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The past couple of weeks have been hot and cold on the catches of salt water fish.  It has all been driven by the weather which is no secret this time of year.  Days of blowing cold rain and wind followed calm warm sunshine has been the norm of late.  South Texas weather is usually like this in February with some years being much colder and others being unusually pleasant-pleasant has been the norm this year.  The fish respond to these changes by yo-yoing from shallow hard sand to deeper soft mud bottoms in order to roll with the water temperature changes and survive it day by day, heck the water temps now are in the 70s.  Wade fishing with lures has been the ticket to success more days than not.  Catches of solid Speckled Trout have almost been a given while Redfish have made an appearance too.  I have heard of more redfish lately that were a bit less in length than the legal minimum and those are a fun battle.  March is upon us and here we go with Spring so get out and enjoy all our bays have to offer.

Check us out online or phone us and we would love to help you find accomodations for your stay and if you need help in contacting fishing and duck guides we are here to help.

First Mate Vacation Rentals, 361-983-2671 www.firstmatevacationrentals.com

I have always identified with the old adage ‘Fish When You Can Go’ and I always figured it meant just what it seems, the best time to go fishing is any time you can actually go!  This means you will experience some of the very best days of your life on the water but it also means you will fall victim to some of the worst!  
Now a bad day of fishing is surely better than a good day at work, we all agree.  But there are times when you just should not be out on the water.  These are times when the wind is roaring out of the North and the conditions for small craft advisories are in affect and everyone thinks you are plain nuts for braving the bay.  I whole heartedly agree that you should not be out there but then there are times when experienced boaters and anglers can get around the weather and have a safe day on the water.  Further, I have found that with todays shallow running boats you can avoid the majority of these less than perfect rough water conditions and not only survive them but catch some decent boxes of fish by running tighter on the shorelines and avoiding the severe chop of the wind blown swells!
If you can wait a day or two though you may find there are plenty of other things you can do instead of fishing on that day when it’s the worst.  Usually a strong North wind around these parts of the coast pushes our waters toward the South shoreline and holds it in place  until the wind calms and the water can drain out of the natural and man made passes in our bay system.  Given a strong cold front with winds like the one coming in right now at this writing where they reach 30 to 40 knots, you can expect a huge drain off in a couple days.  The challenge you will face is where to go now that the water is super low in the bays and 30 degrees cooler than a few days ago.  This is where some experience and common sense comes into play.
Blowing cold wind at night sends me right to bed in pajamas made of fleece and a long sleeved t-shirt!  Covered in every blanket I can find and sleeping close to my wife, son and dogs curled up beside me is my idea of surviving a strong cold front!  What can the fish do that is a similar way to survive a cold blast where the water temperatures drop suddenly 10 to 20 or more degrees over a couple of days and the water levels they were used to are reduced to mere inches and are frigid?  They go deep!  There is this wonderful man made creation from years ago called the Intracoastal Waterway or ICW and it’s 12 to 15 feet deep in most places running from Boston to Brownsville.  The fish use this ICW all year long but especially during the survival times where the mercury gets less and less red.
Fish are smart enough to figure out early in the Fall that things will be changing soon and they have a built in survival technique that allows them to take cover when the times come.  If you think about this it makes total sense and it makes you wonder why you didn’t think of it sooner.  I can say that of all the winter fishing I have done over the years I spent way too many of those days in 45 degree water temps and a foot or two of water wondering why I wasn’t seeing any bait and dang sure wasn’t getting any fish to bite.  Talking to many guides over the years and sitting in on presentations at boat shows and other anglers nights out in addition to running guided fishing trips for over six years, I realized the best way to learn this is experience gained from others and trial and error on my part.  Finally I’m at a point where I sort of understand where to look for these cold water conditions fish!  
Concentrate on the ICW and other similar deep passageways but look for guts coming out of it and adjacent two to three foot flats where the fish can come up to bask in the warming shallower water of a sun filled day but deep enough to provide a quick escape when things go cold on them.  Realize these guys are cold blooded and will be moving and eating much slower during these times than what you may be used to during warmer water conditions.  Similar to Croaker fishing in the Summer, give the fish that bites your bait a two to three second period of taking the bait in their mouths to be sure you can make a good hook set.  Too early on the set and you may miss the fish since they hadn’t had enough time to move their jaw bones enough to eat it.  Likewise don’t wait six to ten seconds because if this is a smaller fish or throwback you don’t want that hook in so far it kills the fish to remove the hook.  Pay attention to the pace of the bite and let the fish teach you the timing of what to expect on their feeding pattern because they will likely all be on the same program.  It’s the angler that can adjust easily and land more fish for the dinner table or enjoy a catch and release day whilst freeing the fish less harmed and able to fight another day!
Enjoy this period of time on the water even with changes in water levels and temperatures.  Some of the best ways to learn your bay system is to get out when the water is the lowest.  This way you can learn where the reefs begin and end and you can find obstacles in the water that pose a threat to your vessel so you now know how to avoid it.  Mark those in your mind and on your GPS and it will give you more confidence the next time the water levels are normal and you are running through the open bay.  Customers of mine are puzzled and impressed when I can explain what cannot be seen on the waters surface.  Knowing the bottom of the bay floor will help in so many ways and most important will contribute to the safety of your trips and the success of your angling experience.  Don’t forget though when running under these conditions that you may be alone out there so travel in packs and make the investment of a towing service which offers a yearly rate to cover you.  I guarantee it’s cheaper to pay now versus later when you will fork over tons of hard earned cash to get your boat and yourself out of a potentially dangerous situation.
Capt Stephen Boriskie
First Mate Vacation Rentals
Port O’Connor Texas

