GOYEN: Catching redfish in the bays up and down
Catching keepable redfish and trout along the Texas Coast the past two weeks in the numerous bays between Port O'Connor and Baffin Bay continues to be like a yo-yo!
It will be good one day and tough the next. Surf fishing from the Colorado River to the Port Aransas jetties was off-the-scale three and four weeks ago but the past two weeks winds have been just a little too much to allow anglers to comfortably fish the first and second guts.
This has been the largest school of solid trout that I have ever heard of in the surf and as soon as winds calm down again, fishing should be awesome. Trout will continue to stack up because of no fishing pressure for the past two to three-and-a-half weeks. Can't wait to hit it again when Mother Nature allows.
I have been spending half of my time in the Baffin Bay arena and the rest in the Rockport arena during the month of July.
I have had some awesome trips when putting in at Bluff's Landing and fishing all the way from the King Ranch shoreline to the opening of the Land Cut near Rocky Slough.
I haven't had a bad trip while fishing this area since the first of April. We continue to start with top waters at first light. We have been taking the majority of our fish in waist-deep water above grass beds next to sand. If the top water baits don't produce then we switch to live croakers. Last Friday, I caught and released a trout right at eight pounds that inhaled a Blue Back Chrome Super Spook Jr. Fish have been much more aggressive when fishing the Baffin Bay arena than the Rockport area.
When looking at the major fishing times in the bays to the North and South of the Copano causeway, it's hard to believe that there are only a handful of days that have major feeding times before 2 p.m.
I have mentioned in several articles this year that when the fishing is tough, being in your favorite spot during a major fishing time is crucial. I have also mentioned that game fish have been feeding at night now more than ever.
A close friend of mine continues to prove that night fishing is the way to go.
Greg Bandish is definitely the "Night Fishing Guru" who fishes exclusively out of Port O'Connor.
On his days off, he can be found wading his favorite honey holes at night with extreme success. At least a couple of Sunday mornings a month before church, he will show me pictures of all the fish he and his group have caught the night before.
There are two ways to fish at night. You either fish with lights above or below the water's surface or you fish in complete darkness.
Greg says that at night, you can create an ambush zone by generating light that congregates bait and attracts predators or you can fish without lights and go to an ambush zone. Under the right conditions you can do considerably better than daytime fishing. Greg also said that moonlight is good, especially if the moon is out at sunset. When the water is clear, under the cover of darkness, Greg likes to throw white or pearl since it reflects light.
One of the secrets to his success is putting a plastic rattle inside a piece of clear aquarium tubing a foot above your lure. He said that fish like a subtle noise at night in shallow water - not the loud stuff.
He also has success on lures that have a flapping tail since fish hone in on the water displacement that his type of lure makes. Greg says that he always tries to fish areas that make it easier for redfish, trout or flounder to ambush bait. Specific ambush zones are: ends of reefs, bottle necks that funnel bait, specific depth changes, shallow sand bars along a protected shoreline surrounded by deeper water, or guts or sloughs that act as a drain from a lake or marsh.
You can't argue with success as Greg continues to bring in limits of trout and redfish on artificial baits under the cover of darkness. Fish are ready to eat, there are no crowds and it's definitely a whole lot cooler! If you can't catch 'em during the day then try catching 'em at night. This type of fishing is definitely not for rookies.
Captain Danny Goyen
Danny Goyen is an outdoor writer and has been guiding on the Texas Coast for more than 25 years.