Friday’s untimely arrival of an icy mixture of snow and rain not only put a halt to the annual Christmas parade, but some absolutely incredible fishing as well. While bragging size trout were starting to lure more and more anglers to the shallow flats, the never-ending bite under the birds continued to produce not only slot reds, but good numbers of trout up to four pounds as well.

Gene Locke and I took advantage of Thursday’s gorgeous weather conditions just prior to the arrival of the front and while we could not locate any of the big sow trout, we did catch quality fish all day long. I was shocked not only by the numbers of gulls still working over shrimp, but the average size of the fish as well.

Limiting on redfish was a simple matter as usual, but the added bonus was the fact that every flock of gulls held tightly which gave us the opportunity to experiment with different lures. I think that you could have caught both trout and reds on basically any color soft plastic, but there was no doubt about which color the larger fish preferred.

We caught fish on Swim Baits, Catch V’s, and an assortment of tails in a variety of colors, but things really got interesting when we got around to fishing bone diamond. It has always been a pretty good color for us, but you very seldom find a particular color making that big a difference in the size of the fish it attracts.

Warren Brister called while we were on the water to compare notes and said that they were doing pretty good with a watermelon-red flake plastic tail. At the time, he was only a short distance away and I told him how well we had done with bone diamond. He called the following day just to say that they switched to the color as well and also caught their better trout shortly after we left to wade another area.

After talking with two other local fishermen that caught stripers up to ten-pounds last week, we fished two cuts on the way in with no luck. We hit it wrong, but I have no doubt that the river ghosts are doing their thing. The cooler water temperature and strong outgoing tides are just perfect for kicking this winter bonus into high gear.

One group caught 23-stripers in two spots south of the Port on Rat-L-Traps and Mirrodine XL’s, but their largest fish was only six pounds. The other fisherman I talked with had been jigging for crappie a little further north when the stripers started feeding on the surface a short distance away.

He quickly caught a 12-pound fish on a crankbait and three more slightly smaller bouncing a Hoginar off the bottom in the same area. He added that he had been catching both bass and crappie up to about a pound ever since the river dropped out and started clearing up again. He only had nine crappie that day, but they were all nice size fish.

Trey Smith said that the bass fishing on the river has improved for him. Smith loves to pitch a jig or tube any time the bass will cooperate, but said that he has done much better with a Texas rigged worm lately. He added that the numbers were good and that he had been catching a lot of fish in the two-pound class.

Chester Moore is in the process of surprising five area anglers this Christmas that lost all of their fishing gear in the hurricane, but have been unable to replace even a portion of it due to their struggle just to make ends meet. He and his cousin, Frank, have already begun putting packages together and can use your help in their endeavor.

Their goal is to deliver the unexpected gifts on Dec. 20. If you would like to join with them in their effort to get five anglers down on their luck back in the game, give Chester a call at 409-920-2062.