2012 Redfish Showdown Drawing & Auction

Fishing Accessories – Opportunity Drawing:

Blue Wave Boats – 2 fishing Shirts

Floatmaster- One (1) portable bait / wading system which includes tackle box, live bait bin, rod holders and more!

Salt Water Soul – Variety of apparel valued at $500

Bruce Vieau – Bud Light NFL Fridge

Capt. Galen Pruett – Granite Cutting Board & T-shirts

Trout Support DVD- Two (2) DVD Sets (Redfish DVD)

Texas Smokehouse Sauce – Three (3) Gift Baskets – Sauce, Rubs & a Koozie

Evans Marine – 100 hour outboard service ($550 value)

Grind Terminal Tackle – 12’ Stringer, Spike Sheath, Assorted Buggs and a Touts Wade Box

Baumann Propellers – Two (2) Gift Certificates for $150.00

Rita’s Italian Ice – Four (4) Quarts of Italian Ice, redeemable at Rita’s Italian Ice 61st ST & Seawall

BAAD Marine Supply – Pro-O2 Oxygen System & a Fishing Reel

Fishing Tackle Unlimited – $250 worth of products & fishing gear

Fish-N-Hunt – Lures & Assorted gear

Third Stone Software – Fisherman’s Analyst Software

StrikePro – Towels, Stickers, & Fishing Lures

Rods  (Opportunity Drawing / Auction)

Custom Coastal Rods (Allen Pierce) – Two (2) Bait Casting Rods

“TTU Wader” – Alex – One (1) Custom Rod

Shoal Patrol Custom Rods – One (1) Custom Rod

Big Daddy Custom Rods – One (1) Wading Rod & One (1) Heavy Spinner for Kings, Snapper etc.

Live Auction:

Texas Original Pits – Custom BBQ Pit

Redfish Capital – One (1) Kayak, Seat and a Paddle

Wildlife Portraits – Custom Wildlife Framed Print by Les McDonald

Trips (Live Auction Items)

Capt. Glenn Stevens – ½ Day Guided Fishing Trip (2 people)

Capt. Greg Francis – ½ Day Guided Fishing Trip (3 people)

Notorious Guide Service – Capt. Thomas Barlow – ½ Day guided fishing trip (max 2 people) sight casting to reds

Capt. Steve Soule – The Shallowist – 2 People ½ day Guided Fishing Trip

Kaylin Barlow – Donated Trip for 1 person on a poling skiff

Capt. Craig Lambert – 4 people ½ day fishing trip

Moody Gardens – Overnight stay at the Moody Gardens hotel


FishWestEnd would like to thank all of our sponsors


Texas Outdoors Journal

Hookset Marine Gear

BAAD Marine Supply

Saltwater Assault Guide Service

Breakwater Marine Electronics

Trout Support

Texas Smokehouse Sauce


Grind Terminal Tackle

Redfish Capital Management

Daley’s Hunt N Fish

Gator-Tail Outboards, LLC

Coastal Guide Service

ANDCO Construction

Baumann Props

Chickenboy Lures

Custom Coastal Rods

Evans Marine

Plash Lights – LED Supplier

Johnny’s Trailer Repair

Underwater Green Lights

Waterloo Rods

Castaway Rods

Fish N Hunt

Casting Tales Fishing Charters


South Texas Boat Works


Some of our past supporters

Lutes Marine

Billy StiX Custom Rods

Big Nasty Bait Co.

High Tech Marine

Capt. Mike O’Dell

Hook1 Kayak Gear

Texas Tackle Factory

Fischer Angling – Reel Repair

Shoal Patrol

J Hardgrave Marine

Reel Crazy Apparel

Boat Lift Distributors

Texas Original Pits

Friends / Organizations & Tournaments




Gulf Coast Trout Series

Galveston Redfish Series

Tails & Tunes

Texas Swordfish Seminar

Charitable Organizations we support:

Gary J Lynn Foundation

Texana Children’s Center for Autism

The Fischer House

Shriners Hospitals for Children – Galveston



Fly-Fishing 101


Fly-Fishing 101

Fly-Casting Essentials

By Captain Steve Soule’


Here it is another month gone by and it’s time for another installment of “long rod lunacy”. I’m going to take the big challenge this month of describing with words something that is difficult to explain and teach even when you’re standing next to someone with a fly-rod in hand I’m going to run through the “Essentials of Fly-Casting” in the order that I teach them to a beginning caster. The terminology and statements are taken from the booklet written by my good friend Captain Bill Gammel and it has been adopted and used by the Federation of Fly-Fishers as the foundation for teaching. This booklet is the most concise and informative tool that I’ve ever encountered for learning and mastering fly-casting. The booklet is available through the federation for a mere two dollars. You can contact me for information on obtaining a copy.

