WOODS, WINGS & WATER: Hunting season means less boat traffic
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It's a good time to be a hunter in Texas; however, for those who continue to plug away on the bays, it's a good time to be an angler, too.
Birds are working in Galveston, Sabine Lake and Calcasieu and fishing has been fast. Birds are not consistently working over pods of shrimp in Matagorda Bay, but speckled trout and redfish are staging over deep shell and mud and readily eating soft plastics, topwaters and live bait.
Weather patterns this week resembled early September instead of late mid November. With afternoon highs in the low 80s, water temps have risen in the 70s on most shallow flats.
"The shell in Matagorda is full of fish," said guide Charlie Paradoski. "We have been taking easy limits on Bass Assassins while drifting, and there are redfish everywhere."
Paradoski said the unusually mild fall has sent trout back in forth in a summer and fall pattern.
"One day we catch them on plastics, then it gets hot for a few days and they want shrimp," he said.
Galveston Bay has been on fire as well. Lower tides have pulled fish from the shorelines and dumped them in deeper water. Large schools of trout have been hanging near drop-offs scattered with mud and shell.
"This week we have been catching limits of trout," said guide James Plaag of Silver King Adventures. "The fish are holding in 3-4 feet of water over mud and shell and the best bite has been on the outgoing tide."
Plaag said most school trout have been deep, but bigger fish are still hanging near the shorelines.
"MirrOlures and Corkies have been good for better fish while wading muddy flats," he said.
"That mud is warmer and the bigger trout move up to try and find mullet."
The crowds have been chasing diving gulls in the middle and upper end of the Galveston Bay complex and catches have been solid for anglers working the edges of schools. Traditionally, larger trout hang on the perimeter of the school and readily eat topwaters.
Guide Harold Dworaczyk of Bay Flats Lodge in Seadrift said reefs in San Antonio Bay have held plenty of trout in live shrimp.
"We have been duck hunting in the morning and fishing in the afternoon," said Dworaczyk.
Light winds have allowed San Antonio Bay to clear, and with clear water the maze of reefs littering the bay are all players. Live shrimp under popping corks worked along the shell has been the ticket for trout, redfish and black drum.
Dworaczyk likes to work the tips of the reefs on the falling tide and tighter to the shell with higher tides.
"We can bump from reef to reef when the wind is calm," he said. "There are normally fish on every piece of oyster out there."
With Thanksgiving fast approaching and Christmas about a month away, more outdoor goers will concentrate on deer and ducks. For the avid angler, that means a quiet bay all to yourself.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain (firstname.lastname@example.org).