Lack of big drum puzzles area anglers



Published February 22, 2009

The big drum run that is usually under way by now has not yet kicked off. Conversations with anglers accustomed to catching drum this time of year have disclosed that they are as puzzled as I am.

Bull reds still are hitting around the jetties and along with them large black drum should be appearing. Saturday, I called Raymond Berry, operator of GYB Bait Camp, and asked him if he had heard any reports of or seen any big drum hit his cleaning table. Only reds and sand trout had been brought in; however, we agreed it was time to start hearing of black drum catches. GYB is one of the camps that offer a good barometer of action from the jetties.

Capt. Mike Williams, Tarpon Express Guide Service, has probably logged more time fishing the Galveston jetties than anyone I know. Williams and I are the same age, and he has been fishing the jetties since childhood. His comment about the drum run was that when the surf water warms a bit, the fish will start showing up at the jetties. Until mid-March, according to Williams, fishing is “hit and miss” with all of the cold fronts.

Currently, beach-front water temperature readings are in the 65-degree range.

Williams also noted that the big drum run hits its peak around the first day of spring. At that time, you can take your mother-in-law fishing and be almost guaranteed action on drum, he added.

Capt. Paul Stanton, Aqua Safari Charters, is another frequent visitor to the jetties. Friday, he and Capt. Mike Malloy hosted a group to some jetty fishing and found bull reds at the North Jetty Boat Cut. Using Spanish sardines, the group caught two bull reds, which were tagged and retained. His guests Phillip Silva and Morton Talmgren caught the reds, which measured 37 inches each.

Moses Lake has been producing some nice reds, along with a variety of pan fish. Kent Carson and Terry Comstock of League City found action on reds and whiting while fishing the upper reaches of Moses Lake near the state Highway 146 bridge. Using dead shrimp, cut mullet and pieces of shad, the anglers caught nine whiting and five reds including two slots and three rat reds.

Carson commented on the reports of large ribbonfish being caught around Moses Lake by adding that three weeks ago he and another friend were fishing near the mouth of the lake and hooked a large ribbonfish that broke off close to the boat.

Next weekend, there are a number of events of interest to anglers taking place. The West End Anglers Fishing Club begins its big CPR (catch, photograph, release) Black Drum Tournament that lasts through April 5; Bass Pro Shops begins its annual Spring Fishing Classic; and on Saturday, The Mainland Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association will be holding its Galveston Bay Seminar at the Nessler Center in Texas City. Be sure and mark your calendars.

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

Fishing action turning on this week


Published November 19, 2008

Reports from weekend fishing trips indicated mixed results. Several reports indicated slow action, while a few anglers reported nice catches.

Sunday was the better of the two days for fishing and, based on a single report from Monday, it appears the action is turning on this week.

Fred Monus headed to the North Jetty boat cut Sunday and found good action on large sheepshead and reds. Live mud minnows were his choice of bait.

Rick Wegman and Opa Miller fished Back Bay potholes and bayous using a variety of baits. Their catch included seven specks and seven flounder. Miller feels the flounder will hang around as long as there are good quantities of bait available for consumption.

Chuck Pattillo and his friend fished Dickinson Bayou from the state Highway 146 bridge to the mouth of the bay. Using live and dead shrimp for bait, the anglers managed 14 keeper black drum, sand trout and two reds.

Ted Dudley and John Triplett were two of the anglers fishing Sunday afternoon. They wade fished an area in the vicinity of Pelican Island and caught and released a number of fish. Dudley reported the Sunday sunset to be one of the most beautiful he had seen.

David “Action” Jackson hosted Charlie Flores, John Spiech and Spiech’s son, John Jr., to the best flounder fishing trip they had ever experienced. The action took place Sunday morning, and their catch was 25 flounder to six pounds.

Monday afternoon, Capt. Ben Wiley, Capt. Ben’s Coastal Guide Service, fished with friends Capt. Chad Hartman and Mickey Kearney. The three pros hit upper West Bay and caught trout at every location they fished.

Although they limited out on trout, they released at least 60. In addition to the trout, Wiley’s group landed nine flounder to 5 pounds. The fish were hitting a variety of baits including Gulp Jigs, Rattle Traps, stick baits and Stanley Wedge Tail Jigs.

Lute’s Marine held its final tournament of the year Saturday. The event was designed to supply live flounder for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s flounder restocking program. Twenty-six live flounder were hauled away to Sea Center Texas where they will be used as part of the reproduction effort to hatch new stocks of flounder.

The West End Anglers’ Club helped with the weigh-in during the tournament and provided other assistance as well.

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


A few repair shops open close to Galveston


Published October 22, 2008

The Reel Report is receiving many inquiries from readers about the status of the beach-front fishing piers. The most frequently asked question is “will the piers be rebuilt?” I do not have any reliable information about either the plans of the owners to rebuild or their ability to do so under Texas law.

What I have heard is that they will not be allowed to rebuild. Now, this is hearsay and, when the facts surface, we will get word to our readers. On a side note to this, I must say I miss receiving the calls from the fishing pier personnel. I have always considered their reports to be a good indication of what fish are moving in the surf.

Another frequent question is for a recommendation of rod and reel repair shops. With most of our local shops shut down for a while, anglers are looking for the nearest place to have their fishing equipment serviced and repaired.

