FORECAST CENTER: Saltwater – April 2020

FORECAST CENTER: Freshwater – April 2020
March 24, 2020
TEXAS HOT SHOTS – April 2020
March 24, 2020

Winter is Finally in the Rearview Mirror

SABINE LAKE & PASS

FINALLY, THE FIRST real month of spring has found its way to the upper coast of Texas. It’s been a long wait, but April has arrived, and lots of coastal anglers couldn’t be happier.

It is now time to put those strong northers in the rear view mirror. April is shaping up to be a very exciting and productive month for fishermen from Galveston to Sabine. Air and water temperatures are continuing to rise, and green water is beginning to make its way to the upper coast more consistently.

The big tides of spring are assisting in the distribution of baitfish and shrimp throughout the ecosystems. Young menhaden, mullet, croaker, shrimp and other bait species are enjoying their short lives, and the game fish aren’t complaining a bit. Finding bait is becoming increasingly easier, which means finding fish on a more consistent basis is becoming a little easier as well.

The dominant southerly winds coupled with big spring tides will allow the pretty water to venture deep into the far reaches of the estuaries. Baitfish that had been hanging tight to their comrades will begin to scatter and venture throughout the system, thus opening the window of opportunity for predator fish and anglers alike.

We now have the green light to fish basically anywhere we want, and do it with some level of confidence. With the increasing water temperatures, sand and grass are once again areas to key on in pursuit of trout and reds.

Mud bottoms will hold fish year-round, but as the water continues to warm, more and more fish will move from the shelter of deeper water. Predators will follow bait to sandy flats, beachfronts, and shorelines. This is the first chance we’ve had in a while to catch trout in the surf and at the jetties. A lot of them will stage here before making their way down the channel and into the bay. Shorelines and reefs from San Luis Pass to East Pass have the potential to come alive this month. Also, bumping soft plastics near underwater structure such as pilings and platforms can pay off in a big way.

The flounder bite should also be gaining momentum as big numbers are making their way back into the bay. Slowly dragging mud minnows or finger mullet in one to five feet of water is always a safe bet.

If throwing live bait is not an option for you, dragging soft plastics tipped with fresh shrimp should also work well. Three- or four-inch GULP! Shrimp in new penny or white as well as green Swimming Mullet are hard to beat. Look for these tasty flatfish to be on the points of either side of the mouths of bayous and cuts on a nice, protected shoreline.

Reported by CAPT. EDDIE HERNANDEZ

Email Eddie Hernandez at [email protected]

 

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GALVESTON

IN APRIL, spring is just around the corner, and some of its attributes are beginning to be seen. Both air and water temperatures have become much more pleasant, and fish species are reacting to the favorable weather as much as those who seek them.

Winds have normally become less of an everyday force to be reasoned with. In some cases, wind switches from foe to friend for the coastal fisherman.

Bay anglers find water much more “friendly.” All but open stretches of bays can be navigated much of the time in smaller boats. Shallow waters suitable for wading are starting to lure fish and fishermen.

Depth changes near sandbars and deeper channels near passes to the Gulf and the ICW will not yet have transitioned from warm havens to summer’s cool spots. However, the changes are beginning. Gulf outlets such as jettied passes, river mouths and natural passes with no man made “protections” will see increased traffic.

This includes shrimp, baitfish and the sportfish that feed on them. Mullet and shad join with other bait species to invade the surf. Anything from croakers and sand trout to monster sharks and trophy tarpon will be found hunting their meals in the nearshore waters.

My personal heaviest bull reds were landed in May, but big reds will be found in the April surf. Weather conditions vary from year to year, so the big bulls may begin to show up earlier if water and bait are to their liking.

Smaller sportfish such as Spanish mackerel and ladyfish will provide good light tackle action using silver spoons and tandem-rigged jigs in gentle surf. Shrimp and small baitfish, both dead and alive also pay off. “Rat” reds are not uncommon catches this month, and speckled trout can also be found in the surf.

Anglers who seek sport more than meat can get what they need from big jack crevalles. Although the big jacks are not as active as in warmer water, they will chase mullet into nearshore waters on sunny afternoons.

Boating fishermen who have enough hull beneath them to venture a bit farther from shore will find all these species around nearshore oil rigs, various buoys, and over reefs. They’ll also chase schools of bait species in open water.

Drifting with a chum slick has always been one of my favorite methods of finding such fish, and it can pay off well this time of year. Bottom fishing on natural and man-made structure can result in good catches of red snappers closer to shore than in “hot” weather—and in shallower water, as well.

