The good news on the fishing scene is that the wind is from the southeast and the fish are biting. The not so good news is that live shrimp are not available at most bait shops, and the mid-day heat, actually starting around 10 a.m., is taking its toll on anglers.

For inshore fishing, the lack of live shrimp supplies presents a big handicap. However, artificial baits such as soft plastics do work well for wade fishing and drift fishing over reefs.

Around Galveston, so many anglers rely on live shrimp this time of year, as their fishing spots are in areas that are not favorable for working artificials. In particular, the causeway-railroad bridge areas, jetties, the gas wells and most any other area where stationary fishing (anchoring) takes place live shrimp make a difference.

Most of the fishing guides in both East and West Bays use artificial baits with success.

Now, for the other popular live bait, small croaker. This is a very popular bait with a good number of Galveston area anglers, and croaker are in better supply currently than live shrimp. Croaker require a different type of rigging. However, except for the hook, the rigging is basically the same as live shrimp leaders.

The hooks are live bait hooks and generally either J-hook or curve hook styles. Some anglers use larger treble hooks (size 4 and possibly 6).

The live fish (croaker, mullet, piggy perch) leaders are usually a little longer than those used for live shrimp and as a general rule the weight is a size or two larger.

There is also some other good news. If live bait is not available, cut mullet, shad and whiting are excellent for larger reds, and for the past few days those big fish have been caught in good numbers all around the Galveston area.

Capt. Joe Kent is a columnist for The Daily News. Report your catch to reel.report@galvnews.com or call 409-683-5273.

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