Last two weeks have been the best
Fishers who were fortunate enough to wet a line in the bays between Port O'Connor and Baffin Bay the last two weeks experienced some of the best trout fishing of the year. Numerous reports from guides and familiar faces have confirmed this statement.
Not only have I heard about it, but my customers and I also were able to experience it. There was even two days last week that Mother Nature allowed anglers to get into the Port O'Connor surf and catch easy limits of trout up to 24 inches before 9 a.m.. The best reports came from those who just happened to have a line in the water this past Sunday during and after the lunar eclipse.
The majority of the boats are off the water by around noon on Sundays heading back home but for those who stayed saw fish feed in a way that was over the top.
The lunar eclipse changed something in the water that caused the fish to really turn on. Captain Mac Gable had his family out last Sunday afternoon fishing the Rockport area when the fish really began to feed.
He called me Monday and said: "Danny, you're not going to want to hear this," my first thought was something had happened to a family member and he continued "we caught at least 30 keeper redfish all between 26 inches and 28 inches, kept our limit and threw the rest back."
I was shocked!
The reason that statement was shocking was because I and four other guides that I had talked to the day before fished our tails off between Ayers Bay and St. Charles Bay and did not have one keeper redfish.
We were all entered in the "Babes on the Bay" fishing tournament. You can weigh in three trout and one redfish. We all had three really nice trout and were looking for one redfish and could not find one. Standing in line to weigh your fish in without a redfish is embarrassing.
Capt. Mac was also standing in the weigh-in line with no redfish on tournament day and the next day on Sunday couldn't keep a big tournament redfish off his line.
Those fish were probably in deep water and moved in to feed during the lunar eclipse. Our bays are healthy and full of fish but feed most of the time in the evening or while we're sleeping!
The claws usually come out as the women entered in the "Babes on the Bay" tournament want to win at all costs.
This past weekend was the 13th annual tourney with a record 1,301 women entered, fishing on 367 boats. This is the largest unrestricted tournament in the United States and is held every year out of Rockport.
This is a fundraiser for CCA, the Cedar Bayou dredging project and others. Karol Scardino has been the director for all the "Babes on the Bay" tournaments and has done an outstanding job in leading the way as this event just keeps getting bigger and better.
This was my sixth year to fish this event and I was able to have my wife, daughter, daughter-in-law, and my wife's sister-in-law (see related photo) on the boat, who all said "we just want to have a relaxing day on the water", but deep down I knew better than that.
We left the dock around 6:15 a.m., so that we could be casting on our spot at the official 6:36 a.m. time. We had a live well full of croakers for trout and cut mullet for redfish.
Right now, the best bait for trout over 15 inch is live croakers.
They are the perfect size and the trout love them. All the fish I mentioned earlier were caught on live croakers. It was a beautiful morning as we started fishing a shell reef that was covered by about 4 feet of water.
November through April is my favorite time of year to fish because there is no live bait on the boat (artificials only), but now I have to get these nasty little croakers to consistently catch fish. I still use a 5\0 red mustad wide gap hook with some type of a rattle about 16 inches above the hook.
You have to shake this rattle about every five to seven seconds. The noise attracts the fish which then sees the croaker. Not only does twitching your rod make the rattles rattle, but it also makes the croaker croak. I would call it the suicidal croak. We used this method till about 11 a.m. on three different reefs and had a box of fish up to 3 pounds. We spent the rest of the day looking for a keeper redfish, which we could not find.
That's why Capt. Mac said I didn't want to hear what he had to say when he told me about the redfish he caught on Sunday.
We both fished the same spot on Saturday, but the trout fishing made up for the redfishing. Our team "Girls Goyen Fishin'" had a great time on the water.
They fished hard all day and never gave up.
Wait 'til next year!
Take a moment this holiday weekend to be thankful for all the veterans who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom, so that we can go to the Texas coast and enjoy this wonderful resource without fear.
Captain Danny Goyen
Danny Goyen is an outdoor writer and has been guiding on the Texas coast for over 25 years.