School supply shelves filling up signals the end of summer, but a lot of Central Texans are resisting the inevitable and packing out to the mountains and beaches before the bells start ringing again.
If you’re planning a trip to the Texas coast, be sure to take some fishing gear along. Former Central Texas broadcaster and longtime beach denizen Tyler Thorsen says if your timing and presentation are right, you can drive away with good fishing memories and seafood-loaded coolers.
“For the first time in two years we’ve got a good run of trout in the surf,” Thorsen said. “The bite has been on from first light until 8:30 in the morning, then it picks up again from about 6 until 8:30 in the evening.”
He’s having luck using topwaters, and recommends MirrOlure She Dogs and He Dogs. “I go with the He Dogs especially when the surf is bigger,” he says. “Both have loud rattles, which helps make noise and gets a trout’s attention. Croaker are really effective, too, but I’m addicted to watching them hit on top.”
There have also been some reports of reds and mackerel on flats, with a 50-inch king mackerel coming on a finger mullet fished in the second gut. Thorsen says for trout, look for good water flow where wind funnels bait and water, plus adds oxygen. Deeper spots in these areas make things more comfortable for fish, meaning they’re likely to be found if you can catch them. He recommends popping corks with Gulps, Vudu Shrimp, or live bait. Bob Hall pier reports good catches of trout, mackerel, pompano, and lots of small sharks.
Wind speeds have been varying, but Thorsen says seas between 1-4 feet is prime for plugging. When they reach 3-5 feet, the current gets too strong for topwater fishing. “You’ll know it’s blown out when your bait lays over on its side and gets back to the beach before you can even twitch it,” he said.
Late-week trips yielded bigger trout, with fish ranging from 23 to 26 inches, and a Saturday trip with San Antonio angler Rick Sanders ended with over 5 keepers measuring more than 20 inches, Thorsen said.
Another former Central Texan, Butch Uptmor, is also stretching lines at the coast, catching trout in the surf near Galveston using freelined croaker and live shrimp. He says the 4- tide days are going on, and the morning high tide period has been most productive.
If the winds lay down and you’ve got a boat big enough to handle the trip, offshore fishing in federal waters for red snapper is open through Labor Day from Fridays through Sundays for private recreational anglers.
The meager 3-day season angered many coastal anglers and businesses that depend on them for their livelihoods, and after considering the overwhelming feedback, changed the policy – for this year only – to allow the additional days.
The size and bag limit for snapper in federal waters (beginning 9 nautical miles from shore) remains the same – 2 fish per person with a 16-inch minimum. The limit in state waters is 4 per person with a 15-inch minimum.