by Capt. Craig Lambert
No, this is not the month of March even though at times it felt like it with cold fronts rolling through our area bringing overnight temperatures down in to the high 40's. Crazy weather for Southeast Texas!!! Since mid-April the winds have been constant and strong with 15-20 mph being the average daily wind on the water and bay temperatures have been cooler than normal. Most areas of Galveston Bay have been off colored throughout the month of May and at best barely fishable. That is the bad news. Notice the jacket in Mid-May!
The good news is that June is finally here as the winds are beginning to subside and some of the best fishing of the year for speckled trout has arrived. All areas of the central portion of our bay system from Eagle Point to the Galveston Causeway to Rollover Pass will experience good and even great fishing in the coming weeks. Look for birds to work under feeding fish during late afternoon outgoing tides in several areas of our bay system including East Bay, Lower Galveston Bay, Moses Lake and also West Bay. As our daily temperatures get hotter so will the fishing. Grinding out a Box!
As winds settle down and water clarity improves expect to see some large speckled trout and redfish hitting the cleaning tables from all corners of our bay system. The croaker bite has not turned on yet with the recent release of brown shrimp from the marsh but that bite will improve quickly over the next few weeks. Live shrimp about 24 inches under a Midcoast popping cork is ideal for live baiters. Hungry trout will not be able to resist this offering especially as the bite improves with the weather. Oyster reefs, well pads and depth changes while concentrating in 4 to 8 ft of water will be key areas to target. Nice catch!
The artificial bite will be quite good throughout the month of June. This is definitely a good month to finally make that jump and switch from live bait to artificial baits if you have not added that to your repertoire yet. The first and most important part of throwing artificials is to have the proper rod and reel combination. You do not want a big meat stick when chunking plastics and topwaters all day long nor do you want a big heavy reel. A light graphite rod from 6.5 to 7 ft long with a medium or med-light action is best. This pertains to both casting and spinning rods. The perfect size spinning reel is a 3000 which will hold 150 yards or more of 20lb braided line. When it comes to casting reels I prefer to throw a 200 size model which will hold more 30lb braided line than is needed. Plastics should be the first artificial you learn to throw. These past few weeks I have been using Norton Sand eel jr.'s inthe colors of glo/chart or chicken on a chain. A 1/4 oz short shank jighead will work just fine along with a small swivel and a about 12-15 inches of fluorocarbon and you are set. Do not get lazy and tie direct to your main line use the leader for better results. After that you are ready to get out and start chunking plastics. The beautiful thing about plastics is that it is hard to throw them wrong as long as you follow a few basic rules. The most important and hardest to teach is keeping up your slack so that you can feel anything that touches your line. Trout bites can be very light natured on plastics so feeling those small bites is the key. Kids love Redfish!!
Chasing slicks is your best bet for filling coolers in June. Understanding the characteristics and how to recognize slicks is tough so here a few simple tips. Once you see a slick the first thing is to look up wind and look for a crab trap. If there is not one then take a look at the size and shape of the slick. A good fresh slick is typically round and less than 5-6 yards across and will usually have a fruity or sweet smell to it. Conversely a crab trap slick will give off a bad smell so that will tell you if you are on a good slick with a few crab traps around. Remember slicks are not standing still they are drifting with the tide and wind so fishing in a slick does not make sense unless it just popped up in front of you. Don't get hung up on fishing the slick itself. Just use it as an indicator that there are fish in the area and to take your time and drift thru. Adults love Redfish!
The state of Texas has taken on several reef building projects off of Eagle Point and April Fools Point in the past few years and these newer reefs have had a few years to grow and they will be holding fish throughout the summer. Launching at Eagle Point Marina in San Leon will put you right next to multiple new reefs including Todd's Dump which has been producing fish in the hotter months for decades. These reefs are well marked with PVC poles and buoys in their corners so finding them should be no problem. What a fighter!
East Bay is also being refreshed and new reefs being made with tons of rocks being sprayed off of large barges on to the bay floor where oysters and clams can begin to grow and proliferate. As more and more anglers fish our bay system this will definitely help our ecosystem especially in East Bay where the oyster reefs can get quite crowded at times especially during the months of June and July.
We have some great fishing and beautiful weather ahead so call your local fishing guide or fishing buddy and get out on the water soon!
Don't for get to take a kid fishing. They deserve it!!!