Winter Fishing Urges
The dark filled skies suggest it might not be too wise to fish without keeping a close vigilance toward the horizon.
The East Side of Galveston Bay was thoroughly off color due to the recent north wind.
Trinity Bay was blown out and the water level was one to four feet low.
It would have been easy to cancel our plans, if the need to be on the water had not been so intense. After several days of watching the wind blow and the excessive rain our fever had reached a critical point.
Conditions being what they were, we left Eagle Point Marina searching for water with some clearness to it, as well as salinity. When we arrived in Dickinson Bay, we were surprised to find the water in fair shape. Unfortunately, my idea proved not to be an original. There were several other boats working the reef we had planed to fish, including one boat on “my” favorite hole for redfish. Even though no one seemed to be catching much, it was encouraging to see “die-hard” fishermen out trying.
The outgoing tide made its way across the solid oyster reef. We set up our drift on the down side of the reef, using the north wind to skirt the edge. Using Red shad Bass Assassins, we found good action in the form of solid flounders. Bouncing the tails off the bottom near where the reef and the sand meets together proved to my All-Pro Green Rod and Shimano reel to be several good flounder in the 2-3 pound range. With our rods bowed up and line screaming off our reels, which could ask for anything else? Several trout and one good redfish as well were recorded that day.
On our Galveston coast, fishing conditions can change this time of the year faster than a trout inhaling top water bait. Whether it be flood waters from the Trinity River, tropical winds from the south or an arctic blast, our bay system takes a direct hit more often than most people change the line o their reels. Fortunately, this system of water is incredibly resilient. Even with all of the abuse she takes (overuse, pollution) she somehow seems to bounce back each year. The point is that those of us who view fishing as a significant part of our lives and well being find ways to cope with less than ideal conditions.
Most trips are cancelled each year due to high winds. Certainly, there are times when high winds and waves are a good reason to stay indoors, but some trips can be salvaged by knowing where to go. While safety must always be your first consideration, finding protective shorelines, coves, canals, or bayous are often possible without danger. Looking at your Hook&Line map will reveal numerous opportunities to fish windy days. Obviously, if the wind is associated with black clouds and lightening, it may be a good idea to rearrange your garage or do those always-neat “honey-dos”.
Some of my greatest fishing has occurred in cold, nasty weather. However, my elevator doesn’t always stop on the same floor as yours.
Speckled trout, redfish or flounder may be found near and in any deep hole. The surf may produce “bull” redfish. When your blue northers finally subside, portions of the bay may come alive as high pressure sets in and the sunshine warms the shallow marsh flats and nearby reefs.
When the floods do come again, and they will (accept this year), it will again be a matter of finding where the salinity is consistent. Heavy rains generally do not have as much effect on our bay system as the extensive downpours up along the San Jacinto and Trinity watersheds. As the muddy water flows toward the Gulf, it takes the path of least resistance, down the ship channel, along the west shoreline to the Texas City Dike and out through the jetties. Those other portions of the bay, which do not suffer the dirty runoff, will frequently contain a concentration of fish. Other options may include down the coast to Bastrop, Christmas or Chocolate Bays. In any event, less than a monsoon or hurricane (shut my mouth); most days can be salvaged for those who feel the strong need to be on Galveston Bay.
Another recent trip included a good friend, Mike Heidemann, and weather unfit for fowl or game.
The skies had that gray overcast look of winter, with light rain pelting our every move into a gusting northwest wind. We launched at Moses Lake Marina and ran northwest to the farthest part of the lake. It was ugly conditions to say the least. It was not a pretty sight. When I put the net under Mike’s 25-inch redfish, I realized how therapeutic a perfectly miserable day could become.
May your family be blessed this year?
See y’all on Galveston Bay.
Captain Paul Marcaccio, 30 years experience on the Gulf Coast
USCG &TP&W License