Deep water reefs, wrecks, and “holes” might produce some heavy snappers, a few groupers, and maybe some amberjacks.

April is not, of course, one of the best months for coastal fishing, but it is also not the worst month to give our Texas saltwater a try. If for no other reason, the weather will mostly be pleasant—often downright delightful!

Much better to be out enjoying the first approach of spring than to be inside watching TV—or even reading fishing magazines.

Reported by CAPT. MIKE HOLMES

Email Mike Holmes at [email protected]

 

•  •  •

MATAGORDA

IT WAS APRIL 19th, the water and air were both 70°F. I was kayaking on the south shore of West Matagorda Bay in clear water. I watched the big redfish follow my gold spoon and hit it; but the fish did not hook up. So, I let the spoon drop to the sand “wounded.” The redfish pounced on it and swam away, Then I set the hook.

On that day the water level was low, the tide was outgoing gently, and I caught two more redfish and a flounder. An abundance of baitfish flows into West Matagorda Bay in the springtime, and that is one reason predators are active there.

On a middle April evening, Jeff Wiley and I arrived on the south shore of West Matagorda Bay at 4:30 p.m. We launched our kayaks from my boat, and I paddled against the roaring 20 mph southeast wind to reach the protection of the shoreline. Suddenly, a dozen small bait fish blasted out of the water, no doubt being chased by a flounder or redfish.

I beached the kayak and waded, watching two dozen mullet scurry off. The bayou I was near and the south shore, were loaded with baitfish.

Jeff and I fished as the sun lowered in the western sky. A chorus of coyotes yipped and howled. When they went silent, we were entertained by many birds carrying on simultaneous conversations. We returned to the boat after the sun had set with four redfish and a flounder.

In the beginning of April, you will find water temperatures in the low 60s; by the end of the month water temperatures can reach 80°F. These temperatures are ideal for fishing, as they stimulate the fish to move and feed. April is also a pleasant month to be on the bays because air temperatures vary from 50 to 80°F.

Some trout migrate offshore in the winter. If you are fishing the jetties when they return to the bays in late April or early May, you will probably be treated to multiple hook ups with trout over 20-inches.

We lived in a beach house for two years and every morning we walked on Matagorda Beach and the jetties. One morning, we watched Scott Stevens from El Campo catch a 23-inch trout on the beach near the weir jetty using live shrimp.

He put the fish on the sand next to three other speckled trout about the same size. The next morning, we walked the jetties and nearly every person fishing was hooked up. But the following day no one had a fish on.

Trout spawn when water temperatures are between 75 and 86°F. A single 25-inch female may drop a million eggs in channels and holes near grass flats. Of course, this attracts male trout.

Fertilized eggs need salinity to be 28 parts per thousand in order to float and survive. So you will not find spawning trout in areas of the bays inundated with fresh water from springtime rains.

If you consistently find trout in a certain place, they will likely be there on another trip because they stay near their spawning area. However, trout will migrate up to several miles with changing conditions, such as an over abundance of fresh water.

On April 22, there was a light wind from the south, a strong incoming tide, and clear 74°F water. I was wade fishing in a bayou on the south shore of West Matagorda Bay.

Almost all the bayous have a gut that has been formed by tidal movement. The gut in this bayou ran south to north. It was loaded with trout ripping the water and feeding vigorously.

I was fishing with a white/chartreuse Rapala Original Floater lure. The first five casts yielded four trout, 22, 20, 18, and 16 inches. This special fishing experience was made even better because the sky, which had been solid clouds, opened a bit, and the sun shining through focused a single golden ray that went from the shoreline to me.

April is a great month to get out on the water with a fishing rod in your hand. The weather is enjoyable, there is a lot of active bait in the bays, trout are spawning, and redfish and flounder and feeding.

Reported by MIKE PRICE

Email Mike Price at [email protected]

 

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•  •  •

Location: Bastrop Bay
Hotspot: Bastrop Bay Shell
GPS: N 29 6.0005, W 95 10.0045
(29.1000, – 95.1667)

Bastrop Bay

Bastrop Bay Bastrop Bay Shell

Species: Redfish
Best Baits: Norton Soft Plastics
Contact: Capt. Greg Brewer
832-435-3020
[email protected]
www.brewersguideservice.com
Tips: A lot of times the redfish will start feeding in the afternoon as the glass minnows start moving in. It’s usually a big feed up to sundown. Capt. Brewer

Location: Chocolate Bay
Hotspot: North Shoreline
GPS: N 29 10.0065, W 95 9
(29.1668, – 95.1500)

Chocolate Bay

Chocolate Bay North Shoreline

Species: Redfish
Best Baits: Norton Soft Plastics
Contact: Capt. Greg Brewer
832-435-3020
[email protected]
www.brewersguideservice.com
Tips: Brewer likes Trick or Treat and the Red Magic colors. It it’s cold, he uses a paddle tail be-cause it will have action on the retrieve. He uses a 3/8 oz. jig head mainly because he can cast it further.