So you’re ready for the first attempts al casting, you’ve got your new rig all set up and you’re ready to cast. You’ve seen it on TV, in movies, maybe even watched a casting demonstration. It doesn’t look all that hard, more graceful or elegant, to watch the fly line “loop” unroll off the tip of the rod. It really isn’t, given the right instruction and a little basic understanding of how it works. I talked last month about rod actions, now I need to add a few new technical terms to our vocabulary. First of all, we need to understand” rod loading”. A rod “loads”(bends or stores energy) by the force being exerted upon it. With conventional gear we use weights or lures to accomplish this, with a fly-rod it is the weight of the foreword section of the line or the “head” that helps to load the rod. The other important term is the “loop” which is formed during a well-executed cast. Generally speaking, a tighter “loop” is better because the casting energy is directed more efficiently towards the target.

On to the casting, keeping in mind that initially we will work only with the casting hand, in other words no “hauling” or “double hauling” until we’re proficient at the basic casting stroke. The first essential element involved is that slack line must be kept to an absolute minimum at all times during the cast. I’ll give a few quick examples; before beginning each cast the rod tip should be near or touching the ground so that there is no slack between the tip and the ground. During the cast, the line between the lowest guide and the reel must be controlled so that it won’t slip or allow slack in the cast. The other example falls into the next essential so we’ll refer back to it then. What we need to remember here is that the goal in fly-casting is to move the fly to the target, and before we can move the fly we must move all of the line from the rod tip down to the fly. Why does slack matter you ask, because all slack line must be removed before the remainder of the line can move and in casting and in doing so potential casting stroke is always lost.

Essential number two says: there must be a pause at the end of each casting stroke, which varies in duration with the amount of line beyond the rod tip. This one sounds simple and basically it is. The reason for the pause is that the line needs time to straighten at the end of each cast before the next cast can be made. The amount of time for straightening is greater when casting with a longer amount line and conversely shorter when using less line. The reference back to the slack line issue here is that unless the line is allowed to straighten between each casting stroke it acts much like starting a cast with slack line. It works like this, you make a back cast and don’t pause long enough before making your foreword cast, the first part of your foreword casting stroke must essentially pull the slack line straight before you can effectively begin moving the line foreword. The tell tale sign of this casting error is hearing the line “pop” as you begin the casing stroke. It helps many casters early on, to watch both foreword and back casts until the sense of timing and feel for line straightening is developed.

The third essential states; In order to form the most efficient loop the Rod tip must move through a straight-line path. Again this sounds fairly simple, and again it is, but to understand it completely we must understand and account for the “rod loading”. I said earlier that the rod loads from the weight of the fly line and the force exerted on the rod. To put this into perspective, the casting hand actually moves through a slight arcing motion but as the “rod loads” the tip flexes in the opposite direction of the cast and therefore travels along a straighter plane when compared to the casting hand. Here’s an important point; a fly rod is designed to cast a fly line by “loading” and “unloading”. A fly-casters job is to create “load” in the rod by applying power and then “unload” it by stopping the casting movement in a crisp or sharp manner with the rod tip pointed toward the target. This is how the “loop” is created and controls the shape and size of it as well. If the rod tip moves through a convex or outward curving arc the loop will expand. If it moves through a concave or inward curving arc the loop will grow tighter. It can and will become too tight if the arc becomes concave and this is how a tailing loop occurs.

Essential number four says: the length of the casting stroke must vary with the length of line being cast. This works much like the pauses from essential number two. The best way I know to explain it is that the fly rod acts as the lever to propel the fly line and to cast more line you must use more of the lever. This can be seen very easily when casting with only twenty feet of line the cast can be made efficiently with a very short stroke where the casting hand may move only one foot. When casting longer distances of line say sixty feet the casting strike must be lengthened to two to two and a half feet. Keep in mind that what maters here is how far the rod tip moves not the casting hand, so there are ways to lengthen the stroke without overexerting yourself.

The final essential refers to power application; Power must be applied in the appropriate amount and at the appropriate time during the casting stroke. This one is often difficult to master. and is the cause of many problems especially for those who have spent a lifetime casting conventional tackle. Here’s how to apply power at the proper time; power application should be smooth and gradually increase through the casting stroke to the maximum necessary speed for the given cast. At the end of the stroke the casting hand must come to a “crisp” stop at the point where the rod tip is directed toward the target and will allow for a level trajectory of the line. This casting motion will generate both rod “loading” and “unloading” and create a tight efficient loop.

Obviously there’s much more to be said about fly-casting but it would take up more space than FishWestEnd.com would probably want to donate to me. I hope that you find this information helpful in your quest and if you have any questions feel free to give me a call. Until next time, just try to keep those loops tight.


Captain Steve.

2012 Important Dates

Please note our 2012 Schedule of Events

January 28, 2012 – 3rd Annual West Bay Big Trout

March 24, 2012 – 2012 Charity Cook Off

April 28, 2012 – Blackjack Tournament

July 7, 2012 – SLAM Tournament

October 27, 2012Redfish Showdown

Fishing slow during transition



By Joe Kent


Published September 30, 2011


Fishing is really slow now and represents brief periods common during the transition month of September.

The early morning thunderstorms contributed to the slow action, and many guides cancelled out trips Thursday morning.

The moderate to strong southwest winds and near record heat experienced recently took its toll on the water conditions making for sandy water throughout most of the Galveston Bay Complex.

