Live bait best, plastic alternative
For some saltwater anglers, the recent shortage of live shrimp in Galveston Bay has put their weekends on hold. Others do not seem to notice.
Keep in mind there are times and places in which live shrimp is a must along with live croackers, but sometimes along the Texas coast, the use of soft plastic will add to your ice chest .
Fishermen who like to fish for the fun of it, shouldn’t let the absence of the white flag alter their fishing trips.
With a little persistence and some well placed luck, the use of plastic can be every bit as productive as the real thing on speckled trout, redfish, flounder, and maybe almost as good for gafftop and sandtrout.
Live shrimp is a fisherman’s tool, just like his rod and reel or his outboard motor and boat. But sometimes, this tool can be a crutch. Often times, some fishermen are too dependent on live shrimp. Typically, diehard live bait fishermen try the plastic route once or twice. If they are not successful, back to the live well igloo.
There are no guarantees even with a live well full of bugs or hoppers. And don’t give this writer the old adage, the family will go without, unless I bring home the bacon, if that were the scenario, the $18 or more it takes to buy a quart of bait would go much further in a discount food store.
Fishing is fun and part of that fun is being able to fool’em. Time, place and water conditions still matters as much, but you can do so choosing the correct lure and making it wiggle just so.
Granted, this is not easy, but the skills needed for most salt-water applications, come with patience and presentation.
Fishing with plastics is not like open-heart surgery. Experience is the best teacher and your classroom is always open. Soft plastic shrimp and shad imitations are for the most part productive and most user friendly along the Texas Gulf coast. Give me a hand full of jigheads and tails, and this writer will surely have fun fooling a few of the Texas big three. These lures can be worked both horizontally and vertically to cover all the necessary water to attract a surprising variety of fish. Texas big three are the prime targets (trout, redfish and flounder).
A few to mention are Bass Assassin, Mirrolure, Hogie and Norton…………….
The Rat-L-Trap seldom sees salt water action in Texas along with its sister the spinner bait. If you don’t like this lure and its kin. Ask Texas bass fishermen for a recommendation. They are available in many colors and finished with corrosion-resistant hardware and they work on any fish that eats piggy perch or menhaden.
Spoons are a must to carry on the bays of Galveston, but this writer has noticed a real downturn in the numbers anglers throw these days. Man, they can cut through a howling southeast wind like a sharp paring knife. Use ¼ oz-3/4 oz depending on the depth and distance you are trying to cover. A wide body spoon wobbles near the surface, while a narrow body plows more deeply through the water. Many a redfish have been landed with a gold spoon as well as other types of plastic imitation shrimp and shad bodies. You can chunk and wind all day with a spoon.
Mirro-lures, Baby Spooks and Corky’s are among a family of somewhat advanced lures, but there is no single, magic way to work any of them.
Start with a slow steady retrieve and have a fishin’ friend begin with a quick erratic pull. Keep it moving? Let it sit. Try anything. And when a fish hits the plug, try and remember to retrieve it the same way the next time.
The length or weight of my stringer does not measure the success of my personal fishing trips any more. More so, the uncanny ability to fool one speckled trout or redfish on an artificial bait.
Remember, have fun outdoors. Good luck and good fishing.
See Y’all on Galveston Bay.
Capt. Paul Marcaccio
U.S.C.G. & T.P.W. license