 

Harborwalk Lodge

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Location: East Matagorda Bay
Hotspot: Boiler Bayou
GPS: N 28 38.0114, W 95 54.0011
(28.6335, – 95.9000)

East Matagorda Bay

East Matagorda Bay Boiler Bayou

Species: Speckled Trout
Best Baits: She Dogs topwaters & Corky Fat Boys
Contact: Capt. Glenn Ging
979-479-1460
www.glennsguideservice.com
Tips: When there is an east wind blowing, it’s just tough. If you have southeast wind you have to fish that end of the bay where it’s protected and try to find some clean water. Capt. Ging

Location: Galveston East Bay
Hotspot: North Shoreline
GPS: N 29 33.1439, W 94 37.785
(29.5524, – 94.6298)

Galveston East Bay

Galveston East Bay North Shoreline

Species: Speckled Trout
Best Baits: Super Spook or a One Knocker topwater
Contact: Capt. Kevin Roberts
281-796-4647
[email protected]
Tips: The spring the topwater bite is going to be unbelievable. I start with Super Spook or a One Knocker. The One Knocker has a different pitch than the Super Spook that everyone throws. Capt. Roberts

Location: Galveston Jetties
Hotspot: North Jetty
GPS: N 29 21.0045, W 94 43.0015
(29.3501, – 94.7167)

Galveston Jetties

Galveston Jetties North Jetty

Species: Speckled Trout
Best Baits: Soft Plastics, Corkies or Topwaters
Contact: Capt. Mike Williams
713-256-9260
[email protected]
www.galvestonfishinguides.com
Tips: The last 30 minutes of the day, any day, is the best time because most of the time that’s when the water is going to be the warmest. Capt. Williams

 

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Location: Galveston Trinity Bay
Hotspot: Upper San Jacinto Bay
GPS: N 29 43.1039, W 95 2.641
(29.7184, – 95.0440)

Galveston Trinity Bay

Galveston Trinity Bay Upper San Jacinto Bay

Species: Speckled Trout
Best Baits: Corky
Contact: Capt. Kevin Roberts
281-796-4647
[email protected]
Tips: Corky colors in fairly clear waters: I’m probably going to go with a sparkly pink, or Texas Chicken. In the spring I like the Texas Chicken a lot. Capt. Roberts

Location: Matagorda Bay
Hotspot: Colorado River
GPS: N 28 40.5419, W 95 58.08
(28.6757, – 95.9680)

Matagorda Bay

Matagorda Bay Colorado River

Species: Speckled trout and redfish
Best Baits: Norton Bull Minnow or Lit’l Fishie
Contact: Capt. Tommy Countz
281-450-4037
[email protected]
www.matagordafishing.com
Tips: The Colorado River started producing early for us this year. In February, the cool or cold weather should put trout in the river. Capt. Tommy Countz

Location: Sabine Lake
Hotspot: Oyster Reef
GPS: N 29 46.0033, W 93 54.013
(29.7667, – 93.9002)

Sabine Lake

Sabine Lake Oyster Reef

Species: Speckled Trout
Best Baits: Egret Vudu under a popping cork
Contact: Capt. Adam Jaynes
409-988-3901
[email protected]
www.justfishsabine.com
Tips: The Egret shrimp looks a lot more realistic. In my opinion there is no reason to use a scented bait to catch speckled trout. Speckled trout fee more on profile, what it looks like. Capt. Jaynes

Location: Texas City
Hotspot: Texas City Dike
GPS: N 29 23.0034, W 94 52.0064
(29.3834, – 94.8668)

Texas City

Texas City Texas City Dike

Species: Speckled Trout
Best Baits: Soft Plastics, Corkies or Topwaters
Contact: Capt. Mike Williams
713-256-9260
[email protected]
www.galvestonfishinguides.com
Tips: Lure Colors: Something with shades of chartreuse and pearl with tone of gold. Pink is go-ing to be my second choice with tons of gold. Capt. Williams