It appears we might have a break in the weather today; however, the light winds that are forecast early today are not predicted to last into the weekend. The bright side to all of this is that October begins Saturday and is considered by many anglers to be the best month for fishing.

We have some updates to pass on regarding the topic of pink dolphins that appeared in Thursday’s Reel Report. You recall a reader sent a note saying she spotted one in the Galveston Channel recently. Well, come to find out, they do exist and have been sighted in good numbers at Lake Calcasieu, south of Lake Charles, La. Two readers sent pictures of the rare dolphin taken in Lake Calcasieu and said the sightings had been a hot topic around Hackberry and Cameron.

We have a late report from last weekend that we missed adding to the fishing reports earlier this week. Vince Sergent, 8, was out fishing with his dad out of Crystal Beach on Sunday and caught lots of whiting, two specks and a large bull red. He and his father teamed up to land the big red, which was revived and released.

Anglers and friends of the Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston mark your calendars for Oct. 15. That is the date for the West End Anglers third annual West Bay Redfish Showdown. All of the proceeds go to the Galveston hospital.

There will be two-person teams and the entry fee for each team is $140. Fishing guides are allowed to participate.

For those who are not interested in participating in the fishing, there will be live music from noon until 10 p.m. Raffles and a barbecue lunch will be part of the festivities.

All of this takes place at the West End Marina in Sea Isle on the west end of Galveston Island. Fishing begins at 6 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. with weigh-in starting at 4 p.m.

For information and to register, check out the West End Anglers’ Web Site at www.fishwestend.com or phone 713-594-4252.

To get your catch in the Reel Report, phone Capt. Joe Kent at 409-683-5273, or send an email to reel.report(at)galvnews.com. There’s no charge for this service.

Redfish Raffle


Saltwater Assault Guide Service
Captain Greg Francis with Saltwater Assault Guide Service will take you & friend on a trophy trout trip. Use your brand new Charlie's Custom Rod (included) to land that trophy trout!

Coastal Guide Service
Captain Glenn Stevens will host you and your party for a day on the water in Galveston Bay.

Flounder Gigging & Overnight Trip
You and a friend will hit the secret gigging spots of top flounder expert Bert “2112” Flores. He will show you what it’s like to stalk the flat fish in style and come home a winner. Before and after your trip you will stay at Sandy Law’s (Coachlaw) private cabin on Titlum Tatlum bayou known as Blockade Runners. So before and after your trip, pull up a rocking chair, kick back on the porch, enjoy genuine Cajun cooking, and see if you can catch a few trout under the lights…this will be a night you will never forget!

Tackle & Gear

HookSet Marine Gear – Wading Boxes, Stringers, Belts, & Gear

Breakwater Marine Electronics – Chart Points – load your GPS up with these proven spots 

Texas Tackle Factory – T.B.D. – Tal is putting together a great raffle item.

Fish-N-Hunt – Collection of Buggs Lures

Grind Terminal Tackle – Wade boxes & Stringers

Rockport Rattler – Jig heads and koozies

Fishing Tackle Unlimited – Complete Wade Fishing Setup with Rod & Reel

Billy StiX Custom Spiral Rod – Custom Spiral Rod by Billy McDaniel.

(2) Trout Support DVD – Find out what you have been missing, watching this DVD will have you catching more quality fish in no time!

BAAD Marine Supply & Pro-O2 Systems – Complete oxygen system to keep your fish alive!

Coastal Custom Rods – Allen Pierce has donated a one of a kind custom redfish rod!

Pro-O2 Systems – Complete oxygen system to help keep your fish or bait alive.

Around the Home

Texas Smokehouse Sauce – Gift baskets for the everyday cook! Also the sauce being used for the BBQ Plate Lunch / Dinner

Texas Original Pits
-Custom 36” Fire pit – Perfect for the patio or the camp
-BBQ Grill / Smoker with temperature gauge – Great to show off those backyard BBQ skills

Custom Furniture Maker Victor Martinez – COOLER
Beat the Texas heat! Victor Martinez has graciously donated one of his custom designed wood encased coolers. If you ever need to keep drinks cool why not keep them cool in grand fashion. Add that “old time” Texas beer cooler look to your back porch. These coolers not only keep your items cold for days but they do it in style…Texas style!

Dinners & Retreats

Dinner at Salt Grass Steakhouse for 2!

Spa Day at San Luis

Sponsor List

3rd Annual West Bay Redfish Showdown

Sponsor List


Texas Smokehouse Sauce
In addition to donating all the sauce for our BBQ dinners, how about you take some of Texas Smokehouse Sauce home with you! Texas Smokehouse Sauce is an old style Texas traditional BBQ sauce with a grande smokehouse flavor. It is hands down a competitive sauce for the everyday cook! So take home some of what you need to create the smoky sweet flavor the best BBQ you have ever made.

Saltwater Assault Guide Service with Charlie’s Custom Rods
Go find the wall hanger trout you’ve been looking for with one of Galveston’s premier large speckled trout guides, Captain Greg Fancis. Not only will the winner receive a trophy trout trip for two…how about you go fishing with your new custom trout fishing rod designed exclusively by Charlie’s Custom Rods. This is a whale of a deal!

