Bays are absent of boats, not speckled trout
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When was the last time you attended a Christmas parade in flip-flops and a short-sleeved shirt? When was the last time you wore shorts under waders for a week-long stretch of goose hunting? When was the last time you set your thermostat to 70 for an entire week in December?
The answer is: this week.
While it doesn't feel like December to me, it must not feel like December to schools of speckled trout roaming the bays.
The past two weeks have been outstanding for waders and drifters tossing soft plastics over reefs, clumps of mud and shell and river banks; and few anglers have taken advantage of it.
For some reason, most fishers forget about the bay when the calendar flips to the 12th month. I did everything in my power - texts, emails, phone calls - pleading with my regular customers to take a few hours off and meet me at the dock.
To put it mildly, it has been as good as it gets.
"I have run several days where we have had full limits of 40 trout in only a few hours," said Matagorda guide Charlie Paradoski. "This week the fish got a lot bigger."
Trout to nine pounds have been caught by waders tossing slow-sinking Corkies, MirrOlures and topwaters along the shorelines. Drifters have had plenty of trout over five pounds and a few seven-pounders caught and released.
"We had one day where we limited-out quick then really found the big trout and played catch-and-release," said Paradoski.
The bays devoid of boat traffic is a common occurrence this time of year, what with duck and deer seasons in full swing. Throw in Christmas parties, parades, school plays and holiday shopping and catching a fish becomes less of a priority.
"I can't remember the fishing as good as it has been this time of year," said 2012 Guide's Cup Champion Tommy Alexander. "Chicken-on-a-Chain, plum and roach Bass Assassins have been pretty solid baits."
Alexander said the bite has been an early.
"These fish are eating as soon as you make your first cast, right at sunrise. We get 15-20 on the first drift then circle back around and start another drift. The bay has been beautiful."
Alexander thinks lighter boat traffic has kept the bite steady.
"You know when words gets out that we are catching lots of fish the boats show up," he said. "With more boats running over the reefs we are fishing, the fish spook and don't stay in concentrated schools. So far boat traffic has been minimal and we have been able to stay on the big schools."
Alexander offers this advice for the wayward drifter.
"Just be patient and go slow," he advised. "Swing way wide of a reefs and don't get too close to other boats. An outboard motor will shut down a bite quicker than anything."
Cooler weather is in the forecast this week, but a couple of days on the backside of the cold front normally yields solid catches.
If this week is any indication, you ought to have the bay to yourself.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain (email@example.com).