April on Texas Bays

It seems that each coastal region gets its time in the spotlight and right now it’s shining brightly on the Middle Coast. To be fair, the Upper and Lower coast are doing just fine but, by golly, the water from Sargent to Rockport is just flat on fire!

I recall the late-90s, shortly after Wallace’s state record Baffin trout in ’96, all eyes were on East Matagorda to produce the next one. Then a strong run over on Sabine Lake stole the show. The Lower Laguna went off like a bomb right after Hurricane Dolly in 2008 and sleepy Port Mansfield became a boomtown.

Last week, at the Houston Fishing Show, I interviewed scores of veteran anglers. Capt. Bink Grimes of Matagorda’s Sunrise Lodge was one of the most excited. Please don’t take this the wrong way,” he said. “We love and respect our speckled trout. But right now five- to seven-pounders are “cheap” on East Matty. We’re picking up at least one or two and sometimes several per charter.”

Bay ecology is all about the timing of runoff and fresh inflows and, of course, weather plays a role. All the perfect salinity in the world won’t count if you get a fish-killing freeze. Let’s pray Mother Nature continues to smile; Middle Coast anglers deserve several great seasons after suffering years of drought and so-so fishing.

Having mentioned the Fishing Show, this was the forty-second produced by Dave Holder and Associates in downtown Houston and it was another dandy. Anglers came in droves and exhibitors enjoyed brisk business through the five-day event. It is always a great time for the TSFMag team, making new friends and visiting with old ones. One of the most incredible things to me is the number of young families.

Baby boomers are aging and some analysts would have us believe outdoor pastimes such as fishing and hunting will decline sharply as the boomers leave the scene. My take on that is that they evidently haven’t been to this show. There’s nothing more impressive than a stream of wide-eyed youngsters dragging parents from one display to the next, toting new rods and bags of other fishing goodies.

I have been mentioning the San Jacinto River Waste Pits in this column and just recently we learned of another waste disposal mess – thanks to whistleblower Dr. Kent Hood and Fox News-26 Houston. As serious a threat as the San Jacinto Pits are in the upper portion of Galveston Bay, what Dr. Hood revealed to investigative reporters makes that EPA Superfund Site almost pale in comparison.

Just south of the Galveston Causeway, along the bank and within sight of the busy Intra-Coastal Waterway, lies a series of thirty-two unlined and uncapped “ponds” filled with millions of gallons of Dioxin-laden industrial sludge. Dioxin is a powerful carcinogen and the risk to humans and threat to Galveston Bay can only be guessed. News is breaking daily and coastal anglers need to become informed. Updates are available as they happen on CCA Texas and Galveston Bay Foundation websites.

Great fishing ahead…don’t forget the kids!