Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Location: Texas Gulf Coast
|Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:15 pm Post subject: Jan. 31st – Feb. 15th - Big Ones!
|The “catching” part of fishing has been inconsistent for me and my crews here lately. This is nothing new for this time of year especially with the odd weather we’ve been having. This February reminds me more of March. The key right now is picking the right days. Once you’ve done that then you need to have an idea of when the fish are going to bite because they’re not feeding all day (they never do). You can be on top of a lot of trout and never even know it. We’ve been staying within striking distance of high percentage areas where we’ve caught fish in recent weeks and waiting for the right signs and conditions. More often than not, they are feeding best on the tide changes which is pretty normal in this bay system. Quite a few trout are pulling up shallow with the mild winter we’re having, but we’re catching them out deeper after the cold fronts. Corkies, MirrOdines, Catch 5’s, Salt Water Assassins and topwaters have all had their days here recently depending on the conditions. Any mixture of shell and mud in 2 to 5 feet of water is where we’ve been fishing. We’re having to be patient and grind it out, but we’ve been rewarded with some beautiful fish.
There are some pics below. You can visit the Hillman Guide Service FaceBook page to see the complete albums. Just click on the link on my home page.
Jan. 31st – It was a very tough bite for Shane and his crew because of the strong south winds. We only managed 3 keeper trout, 2 reds and 2 flounder along with some throwbacks. Not much to show for the long rough boat ride, but we gave it hell trying.
Feb. 1st – Adam, Michael and Steve joined me for an afternoon trip because that’s been the best pattern lately. Well, it wasn’t today. The tide never moved like it was supposed to and the bite never really got going. We only managed 4 keeper trout and a handful of little ones. The only upside was that the keepers we caught were quality fish up to 4.5 pounds.
Feb. 5th – I decided to go back to the same area and give it one more chance to produce. It paid off for Troy, Dutch & Jose. They had to work a little for them, but ended up boxing 25 trout and 5 reds.
Feb. 7th – Scott and Haley got a very late start with me because I blew a wheel bearing on the way to the ramp. I wasn’t particularly worried about it because the best bite has been late afternoon. Unfortunately, the fish decided to feed between 10 and 11 AM on this particular day. I found this out after talking to another guide that was already out there. We didn’t get my boat in the water until noon and only managed 4 keeper trout and some pencil trout. Chalk it up as a bad day.
Feb. 8th – I decided to start a little earlier than usual with Will and Todd. They wanted to catch a big trout and didn’t care anything about keeping fish. We got in the water around 8 O’clock which was right about the time a weak cold front was pushing through. We caught and released 7 trout up to 4.5 pounds before heading to another area. The wind finally backed off around 2 PM and we went back to the area where we started. The tide was just starting to come in and we were seeing more mullet and shad than we’d seen all morning. It wasn’t long before Todd popped his personal best trout weighing 5.25 pounds. A few minutes later a fish crushed my MirrOdine and started taking drag. Todd asked me if it was a big redfish. I told him that it was fighting more like a trout and if it was then it was going to be a big one. Sure enough it was one of the fattest trout I’ve ever caught in Galveston Bay. She measured 28 inches, but weighed just over the 8.25 pound mark on my Boga. I’m guessing she would have weighed around 8.3 or 8.4 on a digital scale. We took 3 quick pictures then let her go. We fished for a couple of more hours and ended up releasing 17 really nice trout. Luck was on our side on this day.
Feb. 12th – After cancelling my trip the night before because of forecasted winds of 15 to 25 mph and a 50% chance of thunderstorms I woke up to an east wind at 4 mph, drizzling rain and heavy fog. If those aren’t big trout conditions then I don’t know what are. I had already made plans to work on my boat trailer and get some things done around the house, but it got to the point where I just couldn’t stand it any longer. I knocked out the stuff on my short list then Jake and I jumped in his boat to get in 3 or 4 hours of fishing before dark and hopefully before a predicted cold front would hit. When we finally got out there we were greeted with near calm conditions and heavy fog. The bite was very slow at first. We relocated several times before the trout decided to start cooperating. By the time the cold front hit we were getting bit about every 3rd or 4th cast. The wind only blew hard for about 45 minutes then died back down. It was now pitch black dark and you could smell the trout slicks. Jake was getting blow ups on topwater and I was chunking subsurface baits. It didn’t seem to matter. The fish were there and they were aggressive. We caught and released 15 trout to 6 pounds before heading in around 7:30. We only had two or three trout under 4 pounds. What a night!
Double Hook-Ups (5 & 6 pounders)!
Feb. 15th – After rescheduling his trip earlier in the week because of high winds Ryan made the trip by himself because no one else could go join him. I’ve got the big trout bug really bad right now and Ryan had no problem going for big bites either. The bites were very spread out at first, but once again the afternoon proved to be the best. We fished until about 6 PM and caught 22 trout (released 17 of them) to a little over 5 lbs. The majority of our fish weighed between 3.5 and 4.5 pounds. Ryan stuck two different trout that were both 7 to 8 pounds. Unfortunately, he lost one at the net and broke off the other one. We got a good look at them and they were plenty hefty. It was still a fun trip with a great long-time customer.