good for gafftop and sandtrout.
Live shrimp is a fisherman’s tool, just like his rod and reel or his outboard motor and boat. But sometimes, this tool can be a crutch. Often times, some fishermen are too dependent on live shrimp. Typically, diehard live bait fishermen try the plastic route once or twice. If they are not successful, back to the live well igloo.
There are no guarantees even with a live well full of bugs or hoppers. And don’t give this writer the old adage, the family will go without, unless I bring home the bacon, if that were the scenario, the $18 or more it takes to buy a quart of bait would go much further in a discount food store.
Fishing is fun and part of that fun is being able to fool’em. Time, place and water conditions still matters as much, but you can do so choosing the correct lure and making it wiggle just so.
Granted, this is not easy, but the skills needed for most salt-water applications, come with patience and presentation.
Fishing with plastics is not like open-heart surgery. Experience is the best teacher and your classroom is always open. Soft plastic shrimp and shad imitations are for the most part productive and most user friendly along the Texas Gulf coast. Give me a hand full of jigheads and tails, and this writer will surely have fun fooling a few of the Texas big three. These lures can be worked both horizontally and vertically to cover all the necessary water to attract a surprising variety of fish. Texas big three are the prime targets (trout, redfish and flounder).
A few to mention are Bass Assassin, Stanley Jigs, Kelley Wigglers and Norton…………….
The Rat-L-Trap seldom sees salt water action in Texas along with its sister the spinner bait. If you don’t like this lure and its kin. Ask Texas bass fishermen for a recommendation. They are available in many colors and finished with corrosion-resistant hardware and they work on any fish that eats piggy perch or menhaden.
Spoons are a must to carry on the bays of Galveston, but this writer has noticed a real downturn in the numbers anglers throw these days. Man, they can cut through a howling southeast wind like a sharp paring knife. Use ¼ oz-3/4 oz depending on the depth and distance you are trying to cover. A wide body spoon wobbles near the surface, while a narrow body plows more deeply through the water. Many a redfish have been landed with a gold spoon as well as other types of plastic imitation shrimp and shad bodies. You can chunk and wind all day with a spoon.
Mirro-lures, Baby Spooks and Corky’s are among a family of somewhat advanced lures, but there is no single, magic way to work any of them.
Start with a slow steady retrieve and have a fishin’ friend begin with a quick erratic pull. Keep it moving? Let it sit. Try anything. And when a fish hits the plug, try and remember to retrieve it the same way the next time.
The length or weight of my stringer does not measure the success of my personal fishing trips any more. More so, the uncanny ability to fool one speckled trout or redfish on an artificial bait.
Remember, have fun outdoors. Good luck and good fishing.
See Y’all on Galveston Bay.
Capt. Paul Marcaccio
U.S.C.G. & T.P.W. license
April 9th, 2013
Cold Winter Pattern
It’s apparent we have escaped the cold weather. Yes, chilly weather, but no hard freezes. Let’s hope those times are few and far between.
March and April are proven months to capture that trophy trout .A good rod with plenty of backbone and a fast tip scores well. Several lengths available with different actions………………….
A good example is the GREEN ROD from Fishing Tackle Unlimited located I-45 @ Fuqua or Campbell Rd @ I-10……………..
By far the most productive method is to wade fish certain areas in Galveston Bay. With the spring flood tides covering the Back Bay marshes each season, take time to travel to these areas and seek out that wall mount.
Make use of the falling tide in the area you wish to wade. Target drains and bayous as they become idea areas for those sow trout to ambush the bait……………….
The shrimp and baitfish caught in these areas are heading out toward the open bay, and these trout are on a major feed. For the most part, early morning or ate afternoon is the best time to wade. A lot of your larger trout are only interested in large bait, something like a mullet or croaker.
In addition, lure size plays a significant role. Be sure to use braided line in the 20-30 lb range. Sufix makes a great line along with others. Tie your bait directly to the line. Allows bait to look more natural.