Landry’s Salt Grass Steakhouse
Come sit down and enjoy some of the best Texas food on the island. Salt Grass Steakhouse invites you to enjoy a dinner for two! Pat’s Ribeye, Silverstar Porterhouse and Maudeen’s Center Cut Filet await you, and don’t forget the Two-Fork Cheese Cake and Shiner Bock Beer Bread, served warm with honey butter. Come enjoy the great food and legendary hospitality at the one and only Landry’s Salt Grass Steakhouse.

Coastal Guide Service
Captain Glen Stevens will host you and your party for a day on the water in West Galveston Bay. Whether it be slamming ‘em at the jetties or stalking ‘em on the flats, Capt. Glen looks forward to putting you on the fish! 

Hook Set Marine Gear
It’s time to get out of the boat and “go get ‘em!” Hook Set Marine Gear has donated two sets of top of the line wade fishing equipment to make sure you have what you need in order to limit up!

Trout Support DVD 
These instructional DVD’s will help you learn the tactics the pros use when chasing speckled trout so you too can “Catch a Limit!”

The Spa San Luis at the San Luis Resort 
For the ladies! Spend a day being pampered by the best of the best at the Spa San Luis. Package includes manicure, pedicure, facial, and massage!

Texas Original Pits
Custom 36” Fire pit and a BBQ Grill / Smoker with temperature gauge.

Pro-O2 Systems
Pro-O2 Systems has donated a complete oxygen system. Fish breathe too… Keep your fish or bait live!

Big Nasty Bait Company 
Has donated 100 lures as door prizes / captains bag items.

Breakwater Marine Electronics
Five (5) certificates for 250+ Fishing Spots for your GPS. Breakwater is your source for marine electronics!

Texas Tackle Factory
Texas Tackle Factory will be donating some items for the raffle.

Fish-N-Hunt will be donating some gear & Buggs kits for the raffle.

Texas Outdoors Journal
Every entry gets the latest edition of Texas Outdoors Journal!

Grind Terminal Tackle
Grind Terminal Tackle has donated 4 wade boxes and 4 stringers.

Rockport Rattler
Rockport Rattler has donated a number of jig heads for the Side Pot and Raffle and also numerous koozies for the captains bags

Jay Cohen – DWI Attorney
www.RefuseDWItests.com – FishWestEnd would like to thank Mr. Cohen for his assistance & support with this tournament.

Custom Furniture Maker Victor Martinez
Beat the Texas heat! Fish West End’s own Victor Martinez has graciously donated one of his custom designed wood encased coolers. If you ever need to keep drinks cool why not keep them cool in grand fashion. Add that “old time” Texas beer cooler look to your back porch. These coolers not only keep your items cold for days but they do it in style…Texas style!

Flounder Gigging Overnight Trip
You and a friend will hit the secret gigging spots of Fish West End’s top flounder expert Bert “2112” Flores. He will show you what it’s like to stalk the flat fish in style and come home a winner. Before and after your trip you will stay at Sandy Law’s private cabin on Titlum Tatlum bayou known as Blockade Runners So before and after your trip, pull up a rocking chair, kick back on the porch, enjoy genuine Cajun cooking, and see if you can catch a few trout under the lights…this will be a night you will never forget.

Fishing Tackle Unlimited 
FTU has donated a complete wading belt, stringer & wade box. To sweeten the deal & get you out on the water they have thrown in a Shimano Caenan & Rod

BillyStix Custom Spiral Rod
Billy has donated a custom spiral rod to be raffled off at the tournament.

Boat Workz 
Roy Perry with Boat Workz will be creating the custom trophies. These trophies are all handmade by Roy.

West End Marina & Bar
We cannot thank the fine folks at the West End Marina enough for allowing us a venue to hold this event.

2011 Blackjack Slam Results



Published July 11, 2011

The big news ….



The West End Anglers Fishing Club held its Blackjack Slam Tournament on Saturday. The results were:

Kids Division

1. Joseph Schmidt

2. Cade Robinson

3. Chase Poole

4. Olivia Dykes

5. Elizabeth Rodriguez

Adult Division Blackjack


1 Leo Carrasco, 21 inches

2. Jonathan Wilson, 203/4 inches

3. Joe Pena, 193/4 inches


1. Albert Rathmell, 207/8 inches

2. Keith Kole, 203/4 inches

3. Roberta Lopis, 203/4 inches


1. David Newton, 173/4 inches

2. Allen Pierce, 157/8 inches

3. Lucas Gray, 153/4 inches

Heavy Stringer

1. Team Carrasco, 22.3 pounds

2. Solid Platinum, 21.0 pounds

3. Team Oreo, 19.8 pounds

4. Team Notorious, 19.8 pounds

5. Xtreme Ladies, 17.8 pounds

Trout hitting across bay complex


Published July 7, 2011

While the big news on the fishing scene is all of the outstanding catches during the past several days, the really big news is that a likely CCA-Texas Star Fishing Tournament-leading trout was caught in West Bay on Wednesday.

