Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - silverkingadventures.com – 409.935.7242
James reports catching 96 trout and 8 redfish in three days of fishing since the freeze. “It's been good. Catching everything wading. The fish have been shallow. In places close to deep water. They're starting to fan out a little bit right now. The natural looking black back/silver side/white belly MirrOlure Catch 2000 has been working best. I'm also catching some fish on Catch 5s. I usually throw the pink and yellow one. We're also catching some fish on soft plastics like the Lil' Johns in colors like glow/chartreuse, also the Bass Assassin Sea Shads in the shrimp colors. This is about normal for March. In April, we should see even more fish in the shallows, tighter to the shorelines, in places farther away from deep water. So, wading will be the best way to target 'em. And, we'll have better luck throwing topwaters once the water warms up some more. I like to throw the She Pups in pink and silver, but the larger ones like She Dogs work great too, for those who like them better. Overall, seems like we dodged the bullet here in the Galveston area. I haven't seen dead trout in the places I'm fishing.”
Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service – 409.996.3054
Jim says he's seen little or no evidence of dead fish in East Galveston bay after the freeze. “Right now, fishing has rebounded nicely. We've been catching plenty of trout and redfish in the shallows close to the drains leading out of the marshes. We've had low tides during the middle of the day, so the best bite has been really early, or at dusk. As we get into April, the fish tend to spread out some. We'll be able to catch them in more places. Wading will still be the best plan for the most part, in April. Lots of days, even if it's pretty windy, we catch a bunch of fish tight to the bank. Topwater bite is almost always good, at least during parts of most days, this month. Depending on the water temperatures, the fish will start moving back out in the middle this month too. If we get some cold fronts late in March, that might not happen until close to the middle of April. If March is warmer, it might happen sooner. On calmer days, it pays to work the reefs out in the middle once the fish move out there. Overall, it's a great month.”
West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service 979.849.7019 – 979.864.9323
Randall anticipates the arrival of the shrimp as a signal to better fishing, this spring. “By the time we get to April, we should have a good influx of shrimp coming into the bays through the pass.. When this happens, we have several patterns which perk up and make catching the trout easier. The most obvious one is the working birds. We catch lots of trout this month off the deck of the boat, throwing soft plastics like Sand Eels in chicken on a chain and cayenne gold on relatively heavy jigheads, normally three-eighths ounce, worked quickly and erratically, in hopes of keeping them away from the pesky gafftops. The heavier heads also allow us to stay a little farther from the schools of trout feeding under the gulls, and allow us to get the lures down in the water column, where some of the bigger members of the schools usually lurk. When the flocks of gulls fall silent and sit on the water, the terns sometimes provide us clues which allow us to relocate the trout, sometimes when we see brown shrimp hopping out of the water. It's a fun month to be on the water, for sure.”
Matagorda | Bay Guide Service
Tommy Countz- 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
Tommy likes wading the south shoreline of West Matagorda Bay during the middle of spring. “For many years now, I've found the fishing steady in the shallows in West Bay this time of year. I usually start off wading and throwing topwaters around the drains early, then move out to the sand bars and grass beds as the morning sun climbs higher, throwing dark soft plastics out there. Keys to locating fish include popping slicks and nervous, jumping mullet, also visible clouds of glass minnows, in some years. We catch a lot of keeper trout and slot reds working these patterns. In East Bay, we do find some bigger trout out in the middle this time of year. Over there, we make long drifts and throw soft plastics on jigheads which allow us to maintain some contact with the bottom, most of the time. We key on muddy streaks in the water, rafts of mullet and slicks to decide exactly where to pull the drifts. The weather helps determine which of these two patterns will likely produce better. Windier days generally favor the fishing in West Bay, while calmer days allow for fishing the open waters of East Bay.”
Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam
www.palaciosguideservice.com – 979.240.8204
Fishing has gotten pretty tough since the big freeze. But, the bay complex around Palacios has some deep water, in the Tres Palacios River and the turning basins, so we likely had quite a few fish survive the cold. I ran the bay the weekend after the event and only found a few dead redfish and trout, more dead puppy drum, small sheepshead and mullet. I feel pretty good about the potential for a strong rebound in the area. The river has been producing a few fish since the weather warmed back up. Root beer/chartreuse paddletails rigged on three-eighths ounce heads bounced slowly along the bottom have worked best. We've been catching a mix of small keeper trout and slot redfish, with a few small flounder thrown in. I believe April will be an important month to give us clues about the health of our fishery. Normally, we get an influx of bait moving into the bays, with the trout and reds following close behind them. We'll be encouraging our customers to keep a small number of fish to eat fresh and release the rest, in the hope of bringing the fishery back to normal as soon as possible.
Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service – 361.983.4434
Lynn looks forward to a productive spring of fishing in the Port O'Connor area. “We've got a good many fish moving up onto the flats and reefs already. All we need is a little more sunlight on a daily basis, and the shallow water fishing will kick in real good. We've been catching some decent fish already, both trout and reds, on topwaters, since the weather warmed back up. The topwater bite should just get steadily better as we head into April and beyond. We look forward to fishing sandy, grassy flats close to the pass, also mid-bay reefs and spoils along the channels. Some days, we'll head out to the jetties and work the rocks instead of fishing in the shallower parts of the local bay systems. Mainly, we will focus our efforts in places where bait fish are present in large numbers and jumping. We did lose quite a few fish in the backwater areas during the big freeze, so we'll be releasing most of what we catch, especially the trout. Catching is already perking up, and should continue to get better as the spring patterns become more reliable with the warmer water temperatures.”
Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake had been catching good numbers of redfish and decent numbers of trout on trips made just prior to giving this report. “We have lots of reds moving back into the shallow areas. Some of them definitely survived the deep freeze by heading into the harbors and canal subdivisions. With the warmer weather, they've spread back out some, making them harder to catch, but there are still pretty good numbers to target. In April, I'll still be fishing the backwater areas for the reds, and wading sandy, grassy main-bay shorelines for trout. We have good luck throwing topwaters in a typical April. The fish often bite well in shallow water, right close to the stands of cord grass close to the bank. As always, we'll be throwing soft plastics like Norton Sand Eels in dark colors with chartreuse tails some of the time too, also the chartreuse split-tail Gulp! If the weather cooperates, I'll head out to the surf as much as possible and fish around the main passes leading into the surf from the bays, looking for the tide running trout of spring. Overall, prospects look reasonably good, despite the losses associated with the freeze.”
Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – [email protected] – 361.563.1160
Typically, fishing in the Upper Laguna Madre is great in the month of April. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife studies, female trout carry their heaviest average weights this month, at the first peak of the spawning period. Given recent events, we will be following good conservation practices when fishing for them. With the water usually still too cold for wading wet, I will still be wearing my waders and ForEverlast Ray Guards, as we will encounter many sting rays on the flats. Early in the mornings, I'll be looking for signs of mullet in water about three feet deep over a sandy bottom where some grass grows, moving a bit shallower as the sun climbs higher. I start by rigging Bass Assassin Die Dappers in colors like chicken on a chain, opening night, salt & pepper silver phantom/chartreuse and purple ice rigged on sixteenth-ounce Spring Lock jigheads. As the morning wears on, I switch to Assassin four-inch Sea Shads in colors like bone diamond, Calcasieu brew, magic grass and salt & pepper chartreuse. If the amount of floating grass allows it, I like to throw natural looking MirrOlure She Dogs to create a lot of action on the surface.