Location: West Galveston Bay
Hotspot: Carancahua Cove
GPS: N 29 12.3312, W 94 58.6619
(29.2055, – 94.9777)

West Galveston Bay

West Galveston Bay Carancahua Cove

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: 5” soft plastics baits
Contact: Capt. Paul Marcaccio
281-788-4041
[email protected]
www.gofishgalveston.com
Tips: The shorter paddle tail baits don’t work at this time of the year. The bigger lure looks like a mullet which the bigger trout are feeding on. Capt. Paul Marcaccio

Location: West Matagorda Bay
Hotspot: Cotton Bayou
GPS: N 28 30.45, W 96 12.3816
(28.5075, -96.2064)

West Matagorda Bay

West Matagorda Bay Cotton Bayou

Species: Redfish
Best Baits: Mirrolure 52
Contact: Capt. Tommy Countz
281-450-4037
[email protected]
www.matagordafishing.com
Tips: A couple days after a Norther has blown through, while the water is still low, wade fish-ing for redfish can be outstanding. Capt. Tommy Countz

•  •  •

April Signals Return of Big Trout to Mid Coast

SAN ANTONIO BAY AREA

IT’S SPRINGTIME, and you’ve got an uncontrollable itch to get back into the speckled trout game after sitting on the bench the past few months.

You’ve been watching all your favorite social media channels and have noticed that the guys who fish year-round are now beginning to land some really nice trout, some of which are nothing short of true trophies. However, as nice as the online photos look, they do little in educating you as to where, when, and how these big springtime trout are being taken.

These larger female trout are preparing for the springtime spawn, which typically begins around the end of April or the first part of May. Some folks claim that it’s May’s full moon that signals the start of this annual event, but there are other factors involved, such as water temperature, salinity levels, and even the amount of daylight hours. Without getting too scientific here, mid-coast anglers often begin connecting with some big sows on a more regular basis as water temperatures approach the 70ºF mark.

April also marks the time when rafts of mullet will once again start to appear along flats and shorelines in neighboring bays. This becomes another contributing factor in catching big springtime trout, as schooling mullet provide an ample food source for the big trout.

Some of these bigger fish may have become used to eating just once a day throughout the winter months and much colder water temperatures. Warming water triggers more activity for the trout. As they become more active, they exert more energy. To keep their energy up, they’ll need to start eating more often. So, anglers should keep that in mind this month as they set out in search of big trout.

Even though things are starting to warm up a bit right now, the Texas coast has been known to undergo a cold front in April. When this happens, anglers will need to make necessary adjustments to meet the situation.

Try starting after sunrise, atop a flats area situated close to deeper water. As the sun rises into the morning sky, the mullet will make their way out of the depths into the shallows in search of warmer surroundings.

Instinctively, the trout will also look to the morning shallows for some quick warmth, where they’ll also find mullet for breakfast. Consequently, anglers who place themselves here will greatly increase their odds at finding a big trout this month and next.

Since the mullet will be back on the scene, anglers who use artificial baits might consider using one or two of the more popular mullet-imitating topwater baits such as the She-Dog or Super Spook. However, if you’re fishing over a shallow flat and the wind is calm, it might be a good idea to downsize to a smaller topwater bait. This lessens the chance you’ll spook the fish you’re casting to.

Save the larger model baits for a bit deeper water and for windier conditions.

If you happen to be in water that’s nearly waist-deep, tie on one of the slow-sinking baits such as a Corky, a FatBoy, or a MirrOdine that you can work a lot of the water column with. You can experiment with different retrieves to determine where within the water column the bite is taking place.

If the bite happens after you’ve let your slow-sinker rest in the water while sinking, replace your slow-sinker with a plastic tail bait. The plastic tails allow you to work the lower portion of the water column quite thoroughly. That should be your go-to bait if the bite is happening at or near the bay floor.

If you want to be an overachiever at catching a big trout this month and next, experiment with night fishing using topwater baits a few days before and after the full moon. Fishing at night can present some challenges as you might can imagine. It can also be some of the most exciting methods of catching a big trout you’ll ever experience, especially if you’re a topwater enthusiast. Just remember that traveling across an open bay at night and fishing in the dark requires an additional level of safety. Plan accordingly, take your time, and be very careful.

Reported by CAPT. CHRIS MARTIN

Email Chris Martin at [email protected]

Visit Online: BayFlatsLogde.com

 

•  •  •

ROCKPORT AREA

EVERY ANGLER I know loves the month of April. Although it’s not even in my top five months to fish, there is a lot to be said for this month.