Moe Carpenter, a member of the West End Anglers Fishing Club, caught a 9-pound, 3-ounce speckled trout while wade fishing West Bay early Wednesday morning. The big fish hit a Bone Super Spook Jr.

Carpenter transported his fish to GYB Bait camp at the yacht basin, one of the official tournament weigh-in stations, and had it weighed by Raymond Berry, an experienced weigh master and the operator of GYB. If all goes well, Carpenter will take the lead in the Upper Texas Coast big trout category. Fortunately, Carpenter was entered in the Star Fishing Tournament. West Bay obviously holds some trophy trout.

In other news in the area, lots of quality specks are being taken in Upper West Bay in and around Starvation Cove and the Confederate Reef Triangle. Most of the guides fishing the area have been keeping their results close to the vest.

West Bay is not the only bay producing trout. Reports from all around the Galveston Bay complex indicate action has busted wide open.

Wednesday, I was back at the jetties, this time with Brandon Rowan, from Bay Area Houston Magazine. Rowan limited out on trout to 19 inches and caught a nice flounder and large black drum as well. While most of the action came from the channel side of the North Jetty boat cut, part of the catch came from the Bolivar Gas Wells, where the water finally has turned green and trout are biting.

Manny Lyons, Bait By Hillman on Dickinson Bayou, reported excellent catches coming from all around his area. Matt and Scotty Lyons fished near the floodgates at Texas City and returned with limits of both trout and reds.

While not many reports of trout action have been received from the beach front lately, big sharks are making the news at the 61st Street Fishing Pier. Mike Wodecki reported a 7-foot shark being landed at the fishing pier Tuesday night.

Offshore waters continue to be in ideal condition for the Mosquito Fleet to make runs to the platforms and wells, commonly called rigs, that dot the horizon beyond the jetties. Tuesday, Mark Moore, of Crockett, and two family members fished a rig 19 miles south of the jetties and caught a full limit of kings, two legal red snapper among lots of throwbacks, 12 large spadefish and several pilot fish.

To get your catch in the Reel Report, phone Capt. Joe Kent at 409-683-5273, or send an email to reel.report(at)galvnews.com. There’s no charge for this service.

Trout calling East Bay home


Published May 20, 2011

Thursday, the surf was quite different than we reported earlier this week. Strong southerly winds had the beach front chopped-up, and about the only fishing taking place was by anglers on the 61st Street Fishing Pier.

Reports from the pier late Wednesday night indicated catches of whiting, croaker, gafftop and sharks.

During the very few windows of light winds, the bay reefs have been producing good numbers of quality trout. East Bay, in particular, has been one of the better spots for finding trout. Pepper Cove Reef, along with Deep Reef and Frenchy’s, has been holding trout when conditions are tolerable.

East Bay also has been a good place to find protected water from the strong south wind. Tuesday, Jerry Mason and Henry Bradshaw fished the shoreline between Marsh Point and the cut into Rollover Pass and landed 13 trout to 25 inches and two slot reds.

Mason cautioned anglers wading the area that lots of stingrays broke mud in front of them as they made their way along the shoreline in 2 to 3 feet of water.

Speaking of East Bay, the annual Bolivar Saltwater Slam Fishing Tournament is Friday and Saturday out of Stingaree Marina at Crystal Beach. The event benefits the Bolivar Chamber of Commerce, and with all of the big trout reported from the south shoreline of the peninsula lately, there should be some nice fish weighed-in.

Brad Vratis, of Stingaree Marina, is one of the officials and can be reached at 409-684-9530.

It was good to hear from the North Jetty Bait Camp again as Scooter called in a report. Wednesday, three groups of anglers fished the rocks outside of the bait camp and their combined results were three flounder to 16 inches, seven whiting and a slot red.

There were unconfirmed reports of some nice reds being caught along the shores of Chocolate Bayou on Thursday morning. The action took place south of Liverpool.

Congratulations go to Team Fish West End as the group from the West End Fishing Club took first place last weekend at the 2011 Tails & Tune Fishing Tournament. Daniel Popovich, Keith Inglehart, Jamin Castleman and Steve Anderson made up the team.

Another group from the fishing club, headed by Capt. Greg Francis, took second place.

The weekend outlook is totally dependent on the wind. If velocities in the 15-to 20-knot range continue, look for protected waters. The south shoreline of Bolivar should be a good bet.

To get your catch in the Reel Report, phone Capt. Joe Kent at 409-683-5273, or send an email to reel.report(at)galvnews.com. There’s no charge for this service.

Wind no match for die-hard anglers

Published April 26, 2011

There is an adage that states, “where there is a will, there is a way.” That statement is the best way I can describe how die-hard fishermen are catching fish with all of the high winds lately.

The “way” is in taking advantage of the effects of the strong southeasterly winds that flood the secondary or back lakes and bring high tide levels all around the Galveston Bay complex.

One of the places that offers sheltered water from the adverse winds is upper Chocolate Bayou. Bryan Treadway, who keeps up with fishing in the bayou reported some excellent catches taking place.

