Saturday, November 04, 2006

Midnight Madness

I've been thinking about it all week.

A cold front blew in to the Houston area while we were out of town. Night time temps have been in the 40's & 50's and the weather has been clear. To a night-fisherman looking for speckled trout, this news is like honkey tonk music is to a boot-scooter.

I got a few hours of shut-eye after work and dinner with Tracy and woke up without the alarm about 11:30pm.

It was cool and breezy (wind from the E-NE), when I arrived at the 1st Street Pier in Palacios.

There were a few hardy souls braced against the wind with their lines in the water. Some were fishing live bait (mullet & shrimp) and a few were fishing soft plastics.

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Fisherman's view.
Looking West along the seawall and towards the Pavilion Pier.

When I first walked out to the pier there was a guy fishing live finger mullet at the first light. He looked tired and cold and was sitting on a five gallon bucket hunched over his rod like a heron waiting for a fish to appear.

I stopped 50 feet past him at the next light which was unoccupied and rigged up my 1/16 oz double shad rig on the ultralight. One shad had become so chewed up during the last outing that I had replaced it with a 1/16 oz Mini Mite 2 glow jig.

I hooked up on a keeper speck on the first cast, much to the surprise and dismay of my neighbor. He had a strike as I was walking by (apparently the first in a while) and had missed the hookset.

After measuring and stringing up my fish, I cast again and hooked another fish over 15". Two casts and I had outfished the guy who had been there all night. He reeled in his rig and grabbed his bucket and stomped off to his truck in total defeat. I found out later that he had talked to some folks on the way in about "some guy with a little rod walking up and catching two trout right under my nose".

I fished the pier and didn't catch or see caught anything except sand trout.
I saw Joe Riveria and was happy to see he was using the Crazy Shad topwater. He had a couple hits and had hooked up on some undersized specks but mostly all he had seen were sand trout as well. I presented him with one of the Crazy Shad I had acquired since the last time I had seen him and informed him about the color - "Smokey Joe". How fitting!

Another guy I met last weekend, "Shane from Bay City", arrived and made the circuit of lights on the pier. He asked me whether I had seen anyone fishing the sea wall and I had not. He went in to give it a try and came back a few minutes later carying a trout that was 14-3/4". He casually dropped me a hint to come on and fish the wall.

I waited until he returned and discretly followed not wanting to attract a crowd (there were only four people fishing - crowded is a relative term).

Shane informed me that he had caught four and lost two casting his soft plastic shrimp tails into the dark water in front of the wall. I hooked and landed a nice 16" fish in about 5 minutes and then hit pay dirt.

This bad-girl was 19-1/2 inches and 2.5 lbs.

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Photo by Shane

I continued to fish "the wall" and the trout came and went for the next two hours. They never got up on top but if you were patient, persistent, and fished slow, you could fill up a stringer with some nice trout.

I ended up with seven trout over 15". Not a bad payoff for a night's fishing.

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I even made some new friends at the fish cleaning table:

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These juvenile pelicans were waiting for the carcasses.

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When I threw one to the water there was a race
to see which one could get to it first.

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The winner still had to escape the hoard of others trying to steal the prize.

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They will have fish for breakfast -

We will have fish for supper!


Bawana said...

Nice fish Brother it was worth the drive. Are those as good to eat as stream trout??

Phil and Rachel said...

Not our idea of fun at midnight, but it sounds like a great night! We enjoyed the photos!