WOODS, WINGS & WATER: Reefs have produced steady catches of speckled trout
June 8, 2014 at 1:08 a.m.
Find a piece of shell, any piece of reef along the Texas coast, and chances are there are fish lingering nearby. Bloated tides around the full moon, coupled with ardent southeast winds, have raised water levels nearly a foot above normal.
When prime aquatic real estate, like reefs, become submerged with fresh saltwater tides, species like speckled trout, redfish, black drum, sheepshead, flounder, gafftop and hardheads gravitate to the structure. Such has been the case this week.
Live shrimp under a popping cork has been good on the reefs in San Antonio, Matagorda and Galveston bays. Reefs in the back lakes have been good as well with high tides.
Anglers in Matagorda have worked large pieces of shell like Oyster Lake, Crab Lake, Shell Island, Twin Islands and smaller reefs along the south shoreline of West Bay.
Impressive numbers of trout up to 8 pounds were caught this week in East Matagorda Bay while drifting. Mixed with the specks were solid slot-sized redfish.
Galveston Bay anglers scored similar resorts on the west shoreline reefs from Texas City, San Leon to Sylvan Beach. Deeper reefs in the middle of the bay are holding good concentrations of fish, but winds have hampered efforts. Moses Lake has also held steady numbers of redfish.
Some trout have begun to be caught on croakers, but the best live bait bite continues to be on live shrimp. Deep shell pads around wells have paid off with shrimp and soft plastics.
Higher tides have hindered waders a bit. Trout seemed to be scattered on the flats with the overabundance of water. When water levels are normal, there are hotspots on flats and shorelines where fish appear first on the incoming or outgoing tide. That's not necessarily the case on flood tides like we experienced this week, and catches suffered because of it. Waders who did enjoy good catches concentrated tight to the shorelines or relocated to shorelines in the back lakes.
"Fish were scattered with all of the water, but when it (water) falls out again in the next few days, the trout will show up where they always do," said guide Charlie Paradoski.
Those wading tight to the shoreline found healthy redfish on Gulps, spoons and topwaters. Sand and grass held the best bite for trout.
Southwest Louisiana anglers on Calcasieu and Sabine lakes saw bird action early in the week. Good catches came off deep reefs on Hackberry Hustlers and topwaters. Fish slicks popped up everywhere, and drifters worked upwind with Bass Assassins, Tidal Surges and MirrOlures. When the wind has allowed, the jetty has been hot for trout and redfish on live bait.
It's only June, and there is a lot of summer left.
Bink Grimes is a freelance writer, photographer, author and licensed fishing guide (firstname.lastname@example.org ).