It is a tremendous blessing to get tons of feedback here at Texas Fish and Game. Every year at this time as anglers begin to get out on their favorite lakes and bays across we get many questions on fishing technique, access, biology and other issues so this week I thought I would tackle some of the most interesting ones.
Q: What is the best bait for catfish in our brackish bayous near the coast?
A: There are a variety of baits that work for catfish but the closer an angler gets to the coast the more things change. Stinkbaits and those sort of prepared concoctions do not seem to get the job one. On trotlines cut mullet works best especially when fishing specifically for blues. For rod and reel fishermen chicken liver is hard to beat. Channel catfish in particular gobble it up, especially when fishing under a float.
Q: Is it possible to tell if a lake is about to start producing truly huge bass?
A: I will have to defer to an interview I conducted with Texas Parks & Wildlife Department biologist Craig Bonds on this one when he answered a similar question I asked him.
“It is very difficult to evaluate the “upper end” of a bass population. The largest individuals are rare, and under-represented in electro-fishing samples. Electro-fishing effectively samples largemouth bass between 6 and 20 inches. Fish smaller and larger are occasionally collected, but are captured in numbers under-representative of their true abundance. We use fishery-dependent information (i.e., creel surveys, volunteer trophy bass surveys, bass tournament results, Toyota ShareLunker entries, etc.) as a barometer for the “upper end” size category.”
Q: Do you know how to catch redfish or marsh bass out of grass beds?
A: It is challenging but there are lots of fish in the grass beds. Using a 1/4-ounce weedless gold or bronze spoon slow-rolled through the grass can produce good catches of all of the game fish that are in our grass beds in the marsh. Also a Stanley Ribbitt frog swam across the top can do wonders.
Q: What do you consider a “trophy” flounder to be?
A: Honestly, to me a trophy is whatever the angler considers it to be. It might be a first fish or a 16-incher that is really think and has a gnarly looking head. I know what you are asking and that is what size I consider a trophy flounder to be. I will put it in terms similar to deer hunting. A 20-inch flounder is sort of like shooting a buck that would make the Pope & Young record book. According to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, the represent something like 1/2 of one percent of flounder catches in Texas. They are an impressive fish. Then when you get one 24 inches or better you have a true monster and that would be like one that makes the Boone & Crockett books for deer which many whitetail hunters consider the be all, end all. For me, it is all about having fun and if I catch a monster great. If not, as long as I get that “thump” I am happy.
Chester Moore, Jr.