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Hotspots For Summer Trout & Reds
"What I usually do is look for baitfish along the south shoreline at dawn," said West. "Once I find a good concentration of mullet, I'll anchor the boat and wade the area. Once the early bite is over, I'll move out and drift the reefs."
Some of the best areas to wade are along Fat Rat Flats, Elmgrove Flats, and the Pig Pen along West Bolivar Flats. That particular shoreline is usually protected by the prevailing south winds.
On the Upper Texas Coast are found two sets of jetties: on the Texas/Louisiana border, the Sabine jetties; and, not too far south, the Galveston jetties. If you're looking to catch a mix of big trout and reds, these two sets of jetty rocks are tough to beat. I've been fishing both for years.
In fact, I've been fishing the Galveston jetties for more than 40 years. But if I had to pick between the two, I believe I'd go with the Sabine jetties, which, as they can be accessed only by boat, get a lot less pressure than do the Galveston rocks. Both the north and south Galveston jetties can be fished with or without a boat.
You can park at the base of the Galveston jetties and walk till your shoes blow out -- that's how long they are. The only problem: You have to pack along all your gear, and in the heat of August, that will include lots of water.
What I like to do is to wear a little daypack when walking the rocks. I can carry water, snacks and tackle in the pack. Lately I've taken to carrying one of those soft-sided coolers in one hand and a rod and reel in the other. Any fish I catch can be iced in the soft cooler, which is important during August. The trick is not to get greedy when you run into a school of trout and reds: Too many fish can get heavy in a hurry.
Over the years I've found that it's best to fish the Galveston jetties with live shrimp or finger mullet when I'm fishing from a boat. If I'm on foot, lures rule, since they're easy to carry and won't die on me. But live bait is best along the Galveston rocks during August, because of all the boat traffic; a whole lot of Houston anglers make the run to Galveston on any given day, and when you've got boats lined up along the rocks, trout and reds can become skittish in a hurry, and live baits rule then.
My favorite live-bait setup at any of the Texas jetties is a slip-cork rig. It allows you to fish at just about any depth. It's easy to assemble, too: First you thread the tag end of the line through a bobber stopper, then through a unweighted cone-shaped float. The line is tied off to a quarter-ounce torpedo weight with a brass loop on one end and a barrel swivel on the other. Tie the fishing line off to the wire loop.
Next, take an 18- to 20-inch section of monofilament or fluorocarbon leader material and tie one end to the weight, the other to a No. 6 or No. 8 treble hook. Adjust the bobber stopper to the depth you want to fish, bait up and cast it out. It's that simple.
The best depth for fishing at the Sabine and Galveston jetties is about 6 to 8 feet. At the Port O'Connor jetties, located on the Middle Texas Coast, you want to fish in the neighborhood of 8 to 12 feet deep. The Port O'Connor jetties are a lot deeper than are those you'll find on the Upper Texas Coast.
The POC jetties are boat access only. Or, if you have some sort of flying machine, you can land on the nearby sand strip -- not always a great idea. There are a few anglers who tie off their boats and walk these jetties. That can be a little rough. Most of the time you're better off easing along the rocks with a trolling motor, or using an anchor to hold your position.
The night-fishing option at the jetties is always a good move in August. As most of you well know, August is one of our hottest months of the year. It's a good time to get out the lights and fish the Sabine, Galveston or Port O'Connor jetties. I've fished them all and can say from lots of experience that nighttime is the best time to fish the jetties during August.
Some friends and I began fishing the POC jetties with neon lights in the early 1970s. We were among the first to do so. Since then, a considerable number of anglers have figured out that fishing at night is cool, calm and, usually, very productive.
Fishing with live bait usually is best under the lights. Live shrimp top the list of baits. In fact, they are always the best option just about anywhere you happen to be fishing on the Texas Coast.
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