Brawner and his customers are mainly drifting oyster reefs in anywhere from seven to five feet of water, looking for any incoming tide moving if possible
“I like an incoming tide right now, fishing what I call ‘low and slow’”, said Brawner. “You’re fishing a soft plastic artificial right on the bottom, Carolina Rigged like you would be if you were bass fishing, dragging it right through the shell; if you are not occasionally getting hung up, you are not catching fish.
“Any lure with some chartreuse in it is working good early in the morning when there’s not much daylight…a chartreuse with some glitter. As the day moves on, switch to a darker colored lure with a chartreuse tail. I like anything with chartreuse in this dirty water.
Lure specifics: “Right now I like the smaller lure, 3-4 inches.
“If you slow the speed of your boat down, put a drift sock out, drifting really slow, you can get by with a 1/8 oz jig head. If you’re using braided line, use a ¼ oz jig head. I like the 1/8 oz, slow it down, and keep in touch with the bottom. You will have better hook-ups.”
The bump: He says the trout are kind of hitting the lure kind of funny, but not in a laughing sense. “There’s fresh water on top and the saltier water is on the bottom. If I feel that little tick—they are not hitting hard—but I will be “crossing their eyes”. If I miss two or three this way, that’s when I slow down the strike and let them have the lure two or three seconds before I set the hook.
“I don’t like to let the fish have it that long. With artificial lures you hurt so many undersized fish if you let them swallow it. I don’t want the fish to swallow the lure and hurt them.”
Dealing with heavy boat traffic of the summer months: “Usually everyone is on the water at daylight. If you can take the heat and you have a good tide movement, go out later in the day. By that time a lot of people have gotten off the water, and you will just about have the bay to yourself.”
How long do you think the current freshwater runoff will affect the fishing in the Galveston Bay complex?
“An app I have on my cell phone shows flooding up above Lake Livingston. As soon as Lake Livingston quits letting out all that water, I think it will start straightening out. Really, I think a couple weeks, anglers will be able to spread out a little bit (on the bays) if we don’t have any more storms.”
(Capt. Bryan Brawner, Crystal Beach Charters)