A Windy Spawn
T he April wind is going to be the one thing that decides for you where you’re going to fish on any given day along the Texas coast. That’s why it is so very important for you to learn to fish the existing conditions, and not just fish in a spot simply because you’re familiar with it.
Now that it’s springtime means you’ll benefit from learning about many different places you can fish when the wind decides to blow from many different directions. Over the course of any single week in April, it will not be uncommon for you to see winds blowing from SSE, S, NNW, NNE, ESE, SE, SW, or SSW. In situations like this, it can be very helpful to have previously picked more than one alternative for each of the wind conditions.
It may also be beneficial for you to incorporate additional scouting as you strive to overcome this month’s challenging wind conditions. If possible, spend some extra time out on the water in April looking for shorelines and structure that support favorable fishing conditions in various winds. If you have kept a fishing log over the years, use it. Review your log to remind yourself where you fished successfully in a certain wind.
If a fishing log isn’t available, you can still manage to stay a step ahead by always listening to the weather forecast, then plotting new destinations and alternate locations via your favorite hotspot fishing map or your GPS unit. With many of the days registering winds between 15mph and 30mph, with even stronger gusts, it becomes almost imperative for April anglers to have more than one backup plan when it comes to the wind.
This month it will be important that you never leave the dock without having, at least, two or three different locations to look for the bite in the “wind-of-the-day.”
Regardless of where you finally position yourself with regard to the day’s wind, keep in mind that this is April, and that there are a number of changes taking place this month. One change is that you should now begin noticing much more bait in the water over that of the previous cooler months.
Look for bait that is jumping and flipping out of the water chased by predators. You’ll experience days when the bait appears to be widespread, and then days when the bait looks to be more concentrated in one general area. One day you’ll find the bait in muddy water along a windward shoreline, and the next day in clear water along a leeward shoreline.
Another change depicted by the onset of April is much warmer air and water temperatures, a characteristic that sets off the biological clock within speckled trout and tells them this is the start of their annual spawning season. This takes place primarily over a hard, sandy bottom structure, and generally means we should also begin seeing a marked increase in the formation of slicks along sandy shorelines as the month progresses. These sandy shorelines are where the heavy female trout carrying eggs will frequent during the spawn. So, always remember to approach such areas very slowly and quietly, always idling your boat upwind of where you want to start wading.
Just before exiting the boat for your first wading session of the day, you may wish to share a few springtime rules just before you step out into the water. The first item on the list is the importance for your party to wade at a slow pace. Another is to saturate the immediate area with a number of casts before making any movement—forward or sideways. A third rule is that you should never move at all once you start catching fish. Every time you move your feet, you create clouds of sand and sediment that can possibly startle the fish.
As to which artificial baits to throw in April, many anglers might recommend working plastic sand eels and plastic tails along a sandy bottom. Fishing these plastics over the sand allows you to reduce the rate of your retrieve compared to fishing over a mud bottom. This is great because bigger female trout like to sit in the area just above the sandy bottom while they are spawning. This can be fun and rewarding. Anyone can learn to work plastic baits along the bottom with just a little practice and some patience.
Top water baits also begin to turn on strong this month. If you haven’t been throwing any of your surface walkers lately, wipe ’em off and get ’em in shape. Next time you’re out on the boat, practice tossing with the wind, across the wind, and into the wind just to get used to it once again.
Now, find some active baitfish along a sandy shoreline and give it your best shot. If you happen into a top water bite where the fish seem to be interested in your lure, but simply aren’t inhaling it, try experimenting with different lures and retrieval speeds.
When you find a combination that works in the area just above the sandy bottom, such as the steady walk-the-dog retrieve, or the “let it sit for a few seconds and just give it a quick twitch, or two” retrieve. Nine out ten times they’ll come right back to it! Good luck to all, and keep grindin’!
Email Chris Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit bayflatslodge.com