Weather changes, be they natural or manmade, have definitely affected our bay’s seasonal changes. Many who are of a younger age than yours truly are not aware changes on a global level are afoot. However, any mature/old timer who stays abreast of the weather will love to tell you about it.

For our bays, the changing weather has meant a shift in when some major events take place. Take the bull tides. Yes, I know the tides are mostly affected by lunar pull, but the decrease in strong north winds do affect the bay’s ebb and flow.

This past year has seen unusually higher tides in our area. Some doomsayers believe this is because of polar melt; some experts disagree. I think the answer is where most phenomenon fall, somewhere in the middle.

I remember the days when May saw many of the changes we are now seeing in April. There are reams of scientific data to back this up, but this is not a science article. So… May is pretty much now April for these seasonal changes, and the astute angler knows to put this into his/her strategy plan.

Phytoplankton blooms trigger many of these changes. Those who are used to fishing the gin clear water of the colder months are greeted with an army green or effervescent water color in April.

These microscopic algae are the foundation for aquatic life all over our planet. These special critters are fed by sunlight and are temperature sensitive. They lure bait fish, from glass minnows, mullet, piggies to rain minnows. The list is long and distinguished.

Of course, the baitfish bring the predators anglers love to catch. An interesting tidbit—more blue water fish are being caught now as well such as jack crevalle, spinner sharks, red snappers, and bonnet head sharks. I know of one sailfish landed in upper San Antonio Bay.

This shift in our bay seasons has seen the early arrival of croakers too. This past year was a great year for the sheer number of these golden sounders at favorite bait stations. April is the live bait master’s homecoming. The wise angler puts the lures aside and adapts to the changes in our bay.

Copano Bay: Copano Reef is a great go-to spot this time of year, N 28 06 .07, W 97 06 .604. This is one of the longest reefs in the bay system. Even though croaker is the favorite for many, I think live shrimp is the ticket here on a free line. Black drums are still plentiful in this bay and a great spot is N28 07 346 W 97 10.104. Live Shrimp under a cork is good here, but don’t pop the cork too much.

St. Charles Bay: The east shoreline toward East Pocket N 28 08.446 W 96 57 .200 is a good spot for reds. Finger mullet work, and/or mud minnows free-lined work best. Salt Creek is still holding some black drums. Peeled shrimp on a light Carolina rig is best.

Aransas Bay: This bay feeds a lot of sister bays, and the movement of bait and the predators chasing the bait are ever changing. The area just off Traylor N 27 55 .995 W 97 04 .634 is a good spot to start using free-lined croaker. As the days progress, move farther north in this bay toward Half Moon Reef N28 04 .455 W 96 59 .084; stick with free-lined croaker.

Carlos Bay: The southeast shoreline N 28 07 .099 W 96 53 .244 is a good spot for trout. Approach quietly via wading. If in a boat, use the wind or a trolling motor to position the boat. Croakers are good here free-lined. I also use Jerk Shad in new penny color. Drifts in a boat from this location north is good for reds and trout using a bubble cork and live shrimp.

Carlos Bay: Third Chain Islands N 28 08 .337 W 96 52 .374 are great with a north wind. This area is good for reds and a few trout. Finger mullet works best, free-lined or on a light Carolina rig. “S” Reef is a good spot for trout and reds, using live shrimp free-lined.

Ayers Bay: Wades on the northeast shoreline N 28 10 .900 W 98 46 .270 are good for some nice trout. Wade slow, casing 360 degrees. The area near Rattlesnake Island N 28 11 .294 W 96 50 .175 is a good spot for sheepshead. Small pieces of cut squid or shrimp on a small kahle hook work well here. A free line with a small split shot is the ticket.

Reported by CAPT. MAC GABLE

Email Mac Gable at [email protected]

Or Visit Online: macattackguideservice.com

 

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Location: Aransas Bay
Hotspot: Mack Reef
GPS: N 28 5.2279, W 96 58.6309
(28.0871, – 96.9772)

Aransas Bay

Aransas Bay Mack Reef

Species: Speckled Trout
Best Baits: Soft Plastics with a 1/16 oz jig head
Contact: Capt. Billie Kocian
361-688-8859
[email protected]
www.sportfishingtexas.com
Tips: Trout should be working over the shell reefs in the bay. Color choice is determined by wa-ter quality.