Two repair services that are close to Galveston are the Academy Store in Webster and Chris’ Reel Repair in Santa Fe. Academy is located on the north feeder road of I-45 between League City and NASA Road 1. Chris works out of his home and can be contacted at 409-925-1503.

Anyone familiar with other places in our area, please pass it on to us.

Coe Parker sent a note about the West End Fishing Club’s youth’s activities. He mentioned that his group is considering a youth fishing tournament and that they always are interested in helping kids learn how to fish. Anyone interested in more information about their involvement with our young folks should check out the group’s Web site at

Today’s Good Samaritan Award goes to Joe Ortiz and his brother, Phil. You may recall their names as the manufacturers of the popular Flounder Pounder Fishing Lures. Since the hurricane, the Ortizes have been devoting time to helping others clean up from the devastation. Now, they are setting their sites on helping anglers to get their minds off of the aftermath of Ike and begin focusing on fishing.

Sales of their popular bait are down considerably this year, as few anglers have returned to fishing. This time of year, during the fall flounder run, is one of their best periods for sales. Instead of packing their entire inventory away until next year, the good brothers are hosting a giveaway at Smitty’s Bait Camp on Nov. 8.

Their objective is to encourage everyone to get back to fishing and those that stop by Smitty’s that day will have the opportunity to meet the Ortiz brothers and obtain one of their lures as a gift.

The event takes place beginning around 6 a.m. and will last throughout the day.

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

Anglers reel in trout from secret spot

By Joe Kent

Published July 2, 2008

If early week fishing reports are any indication, the Fourth of July weekend is shaping up to be a good one for fishing.

You may recall that, for the last two years, the big summertime holiday has been either a washout or blowout for fishing. It appears that, this year, we are heading into a more normal weather pattern for Independence Day.

You could almost describe trout action as red hot! Tuesday, our seasoned jetty pros Don Price and Doug Sefcik returned to the granite rocks for more limits of trout. This time they took Charlie Everts with them, and all three limited out while fishing some secret spot at the North Jetty. I have to admit to you guys that Wayne Tucker is going to show me your honey hole.

At the opposite end of the island, Capts. Ben Wiley and Chris Jamail were placing their combined charter into limits of trout along with other fish. Wiley and Jamail were hosting a party of seven that included Mark Valdez, his son, Kyle, Austin Mashaw, Graham Baker and three visitors from Turkey, Rocky McGregor, his wife, Shima, and her sister, Selma. Fishing the surf near San Luis Pass, all seven guests limited out on trout to 23 inches and caught a variety of other fish including sand, bonnet head and blacktip sharks and flounder. Free lined live bait and soft plastics were employed.

Fishing the surf from Jamaica Beach were Bailey Campbell, his father, Lee Campbell, both of Jamaica Beach, and Bailey’s brother-in-law, Aubrey Hardman of Fort Worth. Wading past the second sand bar, the trio of anglers caught two blacktip sharks, a hammerhead pup shark, a gafftop that scaled more than 4 pounds and a speckled trout. All of the sharks were released, according to Campbell’s report.

Megan Tagle, Galveston Party Boats, reported improved catches of red fish, sharks, black drum, whiting and sand trout from their bay trips. Tagle mentioned that she went to the beach-front rock groins with a friend and noticed whiting and sand trout being caught, while her friend landed an eel. Now, for her offshore report!

The New Buccaneer ventured about 55 miles offshore where Capt. Garrett King placed the 59 anglers aboard into some nice action. Their catch included 14 triggerfish, 118 red snapper, 20 vermilions, 11 kings and a variety of reef fish.

The fifth annual Patrick F. Doyle Invitational Fishing Tournament took place June 26 at April Fool Point Marina. There were 46 teams entered, and the results were:

Stringers: first place, Claunch and Miller using Capt. Jesse Eureste; second place, Bay Architects using Capt. Blaine Fiermood; third place, BP Texas City using Capt. John Havens. Ty Hendricks caught the largest trout, weighing 5.48 pounds.

The net proceeds from the tournament benefit the Boy Scouts of America and the Galveston County Senior Citizens Activity Center.

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

Oh, boy! Ralph comes up with a prize catch



Published June 5, 2007

Sunday afternoon, I attended the final weigh-in for the Oh! Boy Oberto Red Fish Cup event. It was held at the Kemah Boardwalk and, after maneuvering through the mass of humanity, I finally arrived on the scene. The weigh-in was supposed to last from 3 until 6, but all of the contestants were in by 3:45 and the event ended at that time.

Several records were set this year, the largest two-day and three-day total weight and the largest payout in event history, a sizable $80,000 in cash.

Read More

Black drum feeding frenzy continues


Published March 20, 2007

For those of you who like winter, this is your last day to enjoy that season, as springtime begins Wednesday. With winds gusting on Monday and black drum still biting, it appears that spring is already here.

From the Pelican Island Bridge to the beachfront, large black drum are in a feeding frenzy. Warmer-water fish are appearing in the surf in larger numbers, and whiting remain consistent in most areas.

Read More

Anglers land jackfish during run on jetty


By Vince Stiglich Jr.

Published August 25, 2005

If ever the term “jacks are wild” applied to a fishing report (instead of a poker hand), today is that day.

During an early morning to about noon North Jetty trip by Texas A&M student Bailey Campbell and his neighbor, Bob Sarks, the two not only caught a mess of 15 Spanish mackerel to a nice 26 inches, but the anglers came across a massive school of jackfish (also known as jack crevalle) to pretty much cap their time on the water.

Read More