THE UPPER TEXAS COAST can see many different weather conditions in December. Most years, though, are fairly mild in temperature—with sunny and “warm” days being pretty common.
Winds will normally be relatively mild, unless an early “Norther” blows in—which is a possibility this month. These conditions invite fishermen to the bays. With “normal” tides, areas that tend to run deeper will be holding fish even during cold snaps, but the warm days make bay reefs worth trying.
Although shrimp will not be as common as in warmer conditions, baitfish such as finger mullet and mud minnows will be there for fish to feed on. Weather this month will often be warm enough for “wet” wading, either in the bay or the surf.
All the regular players will be in the game— speckled trout, redfish, croakers, and flounder will be possible. Good catches can be made for sport and table.
Boaters will find fish on the sandbars and reefs when the weather is mild, and inside of the passes and near canals when it is a bit “bumpy.” Besides fresh caught baitfish, shrimp can produce good catches—either live shrimp if they can be had, or fresh dead if not.
Cut squid can pay off at times, also. Although artificial lures can be productive, “winter” fishing is slower, so natural baits should usually be preferred.
Structure is more productive than open water this time of year. This can be in the form of sandbars, oyster reefs, or deeper spots such as “holes” or canals.
The surf is a structure in itself, with sand bars and cuts and the wave action caused by both. Although not the best time of year for it, “bull” reds will be caught in winter surf. They have to eat this time of year, too!
Nearshore rigs and other structure will attract various species from croakers and “Gulf” trout to red snappers. Excellent snapper fishing—also groupers—will be found at rigs farther from shore, as well s around natural bottom formations. Although they’re not always present, Spanish mackerel and bluefish hang close to shore, just past the surf line at times.
Winter weather will not always be comfortable for fishing, but there usually are “windows” offering opportunity for good recreation.
Location: Beachfront piers, inshore pilings, jetties and rock groins
Species: Trout, reds, croakers, flounder, and an occasional black drum
Baits: Cut natural baits such as mullet and squid, live baitfish or shrimp when available
Best Time: This time of year, temperatures should be good for fishing all day, although sometimes night forays under lights will be the most productive.
Email Mike Holmes at [email protected]