Location: Copano Bay
Hotspot: Copano Reef
GPS: N 28 6.0117, W 97 6.0067
(28.1002, – 97.1001)

Copano Bay

Copano Bay Copano Reef

Species: Speckled Trout
Best Baits: Cut menhaden and cut perch head, dead shrimp
Contact: Capt. Garrett Frazier
409-354-3865
[email protected]
www.rockportguidedadventures.com
Tips: Cut perch head allows a good chance of picking up one or two nice size trout, just casting it along the bank where redfish like to concentrate.

 

Bay Flats Lodge

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Location: Corpus Christi Bay
Hotspot: Ingleside Cove
GPS: N 27 50.3179, W 97 13.816
(27.8386, – 97.2303)

Corpus Christi Bay

Corpus Christi Bay Ingleside Cove

Species: Redfish
Best Baits: Cut and live mullet
Contact: Capt. Jack McPartland
361-290-6302
[email protected]
www.treble-j-charters.com
Tips: McPartland says let the cut bait sit until a redfish decides to take it. Use a weight only to keep the live mullet from out of the pocket.

Location: Corpus Christi Bay
Hotspot: Ingleside Point
GPS: N 27 50.0869, W 97 14.4799
(27.8348, -97.2413)

Corpus Christi Bay

Corpus Christi Bay Ingleside Point

Species: Redfish
Best Baits: Cut and live mullet
Contact: Capt. Jack McPartland
361-290-6302
[email protected]
www.treble-j-charters.com
Tips: The redfish should be on the flats unless we have some horrible freeze…I will be fishing the sand pot holes. Capt. Jack McPartland

Location: Mesquite Bay
Hotspot: Cedar Bayou
GPS: N 28 06.657, W 96 49.833
(28.110945, -96.830552)

Mesquite Bay

Mesquite Bay Cedar Bayou

Species: Redfish and Speckled Trout
Best Baits: Cut menhaden and cut perch head, dead shrimp
Contact: Capt. Garrett Frazier
409-354-3865
[email protected]
www.rockportguidedadventures.com
Tips: As the water warms, I’ll start migrating a little more south toward Copano Bay. It it’s even warmer I’ll start moving to Estes Flat. Capt. Frazier

Location: Port Aransas
Hotspot: St. Joes Island
GPS: N 27 51.132, W 97 03.232
(27.852194, -97.053872)

Port Aransas

Port Aransas St. Joes Island

Species: Flounder
Best Baits: Gigging
Contact: Capt. Jack McPartland
361-290-6302
[email protected]
www.treble-j-charters.com
Tips: Flounder should be making their return trip from the Gulf. Rockport, Corpus, Port Aransas, and Ingleside should all be good places to try your luck.

 

Mt. Houston Marine

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Location: Port Aransas
Hotspot: Southeast Mud Island Shoreline
GPS: N 27 56.006, W 97 1.0041
(27.9334, -97.0167)

Port Aransas

Port Aransas Southeast Mud Island Shoreline

Species: Black Drum
Best Baits: Cut menhaden and cut perch head, dead shrimp
Contact: Capt. Garrett Frazier
409-354-3865
[email protected]
www.rockportguidedadventures.com
Tips: If you are looking for a meat haul you can catch a whole lot of black drum off the reefs of San Antonio if the wind is low. You can catch trout also on the reefs. Capt. Frazier

Location: Rockport
Hotspot: Spalding Reef
GPS: N 28 6.2689, W 96 54.4709
(28.1045, – 96.9079)

Rockport

Rockport Spalding Reef

Species: Speckled Trout
Best Baits: Corkies or Soft Plastics
Contact: Capt. Chad Verburgt
361-463-6545
Tips: Not all structure is visible above the water. Using your sonar locate well pads that the su-perstructure has been removed from.

Location: San Antonio Bay
Hotspot: Panther Reef
GPS: N 28 13.0105, W 96 41.0139
(28.2168, – 96.6836)

San Antonio Bay

San Antonio Bay Panther Reef

Species: Redfish
Best Baits: Cut menhaden and cut perch head, dead shrimp
Contact: Capt. Garrett Frazier
409-354-3865
[email protected]
www.rockportguidedadventures.com
Tips: March is for redfish fishing, says Capt. Frazier. If it’s a north wind, I will be fishing Mata-gorda Island, anywhere between Panther Island and Cedar Bayou.

