I see weekend fisherman that spend a lot of time on the water not really adapting to the methods that professionals use to catch fish consistently. If you are a lure aficionado or tournament angler then this article is not for you, sorry! I see a lot of authors writing about how fast to work your chartreuse, pumpkin seed, gold flakey, curly tailed fish whackers or to find sandy, shelly, grassy flats drop offs, so I thought I’d write something most of you could really use to catch fish more consistently! I will go over the four or really five major types of fishing bait that we use as fishing guides.
- The first way to fish although many guides have given up this method because it requires more effort to train the customers is shrimp and popping cork (SPC).
- The Second is anchoring up and fishing the sand pockets located in the flats.
- The third is anchoring up and fishing guts and isolated deep water areas locked within the flats systems.
- The four and fifth way are fishing with Piggy’s (piggy perch not pin perch) and Croaker.
Now that I have described the types of fishing we choose, let me explain when we use them… this is the most important part! Wind, is the most important indicator of what method we will use. I personally pray for wind so we can use the most popular, successful and frequently engaged method, Shrimp and popping cork. SPC can be used for the longest time frame during the year! The SPC method also allows my customers more of a chance to do the fishing themselves instead of feeling all they do is reel in the fish! When the wind is blowing 15 knots or more this is the best option to catch fish! This is only an option in the Fall, Winter and Spring as the bait fish mature and others invade the flats system this methods becomes unfeasible, also the larger fish don’t seem to gobble up the shrimp as readily.
If you use the SPC method in the summer on the big bay the fish seem to range in the 14 inch and under category which will leave you hungry at the end of the day! If there is no wind, put the shrimp and popping cork aside, seriously, you’ve got to get used to fishing the sand pockets (Pot Holes) and put your time in doing it! This is a very important tip, don’t try to revert back to drift fishing with shrimp and popping cork. It will take time to have confidence to do this type of fishing but it is worth the effort because nothing is more effective on light wind or windless day. This type of fishing can be done with live mullet, cut mullet, dead shrimp, live shrimp, pin perch, piggy perch, ballyhoo or crabs.
I like to use live bait predominantly when there is little wind however I will almost always mix it up with cut bait too just to add scent to the water. You can use everything from a jig head to a Carolina rig with various weights; we also add water corks at times to get extra casting distance which is very important on the days without wind!
The next style of fishing is low tide fishing. Hopefully you’ve studied your map or taken note when you have been crossing the flats on normal days, if you did you will have areas in the back of your mind to try when these conditions present themselves. Be very careful if you don’t know the area well, maybe watch another boats entering that area and wait your turn to try it. Remember some lanes in the deeper guts in the flats system aren’t even as wide as your boat.
We use the anchor up method of fishing on these days too, however the big difference in choosing bait. Since a low tide day can either be windy or calm the way I determine my primary bait is based on this rule; windy days use any type of bait that will create a scent on calm days use live bait. The simple analysis is that windy days the water is murky and hard to see through and calm days the fish can actually see what they inhale from quite a distance!
Now the forth and fifth method are very similar and I will combine them; Piggy’s and Croaker. The reason I made them two different styles is because of the areas we use them. Croaker seem to stay effective way longer in the area north and south of Port Aransas such as the Laguna to the South and San Antonio Bay to the North. In the Rockport and Port Aransas areas Croaker mature faster to be used as bait than Piggy’s, but when Piggy’s start coming in look out! Piggy’s and Croaker are held very fondly by fishing guides because when you are on fish and the time is right you can’t find a hotter trout bait, not without saying Redfish will tare’em up too! We fish these types of bait at the rigs, grass edges off the deeper bay islands, reefs, Intercoastal waterway and sand pockets in the flats. The preferred rig is a size appropriate kahle hook tied to a 20# leader attached with a swivel or knot to the main line. The time of year we use this bait is from the about the middle of May into September, at that time the bait is predominantly too large and the schools start migrating.
Now that you know why and when we fish certain baits we can start talking about the various techniques that make a difference in presenting it to our prey, but that we have to save that for the next article! After all I do have to make some time to fish instead of write! With all kidding aside I want to spend time covering each of these methods in depth as they all have their place in our fishing arsenal! I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and remember if you don’t eat it release it and try to release all big Trout. Get a picture of your catch; it will last longer, save some for the kids! Fish More, Live Longer!
After a couple weeks of cold fronts with wind and rain has made it difficult to enjoy fishing at the Port A Jetty and the Packery Channel Jetty. The Packery Channel Jetty Northside access has been closed for road construction and you have to drive further North to the Newport access road. This weekend is the first nice weather we have had to get out and place your hook in the water.
I stopped by the Port A Jetty and the anglers were out in full force using live and dead shrimp and taking nice catches of Sheepsheads. The weather is fabulous and the water is clear and setting up a great day of angling. I was able to visit with several anglers vacationing from different parts of the country and staying there in Port Aransas. They seemed to be enjoying the day away from the shopping malls for Christmas gifts.
After taking several pictures at Port A Jetty, I decided to run down to the Packery Channel Jetty to see what kind of angling was going on there. I found just a few fishermen and the end of the Jetty. Their only catches were hardheads, nemeses of the bottom.
What an interesting difference today between the Port A Jetty & the Packery Channel Jetty. Port A Jetty is more of a vacation destination for many from other parts of the country and therefore will have more anglers. The Packery Channel Jetty is more of a “locals” destination and with the North access road closed made things more scarce. Both jetties produce great numbers of catches but on this day the Port A Jetty had much more going for it. http://ping.fm/6prYv
This cougar was shot just across the fence between Juction & London Texas where they enjoy 400 acres leased on the Red Creek Nature Ranch. These Cougars live about 10 to 11 years in the wild and will prey on white tailed deer and mule deer. They also like to prey on Javelina, Pronghorn Antelope, Feral Hogs, Big Horned Sheep, Raccoons, Coyotes, Porcupine, Possums, Rabbits and other animals.
Mountain lion attacks on people are few and fare between with only 4 attacks since 1980. Texas Parks and Wildlife has a pamphlet for more information.
To get the edge on ALL your buddies and other anglers and catch the biggest and the most fish you should try the “Real Lemon Juice” Rig. Not many people know about this set-up but you’ll catch Sheephead, Black Drum, and Redfish all day long.
David uses a Real Lemon Juice container as a float with about a foot and a half of leader to a triple hook. I’m definitely going get one of these in my tackle box!
As you can see David Brooks filled up his cooler with some nice catches of the day!!! Congratulations.
The Packery Channel Jetty is producing some nice catches today using live shrimp on a Real Lemon Juice Rig. David Brooks made some lemonaid out of lemons. )