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Texas' Top Bass Waters
No matter where you go in our state, you aren't far from good bass fishing. These waters are prime examples of what we're talking about. (March 2006) ... [+] Full Article
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Texas Sportsman
Texas' Best Fishing For 2005

Large Predators: Gulf Jetties

Jetty fishing in Texas is good through most of the summer and fall. However, September offers Lone Star anglers opportunities to catch a number of species of game fish. The tidal action found along the rocky structure creates an environment rich in prey and large predators.

The forage fish that inhabit the rocky structures draw in every type of predator, inshore species as well as a few bluewater fish. Sharks, tarpon, giant jack crevalle, bull reds, cobia and king mackerel are caught off of Texas' jetties. Seatrout and drum are typically found feeding along the shallow surf side of the jetty; larger predators feed on the channel side of the structures.

In September, anglers have a great shot at catching bull reds making their way to the passes for their annual spawn. Also, large schools of double-digit jack crevalle often feed along the channel side of the rock structure. And if your luck and your tackle hold out, you might even hook into one of the marauding tarpon that frequent the jetties at dawn and dusk.

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Redfish: Aransas Bay

Aransas Bay's consistent backwater angling is in part due to the enormous variety of water found in the protected bays and flats of the barrier islands. The backsides of Matagorda, Mustang, and San Jose islands are rich in tidal lakes, sloughs, and shallow shorelines. According to fly-fishing guide Chuck Naiser, these rich backwater areas offer anglers their best chance at sight-fishing for tailing redfish.

"As is the case along the entire Texas Coast," noted Naiser, "good weather equates to good fishing in this area. We experience our most favorable weather conditions in October. On top of that, the tides are moving daily and are moving a lot in October."

Redfish are opportunistic predators, feeding on the bottom, at midstrata, and on the surface, so anglers should bring a variety of lures and patterns. Small poppers and sliders, weedless imitations of local baitfish, crabs and shrimp in both natural colors and bright colors work well. Gulf breezes often make casting a challenge, so the smart fly-fisher will bring both 6- and 8-weight fly outfits.

Mixed Bag: Sabine Lake

Admittedly, Sabine Lake is no well-kept secret. The Sabine complex has a statewide reputation as an excellent flounder and trophy-trout fishery. However, anglers can find equally good catches of redfish from most areas of the lake.

Located on the Texas-Louisiana border, the lake is connected to the Gulf by Sabine Pass. While the Texas shoreline is fairly well developed, the Louisiana side remains virtually unchanged and natural. The Sabine and Neches rivers drain into the northern portion of the lake to feed the system with important nutrients and freshwater flows. The marshes on the eastern bank are full of crabs, shrimp and small fish.

According to guide Chuck Uzzel, angling for nearly all of the Sabine's species of fish can be good in November. "In October and November," he explained, "the white shrimp begin to migrate out of the marshes and into the pass. That's when the flounder, redfish and trout fishing gets really good. We can catch flounder as they move down to the pass. And we find good numbers of redfish and trout by watching for shorebird activity and baitfish movement along the flats."

Trout: Guadalupe Below Canyon Dam

This is one of the prized fisheries of Texas. The trout fishing is excellent, and fly-fishers from all over the state journey to the Guadalupe every winter in hopes of catching a trophy-sized rainbow or brown trout.

Holdovers and natural reproduction have been documented on the Guadalupe tailwater fishery. Because of this, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has worked hard at developing it into a year-round trout fishery. The state has created a special regulation zone and used supplementary stockings to enhance this unique fishery. The result: one of the South's top trout fisheries.

The fishing on the Guadalupe is best between December and February. Because the fish grow fast in the river, the average trout is larger than those found in any other put-and-take trout fishery in Texas. Anglers will find the big holdover trout are typically found in the faster and deeper runs and are thus tougher to catch than the recently stocked fish.

If this year's worth of Texas fishing adventures isn't enough for you, then, brother -- you just have too much time on your hands!

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