COASTAL FORECAST: Rockport – January 2020

COASTAL FORECAST: Baffin Bay – January 2020
December 24, 2019
COASTAL FOCUS: Upper Mid Coast – January 2020
December 24, 2019

The Best Anglers

AS I SAT waiting in the doctor’s office for a procedure I was quite nervous about, I heard the dreaded words “Mr. Gable?” This was announced by a nurse who reminded me of a drill sergeant in an old war movie.

She gave me a look that said, You may be a Captain out there, but in here, I OWN you! The small room she sat me in looked like a duplicate of the sterile, padded room used in the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

The room was so clean I felt dirty just being there, even though I had showered that morning. When the nurse (whom I had now named Helga from Hell) came into the room, any vision I had this was going to be a breeze vanished like vapor in a 30-knot wind.

Luckily, the doctor, whom I liked immediately, arrived and my fears abated. Then he dashed my hopes when he explained the procedure and told me the nurse was going to do the procedure.

“Something might take place in this room, but it’s not gonna be THAT especially by HER!” my voice loud and very clear.

The nurse’s (Helga H.) eyes now were about to pop out, mostly because her hair had been wrapped into a tight bun on the back of her head, I thought.

Tense moments are usually diffused by calm and understanding communication—none of which were forthcoming from me.

Learning moments usually come to most 63-year-old males as a surprise. We’ve seen it all and done it all, after all. However, we do—be it seldom—learn, on occasion, contrary to our respective spouses’ opinion. This for me was one of those moments.

“Captain Mac,” the doctor said calmly, “you don’t want me to do this. I haven’t performed that procedure in over 15 years.”

Nodding his head toward Helga H. he said, “She does all these in this office.” So, after some urging, the nurse did proceed and did an excellent job.

This scary memory came back to me as a trusted friend asked me the quintessential question often discussed in the fishing industry: Who are the best fishermen/anglers?

I can tell you for one, guides are not always the best anglers. For that matter neither are pro circuit anglers.

To define the best angler, one needs to be able to catch fish in a wide array of conditions and places. Also, the best angler is not limited to a regular set of species.

I have found this to be true from Africa, to the wilds of Alaska, to the jungles of South America. Successful guides, have a wide variety of talents, one of which is fishing. But seldom are they the best anglers.

The best anglers fish waters from stock tanks, duck ponds, small fresh water lakes to the Great Lakes and mix saltwater fishing in with it all. These folks can catch fish out of a bucket or mud puddle. They are open minded, employ a wide range of tactics, and target any species of fish that will bite.

They will throw expensive lures on the ground and switch to live or cut bait if that’s what the bite is on. They don’t have to please clients, have good people skills or please sponsors. Most could care less about fancy gear or garments. They’re the best and don’t even know it. Theirs is the love of the GAME!


A SHORT TRIP to a selected fishing hole is a good tactic this month. On warmer days, I find trout and reds leave the protection of deeper pools and channels to feed shallow. Colder days are best spent on the edges of deeper water such as the ICW.

Copano Bay: On warmer days, the channel of Copano Creek is a good spot for reds. Soft plastics in nuclear chicken and morning glory work well. The mouth of Mission Bay is a good spot for black drums using peeled shrimp on a light Carolina rig.

St. Charles Bay: The area close to Salt Creek is a good spot for reds and black drums using cut mullet and fresh dead or frozen shrimp. Free-lined is best. If there’s a stiff wind, a medium to heavy Carolina rig works well. The mouth of Little Devils Bayou is a good spot for reds and a few trout. Live shrimp is best under a silent cork.

Aransas Bay: Wade the shoreline of Blackjack Peninsula, especially with a north wind. Wade close to the shoreline and cast into deep edges. Soft plastics in new penny and camo-colored jerk shad work here. On warm days, the potholes on the north side of Mud Island are for reds. Use finger mullet or cut mullet on a light Carolina rig.

Carlos Bay: Carlos Trench is the best bet here during the colder days. Rattle lures such as rattle traps that are deep runners work well, an ebb tide being the best time. Drifts across Carlos Lake on warm days can produce trout using live shrimp or imitation shrimp under a rattle cork.

Mesquite Bay: This is not a bay you want to get caught on if a norther is blowing in. The swells can get very big. The area at the mouth of Cedar Bayou is a good spot to wade with live shrimp. Trout and reds frequent this area, especially on a falling tide. On high tides and warmer days, Rattlesnake Point is a good spot for reds using mud minnows or cut mullet free-lined.

Ayers Bay: Ayers Reef is a good spot with a light north wind. A trolling motor works well. Soft plastics in morning glory and blue pepper neon colors work best. Second Chain is a good spot for reds on warm days. Finger mullet free-lined is the best choice.


Email Capt. Mac Gable at [email protected] 


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