TYPICALLY, WHEN PEOPLE think of saltwater fishing along the Gulf of Mexico they envision adventures consisting of some of the larger offshore species such as grouper, kingfish, tarpon, and even sharks.
For the light-tackle enthusiast, however, inshore species such as speckled trout and redfish are the key targets, and are probably the favorites of most Texas coastal anglers from Sabine Lake to the Lower Laguna Madre.
Although redfish usually offer a tremendous fight and serve as succulent table fare, big springtime trophy trout are what will earn you bragging rights along our portion of the mid-coast this month.
Catching a big redfish is nothing too uncommon for our coastal waters in April. However, big cool-water trout are generally harder to find, so when you land one you have achieved something that most inshore coastal anglers have only dreamed of doing.
Talking about one bay system producing more trophy trout compared to the next bay system may be fighting words to some. The fact still remains that if it’s trophy speckled trout you’re after, then you’ll need to be fishing on the Texas coast during April.
Regardless of the bay system this month a couple of commonalities exist when you look for trophy specimens. Big spring trout are going to be hanging out above mud until things begin to warm up, and they begin their transition to sand.
Anglers fishing the upper Texas coast usually look to shell pads sitting amid a mud bottom. Those fishing down south will usually find grass-covered mud more common.
We’re a bit unique in the Seadrift/Port O’Connor area in that we can usually find both shell and grass atop mud along a wide portion of our shorelines. This makes for that much more opportunity when chasing big trout in the spring.
A second similarity for these big spring trout right now will be the depth of the water that anglers will most often find them in. Upper-coast bay systems such as the Galveston Bay complex, are primarily made up of deeper water.
In the southern-most portion of the state they are generally only a few feet deep. Again, our own San Antonio Bay region offers an exclusive offering of a wide variety of both deep and shallow water locations. However, most avid trophy trout anglers will be spending most of their time this month in thigh-to-waist deep water as they scout for their trophy.
If you ask ten different coastal anglers what it takes to locate and land a behemoth April trout, you’re going to get ten differences in opinion. It’s only natural. However, along our part of the coast—West Matagorda Bay, Espiritu Santo Bay, San Antonio Bay, and Mesquite Bay—there are some things .trophy trout anglers can keep in mind
On colder days in April, head for the back lakes out on Matagorda Island and look for active bait. A lot of these lakes consist of thick mud, so when the tide allows you to get into the lakes, try wading in about knee-deep water along any shoreline where you find bait activity.
During low tide periods, retreat back to the main bay shorelines and concentrate your efforts in waist-deep water over grass/mud or shell/mud combinations. When tides get extremely low, get back in the boat and search for bait action atop shell pads in deeper water.
Huge trout eat other fish, such as mullet, so your trout baits should closely mimic their prey. Large top water lures, such as She Dogs, Super Spooks, and Skitter Walks have all proved their effectiveness on big April trout.
However, slow-sinking baits such as Paul Brown’s (MirrOlure) Corky, Corky Devil, Corky Fat Boy, and Soft Dines are just as powerful and might even be preferred by some artificial enthusiasts. Anglers choosing plastic tails will also prosper. They have dozens of options to select from consisting of several different shapes and sizes—shrimp tails, paddle tails, and many different mullet and shad imitations.
Now that the spring weather will be getting a little bit warmer, there’s no better time than April to get out on the water in search of a personal-best springtime trophy speckled trout while tossing your favorite artificial baits.
Spotting one of these big fish in the water is one thing, but actually hooking into one as you wade a secluded shoreline is an experience you will never forget. Be patient, be good, and be safe.
Email Chris Martin at [email protected]
or visit bayflatslodge.com