COASTAL FOCUS: Upper Mid Coast

COASTAL FORECAST: Rockport
February 25, 2017
COASTAL FORECAST: Matagorda
February 25, 2017

A Coastal Evolution

A s the March weather begins to warm the environment, the trout and the reds will start to move into water that’s nowhere near as deep as they have been in over the past few months.

Spring will bring with it more sunlight each day, which means that the shallows along many of our local flats areas should begin to warm a little bit more with each passing day. As this warming trend unfolds on the shallows, area baitfish will relocate to the flats and become very active as the days continue to get warmer.

Wherever the bait goes, so shall the trout and the reds. Over the past months, the water has been cold, and so have the fish, so they are now ready to fulfill what can be a very aggressive appetite.

Because the fish will become more active this month, anglers wanting to get in on some hot trout action should always make it a point to focus on locating active bait whenever possible.

Spring can mean altering winds and altering tides, which often leaves bay waters disturbed and discolored. When this happens, don’t be discouraged. Learn to look for signs of fish in the immediate area.

 If you see a mullet jump out of the brown water, stop for a few moments and observe the entire area before you leave to look for cleaner water elsewhere. If you see a lot of mullet jumping, disregard the fact that the color of the water doesn’t look appealing to you. There is bait in the water, and it is being driven to the surface by hungry predators.

Drop the power pole and set up a wading session with a top water or plastic bait tail. Success has occurred more times than can I can remember in water that looks terrible.

Fishing with top water baits in these conditions will often require a huge amount of persistence, so it may be necessary to prepare mentally, as you’ll most likely need lots of patience.

On the other hand, some of your best results in discolored water may come from the use of dark slow-sinkers, twitch-baits, and assorted plastic tails. A few of the more popular slow-sinking baits include ones like the Corky and the Corky FatBoy.

As for twitch-baits, the ones that have consistently produced over time come from MirroLure, and include some of the ever-popular models like the 51MR and the 52MR. But when it comes to plastic tails, there are a lot of them to choose from. And with mullet being a primary bait target right now, anglers should strongly consider paddle-tail models with shad or mullet-type bodies.

On cooler March mornings, start your day over mud and grass simply because this is where the fish may prefer to be because the water temperature may not be as warm as the fish like, and the mud helps to keep things warm.

However, as the sun rises and heats things up a bit, move from above the mud to above hard sand or shell. As a matter of fact, your preferred time for fishing this month might need to be from noon to dark, instead of first thing each morning.

Why? because of the warming factor. March shallows are generally going to be warmed substantially by the end of each day. The nights may still be somewhat cool, so the fish will often tend to relocate to deeper water during nighttime hours, only to return to the shallows the next day.

A lot of you have only limited amounts of time to fish, and “blowing” the morning may not sound too appealing, but it is something you can certainly think about next time you’re out on the water.

With this month being the official start of spring, there will be windy days for us to contend with. However, if you fish on a day absent of much wind, think about the shell pads sprinkled around the San Antonio Bay. The shell serves as a safe haven for many, many members of the marine food chain. Because of this, hot trout action often happens, especially in low wind conditions, with afternoon warming, and greener water. Some of this month’s best-catch days have occurred in these same conditions atop many of the San Antonio Bay oyster reefs.

Even though March does signal a time for warming, that doesn’t mean we’re completely safe from another couple of cold days. Stray frontal passages this month could still inject a day or two of cold weather.

When this happens, you’ll have to try locate the trout in places other than the shallows. Attempt to locate bait and bird combinations in these instances.

On cold days when you see finger-mullet activity where cormorants are operating, there is a good possibility there are trout and reds nearby. All that’s left to do is to pinpoint their exact holding spot. Be safe, be courteous, and have fun fishing!

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Email Chris Martin at [email protected]

or visit bayflatslodge.com

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