Holiday weather yields bounty
What a difference good weather makes.
After two weeks of west, southwest winds, a weak cool front blew through this week, lowering humidity, calming winds and greening every inch of the bay and beachfront.
It couldn't have come at a better time for everyone to get in on the action, with many anglers observing Independence Day.
"Just goes to show how much the weather plays in catching," said guide James Plaag of Silver King Adventures in Galveston. "The wind calmed down, and everybody caught them - everywhere."
Deep shell held most speckled trout in the Galveston Bay complex. Plaag said his parade of boats caught them on just about every color of Bass Assassins and Tidal Surge soft plastics. Those throwing MirrOlure Top Dogs and Super Spooks found solid fish behind slicks.
Guide Mike Cacciotti said the live bait bite was just as solid over deep shell along the channel. Pier anglers near San Leon found good catches at night under lights on the incoming tide.
The highlight of the week was the surf.
It's what every coastal angler waits for every summer, a chance to ride the beach and wade the sand for angry speckled trout in emerald waters.
There's something about a trout caught in the surf that seems to fight harder, longer, than those in the bay. Maybe it's because surf trout are lower on the food chain in the ocean and must be more aggressive to survive.
Whatever the reason, seasoned anglers will agree a tide-running surf trout seems to bang a topwater with more vigor than in any other saline environment.
Live-baiters scored in the surf with live shrimp, though those soaking croakers seemed to have a tougher time. The Gulf shrimp season is set to open July 15, and from what I saw while wading the first gut this week, there are plenty of large shrimp on the beach.
Several times I saw 8-10 count (8-10 make a pound) shrimp bounding to the surface, running from large specks and schools of Spanish mackerel and small kingfish.
See a shrimp jump, make a cast with a topwaters, watch the explosion and line peel.
"We caught limits early on soft plastics then played catch and release," said guide Charlie Paradoski. "I put on a large Super Spook and caught a 7-pound trout on the first cast. Bigger trout were killing plugs."
Though croakers seemed to draw a snub in the surf along the middle coast, the little grunting finfish did the job in the bays.
"All we caught were sharks and a few trout in the surf," said guide Daniel Kubecka of Run-N-Gun Adventures. "So we went to the bay the next day and slammed them on croakers on the reefs."
Sabine and Calcasieu lake anglers took advantage of calm conditions and green tides to work over healthy specks and redfish. Many boats reported solid trout caught on soft plastics under birds and around slicks. Jetty anglers found good catches on live shrimp rigged on slip corks fished tight to the rocks.
Winds will eventually return, but until then, enjoy the bounty and thank a veteran for giving you the freedom to enjoy our natural resources.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed captain (firstname.lastname@example.org).