Caney Creek

Along the upper Texas coast, late winter with its wind and cold fronts is the most difficult time to catch speckled trout. If you wade a combination of mud and shell flats that hold the sun’s warmth are probably the best since the big sows like to loaf around the warmer water. Wading in this stuff is tough going, bordering on hard, but a slow sinking mullet imitation plug is hard to beat!

Next best is free shrimping a live shrimp over hard shell in deeper water, 10 –15 feet. At low tide, in the many creeks and rivers along the coast, oyster reefs can be found and appropriately marked. All it takes is a little scouting. This particular trip, friends passed on to us just where to locate the reef.

They had told us that on an incoming tide some real nice speckled trout were being caught in Caney Creek, so the next day we, my dad, “Unkie”, Alvin Pyland, my uncle and I arranged to be off from work. The next morning, bright and almost cold, found us, heading toward Sargent, Texas, the kickoff point for Caney Creek. Arriving at our destination with the tide slack, we hooked Unkie’s 7.5 HP motor on to a rental 14 foot, skiff and putted up the creek, looking for the tell tale signs of the fence.

Our instructions from the bait camp were to motor about one mile up the creek, then look for a barb wire fence angling down from the east bank into the water. The reef would be directly across the creek from the fence with a few oyster shells scattered along the bank. The reef in question was about 40 yards long and stopped in the middle of the creek. Our tackle for this trip was 6-1/2 foot popping rods, red, Ambasseduer reels, loaded with 15 pound mono and small treble hooks tied 6 inches below a crimped on, 00 buckshot.

According to the tide charts the current would start moving in soon, we found the fence in question and anchored within casting distance of the reef. Just like clockwork the tide started in and not 15 minutes later my dad had a soft strike, not a bone jarring strike of a summer, yellow mouth, spec, but more of a tap, tap. Setting the hook, the spec responded with a deep, surging fight. Soon, Unkie slipped the net under the 3, pounder, the first trout on our stringer.

Unkie was next and his spec took out line, zzzp, zzzp and put up a grudging battle and soon Dad netted the fish. This one, the second and a nice fish, was about a pound bigger that my dads. Then it was my turn to catch one and we added the 3, pounder to the stringer. All told we had 5 nice specs for about 2 hours fishing. This sure beat wading in the mud!