Treadway has a couple of suggestions for helping anglers catch fish under current conditions and that is to use small baits. He used as an example crappie jig-sized baits. Shrimp are going through their annual migration and are scarce in Chocolate Bayou. Most of the baits camps report sparse to no supplies of live shrimp. Avoid shrimp imitation baits and stick to what the fish are feeding on, he said.

Pods of mullet are common along Chocolate Bayou and for that reason he thinks Super Spook Juniors would be a good choice of bait in areas where fish are feeding on mullet.

Capt. Bubba Ray, Big Three Guide Service, has been capitalizing on the flooded back lakes and marshes. Ray and his charters have been catching lots of nice slot reds. In fact, during the past three days the popular fishing guide estimates at least 50 reds in the 5- to 8-pound range being caught with easy limits being taken.

Top waters and gulps fished under popping corks have been the best baits. The best action has taken place before 10 a.m. with most of the fish coming from Greens and Jones Lakes and the back of Halls Lake. Protected shorelines are where the fish are hanging out.

Perry Chapman found protected water in the channel between Galveston Bait and Tackle and Payco Marina. Sunday, he along with his brother Ted used dead shrimp to land six sheepshead, two puppy drum and three stingrays, the largest estimated to be 3-feet wide.

On the beach front, Richard Belleau, 61st Street Fishing Pier, reported his customers landing sand trout, croaker, whiting and slot reds. Early Monday the wind was gusting to 30 knots along the beach front.

To get your catch in the Reel Report, phone Capt. Joe Kent at 409-683-5273, or send an email to reel.report(at)galvnews.com. There’s no charge for this service.

String or Swim

by Jeremy Chavez


The topic seems to rise annually as the doldrums of a harsh winter, by Texan standards, begin to set in and anglers’ recollections are of warmer times and better fishing. Every winter the great debate is regurgitated in some form or fashioned by those, myself included, whose hope is to catch that fish of a lifetime. THE FISH that every avid saltwater angler here on the Texas coast hopes to one day encounter the fang-toothed, yellow-mouth, speckled beauty of our inshore waters. The seemingly attainable yet ever elusive holy grail: the 30” Spotted Seatrout.

Retain or release? Exhibit the beautiful specimen of creation on a wall or desk, or release it back into the wild unscathed. Well, virtually unharmed, other than a puncture wound, a little fatigue, and the recollection of another near death experience.

Why can’t you have your cake and eat it too?

I have pondered this theoretical question on many occasions when I first became obsessed with targeting big trout. The debate, at its core, boils down to whether you consider a big trout a prized possession. This argument holds no substance for those that believe the contrary; people that see a big trout as nothing more than two generous filets on a frying pan. But this argument is not for them, the outsiders. There’s no point in trying to sell ice to an Eskimo.

I am and will always be a redfish-junky at heart, but big trout, especially pot-belly leviathans, carry with them an aurora that is irrefutable and not easily forgotten. If you’ve ever hung into a gator you know what I mean. If you have not had the pleasure, bear with me as a try, i.e. fail, to explain the experience.

There’s no mistaking the brute power or bend in your rod as it’s doubled over when a big trout is trying to emancipate itself from the end of your line. Each violent head shake translated directly into the palm of your hands. Every surface thrashing creates excitement and anxiety simultaneously. Your heart rate escalated; each beat feeling like it might burst through your chest as you try to subdue the formidable adversary.

After the battle has commenced, and you finally grasp your paws around the broad shoulders of a mature female trout you don’t spoil in triumph. You envision things many people overlook. You don’t just see fins and scales. You see genuine beauty. You see an animal that has endured and beat improbable odds. You see a story told through size, old age and wisdom. You are humbled, and accept success, while honoring the opposition with respect and due care.

There is just no feeling quite like it. It’s impossible to explain, yet extremely addictive. The experience will leave you with an insatiable appetite for more.

You’ll spend hours scouring over reports, maps, satellite images, tide charts, and solunar tables trying to increase your odds at an encore; most of the time it’s a fruitless effort. Year after year you are outsmarted by a creature with brain capacity nowhere near the level of your own.

Contrary to popular belief, the struggle is not always as discouraging as it may seem. More often than not it’s your motivation to brave the elements. It provokes you to do things you would not do otherwise, such as fishing during sub-freezing temperatures with no feeling in your extremities while knee deep in mud or fishing all day marathons from crack of dawn to well after the sun has dipped below the horizon. There are countless days when you question your sanity while convincing yourself to keep grinding because any cast might be the fish you have been longing for.

Why the debate?

Keeping trophy sized fish doesn’t make any sense to ME for a number of reasons, but if someone decides to do so it’s their prerogative, and hopefully, a well thought out and informed decision. With the progression of technology, both fish mounts and cameras, there’s no real basis to keep trophy fish anymore other than egotistical motives or certain death of a landed fish.

All the justification tossed around for keeping big fish is just that, rationalization as to why to retain trophy fish. All this talk about survival rates, spawning cycles, and genetics are moot points.

I don’t want to get into numerical stats because that is not what this is about. There’s no disputing fact, but there’s also no disputing common sense. A released fish will always have a greater chance at survival over one that has been retained. Therefore, a released fish will always been given the opportunity, if just once, to reproduce again. But these are only minor reasons for releasing big fish in the grand scheme of things.