There will be a few days during the month that the tide and water clarity will be right for the asking. If possible, use double tides (two lows and two highs), along with trout water (approximately 12 inches of visibility) to start your trophy hunt.
Keep in mind; pods of nervous baitfish are essential. That sow trout is lurking just beneath them.
Make sure of the entire Galveston Bay complex, areas like the south shoreline of West Bay, or the wading areas of East Bay (north and south). Don’t forget about Trinity Bay. When salinity is right, expect to find that career speckled trout.
A combination of layered clothing, covered by neoprene waders insures a comfortable guard against the winter water.
Bay water temperature is cool and the fish turn more to a diet of mullet and shad. Hard-bodied mullet imitations become real producers. That is not to say that soft plastics are not effective during the winter.
Pay particular attention to areas that have bayous and canals leaving the marshes. Work them aggressively, tossing the bait you have selected up current and letting it fall back toward the open area.
Lure selection should imitate the bait in the area. Top water lures are going to entice the largest fish. The erratic movement you must use gives the appearance of a wounded fish, making the trout receptive to a powerful strike on your lure. Keep in mind; you will not always hook up that larer trout with these baits. You will find yourself seeing a number of blow-ups (fish attacking the bait on the surface without hooking themselves). Your patience will be tested time and time again not to set the hook until you feel she has taken the bait.
Several of the better lures are the She Dog and Top Dog by Mirro-Lure; Baby spooks and the Corky. The most durable is the infamous Mirro-Lures (series No. 38, 51, & 52). Color choices should be natural on sunny days in good water clarity and bright rattling baits on overcast days in off-color water conditions.
Soft plastic has captured many of the trout over the years. There are literally hundreds of these baits in your local tackle store.
Remember, most bait that is sold is designed to catch the fisherman, not the fish.
Make your selection carefully. Keep several types in your tackle box. Others will be accumulated as you become familiar with different conditions on the water.
Bass Assassins are by far the most productive soft plastics now in the market place. Assassin baits are durable and come in many colors and sizes. Use their ultra point wide gap screw on jig heads for repeated hook-ups.
Confidence and presentation are equally important. Be sure of what you are using and you will be rewarded with some of the Gulf Coast’s finest fish.
Always carry spoons in your tackle box. Never leave home without a couple of Johnson sprite or Tony Asseda spoons. These baits are excellent under certain conditions. The wobble and flash they produce will entice speckled trout or redfish when your other baits will not.
Braid line is by far the better line to use these days. Sufix is among the elite. The first few seconds are important to the hookup. If you remember to set the hook hard and hold the rod up. A tight drag is not necessary. Back off the reel drag. Let the reel fight the surges and dives she will make toward you. If necessary, use your thumb to keep pressure as she runs her course.
Some trout will tail walk and roll away in an attempt to shake the bait. At times, she will run at you in an attempt to gain freedom. Keep the rod at arm’s distance. Give yourself additional line by pulling the line yourself while keeping tension on the rod and line.
When you finally have her to within reach, don’t panic. She will be larger than life. Walk the fish in a semi-circle; making sure your stringer stays out of the way. Keep in mind, you will have only one chance to reach out and secure that trophy trout. You may need to raise the rod with a high arm to guide and hold the fish within reach.
Correctly, grip her across the back behind the gills. When you are ready and the fish is lifeless for a moment, seize her. Reach out and grab with authority, now place your rod under your arm and pull enough line to secure the trout in your donut or on your stringer. Your other hand may be necessary to hold the underside of the fish, being careful not to damage the gills, if you are going to release this beautiful fish.
Now, you’ve finally done the impossible. Congratulations are in order. Maybe even a holler. Makes no matter, you won the battle.
Enjoy the moment. It will be yours for all time.
Have fun and be careful while fishing,
Good luck and good fishing.
See y’all on Galveston Bay.