THE END OF ANOTHER tremendous duck hunting season on Baffin Bay leads to just one thing—the endless pursuit of a personal best trophy trout.
That addiction to the thump of a double-digit big girl commands anglers to brave any condition that Mother Nature doles out in February. Baffin Bay is big trout country for so many reasons. It’s ground zero for the addicted.
Why are the trout so much bigger in Baffin? It’s a land-locked, hyper-saline lagoon, so water conditions tend to stay the same. Without rivers, lakes or other freshwater sources flowing into it, salinity levels are stable, so Baffin trout are comfortable there, acclimated to its high salinity. Also, Baffin Bay has no tide, so trout don’t have to expend energy to escape changing salinity levels from the influx of tidal flows.
As a result, in Baffin Bay, trout are happy, they just eat, grow and procreate. It’s known as “homeostasis.” These big fish genetics get passed on to the next generations that just eat, grow and procreate in Baffin as well, and the cycle continues. The genetics of a 25-inch-plus trout will create more 25-inch-plus trout, just as big bucks breed more big bucks.
Baffin Bay has very little fishing pressure. The “rocks,” which are mostly big “coral reef” type formations created by serpulid worms, dot the bay. They are not all marked on a standard GPS and can’t all be seen by Google Earth. They are unforgiving to lower units. These “rocks” and other sedimentary rocks from an ancient gulf beach are everywhere and cause healthy fear. Most boaters do not enter Baffin Bay.
From Corpus Christi, by boat, it’s at least an hour boat ride to Baffin Bay. There is only one public boat ramp on the entire bay near Riviera, south of Kingsville (across the street from BBR&G).
Baffin Bay runs east to west and the King Ranch encompasses the entire north shoreline of Baffin Bay. The Kenedy Ranch encompasses the entire south shoreline. All of these facts create a bay system with very little boating and fishing pressure—another reason trout are so much bigger in Baffin Bay.
Why are trophy trout caught in February through May? These big fish are doing two things at once, packing on the fat to survive a cold winter and, ultimately, eating up to have the energy to spawn.
The spawn occurs when water temperatures rise in the spring to 75 degrees or more and stay there (late March, April, early May).Trout have no muscles to expel eggs, so they beat themselves on the bottom, sometimes scraping and scarring themselves. This activity takes a tremendous amount of energy, so, big trout must eat a lot, up to and including the spawn.
February water temps are cold and big fish are moving slowly. Trophy trout food, (a big mullet, another trout or a lure), should move slowly, too. A fish will not expend a lot of energy chasing its food, but will eat anything that comes near its mouth in a natural manner.
When water temperatures are cold, everything slows down in the system. Mullet won’t jump around for fun, for the same reason a trout won’t chase down its food, they don’t want to expend the extra energy it takes to do so, conserving body fat to survive. So, if you see a mullet jump, there is a reason for it, mostly because there is a predator about. This is a high probability fishing location.
When water temperatures are cold, big trout like more “bang for their buck,” eating bigger fish and not expending energy on chasing small prey.
A trout can eat prey that is two-thirds of its body length. When trophy trout eat, they generally go for something bigger. Less energy expended, more fat stored.
February is the official beginning of trophy trout season. In Baffin Bay, a trophy trout is recognized as 28 inches and above.
No other bay system on the Texas Coast can compare to the incredible numbers of gigantic trout caught and landed here. Baffin is a unique system with so many intricacies. This is where the addicted flock to land their personal best trout, acquire bragging rights or maybe just break the Texas State record.
Come feed your addiction or create a new one with the best teaching guides at Baffin Bay Rod and Gun. Catch, photo and release these behemoths so that future generations can enjoy one of the best fishing experiences anywhere.
Email Capt. Sally Black at [email protected]