Fishing is a 365 day a year activity for Texas anglers or at least it can be.
Some get distracted during duck and deer season but most are back on track once hunting winds down and right now it is winding down.
The following four fisheries are excellent in the winter and are great ways to spend those cold and not so cold days on local waterways.
Winter Flounder: There are always flounder in the Sabine system that do not migrate out toward the Gulf in fall. This year I suspect we will have more than normal with the mild winter we just experienced.
The channel south of the bay systems offers some of the best action as flounder from around the jetties will sometimes move in closer during incoming tides and holdovers that are hanging out in deep water move to the shallow to feed.
You might also want to consider fishing some of the same place you targeted them from spring through early fall.
The mouths of cuts can be solid while the tide is moving if you can get live mud minnows and also small soft plastic shad imitations.
River Reds: Does your local river system produce redfish? If it is just north of a bay there is a good chance there are reds there no one is targeting. Winter fishing can be tremendous around the shell middens in the river and bayous. They are the white areas along the banks covered with clam and oyster.Live mullet fished on the bottom is the best but you can also score on these reds fishing a lipless crankbait in a typical chrome/black or chrome/blue pattern.Reds will bite in murky water at times but the best action is when you find the tea-colored water where you can see your lure down about 18 inches.
Sheepshead: All Texas jetty systems are loaded with sheepshead right now.
A simple rig is a 1/4-ounce jighead with a piece of shrimp. Let it hit the bottom and then reel about a couple of cranks. If you feel the slightest tap then set the hook. Sheepshead are notorious for a soft bite. If you don’t get bit within a couple of minutes, change the depth and if there are no bites within 10 minutes move to another spot.
Jetty Specks?: I put a question mark after this one because it’s a bit mysterious.
On two occasions me and friends have caught big speckled trout on the Texas side of the Sabine Jetties while fishing for bull redfish in the winter. We caught them on cut mullet.
That shows that trout are there in the winter and there are some large ones. After doing some study there are some anglers in South Texas who catch big trout on cut bait in channels.
Are there more trout at the jetties than we suspect in winter? I have a feeling there are and if no one is really pursuing them.
You might want to consider doing some exploratory fishing and targeting trout at the jetties between now and spring. I probably would not try cut bait but using slow-sining plastics pitched close to the jetty wall and then use something like a drop-shot rig with a Gulp shrimp or soft plastic like a Bass Assassin to vertically fish some of the outlying rocks at the tip of the jetties.
Water clarity will be key. If the water is sandy-green to clear in my opinion you have a good shot at finding some trout no one targets.
Chester Moore, Jr.