September 4th, 2014

Bolivar Peninsula- Best Kept Secret

Just a few miles northeast of Galveston Island lies the strip of land called the Bolivar Peninsula. Anglers largely overlook the peninsula, as they pass by its shores on the way to crowded East Bay hot spots. The fact of the matter is that the peninsula has a lot to offer anglers year round, particularly in the winter months. The peninsula appeals to boaters, wade fishermen, and land based fishermen.

Fishing opportunities for boaters are almost endless. Among the most popular places in Bolivar for boaters are the jetties. The jetties serve as a breakwater for the Galveston-Houston Ship channel, while at the same time, providing an ideal structure for attracting forage fish and the predators that feed on them. This structure holds fish year round. Wintertime is extremely productive because of the combination of structure and quick access to the deep water of the ship channel. The best bait in this area is finger mullet, if not available, use Saltwater Assassins, or Stanley Jigs. These soft plastics offer great hook ups if worked slowly. Also, use Mirrolure slow sinking plugs like the MR 19, 38 or 51 series. Color varies depending on water clarity. Light for clear and dark for off-colored water

The Intercostals Waterway runs between the backside of Bolivar and Goat Island. Speckled trout, Redfish and Flounder (Texas Grand Slam as some refer to catching’ all three the same day). The waterway is an excellent area to fish when those blue northern are upon us. The shoreline is all but protected except for a gusty northeast or southwest wind…………………Be sure and wear wading boots to protect ones legs from our flounders with pony tails???? All year long. ForEverlast Boots work great. Se them at FTU in Houston or Katy, Texas

Seviers Cove and the Pig Pens are two of the many spots boaters target for winter, or fall patterns for trout and redfish. Seviers Cut is a land cut in Goat Island with a shallow channel into East Bay. The Pig Pens is located on the bay side of East Bay, just west of Seviers. Soft baits like mentioned earlier along with the famous Corky by Paul Brown, works for those sow trout. Most anglers prefer to wade the latter both early and late afternoon, with an outgoing tide. Be sure and have a good graphite rod and small diameter line, so as not to attract too much attention. Fishing Tackle Unlimited has a tremendous rod called the All-Pro Series Green Rod…………………………….and Sufix Line to spool that great reel in 30lb test.

The Bolivar Pocket is another popular wade fishing spot on the peninsula. The Pocket is located between the old lighthouse and the base of the Bolivar Jetties. This is a prime spot to target as the temperature drops with winter cold fronts…………………………..

The Bay side of Rollover Pass is also a very productive area to wade during the winter and fall months. Mirrolures and the Stanley wedge tail top the list to throw when wading Rollover Bay. Both resemble a mullet, which is a winter meal for that trophy trout that looks for that one good meal for several days………………..

Rollover Pass and the jetties are two of the most productive areas for land-based fishermen. The cooler months of the years are plagued with single tides coupled with minimal tidal movement.
Any trout fisherman will tell you,” Moving water catches moving fish. ”Rollover Pass is just that area. Trophy trout and redfish congregate and feed in that narrow pass. Live shrimp will almost always work for a large stringer of solid fish, but it’s next to impossible to find that time of year. See a white flag. Stop and get ‘em. Live finfish, solid-bodied mullet imitation and large soft plastics accounts for most of the truly large trout pulled from the pass each year at that time…………………..

Bolivar is loaded with good winter and fall fishing locations and deserves a little investigation. With the upcoming hunting season, our fishing brothers have thinned out greatly. This gives those of us who fish year round a little more quiet time to catch that speckled trout or redfish. These prime areas receive less pressure at this time of year. Your brothers that are reading this at the deer camp always have fun outdoors. This writer will be thinking about you…………………

Until next time, good Fishin’ ………….
Capt Paul Marcaccio
U.S.C.G. & T.P. &W. license

Shrimp Effective on Galveston Waters

August 9th, 2014

Using Live Shrimp for Trout Fishing

Live shrimp is unbeatable trout bait in terms of all around effectiveness.
The cost is relatively high and it can be difficult to keep alive in the summer heat of Galveston Bay, but many anglers will settle for nothing else.
There are certain times during the summer months when natural baits will take more speckled trout than artificial baits.
Speckled trout are hard to please eaters who feed on fresh bait, not shrimp that has been frozen for a long period of time or that has a stink to it. Live shrimp works wonders around bay flats, reefs and along the edges of grass and marshes. These are areas where trout are likely to school in large numbers.
As far as some species are concerned the larger the bait, the bigger the fish that is likely to be caught. In the case of speckled trout, however, the bait must be tailored to the waters being fished. Shrimp five to seven inches long make good bait for trout between four to six pounds, or when you are fishing jetty waters or in passes or channels that hook up the bays to the Gulf of Mexico.
Large shrimp are less effective in the bay areas. It has been my experience that shrimp about three or four inches are ideal to secure good stringers of trout.
Whether you hook the shrimp through the next-to-last section of the body, from the tail, depends on the size of shrimp and its stage of life.
Very small shrimp are difficult to hook under the spike. There are also times when the shell is very soft. In both cases you need to hook the shrimp in the last part, next to the tail.
I prefer to use the latter method at all times. The bait appears more natural and chances are you will not hook the area under the spike (commonly refereed to as the brain).
Many times, I feel its how you present the bait that will make a difference on whether the trout takes it at all.
Sometimes try hooking the shrimp under the bottom (or belly), giving the look of a crippled bait. Other times squeeze the head just enough to crack the shell. This also gives the bait a disabled look and the juice will attract the trout due to the smell.
Speckled trout have extremely large mouths, and when they strike, they usually take the whole bait. But, this doesn’t mean they swallow the shrimp instantly. They hold the bait for a one or two count before ingesting it.
Many times salt-water anglers believe that trout take the bait head first. A lot of times, after a solid hit with live shrimp, the bait appears to be squeezed together (head to tail), giving the impression that trout grab the shrimp from the side rather than head first.
There are times when the fish nibble and peck instead of striking hard. This usually occurs several times each year when the fish have what we call “sore mouth”. This is when the two canine teeth become loose. Apparently, the trout shed these teeth. I’ve caught speckled trout with two long teeth, with one long and one missing, and I’ve even seen big trout with two small teeth.
When you have this happens to you while fishing, hook the live shrimp through the second body part from the tail, rather than under the spike or last section. “Sore mouth” specks nibble at the underside and soft part of the shrimp, much like piggies or pan fish. If you take the time to examine more closely, you can tell whether it’s trout or piggies. Unlike pan fish, trout leave puncture marks and clean bits on the bait.
Specks will also nibble at the bait in the dead of winter when they are sluggish due to the cold. This is a time when the fisherman ought to use small shrimp, preferably ones with soft-shells. It also helps in winter fishing to hook the shrimp near the tail, but through the lower part of the body.
There are times when live bait is unobtainable, at any price.
“Fresh” dead shrimp is excellent. Try heading and pealing it before putting it on the hook. Suspend the bait under a popping cork about three feet. Hook the entire shrimp through the body. “Jiggle” the rod tip and pop the cork carefully to give it a little action.
Another alternative to live shrimp, and my all-time favorite, is the use of artificial lures.
Successful fishing with these baits is an art that is not acquired by accident. It requires a technique that takes time, patience and practice. Until it’s mastered, this type fishing can be quite unproductive.
But, regardless, have fun while fishing and enjoy the outdoors.
See y’all on Galveston Bay.

Capt Paul Marcaccio
USCG & TP&W License