Location: Upper Laguna Madre
Hotspot: Rocky Slough
GPS: N 27 9.903, W 97 26.716
(27.1651, – 97.4453)

Upper Laguna Madre

Upper Laguna Madre Rocky Slough

Species: Speckled Trout and Redfish
Best Baits: Norton Sand Eels soft plastics with a 1/8 jig head
Contact: Capt. John Little
361-816-9114
[email protected]
Tips: For wade fishermen, use a 1/8 oz. jig head with a Norton Sand Eel, working sand spots and the rocks. Capt. Little

 

Chester's Grand Slam

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The Chase is on for Bull Reds and Trophy Trout

FISHING IS APRIL can be nothing short of challenging, but it will ultimately prove rewarding while chasing trophy trout and big bull redfish around Baffin Bay.

Reported by Capt. Gerad merritt

When the occasion presents itself, an angler needs to take full advantage of these opportunities. During this time of year, when the barometric pressure takes a drastic drop or rises, fish tend to change their normal patterns.

Your main strategy for this time of year should be targeting warmer waters. This can be accomplished by finding shallow flats or using deeper structures to your advantage when the temperature is falling.

Although fishing from the boat proves a little easier, spring wade fishing is a preferred method to help you land that substantially larger trout. While doing this, you will want to fish in “waist deep” water, while targeting the top and bottom of your chosen structure lines.

My lure preference this time of year would be a soft, slow-sinking plastic. Using this type of lure allows you to keep it on top of the water if you desire, but also permits the opportunity for a slow sink, where it can be bounced off the bottom.

During spring, my favorite live bait is live shrimp under a popping cork. If you’re a live bait kind of person, you may have a more successful “meat haul,” but will find it tougher to target the bigger fish, as it will be harder to hide your presence. Due to the nature of bait fishing this time of year, you will end up catching a greater amount of fish, but you will struggle to control the size of your catch.

While bait fishing in Baffin Bay, you will be using similar techniques to lure fishing, but you will have to adjust your cork depth and shaker size/noise. At times, these fish will avoid areas of loud noises, which plays into your technique while fishing with live bait. Think of a gentle tap on an aquarium in your house versus a more intense knock.

When using live bait under a popping cork, many people make the mistake of a hard, drastic “pop.” Sometimes it works, other times it disappoints. My belief of this theory is that once you find a spot holding fish, you want to make the least amount of noise possible.

Once you have hooked a fish or two, you will need to back off on your speed and popping of the cork. By using this method, you will increase the rate of strikes, as you are no longer “spooking” the fish. In other words, this means the fish know you are there and instead of considering you a threat, they are focusing on the easily edible meal you are providing.

Once your bite has slowed down, it is time to move. Many anglers make the mistake of catching a large quantity of fish, followed by a long period of trying to force a bite. Similar to finishing dinner at your favorite restaurant, when the group is full, the meal is over, and it is time to leave.

Although fishing during this season comes with many challenges and questions, you can take these simple approaches to search for that incredible Baffin Bay catch!

Reported by CAPT. GERAD MERRITT

 

Email Gerad Merritt at [email protected]

 

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Location: Arroyo Colorado
Hotspot: Peyton Bay
GPS: N 26 26.122, W 97 22.3519
(26.4354, – 97.3725)

Arroyo Colorado

Arroyo Colorado Peyton Bay

Species: Speckled Trout and Redfish
Best Baits: 3-inch Berkley Gulp under a popping cork
Contact: Capt. Joel Ramos
956-626-5143
[email protected]
Tips: I like to bounce the bait off the grass a little. I use a clear 18-20-inch monofilament leader under the cork. Give it two solid pops and let it sit for five or six seconds. Then move it and re-peat the popping.

Location: Baffin Bay
Hotspot: Badlands South
GPS: N 27 17.152, W 97 25.053
(27.2859, – 97.4176)

Baffin Bay

Baffin Bay Badlands South

Species: Speckled Trout and Redfish
Best Baits: Topwater artificials
Contact: Capt. John Little
361-816-9114
[email protected]
Tips: End of March, beginning of April is a good bait to catch big trout for wade fishermen. Capt. Little

Location: Baffin Bay
Hotspot: East Cleburne Rocks
GPS: N 27 16.198, W 97 30.5069
(27.2700, -97.5085)

Baffin Bay

Baffin Bay East Cleburne Rocks

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Corky Fat Boy
Contact: Capt. Tommy Countz
281-450-4037
[email protected]
www.matagordafishing.com
Tips: The pink Fat Boy has always been a good producer for big fish. Work the bait really slow. You are fishing in about 3 feet of water. Capt. Tommy Countz

 

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Location: Lower Laguna Madre
Hotspot: Atascosa Wildlife Refuge Shoreline
GPS: N 26 10.244, W 97 18.155
(26.1707, – 97.3026)

Lower Laguna Madre

Lower Laguna Madre Atascosa Wildlife Refuge Shoreline

Species: redfish
Best Baits: Live shrimp, topwaters in Bone, Gold spoons
Contact: Captain Jimmy Martinez
956-551-9581
Tips: Fish the mud/sand transitions in deeper water along the shoreline. Trout will mingle in the warmer water. Redfish will be prowling shallower water.

