May begins the summer season’s biggest saltwater fishing tournament, the G.C.C.A. State of Texas Anglers Rodeo, and knowing the ins and outs of trout fishing could increase your chances of winning anything from a fully rigged boat to a hand full of popping rods. GCCA’s S.T.A.R. is open to anyone fishing the Galveston Bay area and the rest of the Texas coast and Capt. Pat Murray has a few suggestions for those wanting to cash in on some of the prizes offered by both of these tournaments. BAY: Galveston bay is known for speckled trout fishing during the summer months. It’s western boundary is considered by many to be the Texas City Dike from which it continues eastward until it touches land east of Rollover Pass. Captain Pat Murray (713/668-0590) knows this area well and tells us that there are plenty of fish for everyone, including some prize winners. “East bay has a wide variety of fishing options to offer, says Murray, whether you want to wade the shorelines, drift the reefs, or work flocks of feeding gulls, there are enough trout to meet anyone’s preference.”of the better spots for wadefishermen to find the bigger trout, according to Murray, are located along East Bay’s south shoreline. The area around “Fat Rat Pass and “Pepper Point or that portion of shoreline between Baffle Point and Siever’s Cut. These areas have a good hard sand bottom for the most part, but in some spots, especially where the channels and bayous empty into the bay, the bottom can be fairly soft. “If you wade the mouths of these channels and bayous during an out going tide, says Murray, you should work your baits along the edges and across from the opposite side until you locate fish.” “For big speckled trout, Pat says, these are excellent spots and for the same big fish, the best baits are going to be the large topwater plugs such as a 7M MirrOlure, Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow, or Cordell’s Broken-Back Redfin.” Murray suggests working the lures along the drop-offs during the incoming tide and concentrate on the flats during the high tide. The bigger fish will stay in deeper water, he says, but once the tide moves onto the flats, these fish become more secure and will move into the area to feed on schools of baitfish and to spawn.” Another area recommended by Murray is located along the bay’s north shoreline. “There are a number of reefs along the north shoreline, says Murray, and anyone could be holding a winning trout under the right conditions.” Many trophy speckled trout are caught by waders, the mid-bay reefs of East Bay have also given up their share. “Working the reefs is especially good from early May through late August, says Murray, and most of the fish caught from them will be on soft plastic shadtails or shrimptails.” “Hannah’s and Deep reef are the two best known, he continues, but East Bay has shell reefs scattered all over the North shoreline and through the middle of the bay.” Bay is not the only place for Galveston fishermen to look for tournament winning fish. Murray says that the are known as West Bay, from the Galveston Causeway to San Luis Pass has produced several of the top 5 fish in several speckled trout contests over the last few years. “If I had to choose one place to hunt for a prize winning speckled trout, says Murray, it would be around San Luis Pass. The San Luis Pass flats and the area known by most fishermen as “Rooster Flats” are both excellent spots for trophy trout fishing.” Murray also spoke about the guts and channels doting these two prime areas and said that they too have given up some tournament winning fish for anglers who know how to fish this particular location. Murray also says that “Mud Cut and Shell Island are two other great spots for trophy hunting fishermen to try their luck”. “Winning fish don’t happen by accident, says Murray, anyone who is serious about catching a tournament winning speckled trout should work these areas with the mind set of trying to catch that one fish that will put them in the money. Any angler has the chance of accidently catching a big fish, he continues, but if someone is serious about winning, he or she should forget about catching numbers of fish and concentrate on catching at least one big fish. They should make their efforts count by using big topwater lures on the flats and around the guts of the great Pass.” “You almost have to have an incoming or high tide to catch the kind of fish, off the flats, that will win a tournament, Murray says, since these fish usually stay in deep water until the tide floods the flats and push the baitfish out of the deep water and onto the open flats.”also says that it is possible that a winning fish could be caught from one of the well known reefs in West Bay. “There will be a lot of good fish caught from Confederate Reef this year, Murray says, but because of the boat traffic it’ll be a pure luck situation for someone to catch a tournament fish from there.” But, as Pat says, “a big part of winning any tournament is luck”, so you never know. JETTIES: Most speckled trout weighed in during the tournaments come from somewhere in the bays, there are always a few that come from the rocks or piers that dot Galveston’s beach front. And just as with fishermen who frequent the bays, jetty and pier fishermen have a knowledge of their prey and their surroundings that results in catching fish.the rocks or piers effectively is probably one of the hardest things for a novice to understand. The currents, baits, and habits of the fish all play a special role.big speckled trout nowhere beats Galveston’s North Jetty. On any given night you’ll find boats using lights and rock walkers armed with nothing more than a flashlight or lantern. And all with one thing in mind, catch a winning trout. Most of these fishermen will be using either live shrimp or live baitfish. Those after really big trout prefer a free-lined finger mullet, croaker, or piggy perch. And the best portion of the North Jetty? Without question, the boat cut gives up more big speckled trout to rock walkers than anywhere on these rocks.pier fishermen also have their favorites. Gulf Coast, 61st Street, San Luis Pass, and the Texas City Dike lighted pier are all excellent spots if you’re trying to catch a tournament winning speck.
– Texas Saltwater Fishing Guide