You don’t need a huge bay for good fishing. A small bay with great structure plus marsh embossed borders can fill the bill.
That’s the case of East Bay, the smallest of the major bays in the Galveston Estuary. For years it was the best redfish bay on the upper Texas Coast, but back in those years it was also a best kept secret. East Bay is still the best upper coast redfish bay, but that’s no longer a secret, and the bay now gets heavy play from boaters and waders alike.
Starting with Hanna’s Reef on the southwest end, East Bay is rich with structure: scores of deep oyster reefs and pipe stands, Hanna’s Reef is a favorite of anglers who like to anchor their boats to fish cuts and drop-offs along the reef. The deep reefs to the northeast of Hanna’s Reef and extending back to the bay’s connection with the mouth of the Intracoastal Waterway are favored by drift anglers and those who like to fish the birds.
The borders of East Bay offer excellent wade fishing, especially the stretch along the Bolivar Peninsula side. This stretch from Goat Island, the bay’s junction with Lower Galveston Bay, back to Elm Grove offers excellent fishing for speckled trout, redfish and flounder. When the wind is light and parallel to the length of Bolivar Peninsula some of the bigger coves can be fished by drifting. Whether you drift or wade, a boat is needed to reach these waters because you have to cross the Intracoastal Waterway that runs the length of Bolivar Peninsula.
The whole of Chambers County side of East Bay can be waded, with the best action generally on the flats near the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. Access is either by the Refuge or near Smith’s Point. Reefs like Stephenson Pt., Deep, and Robinson Bayou, just to name a few good ones.
Some of the best redfish action in this bay is during the oyster season. Working oyster boats make the bay quite sandy and at times downright muddy. This isn’t conducive to decent fishing for speckled trout. The working oyster boats, however, stir up a lot of marine life upon which redfish feed. Fish in the immediate vacinity of the oyster boats. Fish the flats and along the saltgrass marshes on the Bolivar Peninsula side of the bay. As a rule of thumb, let the tidal movement move the sediment toward where you are drifting. Great production will results in following the oyster boats at times………………….
East Bay is like West Bay in that it is a Galveston Estuary body of water little affected by fresh water runoff from heavy rains. This bay has two close connections with the Gulf of Mexico. Consequently the salinity level in this bay remains fairly constant. The connection with the Gulf of Mexico is Rollover Pass about 20 miles from the tip of Bolivar Peninsula. The other connection is the Lower Galveston Bay at the mouth of the entrance to the seaway between the North and South Jetties.
Rollover Pass deserves special attention. It offers boatless anglers excellent flounder and golden croaker fishing every fall and spring.
There is no lack of fishing facilities (tackle and bait stands, boat-launching ramps, eating establishments) on Bolivar Peninsula. They are located all along the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s a different story on the Chambers County side of the bay. There are launching facilities on the roads leading to the bay, but all the concession stands selling bait, tackle, ice and food supplies are located near Smith’s Point at the far northwest corner of the bay.
Take advantage of the north shoreline, reefs like Deep, Whitehead and Richards, are excellent reefs to drift and find good solid speckled trout and redfish. Make use of the Salt Water Bass Assassins or Mirrolures baits in soft or hard plastics. Colors include bone-diamond, limetruse, Texas roach and pearl-chartreuse. Top water products like the She Pup or the Baby Super Spook are great tools for those elusive fish over 25 inches. Colors should be light in clear water and dark in off-colored water. Present temps are in the mid-70?
Recent winds and rains from the upper watersheds have had a great effect on quality catching of speckled trout and redfish. Spring tides are up 2-3 feet at present. Fish are close to drains and bayous on the incoming and out some on the outgoing tide periods.
Always file a flight plan. That way, someone can start to look for your group should you break down or worse, need medical assistance.
God bless you and your families.
Capt Paul Marcaccio