Corpus Christi / Joe Mendez—www.sightcast1.com—361.877.1230
Fishing for trout and redfish in shallow parts of the bays around Corpus Christi and farther south is usually outstanding during the month of April. Grassy areas inside Shamrock Cove and also in East Flats hold plenty of redfish and lesser numbers of trout. Fishing in those areas normally excels when strong onshore winds muck up most of the Upper Laguna Madre and Baffin. Shallow parts of the Boat Hole and areas around the Crash Channels also provide excellent protection from strong winds, which can be a nuisance this month. When conditions are nicer, less windy, flats and humps adjacent to the ICW in the ULM produce better, as do spots right along the west shoreline, on the edges of the King and Kenedy ranches. The best days for sight-casting include bright skies and moderate winds, which allow for the best views of the bottom and the fish. Paddletails rigged on light jigheads work best to urge strikes from big trout and reds in shallow water. Casting the lures past the heads of the fish and bringing them steadily through their lines of sight work best. Sometimes, small spoons worked the same way earn more strikes than the soft plastics.
P. I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361-877-3583 | Oceanepics.com
With spring in full force, jack crevalle will be storming the beach. This year I expect plenty of action in the surf during spring and early summer. After the big freeze killed lots of mullet, it will be interesting to see how significant their spring run is. The number of mullet available will likely affect how many jacks we see. When the jacks are visible, cruising in the waves, catching them on lures is usually pretty easy. Large spoons, topwaters and swim baits all produce well. We should also have plenty of redfish and Spanish mackerel in the surf this month. Several species of sharks should be hunting the shallow waters near the beach, too. Scalloped hammerheads will be most active in April and early in May. They bite best on baits like whiting, since they have smallish mouths. Large blacktips and bulls will be plentiful as well. During the night, it will be possible to have an early battle with a tiger. This time of year, numbers of Atlantic, southern and roughtail stingrays move into the surf zone. Always shuffle your feet when wading the shallow surf. And, keep your eyes on the horizon, watching for signs of strong storms.
Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza
Snookdudecharters.com – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000
Fishing will likely be somewhat tougher than usual this spring, after the deep freeze of February. We did lose some of our trout and redfish, but we're already finding some to catch since the weather warmed back up. On the bright side, fishing will certainly improve as spring arrives and warmer weather has the fish feeding more regularly. Lately, fishing for redfish has been pretty good. Areas around The Saucer and in the Northeast Pocket have been productive. We're targeting the fish in depths ranging from about mid-thigh to waist-deep, throwing spoons and soft plastics like KWiggler Willow-tails in colors like Mansfield Margarita and plum/chartreuse. Up north, on the west shoreline, just south of Gladys’ Hole, fishing has been excellent for slot reds and black drum in water about waist-deep. Trout have been tougher to find and catch. We've been catching some small trout in areas from Century Point to the Oak Mottes. We are also finding a few off the break in relatively deep water near Butcher's Island and at Jones' Cut. We'll be lowering our expectations for catching trout and targeting them with a conservative mindset in the near future, given the effects of the freeze.
Lower Laguna Madre—South Padre—Port Isabel
Aaron Cisneros | tightlinescharters.com – 956-639-1941
Trout numbers appear to be fairly strong after the February freeze event in the Lower Laguna Madre. Most of our better fish have been biting on sandy spoil islands adjacent to the ICW. We've been catching decent numbers of trout ranging between two and three pounds, most of them holding in three to five feet of water. We're throwing KWiggler plum/chartreuse Ball-tails on quarter-ounce screwlock jigheads, mostly. We're working them slowly, making an occasional bump on the bottom for best results. Redfish have been somewhat more plentiful than trout lately. We're finding some along most all the shorelines with sand and grass and some bait present. They've been attacking topwaters with their typical aggressive attitudes, especially when we're seeing lots of mullet jumping. KWiggler Willow-tails in Mansfield Margarita rigged on eighth-ounce jigheads work better when less obvious signs of bait activity are present. As with the trout, slow retrieves have worked best lately to make the reds take a bite. Fishing should continue to improve as the weather warms up more. April is a great month for fishing the bays of South Texas. Topwater action is usually on fire.