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Thoughts on the call for a trout limit reduction

April 30th, 2018

By Capt. David C. Dillman

galvestonbaycharterfishing.com | 832-228-8012

dillman fishing Thoughts on the call for a trout limit reduction

Mickey and Pat Carr

Galveston Bay is the seventh largest estuary in the United States. The surface area of the bay is 600 square miles with a average depth of ten feet. The bay complex has survived floods, freezes and pollution and still continues to thrive. Changes to the bay have occurred ever since “Moby Dick was a minnow.”

In the past few years, the bay system has seen its share of droughts and floods. Ever resilient, the bay system rebounds and so does the fishery. No matter what “Mother Nature” throws at it, the bay system rebounds. This resiliency is what makes Galveston Bay such a great fishery.

There has been a recent increase in calls for a reduction in the bag limit for speckled trout. The influx of freshwater into our bay system over the past two years has made trout easy targets for some. A situation known as a “stack up” of these fish occurred in the bay and many trout were taken by anglers in the know, many of them being charter boats. Fearing another “stack up” situation this year from the recent rains and runoff this April, some anglers and charter boat captains are calling for a reduced limit of trout. The current limit is ten fish per angler and on charter boats the captains limit is excluded. A five fish limit is what this group is seeking.

dillman fishing2 Thoughts on the call for a trout limit reduction

Dick Daugird with grandkids Wade and Walker Winters.

A article that was in the Houston Chronicle dated April 4, 2018 deemed our fishery “fine and dandy” according to Glen Sutton of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. So why are some anglers and charter boat captains “beating their drum” for a reduced limit? Some of this group believes the trout population has suffered over the past couple years due to them being stacked up in one area for a few weeks. I do believe they became easy prey for some anglers, most of them on chartered boats. The question becomes, what type of conservation should be in place to protect our trout fishery?

Fact is, the average angler seldom, if ever, catches a ten fish limit of trout. They just want to go out and enjoy their fishing experience with the hope of catching a ten fish limit one day. Anglers on charter boats go out with the expectation of catching their trout limit. The captain, as the law is written, can contribute to the boat limit of speckled trout. I think we all can agree there is an abundance of charter boats on Galveston Bay. These same charter boats take a majority of trout from the bay system. So maybe we need to find a way to reduce the catches of trout on chartered boats. I know good and well that a captain fishing along with their customer catches and retains an unequal amount of trout most of the time. This ensures the captain of a quick day and full limits for the boat.

What I would propose, is that a captain CANNOT retain any fish on a chartered trip. They can fish, but with no retention or “boxing” of fish. After all, I feel the customers should be the ones catching their own fish to take home, not the boat captain.

I feel no one user group should dictate what the fish limits should be unless it is agreed upon by the majority of fishing license holders or TPWD officials and biologists.   

Gaining Knowledge

May 3rd, 2017

WayneDenaDavis Gaining Knowledge

Wayne and Dena Davis caught some nice trout with Capt. Dillman despite high winds that day.

By Capt. David C Dillman

Spec-tacular Trout Adventures409-632-0924

Albert Einstein stated that “The only source of knowledge is experience.” When it comes to fishing, I firmly believe this quote holds true. There are many written books, articles and even videos on how to catch speckled trout. Lots of that information is excellent and a great resource for gaining some knowledge about the sport. But true knowledge of how and where to catch speckled trout comes from years of experience pursuing these fish.

In my 30 years of experience guiding fishing trips, I am always asked “When is the best time to catch trout?” For the majority of people that fish, it all starts with the month of May. During the first week of May, there will be a movement of speckled trout into our bay system through the Galveston Jetties. They come from the beachfront and these fish are commonly known as “tide runners.” Do they all come at once? No, but the majority of “tide runners” come May and June. As they make their way up the Houston Ship channel, these fish split into three different directions. Some move east, others west, and some head straight up the channel depending upon the salinity of the water. That is why you will read about the increase of catches in areas like Hanna’s Reef in East Bay, and the Dollar Point area on the Western side of Galveston Bay.

