The results from Friday’s fishing showed live croaker was the bait of choice for anglers taking good quantities of speckled trout.

While live shrimp seems to be the universal bait for catching most inshore game fish, there are many times when live croaker will outperform shrimp when it comes to trout.

I was back on the water Friday with my favorite fishing companion Polly and we used live shrimp exclusively.  

While we had a respectable catch of specks, flounder and sheepshead from the jetties, the upcoming reports from fishing guides indicate we likely would have fared better using croaker.

Jetty Joe, Galveston Bait and Tackle, monitored his cleaning table Friday and reported the results from several fishing guides.

Capt. Nathan Gray and his three guests named Maxey, Russell and Carol used live croaker to land a Texas grand slam consisting of 23 trout, two reds and two flounder.The action came from the causeway bridge.

Ed’s Guide Service hosted three guests from Dallas named Bob, Frank and Joe to an East Bay trip where live croaker took 20 trout and six reds.

Capt. Steve of Top Dog Guide Service had four guests land 28 trout and four reds on live croaker in West Bay.

Capt. Billy Howell, Howell’s Saltwater Adventures, hosted Lawrence Lake and an angler named Josh to an East Bay Trip where Down South lures were used to catch 22 trout.

West Bay was the spot Capt. Mark Salazar found fish for his three guests consisting of 18 trout and three reds. Again, live croaker was the bait.

Capt. Mike LaRue, LaRue’s Guide Service, fished West Bay with three anglers all using Down South lures. Their catch included 23 trout and three flounder.

Along the beach front, the water was in excellent shape and some nice catches were reported.

Customers of the 61st Street Fishing Pier were catching whiting, sand trout, flounder, stingray, black drum and bonnet head sharks.

Capt. Joe Kent is a columnist for The Daily News. To get your catch in the Reel Report, call 409-683-5273 or email

(1) comment

Steve Fouga

Do the croaker sold at bait shops come from fish farms? I hope so, but I don't think so; I think they're commercially netted. Young croaker are not being allowed to reach maturity because of their popularity for catching specks.

This is a shame, because in my opinion a full-grown croaker is a more desirable fish than a speckled trout. They fight harder, taste better, and are easier to catch. Admittedly they don't get as big.

Maybe it's odd, but using live shrimp and artificials I used to catch more specks than I do now using the same bait. Plus, I used to catch more croaker than I do now. For me, fishing was better before the advent of live croaker as bait...

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