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GRIMES: Rocks still holding upper and middle coast fish

Aug. 5, 2012 at 3:05 a.m.

There is a reason these brown pelicans hang out on the jetty rock; it's the same reason fish hang out there, too.

My first cast bounced off the granite and surfaced in a pod of school of mullet staging against the outgoing tide. I gave it a twitch, walked it about five paces, then saw a spray and felt the weight of a 24-inch speckled trout.

That many sunrises ago, but that morning session remains one of my most memorable topwater bites ever.

If you haven't checked water temperatures lately, mercury readings are around 86 degrees, setting off a fire of fishing at the jetties in Calcasieu, Sabine, Galveston, Freeport and Port O'Connor.

The jetty is the lifeblood for tides entering and exiting bay estuaries, says guide Mike Williams, much like a heart pumping blood to the rest of the body, in this case, the body is the bay estuary.

Williams said live bait like piggy perch, croakers and live shrimp are the best remedies for coaxing trout this time of year, but expect other species to bite as well. He said free-lined shrimp against the rocks is hard to beat.

Of course, tides play a role in success. The first two hours of the low tide and the last two hours of the incoming are best, according to Williams.

For species like bull redfish and jack crevalle, many captains concentrate along dropoffs, especially on the incoming tide. On the outgoing, many work the channel side closer to the rocks. If, after anchoring, a steady bite is not found, try drifting with the tide until you catch a fish, then slip the hook in the water.

Jetties are a good choice this time of year, not only for its propensity to hold solid fish, but also for its protection from nagging west, southwest winds which are so prevalent late in the summer. The deep water also affords one or two degrees cooler water temperature, which is like setting you air conditioner to 70 for a school of speckled trout.

As the cruise ship I had occupied for four days eased through the Galveston jetty just after sunrise Monday, I watched recreational boats lined along the north jetty within a cast of the rocks. Some tossed live shrimp under a popping cork, some free-shrimped with light spinning tackle and some fed Carolina-rigged finger mullet to the granite. All got bit, as the placid Gulf steered green tides and hungry fish to the hallowed stonework.

The Calcasieu and Sabine Pass jetties have not disappointed. Buddy Oakes of Hackberry Rod and Gun said live shrimp under a popping cork has been solid for limits of trout and scattered redfish. He said most specks have been caught under a two-foot leader early, then guides have adjusted corks deeper as the morning progresses.

On Sabine, topwaters and plastics have fooled trout to four pounds on both the Louisiana and Texas sides. Again, best results have been on the channel side on the outgoing and Gulf side on the incoming tide.

The same holds true in Port O'Connor, but it's bottleneck proportion routinely attracts tarpon and kingfish this month.

That's the beauty of the granite - you just never know what will show up.

Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain (binkgrimes@sbcglobal.net).

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