Christmas Bay report 10-Jul-2022

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deptrai
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Christmas Bay report 10-Jul-2022

Post by deptrai »

Struck out at Bayou Vista a couple weeks ago, but got my first Texas kayak fish today.
I caught a couple keeper flounder wade fishing last week, but today was the first anything landed from my kayak since I moved to Texas.
Landed two short flounder and lost another that might have been 15" right at the net. Also got a small croaker. I only suspect it was a croaker because of the sounds it was making.
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Just like Bayou Vista, I got stuck on the bottom in my Outback again. Fortunately the ground is solid in Christmas Bay and not mud. The launch was pretty nice with plenty of free parking. Didn't see a single crab trap today. I wonder why. I really want to get into crabbing and still haven't definitively determined if my Promar Ambush nets are legal here. I plan to take one into a Fish & Game office to ask personally. The regulations aren't crystal clear.
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Three trips so far and still haven't caught a Speckled Sea Trout or Red Drum.

Just bought a Dakota LiFePO4 23 Ah battery and love it. It will run my Dragonfly Pro7 all day and then some. No more screwing around with my old Wilderness Systems Lithium battery. That thing gave me nothing but trouble.

Dave
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Rob R
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Re: Christmas Bay report 10-Jul-2022

Post by Rob R »

Nice. Did you launch from Louis Bait Camp or actually from Bayou Vista?
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karstopo
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Re: Christmas Bay report 10-Jul-2022

Post by karstopo »

Nice. Christmas bay is my favorite local bay in autumn, winter and early spring, from about October into March. I haven’t fished there a ton in the summer, but when I did it seemed to produce smaller fish.

Croaker make for tasty panfish if you are into eating fish in general. Once they get to about 11 or 12 inches, I generally keep them.

Christmas bay, the other end, is loaded with live oyster reefs and was once my go to oyster cooning spot in the winter, but TP&W shut the entire bay down to oystering after a huge fleet of commercial oystering boats moved in and trampled the reef all to h*ll and adjacent marsh along with it. The oyster guys ran ATVs all through the marsh and even drove them out on the reefs. But, the oysters were generally briny and delicious.

That crab net looks great. A lot more compact than the rigid wire ones. I’ve used the wire ones off the kayak, they are cumbersome and only two are really practical. I’d say the net would and should be legal, but I’m like you I’d get some confirmation first from TP&W.
deptrai
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Re: Christmas Bay report 10-Jul-2022

Post by deptrai »

Rob R wrote: Mon Jul 11, 2022 7:45 am Nice. Did you launch from Louis Bait Camp or actually from Bayou Vista?
When I went to Bayou Vista a few weeks ago, I launched from Louis Bait Camp. $6 for parking.

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deptrai
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Re: Christmas Bay report 10-Jul-2022

Post by deptrai »

karstopo wrote: Mon Jul 11, 2022 8:13 am Nice. Christmas bay is my favorite local bay in autumn, winter and early spring, from about October into March. I haven’t fished there a ton in the summer, but when I did it seemed to produce smaller fish.

Croaker make for tasty panfish if you are into eating fish in general. Once they get to about 11 or 12 inches, I generally keep them.

Christmas bay, the other end, is loaded with live oyster reefs and was once my go to oyster cooning spot in the winter, but TP&W shut the entire bay down to oystering after a huge fleet of commercial oystering boats moved in and trampled the reef all to h*ll and adjacent marsh along with it. The oyster guys ran ATVs all through the marsh and even drove them out on the reefs. But, the oysters were generally briny and delicious.

That crab net looks great. A lot more compact than the rigid wire ones. I’ve used the wire ones off the kayak, they are cumbersome and only two are really practical. I’d say the net would and should be legal, but I’m like you I’d get some confirmation first from TP&W.
The Croaker I caught was about 8"-9". Are these the same Croaker people buy and use for bait?
That crab net (really a lobster/crab net) is a Promar Ambush and they stack really well. In SoCal, I would stack 5 of them on my yak for lobster. In Oregon the limit is 3, but I usually just used 3 cheap Danielson traps because the Dungeness crab would get stuck in the Promar netting easy and it was a chore to pull the short ones out to release. Sometimes I would have 20+ crab in a net after a 30 minute soak.
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karstopo
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Re: Christmas Bay report 10-Jul-2022

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Same croaker that get used for bait, yes, that’s the one. I believe the biggest Croaker I ever caught were at Christmas Bay. I don’t remember weighing them but they might have been 1.5 -2 pounds or so. A 2 pound croaker is a monster, the state record is over 5 pounds. Is there a limit? I can’t remember. It is high if there is one. There’s no lower or upper length limit for croaker. When they approach a foot, they broaden out some and two nice fillets can be taken or others might scale, score, gut, gill and fry or grill whole. Croaker, redfish, black drum, even speckled or sand trout are all relatives. I like to eat them all. You could likely keep a 9” croaker and do the gut, gill, scale and then fry, poach, grill or whatever. Two of those might be an excellent dinner. Croaker and sheepshead get overlooked as targets to fish for, but both are excellent dinner companions. So is Whiting, a.k.a. Southern and Gulf Kingfish, not to be confused with the king mackerel.