One of our rental owners sent us these photos, actually a great video too which will try to post later…this is October 2022 in Espiritu Santo Bay there was a huge school of bull reds working juvenile galftop and provided hookups a plenty!  All fish released!

Thanks Chris P.

By far the months of October and November are my favorite of the year for fishing on the Mid Coast of Texas.

Change is the theme during these magical days on the water. We get cold fronts knocking on the door as the heat of the Summer seems long gone and we usher in a Fall feel to the air that makes me think of times gone by and times to come. Memories of cool fronts plowing through on a Thursday night ahead of a Friday fishing trip. The times of blasting off South of Corpus on a Friday at day break heading for the Land Cut facing strong Southeast winds only to return on Sunday struggling to point her into a stiff North wind. Yes this is the time of the year when change is the norm and we welcome it with open arms.

The reality is to fish when you can fish! Luck may have it that timing on these weather changes will occur when you can be on the water to take advantage of them and by that I mean a pre-frontal bite can be fabulous. A good friend and mentor of mine, Michael Curlee often calls me the day before a frontal passage and wants to know if I’m wade fishing in the fog! The warm humid air builds up just before a norther at times and the fish can be on fire! If you miss this short time window don’t be discouraged from donning the gear and getting out here.

A few years ago when I was a new guide in a lineup of veterans I mentioned to the lodge owner that I didn’t think the bite would be on at all and we might just be spinning our wheels out there. He gave me some advise that I have lived by from that point on which was…PROVE THEM WRONG! At first I didn’t know exactly what he meant but then it dawned on me that I was talking myself out of fishing on my game plan and giving it a good try. I was letting the forecast and the naysayers dictate my day on the water. I put my head down that day, blocked out the negative thoughts and information and made a decent day out of it.