June arrives and so begins our summer fishing pattern in Galveston Bay. The trout begin to seek shelter of the deeper water shell pads located in our bay system. A majority of these “tide runners” can be found near the shell pads adjacent to the Houston ship channel from Markers 52-72.  They will also filter towards the numerous gas well scattered in close proximity of the channel. With every incoming tide more fish will be pushed into this area. In my years of fishing the channel and observation, speckled trout use this area to stage and spawn.

During this time of year, trout can be caught on a variety of artificial lures, but live baits seem to produce the better results. Live shrimp and croakers are the top two natural baits. Shrimp can be fished on the bottom or under a popping cork. Croakers should be fished utilizing a carolina rig or Texas rig. Eagle Point Fishing Camp always has a great supply of both and has easy access to the above prime locations!

If you want to gain further “knowledge” of these areas, I offer guided trips out of Eagle Point. Also orientation trips can be arranged where I go in your boat. Get out and experience the great trout fishing Galveston Bay has and as always, be careful on the water.

Galveston Bay Fall Transition Fishing

August 30th, 2016

spectroutstring Galveston Bay Fall Transition Fishing

Gary Speer and Randy with a good trout stringer.

By Capt. David DillmanSpec-tacular Trout Adventures832-228-8012

Summer is close to being just a memory. It sure did fly by fast! Now we await the arrival of Fall. September is the month of transition and October is the first month of fall. Lots of folks put the boats and rods up in favor of guns and hunting, but not me. I just get ready for some of the best fishing of the year in Galveston Bay.

In September, speckled trout and redfish scatter as they begin their movement to the back reaches of the bay.

Black drum, sand trout and croaker start to show up in abundance. These fish can be caught along the deeper reefs, passes and the jetties. Fresh dead shrimp fished on the bottom is the top bait when fishing for these “panfish.” They make for excellent table fare and provide lots of fun for anglers of any age. There is no size or number limit on croakers or sand trout, but the limit on black drum is five fish per day, between 14-30 inches. One fish may be retained that is over 52 inches and it counts toward the daily bag limit.

Those anglers in search of specks and reds during this time of year will see a different pattern from summer. In my experience, is it fairly difficult to catch good numbers in any one place during the first few weeks of September. But the fish will settle into a fall pattern by the end of the month.

Usually by this time, we should see the arrival of our first cool/cold fronts. Fish will congregate towards the northern ends of our bays where baitfish will depart the marsh. Falling water temperature and tide levels flush bait out of the marsh, where they are intercepted by waiting schools of hungry trout and redfish. We will see our first bird action, where seagulls and terns will pinpoint the schools of fish.

Every angler, no matter if they are using live bait or lures, should see plenty of action. Live croaker will take a backseat seat, as live shrimp fished under a popping cork will draw more action for live baiters. Any type of soft plastic will be a top lure for artificial anglers.

Weather this time of year is nearly perfect with cool mornings and highs in the mid 80’s. Eagle Point Fishing Camp will stock up on live shrimp this time of year for the angler. Get out on the water and enjoy the fishing and weather.

Tight Lines!!

Galveston Bay Fish Consumption Advisories Updated for Speckled Trout

July 17th, 2013

speck Galveston Bay Fish Consumption Advisories Updated for Speckled Trout

The Texas Department of State Health Services has removed the consumption advisory for spotted seatrout from a portion of Galveston and Trinity Bays and all of East and West Bays. The area is south of a line from Red Bluff Point to Five-Mile Cut Marker to Houston Point. Laboratory testing of spotted seatrout from these areas indicated that concentrations of dioxins and PCBs have decreased to acceptable levels and no longer pose a significant health risk.

However, consumption of spotted seatrout from the Upper Galveston Bay continues to pose a health risk and the advisory remains in effect for this area. Concentrations of dioxins and PCBs exceed DSHS health guidelines. Regular or long-term consumption of spotted seatrout from these waters may result in adverse health effects. An advisory also remains in effect for blue crab from this area.

Women of childbearing age and children under 12 years old should not consume spotted seatrout from Upper Galveston Bay. Women past childbearing age and adult men are advised to consume no more than one meal per month. Upper Galveston Bay includes the portion of the Galveston Bay estuary north of a line from Red Bluff Point to Five-Mile Cut Marker to Houston Point.

An advisory for all species of catfish remains in effect for all of the Galveston Bay System.

To view the map, advisories and other information about fish testing, go to www.dshs.state.tx.us/seafood