Early Summer Great For Galveston Beachfront Fishing

{flickr|100|campaign}

May and June can be prime months to fish the Galveston surf.  A late cool front with light north or northeast winds between 5 and 10 mph or just a calm southeast wind less than 10 will lay the surf almost flat.  These conditions along with an incoming tide will bring the “green” water to the beach.  Large schools of Speckled Trout and Redfish will roam the beachfront working bait in the first few guts.

A “gut” is a valley between the sandbars on the shoreline which occur naturally from the rolling surf.  These guts change in depth and location from year to year from the surging tides associated with the storms that bare down on the gulf coast.  They may vary in depth from 1 to 3 feet even more at times so be very careful if you choose to wade the surf.

An easy ambush for Specks and Reds in the surf is to wade out about waist deep through the first gut and stand on the first sand bar.  Using live shrimp fished under a popping cork about 2 feet down, cast into the second gut.  You can visualize the guts and sand bars by watching the waves.  The “swell” of the wave will occur over the sandbars and dissipate in the guts.  For the best action, give your line a quick and deliberate twitch every 5 -10 seconds to make the cork slosh in the water.  This is called “popping” the cork, thus its name, popping cork.  This sloshing sound mimics the sound of a fish attacking a bait on top of the water and will attract the curiosity of the fish to your bait.  The cork serves three purposes: 1) It is used as a means of attracting the fish 2) It suspends your bait at a predetermined level in the water column, and 3) As a visual aid.  When the cork goes down, “FISH ON”!

Here are some tips on fishing the Galveston Surf that you should know.  First of all, what to wear. I would recommend an old pair of blue jeans or pants specifically designed for wade fishing to protect you from Jelly Fish stings and water shoes or wading boots to protect against jagged shells or crabs.  I would also suggest a white t-shirt to protect your upper body from Jelly Fish as well as the sun.  A ball cap and a pair of polarized sunglasses to cut the glare off of the water.

As far as tackle, I would not take my top of the line $ 400 rod and reel into the surf.  It’s going to get wet, and unless you know how to clean it properly, you may ruin it.  I use an older reel that is easily maintained on a 7 foot medium action popping rod (about $ 150 for the pair).  I spool my reels with 12 or 15 pound test line and use 20 pound leader material with a #4 treble hook.  I set my popping cork anywhere from 24 to 36 inches depending on the depth of the water I’m fishing.  Although not a necessity, I use a wading belt that has a small tackle box and “D” rings to attach a stringer, dip net and a bait bucket.

You may also choose to fish off of one of the many rock groins that jut out into the beachfront as an alternative to wading.  Use the same technique.  Walk out until you can cast into the second or third gut.  Set up camp and get to it.  To fish the rocks you will need: An aerator to keep your bait alive, a long net to reach the edge of the rocks to land your fish, and a cooler (48Qt) with ice to throw your fish in.  It’s a little cumbersome for one person, but not a chore at all for two.

Popular hardware (artificial lures) that works well in the surf include Mirro-Lures, 3/4 ounce Gold and Silver Spoons, Top-Water plugs, as well as soft plastics fished on a 1/4 ounce jig head.

So, remember to keep an eye on the forecast and look for the winds to lay down to get the water right for catching trout and redfish in the surf.  Here is a link to the NOAA marine forecast for Galveston: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/productview.php?pil=HGXCWFHGX It usually shows a three day window for winds and seas.

Remember, be safe, and as always, “Go Fish”!