by Capt Mullet
I keep seeing the signs of autumn coming around the corner and it has me really excited. White shrimp have invaded all over upper Galveston Bay and the fish are responding. The past week or two I have seen much improved fishing on both live shrimp and artificials. However I am seeing signs and hearing whispers of the croaker bite beginning to decline. Spawning redfish are getting ready to invade our passes and the beginning of bird season is just around the corner.
A mid-morning and/or a mid-day bite has been happening for most of August. The better days are typically when that wind dies down and that water cleans up but we have had some steady catches in the wind also. Redfish are still schooled up in the mid-bay areas but there are a few singles out on the wells. Artificials work best when you can find these pods of feeding reds. I like a 3/8oz jig in water over 8 ft. and a 1/4oz when fishing shallower. Work that bottom agressively and cover a lot of water. Almost any plastic will work but I prefer something with a paddletail like a Killer Flats Minnow or a Killer Flats Minnow XL. When redfish are schooled up and feeding color really does not matter. Of course a large shrimp or croaker thrown in the middle of these reds will be gobbled up quickly.
The west side of the bay has been the place to be these last few weeks with this consistent southwest wind which seems to plague us every summer now. Protection from the wind has kept that side of the bay with green water and fishable conditions all month. Anglers are catching lots of speckled trout and other species from Dollar Reef all the way to the San Jacinto River. The other species is of course gafftop, ladyfish and a few redfish. The croaker bite is not king anymore on the north side. Which probably explains the absence of the "croaker guides" at Eagle Point. With the invasion of the shrimp in to the main bay popping corks with live shrimp under them are now the go to bait. It is important to keep your shrimp in that mid to upper water column where the trout are staging. I have been throwing a 3 to 4.5 ft leader with a weight on it to get that shrimp down in the strike zone.
The lower bay system still holds a consistent croaker bite. Dredging croakers over heavy shell has been producing consistent gamefish in 4-6 ft. of water. The croaker will begin to fizzle out down there in the beginning of September which is typically when we will start seeing a few birds working on afternoon outgoing tides. The causeway continues to hold a consistent bite all summer long on both croakers and free-lined shrimp. The Campbells Bayou area offers some protection from westerly winds and continues to produce a few decent trout along the rip rap. Fishing the drop offs will keep you with consistent bites but if you are using live bait the undesirables will keep you busy also. Live bait has worked best over there.
East Bay is still fishable but that hard Southwest wind has made it tough at times. It does'nt seem like there are a lot of fish on the reefs since everyone is ganged up in the same 1 or 2 spots on them and not anywhere else. That should change as September arrives when areas like the reefs on Smith Point, Whitehead Reef and other areas along that shoreline will begin to shine. Look for outgoing tides to begin to produce some decent afternoon fishing as early September arrives.
I picked up quite a bit of monofilament somewhere that wrapped around my prop stranded me and ruined my gearcase and I want to thank Outboard Performance Services (Old Witt Marine Guys) for letting me borrow one of their gear cases and getting me back on the water in a day or 2 thus saving me several trips and many dollars. They are located in Baytown and are Yamaha Certified mechanics. Thanks again Roberto and Mike!