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GOYEN FISHIN': The time is now for artificial bait fishing

Nov. 17, 2013 at 5:17 a.m.

Jerry Mackie, Shilon Alastuery and Bill White are all shown holding up solid, fat speckled trout they caught last Friday and Saturday out of Rockport. Colder weather finally dropped water temps into the low 60s, and the trout have responded.

Hello, anglers!

It's great to be back, talking about what I love to do most, and that's fishing along the Texas coast.

If you're an angler who enjoys pursuing and catching trout more than 20 inches on artificial baits, the time is now.

Numerous customers ask the same question every year when aboard my boat: When is the best time of year to catch speckled trout in the coastal bend area? My response continues to be the same: eliminate September and October off the calendar.

As expected, after guiding customers for 27 years, these two months are always tough, and this year was no exception.

Trout lose their teeth, bull tides come in along with massive amounts of baitfish, barometer levels go through the roof because of new fall cool fronts, night feeding becomes the norm, winds come up many days this time of year, eliminating open bay reefs, and only God knows the other reasons why it's tough.

We had a few good trout days, but redfish take over as the No. 1 target for many, including myself and those on board.

My passion continues to be trying to fool a 20- to 30-inch trout on artificial baits. I have been waiting since the first part of May earlier this year for water temperatures to hit the low 60s, and this past weekend, it did.

The best trout fishing in the middle coast during October was the Reefs in San Antonio Bay, but now it's everywhere, from Galveston to Port Isabel.

It's unreal what colder weather does for the trout fishing.

As the north winds continue to blow the high tides out, the shrimp will begin to migrate to the Gulf as they leave all the back marshes, lakes, sloughs, rivers and drains.

The rains came at the right time this fall, and much-needed freshwater dumped into the bays from the Guadalupe and San Antonio rivers. This helped the shrimp in these back waters to greatly increase their populations.

As water temperatures continue to drop, shrimp will sporadically leave for at least the next month, and the game fish will be right underneath them. The shrimp will many times jump above the water to escape being eaten by a fish. But unfortunately for the shrimp, the birds will also be right there to join in on the feast.

As you know, the fisherman will see the birds working and will follow them.

Many areas along the coast will have bigger trout under the birds than normal, so do not pass the flocks up without testing the waters.

Even though trout will begin to take artificial baits better now that the water is colder, there is no better time of year to throw live shrimp.

Since the bays are full of shrimp, it's obvious what they are predominantly feeding on: shrimp.

Live shrimp rigged abut 2 feet under any type of cork that makes noise will definitely catch the most fish.

This past Friday and Saturday, we had a box full of trout each day up to 4 pounds. Most of our fish were caught on live shrimp.

A lot of the trout we caught were more than 20 inches and extremely fat.

They have already started preparing themselves for the winter. This past weekend was probably the last weekend that there will be any bait on my boat until next May.

As water temperatures dip into the 50s, soft plastics will produce more fish than bait.

I know the things that I have mentioned in this article are a repeat for many. But these next two months are two of my favorites to pursue quality trout, and I can't help but get fired up.

"The time is now."

Good fishin'.

Danny Goyen is an outdoor writer and speaker. He has been guiding on the Texas Coast for over 27 years.

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