It is hard to go wrong in October and November because this is the time of year when the shrimp are plentiful, the fish are eating and the weather is cooperating. If you are a live or dead bait angler there should be plenty of availability at the bait stand to fill your wells. Prefer tricking the fish this time of year when you get on the water? Go with what you know and be open to new tackle and techniques you learn along the way. Some of my most memorable days on the water during this period of full moons and harvest time are wade fishing in waist deep water catching fish on every cast. I may have been having speckled trout bite my lure two, three, four times before hooking the fifth and wondering if there were really that many trout following my soft plastic. This is a time you will remember and think about for years to come. Fish are hungry in the Fall and it’s hard to go wrong on what you present for their appetites. Focus on movement patterns of the different baits in your lure selection, think about what is happening with the water temperature, we are often decreasing in degrees on a Fall morning into the low 70s and with the rising sun may reach 75 degrees. These fish are fired up like you are at a Friday night football game! Expect the bite to be immediate and vigorous and the fish to have increased stamina. It’s about oxygen in these cooled waters the fish have not experienced for months in some cases. The same is true for you as you enjoy the cooled air and water temps.

Don’t forget the ducks! Hunters will be in some of your best honey holes at the beginning of November so be sure and pay attention to these guys and give them room. Usually the hunt is done by 9 or 10am and they are picking up decoys and getting back to the casa by then so I strongly urge you to be considerate and move on to another location to start that wade in the time when the sun is just about to come over the horizon-shooting time is one half hour before sunrise. Look for boats parked in non traditional spots and think about where you would want to be on a hunt, did you hear someone say something to you? It could be a hunter hollering that you are too close! It’s much easier to move a wader than a hunter because of the flocks of decoys set out hours before you may have even heard your fishing alarm go off.

The great outdoors is there for all to enjoy and cherish and we are so blessed that we have the Mid Coast of Texas to fish and hunt and bird and enjoy. This of all years is a blessing because we have endured many obstacles with the weather not to mention the political and other environmental factors and interests. I want to be of age somewhere in my mid 80s like my dad is right now and take my kids and their kids fishing and hunting in this wonderful, resilient, natural resource we call the Middle Coast and pass on this feeling and experience to them. Their future depends on our actions and care for the resource right now and while I believe we are doing the best we can with it I wonder what we could do better.

Maybe that’s our challenge over the next 10 to 20 years, how can we help make this gem of the Texas Coast better, more natural, more fruitful and more beautiful while enjoying it’s bounty and taking our fair share of fish, fowl and other game deemed appropriate and responsible by the state and federal guardians elected to do so by the people.

Capt. Stephen Boriskie-Oct 2017

The POC Chamber of Commerce along with many sponsors and partners puts on one heck of a fabulous July FIREWORKS show…to donate to that cause contact us and we can help.  Speaking of fireworks please notice our policy regarding fireworks use and our rental properties which is listed in our FAQ with many other useful points of information…..and have a safe stay in POC:

Fireworks are strictly prohibited and banned from any and all vacation rental properties managed by First Mate Vacation Rentals.

Guests should bring the following items when staying at one of the properties First Mate Vacation Rentals manages:

Please note that Provided linens cannot be removed or used outside the property.

The Lighted Boat Parade officially kicks off the Christmas season in Port O’Connor. Locals, vacationers  and participants from the Freeport-to-Port O’Connor Toy Run, decorate and light their boats to parade down the Intracoastal Canal.  Awards are given for several categories.

Lighted Boat Parade

Date: December 3, 2022

Time: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM CST

Birdseye view of Port O’Connor from Boggy Nature Park looking Southeast towards the Gulf of Mexico


The wind has been unusually high lately on the coast and I think it’s due to upcoming changes in our weather patterns over the next few months. As we move from Summer to Autumn in the northern states our winds tend to pick up in anticipation of cold fronts, but by the same token they are often calm after the passage of these mild fronts giving way to beautiful green water up close to the beach.  The days are already getting shorter and the sun is going down earlier every day.

Changes are coming soon in the weather patterns for sure and that means changes are coming for fishing patterns as well. This year we did not get the normal lull on the trout bite as it has remained strong through July and August and our redfish bite has been strong.  Thankfully we have not had the tropical weather around these parts. When you look at the news and talk to people around the state of Texas and the country, people rely on weather impacts for different things.  I’ve noticed in Central Texas when it gets so dry people get sort of desperate and pray for tropical weather to come in to the Gulf and I struggle with that because I realize if you actually live on the coast that is often the worst thing that can happen-at least as a devastating storm bringing lots of rain and flooding or a hurricane.  I believe it’s a blessing that weather patterns are what they are and they are not in human hands and Mother Nature simply does what she is going to do.  As I look towards the second half of August and the beginning of September I’m excited that dove season is just around the corner. It is a back-to-school time of year which I always remember dreading but it’s just another change of seasons.

