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WE OFTEN TALK ABOUT THE SIGNS to look for when seeking speckled trout, redfish, flounder and other residents of our bay and Gulf waters. There are signs however that point to bad fishing or that will perhaps lead us the wrong direction. This very thing happened to me on numerous occasions last year.

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Ribbonfish

Gulls were diving as shad leap from the water in terror. There was no question a predator is under them and due to the location the highest likelihood (or hope) is that it is trout of the speckled variety. We made dozens of casts and did not get the first hit. Usually when trout are feeding under birds it is virtually impossible not to get at

Chester Moore, Sr. caught this huge ribbonfish at the Sabine Jetties. While ribbonfish are great for offshore fishing, finding them feeding on shrimp or menhaden can lead to heartache.

least a nibble with each cast but you are feeling nothing. Zippo. Then we saw flash of silver in long, cylindrical form. It moved through the water with great speed. It was ribbonfish. These strange-looking predators will rarely take a hook but they will kick up baitfish just like specks do. If you see ribbonfish chasing baitfish make a couple of casts just incase trout are below them and 62 |

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then leave. You are wasting your time. The vast majority of the time when the big ribbonfish are in the bays they don’t hang out with trout. That is unless the trout are after them. If you see smaller ribbonfish jumping out of the water, by all means stop and fish. Big trout love ribbonfish and will target them with great focus. Pay extra attention when glassing across the bay for birding action because you can waste a lot of time seeking out trout when ribbonfish are what is kicking up the baitfish. Pay close attention to those flashes of silver.

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A more challenging factor to work around is dredges. Currently there is a lot of dredging work on the Texas coast and this can make the water quite murky. If the tide is pushing the dredge’s remnant onto your fishing hole forget it. Super murky water is no good for anything. This photo shows a beach downcurrent from a dredge and the super murky after effects.

Gafftops

Another fish that can mess up an angler’s day are gafftopsail catfish. They work shrimp and shad just like trout do and will have birds flocking around and picking out the escapees. If you pull up to bird action and your first cast yields a gafftop go elsewhere. They will sometimes run with the trout but usually the trout have enough sense not to run with them. Would you want that much slime in your vicinity? F i s h

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Dredges

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The trout-impersonating gafftopsail catfish.

Photos: Chester moore, FDA, Bigstock

2/10/12 10:31 AM

March 2012  

THE Authority on Texas Fishing & Hunting Texas Fish & Game is the largest, oldest, and best outdoors resource of its kind in the nation. No...

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