As a full time, fishing guide at Bay Flats Lodge in Seadrift for five years now I have had opportunities that I had dreamed of for most of my life. The day I received my driver’s license I remember hooking up my dad’s boat and trailering to the ramp! Since that time, I have been lucky enough to live on or near the coast and take advantage of our many coastal resources. Whether it was boat or wade fishing, live or artificial bait, soft plastics or top water, morning-afternoon-evening, or any day of the week, I found time to be out here on the salt water in pursuit of Speckled Trout, Redfish, Flounder and on and on. This was instilled in me from the days growing up in Pasadena since my dad was an avid fisherman and took the kids to walk the Galveston Jetties and then later on to fish the bays out of a boat that we were fortunate to afford. Today I have that same passion and drive to be out on the water but now I get to teach what I have learned and share the precious resources with not only friends and family but customers too! I had always heard the saying “Do what you love, the money will follow”, but never really understood it. Now being a fishing guide no matter what will not put you in the headlines making a fortune…what it has done though for me is allow a modest living in the outdoors! My lifelong dream!

Most of my trips these days are taking customers in the boat with bait. We experience a lot of corporate customers entertaining their associates. Most have some experience fishing, some freshwater only, some saltwater, and some no experience at all and this is their first time to wet a hook. I will take them all and my goal is to teach them something that works for them to catch that fish! Most times I learn from them too and then apply that to my next group of anglers. Sometimes like the other day I get anglers already fluent in the art of wading with lures! This is my preferred method of catching these spots and dots down here and hopefully the requests of lure trips will rise.

June is upon us and that means the fish are agreeable to most presentations of lures. I have been successful though in the water column versus on top and with 1/4 to 1/8 oz. jig head weights with a combination of soft plastics including the TTF Trout Killer, Killer Flats Minnow and the Killer Hustler. It hasn’t mattered that much on the color but I have been trying to stay with a dark color body and bright tail like the morning glory/Chartreuse combo, red/white and purple/chartreuse and they have all produced. The key has been to work the water column entirely and that means (CAST-COUNT-TWITCH-REEL)! Cast the lure downwind to get the most sensitivity having a straight line to the lure. Count to three, then Twitch the rod tip up twice, letting it fall while Reeling up the slack. I have used this simple method for countless years and it works well for me. The fish usually will pop that lure on the downfall which is perfect since your next move was Reeling anyway-it’s easy to set the hook and Reel that fish in. Keep your rod up in the air and feel the pressure of the bow in it. So many times, I will see an angler set the hook then reel and set it again with slack in the line-and they lose the fish. Keep that rod bowed up, and pressure on the hook which is stuck in a nice trout’s mouth! If you are on a keep fish mission have a wade fishing net with you. The floating nets are good because they’re not wrapped around your legs under water causing you to trip on the tangled mess. These also work as a temporary live well if you want to leave the fish without sticking a stringer through its mouth. However, the ring foam donut type floating nets may be a better bet for you, they are bulky but hard to beat on a long wade. I see guys making a big mistake consistently on the method of adding the fish to a stringer. Those things don’t come with instructions as far as I know but do this and you will have the best chance at keeping the fish alive (and not spoiling) until you get back to the boat. Use the sharp end of the stringer stick to punch into and through the fish’s thin flesh under its mouth near the center…avoid running it through the mouth and out of the gills. This way the fish swims more freely and can get the oxygen it needs and will not usually float beside you stiff as a board!

I have heard enough stories of waders having run ins with stingrays to scare me into donning the most protection I am comfortable with. That said I am wearing ray guards around my lower legs now just to be sure. I still have boots that can be punctured but at least I feel a bit more protected. Also, the menacing varieties of jellyfish and man o war are prolific especially the deeper we get into Summer, so wear some protection for those guys too. Simply put on long pants and ease into the water. Three of my waders this past week were hit by these fiery globs and were sent into different degrees of pain lasting too long and making their wade very uncomfortable.

There are so many ways to get out and enjoy our coastal resources but the key is to find the time to go! I say today is the day so get out and join us on the water and see what this sport is all about.

Leave a Reply

Untitled Document Visit Calhoun Air Center