I lived at Surfside Beach for a few years. My routine was to go out into the marsh in the kayak to fish and I woukd also drop a couple of crab traps on my way out, fish for 2-3 hours or so, then pick up the traps on the way in. Seems like I’d get about a dozen 6-7 inch blue crabs (five inches point to point on the shell is the lower limit) in that time, enough for a dinner. If I put the traps in or around oyster reefs, I’d often get a few Florida stone crabs in the mix.
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karstopo
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Re: Christmas Bay report 10-Jul-2022

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https://www.texassaltwaterfishingmagazi ... r-cravings

An old article on croaker.

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipM ... O7Ff4c0OsG
https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipO ... R1S2MqIfGn
These croaker are about the size I’ll start to retain. Just depends what else I’ve been catching and the particular want or need at the time.
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Rob R
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Re: Christmas Bay report 10-Jul-2022

Post by Rob R »

I've caught some pretty decently sized croaker in the Lagoon using paddletails.
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Re: Christmas Bay report 10-Jul-2022

Post by mwatson71 »

Croaker and sheepshead are for sure very good table fare that many of us pass on too often. If I were honest with myself, I’d probably admit that I prefer to eat a sheepshead over a redfish but I never target sheepshead and think of them as bycatch. As a kid, eat ate a bunch of croaker, scaled, gutted, and pan fried.
Roger Ramjet
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Re: Christmas Bay report 10-Jul-2022

Post by Roger Ramjet »

My blood still boils when I recollect how Christmas Bay was raped by the oyster boats during the 2016-2017 season. The approximately 80 acres of pristine oyster reefs in Christmas Bay were the only open public beds in the state. Dozens of boats converged, the oyster beds were too shallow to dredge, they were cooned by hand using cheap "south of the border" labor. The labor force camped along the bay and trashed the shoreline and marsh. After painfully watching this scene for months, I swore that I would never again eat a Texas oyster.
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Re: Christmas Bay report 10-Jul-2022

Post by Kayak Kid »

I recall the days when my father and I would launch my 25hp powered 16 ft moulded ply runabout at Clear lake park and head for the Seabrook channel. We more often than not caught a dozen or so specs (no size or catch limit) just to the right of where the bay entered the channel...,right next to the restaurant that is still there. Live shrimp under popping corks was always our 'thing'.

Around lunch time, we headed North to the Red bluff area where we could harvest all the oysters we needed...,by hand. Squeezed lemon onto those oysters and ate till we were satiated. Sometime we brought a horse radish/catsup/hot sauce mixture to enhance the experience.

I no longer eat raw oysters. It's too much akin to Russian roulette. However, I can still put the hurt on fried, or rockerfellers.

Sorry, but your oyster story brought back some very pleasant memories.
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TexasJim
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Re: Christmas Bay report 10-Jul-2022

Post by TexasJim »

Kinda related, as you guys are talking oysters. Brad Lomax, who has owned the Water Street Oyster Bar in Corpus for ever, is farm-raising oysters in Copano Bay, in about 6 to 7 feet of water. They are nowhere the bottom, floating in cages. He has the first Texas license for oyster farming. It's up and running(raising?). Several news items on local TV, and Ty Southerland of 30 Miles Out! Youtube did an interview a couple months back. Interesting project. I'm gonna go anchor close-by and fish! The plot is about a quarter-mile square, just north of the Swan Lake islands. TexasJim
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karstopo
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Re: Christmas Bay report 10-Jul-2022

Post by karstopo »

I about lived on those Christmas bay oysters for the few years it was open to cooning. They were great. I hate how TP&W shut it all down after the rape, and it was a violent rape, that the commercial oystermen performed that one season. I cannot understand why TP&W wouldn’t allow for a non-commercial harvest, hand picking type of deal in that bay. Keep the commercial guys out, yes, absolutely. We have zero commercial fishing for Texas game fish like redfish, I don’t know why TP&W couldn’t turn some of these tiny bays that were once open like Christmas Bay or Powderhorn Lake into recreational oystering only zones.

Anyway, some of my best fishing memories have been on Christmas Bay and I hope there will be many more to come. I look forward to the fall and winter out there
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Re: Christmas Bay report 10-Jul-2022

Post by OldTownYakBoi »

Congrats on your fist Kayak fish and welcome to your new addiction. Get back out there so you can post us another report!

Go get em
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