AS THE FIRST WAVE OF SPRING invades the Texas coast with the arrival of April, warmer air and water temperatures gradually become the rule rather than the exception.
Anglers across this great state are blessed with more and more opportunities for targeting trout, redfish and flounder. April is the month that brings us a little confidence to take a different heading and begin the migration south, under the Causeway Bridge down the Sabine Neches waterway.
Almost all of our excursions have been somewhere north of Sabine Pass since September, so this will be a much welcomed change for us. Right on cue, the fish are beginning to show up in the surf, at the jetties and in the ship channel.
If you choose to give the channel a try, a good place to start would be from LNG to Lighthouse Cove. This area is home to some of the best fish-holding bottom on the entire Texas coast. A perfect mixture of mud, sand, shell and riprap offers baitfish plenty of protection, and the hungry predators are abundant.
The trout and reds will move out of the channel onto the shallow, warmer shoreline and stuff themselves full of mullet, shad, shrimp and crab. We usually try to keep the boat in about six to eight feet of water and fan-cast parallel with and toward the bank.
Throwing big, loud topwaters like Zara Spooks and She Dogs early is always a great idea. The topwater bite can be phenomenal this month, and the first couple of hours of daylight are when you want to be there. Great color choices for these plugs are black/chartreuse, pearl and bone.
Another proven technique is to rig a soft plastic under a good loud popping cork. Cajun Thunder and Old Bayside’s Paradise Popper work really well. Both are very cast-friendly and real attention getters. Rig it with 18 to 36 inches of leader and give it some pops.
This is a great set-up for children and inexperienced anglers because it is easy and very effective. It also helps prevent hang-ups because it keeps your lead head off the bottom, which can be pretty tricky at times. Experienced anglers like I am also use this rig often because it is easy and flat out catches fish.
Most of our flounder are caught by dragging some kind of curl tail grub on the bottom. The obvious bait of choice lately has been Gulp Swimming Mullet, which works just fine. Most grubs, however, especially those with a curled tail will get the job done. It won’t hurt your chances any if you decide to tip with fresh peeled dead shrimp.
We catch flounder as deep as 10 feet, but the most consistent bite is usually from the bank to about five feet deep. Keep an eye out for nervous pods of tiny shad exploding very close to the bank and try to place your lure in the middle of it. It’s not uncommon to see a flounder come completely out of the water with them.
The channel bite starts gaining momentum in April and stays consistent well into the late summer months. There are a lot of times that we stop here to throw some topwaters early on our way to the jetties or rigs. Lots of times it’s so good we don’t have to go any farther.
Location: Concrete steps on Pleasure Island
Species: Flounder, Redfish, Black Drum, Croaker
Baits: Live mud minnows, fresh dead shrimp
Best Times: All day with tidal movement
Email Eddie Hernandez at [email protected]