Fish mounts have come a long way from their archaic past. Photos and measurements, both length and girth, are all that is needed to produce a high quality fiberglass replica that will outlast a traditional skin mount. Quality point and shoot digital cameras, even waterproof models, are very affordable and easy to use. Most cell phones today have higher quality cameras than what was available on the market not too long ago.

Anybody recall the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words”?

Buy a camera that fits your budget and learn how to operate it and always keep it at your disposal. There’s no better way to recollect the memory of that once in a lifetime catch than an old-fashioned still shot. The grin on your face will tell the story.

Nobody cares for those who like to brag. It’s a natural predisposition to want to show off a grand accomplishment, but there’s a fine line between doing so humbly or arrogantly. Those who fish for egotistic reasons have a skewed perspective, as do those who keep big fish as a means to boast. If bragging rights is your motive for fishing then you have the wrong pastime.

Fishing is a means to relax and have a good time in the outdoors with or without the company of others. As a human being, we not only experience nature we are a part of it. As a result, we are responsible for the consequences on how our footprint affects others.

There are also many people who keep trophy fish simply because they don’t realize what they have in their possession. They don’t know the story behind, i.e. the close encounters with death, every inch it took that trout get to reach its elderly years. We, as anglers who care about and enjoy the resource, can’t fault these people. We can only hope to educate them.

Digest this discourse with a grain of salt because, as I stated before, I have not caught a trout over 30”, but I have been close. About an inch shy to be exact, but who’s counting? My personal philosophy is to release every trout over 25” mainly due to aforementioned reasons plus trout usually don’t start to get fun until they reach 5lbs. I don’t believe I have ever kept a trout over 23″ either.

I don’t wish or expect others to do the same because it’s a personal decision. I release mature trout because I appreciate the life story told by their size. I enjoy the pursuit much more than I enjoy their taste or petrified appearance. I get all warm and fuzzy inside when I see such a majestic beast swim away full of vigor.

I have never regretted releasing a big fish. If I am not the last person to catch that fish then it was more than worth the effort. Maybe someone else will understand the magnitude of what they caught and gain perspective as a result. Maybe that fish and I will cross paths later in our existence, hopefully with a fatter gut and lankier physique. Maybe she’ll win the next battle and be “the one that got away.” The fish that leaves me heart-broken and even more determined than ever before. Maybe I’m just getting sappy at my old age.

Just my II sense…

Anatomy of a Cove

Anatomy of a Cove

By Captain Steve Soule’

The “Shallowist”

                Wow, I wish the 15th of the month would quit sneaking up on me so fast, I feel sure that 30 days took a lot longer to pass ten years ago. It’s time for an article again, and I thought I would try to give up some useful information about Galveston’s West Bay. Let me start by saying that although West Bay is on the smallest bays in the Galveston complex it may well be the most diverse in terms of the types of terrain that can be found, and there’s no question that the bay can be a top-notch producer throughout the year. There are numerous features within this little bay; shallow flats, deep guts and reefs, miles of shoreline, and a major gulf pass. Of all the features of this bay, I would have to rank the coves of the south shoreline among the best and most diverse available to Upper Coast anglers. I’m going to attempt to describe what type of features can be found within these coves and how fish relate to them.

                I’ll start with the outside or front of the coves, where they open to the bay. The first noticeable feature is visible when passing from mid-bay; it is the point of land that defines the cove. These points are usually covered with grass, with a mud and clay mixture as the shoreline gives way to the bay. The immediate point area is often tricky to wade especially around the western point on the side facing back to the north and east. It’s a small area but is very slick and often uneven and requires a little effort to wade without falling. The opposite point (westward facing) is the one that I find greater interest in. It is off of this point that you will find the natural barrier that protects the cove. This barrier is visible along some coves. Dana and Carranchua coves are perfect examples, in front of both you can still see a group of small grass islands. Other coves such as Hoeckers and Bird Island are protected by a submerged sandbar. This sandbar is visible on low tides or when the water is very clear. In front of Jumbile and Maggie’s coves you will find some scattered shell. Whatever the makeup of the point, they can all be “fishy” at times, especially on the backside of the barrier where it drops off into the cove. In this area, the water is often dirtier that the surrounding areas and almost always hold some bait. Worth this area with a top-water plug and if that doesn’t produce try dragging a B&L Sea Slug or Bass Assassin through the dirty water, if you don’t find a trout you’re almost sure to find a flounder. One more spot at the front of the coves not to overlook would have to be the “mouth” as it drops out into the bay. This deserves special attention in the spring during the later stages of the outgoing tides when large schools of bait are often stacked up here.

                As you work your way back into the cove you’ll find the western shoreline to be fairly firm, though not completely smooth. If you walk out away from the shore near the point you’ll eventually find the feeder gut that “fills and drains” the cove. In some of the smaller coves this gut is fairly noticeable and well defined. In some of the larger coves, like Dana and Bird Island for example, the gut widens rapidly as it enters the cove and may just appear to be a small drop that follows the shoreline on one side and the barrier or sandbar on the other. This is a feature of the coves that can easily be followed, and that’s exactly what the trout and reds do. On an incoming tide start wading from the back of the cove and walk the edge of the gun or drop-off out towards the mouth. Typically this is where the bigger concentrations of bait will be found and the big trout won’t be far behind.

