byby Nate Skinner
was glad to step out of the boat into shallow water below
my waste. The chilly air during the boat ride to our location
seemed to cut through my waders and jacket like a knife.
And surrounding myself in chest-deep, icy water was far from
what I desired.
Luckily, the wind was light and it was apparent the sun
was quickly warming the flat before us. Rafts of mullet milled
around at the water’s surface as the shoreline we were
approaching appeared to be teeming with life.
“The major occurs in about 15
minutes, so we should be about to walk
into a pretty decent bite,” insisted
Captain Ruben Garza, referring to the
predicted peak period in fish activity as
he walked alongside me.
About 45 minutes earlier we were
idling away from the dock at Getaway
Adventures Lodge in the Port Mansfield
Harbor aboard Garza’s boat. He
explained to me that today was setting
up to be an excellent outing for bending
“We are between cold fronts, the
water temperature will warm up with the
rising sun, and it should be an awesome
wade fishing trip,” he said confidently.
Meanwhile, I was ready to prove his
theory as we waded along, thigh-deep in
We had scooted about 25 yards
downwind from Garza’s Dargel when I
felt the thump. A pause after a few twitches in my retrieve with
a suspending twitch bait triggered the strike.
The heavy trout shot out of the water immediately. Her
gills flared with her yellow mouth wide open. And the salt
foamed as she thrashed from side to side, trying to free the pink
Unfair Lures Rip-N-Slash that she had been fooled by from her
That fish was one of many chunky specks and feisty redfish
that were brought to hand that morning. As the sun rose higher
into the sky over our bent rods, mild temperatures prevailed
and it was hard to believe that we were smack dab in the middle
Watching Garza land another quality trout, I heard him laugh
and say, “You’ve got to love the Lower
Laguna Madre during the winter months.
This is as good as it gets.”
Winter on the Texas coast often
presents anglers with their work cut out
conditions can make patterning fish
difficult, as the passage of cold fronts
bring about a variety of scenarios. A
rapid drop in water temperatures
associated with these fronts typically
puts fish into a lethargic mood.
Then there’s the period between
fronts in which temperatures increase
slowly and conditions rebound prior to
the passing of the next one. Finding a
consistent bite between these weather
systems, and the pressure changes that
coincide with them, is often a perplexing
The lower portion of the Texas coast
contains some of the skinniest of bay
waters within its entire span. These flats can be found along
the Lower Laguna Madre where anglers can use the shallow
water to their advantage in winter to predict where fish will
(Continued on page 13.)
Capt. Ruben Garza shows off a solid Lower Laguna Madre wintertime trout.
Mullet imitation baits rule the flats during the winter.
G U L F C O A S T F I S H E R M A N
Photos by author.
W W W. G U L F F I S H I N G. C O M