Try One More Cast; It May Be Turn-On Time
S o you have your honey hole, a fishing spot that has produced for you many times. You know the water temperatures and tidal movements that you like, and you might even consider barometric pressure, or phases of the moon. However, the challenge of fishing is that you can go back to the same location, but conditions are never exactly the same.
Having said that, the fishing last December was great; it may not repeat this December, but I’m going back to my honey holes and seek out a combination of as many of the same conditions as possible that produced fish last year.
On December 1, I launched my kayak into Turtle Bay at three p.m. The wind was from the north at eight mph. It was cloudy and the air temperature was 58°F, the tide was outgoing strong, and the water temperature was 57°F.
I anchored my kayak so that I could cast across water flowing out of a marsh into Turtle Bay. I caught a small redfish on the first cast and was encouraged, but I had anchored downwind of some very smelly white pelicans. However, I decided to put up with the smell and see if the trough would produce more action.
Trout between 15 and 20 inches were mixed in with the small reds, and they were hungry. I didn’t count the number I caught, but I kept five. To top off this hour of splendid fishing (disregarding the pelican poop smell), I enjoyed hearing and seeing 10 large flocks of geese fly over.
It was December 6, with a light wind out of the NNE. Tide was strong incoming, water temperatures were from 54 to 59°F, and it was sunny with air temperatures from 51 to 70°F.
My wife, Janet, and I were fishing on the north side of West Matagorda Bay. The water was very clear and only 6 to 18 inches deep, and the fish were not on the flats.
Then Janet found a hole five feet deep that held fish. Using five-inch Chicken-On-A-Chain Bass Assassin soft plastics, on 1/16 ounce jig heads tipped with small pieces of Fishbite, we caught 16 trout, two flounders, and four redfish. We kept five trout.
On December 8, Jeff Wiley and I launched our kayaks at Oyster Lake. There was a light wind from the south. The tide was outgoing strong, water temperatures were from 54 to 60°F, and it was a sunny day with air temperatures from 50 to 71°F.
We anchored our kayaks in a very strong flow of water coming out of Oyster Lake. The water was three to four feet deep in a trough surrounded by flats that were two feet deep.
We lobbed three-inch Egret Baits Wedge Tail soft plastic minnows into the fast moving water, and kept tight lines as we let the lures sink. then we brought them back with the tidal movement. Nearly every cast drew a bite. We caught 27 trout and kept five each.
The common factors in all three of these fun fishing experiences were: water temperatures between 54 and 60°F, strong moving water, water depth two to four feet deeper than surrounding terrain, and all locations were on the north side of West Matagorda Bay.
East Matagorda Bay
One of the fishing spots on my boat’s GPS is named “2 O’clock,” because after fishing the area for hours with very little action, the fish finally turned on at 2 O’clock. No one is able to predict exactly when the fish will feed; instead experienced fishermen say, “Be patient and keep chucking those lures.”
I was kayak fishing the back lakes in East Matagorda Bay on a frustrating morning with very few bites, when I moved into the bay and let the light wind push me along the shoreline. I finally got a solid hook up at 2:30 p.m. I put the 23-inch red on the stringer. Then I saw a little fish jump for its life near the shoreline, and tossed over there. This yielded a 22-inch red, so my spirits, which had been flagging, really picked up.
I was retrieving my Egret Baits five-inch Wedge Tail Minnow about an inch beneath the surface over grass, when a very deep bronze-colored redfish charged the lure and come half out of the water. I laughed and reeled, but after a couple minutes of fighting, the fish got loose and swam off. I thought, “No matter, I really enjoyed that.”
Certainly the south side of the bays can produce good fishing in December, but when the wind is light from the north (a common occurrence in December), try the north side. When you think, “I’m discouraged, they are not biting,” try one more cast, it may be “turn-on time.”
Email Mike Price at ContactUs@fishgame.com