                Now I said I’d work my way out from the shallow back end of the cove, but the truth is that if I’m after redfish or flounder I usually won’t leave the back end of a cove at all. For  most of us were limited by where our boats will take us or how “wade-able” an area is, if these are your limits you may never realized some of the most intense and exciting visually involved fishing that the Upper Coast has to offer. The backs of the coves, where they blend into the marsh, can absolutely load up with fish. What you’ll find back here is marsh shoreline, shallow flats that seasonally cover up with grass and numerous sloughs and drains that funnel water and creatures in and out with the tides. Basically ever cove in West Bay has marsh to some degree, the extent of which can’t be easily seen until you make the effort to enter and explore it. The back ends of the coves, by around May, will fill with small bait-fish, crabs and shrimp. They will stay bait rich all through the summer months and into the fall on a normal year. It is no coincidence that this is when the fishing will be most consistent. Though typically I don’t expect to find Big Trout in these shallows marshes they do show up at times. I normally work these areas for redfish and flounder, which frequent the shallows. Due to the fact that these marsh flats are so shallow and protected I’ll work them in a very slow and methodical manner. It never fails that when you get in a hurry you will spook the fish that right in front of you. I will fish the marshes with a soft plastic on a 1/8th ounce jig head; sometimes I’ll go lighter or even go to a weed-less rigged Bass Assassin when the fish get really spooky. Though I prefer to sight-cast, I certainly won’t walk an area without casting when I’m not seeing fish.

                As you move around, some things to key in on are the little sloughs through the marsh and any point of land. These are structures that both bait and fish must move through or around.  I have found that flounder have a strong tendency towards holding in these areas, waiting to ambush any unsuspecting creature that swims to close. Fish these back marsh areas on the incoming tide and you’ll notice that fishing get better as the tide rises. The rising tides flood the flats with forage for the predators. As the tide peaks the reds will often remain in the shallows until the water begins to fall back out. When the tide begins to fall I will do just like the flounder and take up station at the mouth of a slough or a narrow point here the marsh flows back out to the bay.  Doing this allows me to intercept the fish as they move back to the deeper water. If this doesn’t prove fruitful, I’ll move out a little deeper and fish the drop into the gut in the main cove, often I’ll find trout waiting here to feast on the bait coming out of the marsh. This area out in front of the drains is great for going back to a top-water plug which may reward you with a few crashing guests.

                Learning a cove from front to back can be a diverse and rewarding experience, where gaining this knowledge can often result in catching that elusive “bay slam”. As a matter of fact, it can be a fairly regular occurrence to catch trout, reds and flounder in one cove during the course of the day. If you’re interested in learning more about the coves of West Galveston or the opportunity to catch a “bay slam” visit me online at www.theshallowist.com

Winter Brings Fishing Tourneys


By Joe Kent
Published January 13, 2011 http://galvestondailynews.com/story/204290/
There will be a number of winter fishing tournaments around the Galveston Bay Complex, and one group active in hosting those events is the West End Anglers Fishing Club.

This year, the group will host its second Big Trout Tournament on Jan. 29.

It will be held in Sea Isle at the new West End Marina.

Guides are allowed. Information for registration can be found online at www.fishwest

end.com, or you can call Coe Parker at 713-594-4252.

This will be a live weigh-in tournament. Participants will receive a Fish West End T-shirt just for signing up to fish.

The entry fee is $60 and there is an optional side pot.

Door prizes and music will be part of the program.

The club’s fifth annual Black Drum Tournament is scheduled to start Feb. 1 and run until April 10.

This event gives everyone an excuse to get out and catch a trophy.

Twenty dollars gets you a shot at the 100 percent cash payout purse for first through third place.

The tournament is a CPR event — catch, photo and release.

According to the club’s news release on the tournament’s rules, the winner is determined by length of the fish. So, measuring your catch, photographing it with the appropriate color for that week or a time stamp on the photograph is all that is needed.

Participants are encouraged to deflate the air bladder with a proper venting tool then release the fish.

Any fish that does not swim off does not count. Great care must be taken to revive these very large, old fish.

All of the group’s tournament dates can be found on its website.

While everyone was doing their best to keep warm Monday morning, Jaime Ochoa, his father, Benito, brother Benito, and a family friend went fishing.

They fished the rock groins along the seawall, and, around 10 a.m., the bull reds started hitting.

Within an hour, the four anglers each had a big red, with the largest measuring 46 inches. Only three of the reds were retained as that is the number of red drum tags they possessed.

In addition to the reds, a 33-inch black drum was landed.

It appears we will have another day of this cold weather. However, by the weekend, a warming trend should start.

To get your catch in the Reel Report, phone Capt. Joe Kent at 409-683-5273, or send an e-mail to reel.report(at)galvnews.com. There’s no charge for this service.