Dog Days of Summer

July 19th, 2016

Options on Galveston Bay………….



The trip was planned to explore several areas in the San Leon, Dickinson Bay, and Texas City near the Dike. But, the old pier pilings that have always been such a magnet for redfish beckoned. It’s hard for this guide to give up good old bad habits, especially when they have produced fried redfish filets so many times. The Big Bay Parker just seemed to go on autopilot, quickly swinging into familiar territory. Near the April Fool shoreline and Eagle Point.


On a FTU Green rod, the limetruse plastic mullet imitation looked deadly swimming through the sandy green bay waters. Long cast with my Green Titanium rod back toward the shallows drew the bait in an almost parallel course to the old pier pilings near April Fool Pt. Just as the sun was clearing the eastern shoreline of East Bay, my 6-½ foot rod bowed deeply. The power and style of the run indicated that I had a good redfish. The ultra light action of the rod along with my 30 lb Sufix braid proved to be lethal again. However, the pier pilings are different. It was over in less than two minutes. Twice more, my presentation proved to fool me’. It was embarrassing……………………..


Then there was that magic day a couple of days later, back near the Texas City Dike. Using medium action Green Rods, four of us did battle on some awesome black drum. Lots of Big black drum. It was a bright sunny day with a light east wind. Those fish were stacked in a deep hole near the Dike. And they were eating fresh blue crabs just as fast as we could serve them up. Passers by on the Bolivar Ferry were treated to several Herculean tussles. These spawn-minded females were all in the 25-40 lb class and they make ones forearms similar to Popeye’s………………………


There was the beautiful July morning, spent with a very dear friend, Brother Chuck, around Goat Island near the Hog Pins in East Bay. We used several assortments of She Dog’s, Baby Spooks, and soft plastic Assassins and Norton baits to tally a mixed bag. By the end of the day, we had waded that entire shoreline and come away with speckled trout, redfish, sand trout and even one grandee gaff top. My brother Chuck was equal to the test and found great success, both on top as well as feeding those great fish with soft plastic.


And yet again was the morning with Mike Heidemann and Casey, along the north shoreline of Trinity Bay. Get this, with no tidal movement; we boxed speckled trout to around four pounds on soft plastic Stanley Jigs and Salt Water Assassin baits. On still another day, when cabin fever trampled good sense, a hasty run to the back of Moses Lake seemed to ease the situation. That campaign featured deteriorating conditions with a light drizzle. The only fish happening were several sand trout and some Hugh ribbonfish. Still again, the need was served.


The aforementioned episodes are described, not for the quality or quantity they produced, but to highlight the exciting fact that July and August are great times to be on Galveston Bay. Most of the action we find on the Texas Coast pecks during the warmer months.  By the first of May, water temperature is in that magical 70’s and the summer smorgasbord is being served up………………….


The large black drum show first. While the run pecks in September, bull redfish are year round possibility. As the beachfront warms to the sunlight, gaffs top, speckled trout and keeper redfish begin the work the shallow guts. Big flounder are funneling through the passes and ditches, working there way back into the upper part of Trinity and East Bay. Sharks will oversee the migration in numbers most people do not begin to realize. The first of these will usually be the small sand sharks. Not far behind them will be the black tip, bulls and hammerheads. By mid-June, Spanish mackerel, jackfish pompano, king mackerel and even ling will be taken near the beachfront. We are catching sharks in the bay this year due to the salinity similar to offshore, except for recent days in May due to excessive rain…………………..


It is easy to rush this great out door experience. As much as this writer and guide love fishing the colder months, I eagerly anticipate that which is to come. Rare is the year that I don’t try to will the fish into place before it’s time. The next three months will offer more and more varied opportunities than any other time of the year. The possibilities are virtually limitless. And every year, during the dog days of summer, I suddenly blink one hot, steamy afternoon and wonder where those magic days of spring went already………………………….


God bless you and your families, while you enjoy the Lords great backyard.

Captain Paul Marcaccio, USGC & TP & W…

B.O.I.  (born on the island) with over 40 years of Texas Coastline experience.





Hardware Equals Quality Spec’s and Redfish

June 3rd, 2016

         Artificial Lures Provide for Quality Fishing


If your interest in fishing is solely about catching fish, then by all means, use natural bait. But, if your interest in fishing is centered around catching “quality “fish, you need to try mastering the art of using artificial lures. There are those who use the term, sport fishing………………


Warning: Successful lure fishing does not come easy. You can cast for hours and catch very little. Once you have confidence in the art, though, the size of your fish will be a treasure to everyone around you, and yourself, of course.

Over the past 35 years, I have done the majority of my fishing with artificial lures. When it comes to wade fishing, I fish with soft plastics and top waters. Also, that includes gold spoons. However, there have been times when anglers have stood toe-to-toe with me using live bait. I take a back seat to those anglers on those days, as live bait will out-catch my artificial lures.


As a young man growing up in Galveston, my grandfather and I always used live bait. The bait back then, some 50 years ago, consisted of live shrimp, live mullet or cut bait. Dixie spoons worked wonders on those sow trout.   We caught a lot of fish back then, but I really think it was because the fish were so plentiful. We were good fishermen, but there were a lot of fish to be caught.  In the early 50’ and 60’, we could sell our speckled trout @ the market for 12 to 15 cents a pound.

Regardless of the species we caught, most of the fish were school size. Remember that we had no size or bag limit. We caught and kept a lot of fish in the 12” to 15” range, There were times when we caught trophy-size fish, but there wasn’t a great deal of fanfare then as compared to today. Catching big fish was commonplace. We all knew the smaller fish were better tasting, and we could always find the trophy fish with little or no effort…………………


I became a serious lure fisherman 35 years ago while starting my guide service. There were many times when I contemplated switching back to natural bait. But, competition among myself and other guides along the Gulf Coast forced me to stick it out until my confidence with the artificials was strong enough and I had begun to consistently catch those fish with the artificial. Most agree that artificial colors are made to catch fishermen, not the fish you target. There are too many manufacturing lure companies, but will tell you the ones that this writer uses. Salt Water Assassins, Mirrolure, Stanley Jigs, Norton Sand Ells, and Johnson Sprite Spoons. Gulp by Berkley, has really been a key to saltwater catching when sometimes the above does not work.


In order to be successful with lures, you have to be persistent. Fish are in the water within casting distance around you, but don’t simply make a few casts and expect success. Fish will often trail a lure without striking until they see your shadow or that of your boat in the water.

Fishing out every cast means working and imparting action in the lure through the entire retrieve. A lure at rest on the bottom or floating on the surface won’t normally land you the strike desired.

The key to successful saltwater fishing with a lure is to thoroughly work all of the water within the casting range. If you only make a dozen or so casts and then move up or down the shoreline or surf, you just might be leaving the area about the time the fish pick up the lure vibrations in the water and start homing in on that area. I have been successful while, during the course of a morning, I have moved less than a mile from my original spot, all the while catching good fish.

Fish can only move in on lures when they have picked up the vibrations of the lures moving back and forth, or when the lures catch their attention. Remember, light colors in clear waters and dark colors in off-colored water. If you have patience and are persistent, then by all means, take a serious look at fishing artificial lures. But, if you have trouble paying attention to your fishing, then stick with natural baits. If you opt for the latter, keep in mind that you’re going to miss out on a lot of trophy-size fish.


It’s your game. You make the call.

As always good luck and have fun outdoors

See y’all on Galveston Bay.


Capt. Paul Marcaccio

BOI- USCG & TP&W License