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Galveston Wonders


arch can be a harsh month on the water, with cool temperatures and strong winds as the seasonal norm. On the other hand, this month can be the last chance to get boats, tackle, and other gear ready for the coming of warmer weather and more pleasant and productive fishing. It is also a time when we might look over our options for the season and the area, and give some thought to trying new aspects of the fishing world we might have overlooked in the past. This is especially true with fisheries regulations making it difficult to continue with business as usual in the way of species and techniques we have depended on it the past. The Galveston area is a vast wonderland for a fisherman who keeps his mind open for new and different opportunities. I have never lived on Galveston Island, but in the past I spent a lot of time with fishermen who did, and it would be hard to find a group more dedicated to a strong pull on the end of a line. Those who only visit the Island for fishing may not be able to take advantage of all its opportunities – or might not even want to – but they can certainly get some ideas to broaden their fishing horizons from paying attention to the locals. Beginning at the top of the food chain, Galveston has always had the most shark fishermen outside of the Padre Island crowd in the state. For the most part, these are guys who want to challenge the largest fish in the Gulf, and they do it from yachts, smaller boats, the jetties, rock groins, and the surf (Galveston area piers generally frown on serious shark fishing). Any area home to a club called “The Monster Fishermen” has some serious sharkers. A good many of these fishermen also list tarpon among their favorite targets, T F & G

but there are also those who get their kicks from large stingrays and alligator gar. Rays can be hooked in the surf, but are also sought in deeper holes in the bays, especially behind San Luis Pass or the around the Galveston jetties. Rays pushing 200 pounds are not uncommon, although a 75 pounder will put a kink in your back, and they are very strong, often “sucking’ on the bottom for long periods, requiring a fisherman to wait until his adversary decides to move again to resume the battle. Gars are in the coastal bayous and some lakes in the marshes, and provide tough battles generally protected from strong winds. A gar in the 100-pound class very much deserves the nickname of freshwater tarpon. Interestingly, many serious shark fishermen are also hard-core big trout anglers, and some specialize in flounder when they aren’t after monsters. A lot of these guys can also be found knocking oysters off pilings during low winter tides, and generally making the most out of the bounty of the


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Gulf, bays, and marshes they choose to live in the middle of. We who visit their home area would do well to follow their examples.

the bank bite Location: Beachfront piers and rock groins, Texas City Dike Species: Big black drum will be moving in reach of pier and Dike anglers, otherwise panfish and the occasional red or flounder may be the bulk of a day’s catch. Best Baits: For big drum, quartered crabs with circle hooks; for the other species, dead shrimp, squid, and cut bait. Best Times: Watch the tides for water movement, and avoid strong winds when possible. If it is windy, use it to your advantage by positioning to cast with the wind. Capt. Mike Holmes runs tarpon, shark, and bluewater trips on a classic 31 Bertram. To book a trip, call 979-415-0535. Email him at

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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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