My focus over the next couple of weeks will be staying out of the high wind as much as I can and focusing on slightly cleaner greener water.  The fish are eating at different times of the day and especially with the moon phase that we’re in right now.  When I have bait trips I will be using live croaker and an assortment of redfish baits such as cut mullet or crabs.  A colleague of mine believes the fish are out of the area due to the high water temperature and I’m tending to agree with that since I have not been seeing as many fish. So in the coming weeks I look for water temperature to stabilize or drop a little bit and when that happens I will be carrying dead shrimp as well and targeting black drum. When I get wade fishing trips we are using soft plastics such as the Texas Trout Factory’s Trout Killer and Killer Hustler wading in chin to waist deep water over a mixture of shell and sand. The water levels are down a foot right now which is typical this time of the year. So on these trips I will be focusing on deeper guts and drop offs where the water temperature might be slightly cooler and I’m being sure to work the entire water column.

Changes coming soon before you know it the Friday night lights will be bright and the Fall activities in full swing.  When these activities pick up you may find it hard to make time for saltwater fishing but I can assure you that we are going to be on the water and we are going to be up-to-date on what is happening.  Tight lines and see you out here soon!

Capt. Stephen Boriskie, August 2017


One of my dear friends, Jay had a father who was a dream dad, a lot like my own!   Bob Stewart was a man who took care of his family in so many ways. Bob was an unfortunate to be stricken with polio as a child which rendered his left arm unusable but that never stopped him from enjoying the things he loved to do. What a great example to his family and to others, just because you have limited upper body use you can fish and you can hunt with a few alterations on your equipment. As an example, Bob made himself a neck lanyard with a clip that attached to the fishing rod to help it swing just right left and right then at the base of the rod handle it fit nicely into a belt apparatus he fashioned using some angle iron, see the photo-genius.  At an early age Bob instilled a great love for the outdoors in Jay. Bob had a favorite saying for a certain time of day, you know that time just before the sun sets when the light dims from the day and begins to shift to the evening? Whether you are fishing, duck hunting or deer hunting he would always refer to that time, a special moment when you know things are about to happen. Bob would call that moment Magic Time.

Magic time happens many times throughout the day when you’re talking about saltwater fishing. You go out with a knowledge based on the research you’ve done and you know that there are times of the day that are going to be better than others to catch that fish. It could be a weather pattern you’re working around such as the one we’ve been experiencing lately with the high-wind. Or it could be periods of rain like we had in June where the water in Central Texas makes its way down to our bay system via the Guadalupe River and changes the pattern for a month or so. Whatever angling situation you find yourself in, you have to work and find that best time in the day and be patient enough and dedicated to wait until the bite happens-magic time.

The best time to go fishing is whenever you get to go. As we all lead such busy lives most of that time will occur on a Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. When you are lucky enough to be out on the water and everything go right and catch fish I say that’s just about as magic as it gets. However if you somehow sneak away from your daily life and have three, four, five days that you can dedicate then I believe you have a lot of luck already.

Whether you are fishing duck hunting or deer hunting there will be periods of time that are slow where nothing seems to be moving nothing seems to be flying and the fish sure aren’t biting. Hang in there give it some time move around and make a change but keep going keep at it and keep teaching others your passion.

Passion is contagious so keep spreading the good news The Great Outdoors is the place you want to be. The next time you are out with your son or daughter or friend and you get the feeling that things are just about to happen and you begin to focus a little more intensely, lean over and whisper in their ear…”get ready it’s magic time.”

Capt. STEPHEN BORISKIE, Summer 2017