Location: Lower Laguna Madre
Hotspot: Land Cut
GPS: N 26 48.0102, W 97 28.0023
(26.8002, – 97.4667)

Lower Laguna Madre

Lower Laguna Madre Land Cut

Species: Speckled Trout
Best Baits: Corky Fat Boys
Contact: Capt. Brett Caron
361-290-8442
[email protected]
Tips: Capt. Caron fishes a custom Corky: green belly, clear gold along the sides, and a black back.

Location: Lower Laguna Madre
Hotspot: Marker 63
GPS: N 26 14.343, W 97 16.482
(26.2391, – 97.2747)

Lower Laguna Madre

Lower Laguna Madre Marker 63

Species: Speckled Trout
Best Baits: Live bait, Gulp Shrimp, twitch baits.
Contact: Captain Jimmy Martinez
956-551-9581
Tips: Fish the flats just west of the Marker. Trout and redfish hang out around the potholes in 3- to 4-feet of water. Traditional live bait and soft plastics work well.

Location: Port Mansfield
Hotspot: Land Cut Spoils
GPS: N 26 49.0094, W 97 28.0021
(26.8168, – 97.4667)

Port Mansfield

Port Mansfield Land Cut Spoils

Species: Speckled Trout
Best Baits: Catch 2000 or Corkys
Contact: Capt. Mitch Richmond
956-944-4000
www.getawayadventures.com
Tips: The Catch 2000 and Corkys are suspending baits…just a slow twitch, keep them above the grass. Favorite colors are pink/chartreuse for a Catch 2000 and a pearl/green on the Corky. Capt. Richmond

Location: Lower Laguna Madre
Hotspot: Atascosa Wildlife Refuge Shoreline
GPS: N 26 10.244, W 97 18.155
(26.1707, -97.3026)

Lower Laguna Madre

Lower Laguna Madre Atascosa Wildlife Refuge Shoreline

Species: redfish
Best Baits: Live shrimp, topwaters in Bone, Gold spons
Contact: Captain Jimmy Martinez
956-551-9581
Tips: Fish the mud/sand transitions in deeper water along the shoreline. Trout will mingle in the warmer water. Redfish will be prowling shallower water.

Location: Lower Laguna Madre
Hotspot: Fishing Shacks
GPS: N 26 26.4756, W 97 20.591
(26.44126 -97.3432)

Lower Laguna Madre

Lower Laguna Madre Fishing Shacks

Species: Black Drum
Best Baits: Live Shrimp, Fresh Srhimp.
Contact: LG Outfitters
956-371-0220
[email protected]
lgoutfitters.com
Tips: Anchor up near a set of pilings marks where a shack used to be, or where on may still be standing, and toss a live shrimp or fresh shrimp out on a fish finder or split-shot rig towards the edge of the ICW. If the current is pulling hard, you may want to go with the heavier weight of the former.

Location: Lower Laguna Madre
Hotspot: Three Islands
GPS: N 26 16.621, W 97 17.7319
(26.2770, -97.2955)

Lower Laguna Madre

Lower Laguna Madre Three Islands

Species: Speckled Trout and Redfish
Best Baits: Soft plastics with a 1/8 oz jig head
Contact: Capt. Joel Ramos
956-626-5143
[email protected]
Tips: I use the 1/8 oz. jig head so that I can keep the bait in the water column, doesn’t sink as fast.

Location: Port Mansfield
Hotspot: Glady’s Hole
GPS: N 26 49.0006, W 97 30.0075
(26.8167, -97.5001)

Port Mansfield

Port Mansfield Glady’s Hole

Species: Speckled Trout
Best Baits: Egret Zombie Ghost Walker, Super Spook Jr. and One Knocker
Contact: Capt. Paul Johnson
979-308-5168
[email protected]
Tips: Captain Johnson said in windy conditions the spoils north and south of Port Mansfield are good places to fish. You could probably wade for miles on the submerged south spoils.

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