What’s Going On?

I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard that question in the past couple of months. Of course I am referring to fishing, the same as the folks that posed the original query so many times.

Winter lingered through spring, even folks who stay mainly indoors know that, and the central and western regions of Texas remain seriously drought-stricken. Here at my place in Seadrift we have received a paltry 3.1 inches of rain since January 1 somewhere in the range of 75% below normal and farther up the Guadalupe Basin they're in worse shape.

With no local runoff and but a trickle from the Guadalupe the salinities in the San Antonio/Aransas Bay Complex are well above normal. Not dangerously high yet but too high for this time of year.

Lingering cool weather has not allowed water temperatures to rise God I'm tired of waders and seagrass development is well behind schedule. Grassbeds and grassy guts along leeward shorelines are traditionally a good fallback plan when chocolate foam laps at the edges of mid-bay reefs in late spring. But where's the grass?

Wind is probably the biggest source of fishermen scratching their heads bald lately. When's it going to end? AndWhat's up with southwest and west in April and May? Too many days we end up fishing where we could, instead of where we should.

My hope is that with all the tougher than normal catching conditions there will be lots of fish available when the dust settles. But here we go again that'll take some rain.

My best advice is to go fishing every chance. Even if you have never been in the habit of making a fishing log this would be a great year to start. You see, the way fishing works, we become fixated on big catches. Every bite does not have to be a trophy but, darn it, we like bites. Trouble is though; on days when bites are plentiful at every stop, how much did you learn?

So much goes into becoming a proficient angler, one that finds and catches his quarry on a better than average basis. And as much fun as big numbers days can be, scratching out a few on a tough day will always provide the best learning opportunities.

Take for example a tough day Pam and I had recently. Years of experience told me where they should be but I guess they never got that memo. So off we went, look here, and look there. Look for favorable depth over available structure in clarity that should produce, with some bait activity. It took the better part of three hours but we finally landed in the back of a cove I probably hadn't tried in five or six years.

Finally – pay dirt! Three fat twenty-inch trout and a grilling-size red sent us home, happy with our day's work.