Reports & Forecasts: March 2021

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - silverkingadventures.com – 409.935.7242
James mentions a couple of changes in his daily fishing routines in March. “This is the time to spend more time wading. We've got more fish in the coves and in the shallows along main bay shorelines this month, and it's easier to catch them wading than out of the boat. If we get some late fronts, and the water falls out of the bay, like it sometimes does, the fishing will be better for a short time out in the middle again, but as soon as the tide gushes back in, the wading will become the way to go. We tend to get steady east and southeast winds in March, which can make the fishing good on the west shoreline, if it's fairly light, but is generally better for the pockets and shorelines on the south side of West Bay, and in Christmas Bay. When wading, we throw a lot of the Assassin Sea Shads, Catch 5s, MirrOdines, SoftDines and ShePups. I really like the tiny topwaters this time of year, especially the pink/silver ones. I don't know if it's because they look like minnows, or what, but the fish eat 'em up, and they're easy on the wrists.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service – 409.996.3054
Jim starts fishing more in March, once the duck seasons end for good. “We caught a bunch yesterday. I like the conditions we had. Felt a lot like what we fish in March. Water was about 62 degrees, and the east wind was blowing pretty good, from 15 to 20 or so. Water was holding up nice, like it usually does with east winds. We caught 'em everywhere we stopped, mostly keeper trout, nothing big. Great numbers though. We had some in the bayous and drains, right when we went out, around lunch time. Then we caught better on the shoreline in the back of the bay late in the afternoon. This is typical for me, in March too. I leave the dock in the middle of the day and fish until about dark, unless it gets really good, then we might stay for an hour or so longer. We should be set up for good fishing here in East Bay for a while. Upper parts of Trinity are fresh right now, so that usually moves some fish around Smith Point into our bay. It's also good for Upper Galveston Bay, if the San Jacinto River isn't running high, which it hasn't been.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service  979.849.7019 – 979.864.9323
In March, fishing near a major pass connecting the bay with the Gulf, Randall keys on new species arriving in the shallower inshore waters in order to figure out where to fish. “I'm looking for glass minnows mostly, this month. Usually, we find the schools not far from some of the thicker concentrations of dark grass on the bottom. We also use birds to find them. I especially find terns reliable in showing us where the concentrations of minnows are located. They are known as liar birds, and they can't be trusted when they're flying along in straight lines and occasionally diving. But, when they start wheeling and circling and diving over and over again in a small area, they are usually showing you where a cloud of minnows are being pushed toward the surface. When fishing around glass minnows, I find several lures effective, all of which look somewhat like the minnows. Norton Sand Eel Juniors in natural looking colors with some flash work well. One example is the clear one with silver glitter and a chartreuse tail. SoftDines in similar types of colors also work well sometimes. Later in the month, we'll be watching for the shrimp to arrive.”

Matagorda | Bay Guide Service
Charlie Paradoski – 713.725.2401
Charlie touts East Matagorda as one of the best big trout bays in Texas during March. “Many of our customers are willing to wade and target big trout in East Bay this month. When we're over there targeting those fish, we throw topwaters and lures like Catch 5s, Catch 2000s and Paul Brown Lures mostly. We've still got plenty of big trout in this area. In West Bay, the fishing around grass beds on the south shoreline usually improves quite a bit this month. We catch more reds and numbers of trout over there, in general. The topwaters and twitch baits do work at times, but we throw soft plastics quite a bit when working for numbers of trout and schooling reds. Of course, one of the best things about fishing the Matagorda area is the fact we have two great places to get out of the wind, which can be a consistent issue at the end of the winter, beginning of spring. Both the Colorado River and the Diversion Channel provide places to hide from strong winds and catch fish. Right now, both stretches have plenty of fish, and unless we get some really big rains, they should stay there.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam
www.palaciosguideservice.com – 979.240.8204
Warmer than normal temperatures have the fish acting like spring has arrived in the Palacios area. Redfish have been attacking topwaters presented over shell out in front of back lakes and bayous, with most of the fish falling in the middle of the slot. Pink ShePups and chartreuse Baby Skitterwalks have worked best lately. The trout have been biting steadily as well, mostly over shell in waist-deep water. We're throwing Paul Brown FatBoys in pearl/black and pearl/chartreuse most of the time when targeting them. Night fishing remains productive on the local piers and in the turning basins, with lots of solid eating sized speckled and sand trout coming to the planks. Tandem swimming shads in glow and pink/pearl speck rigs have worked best under the lights. Gigging for flounder is becoming a great option already, as low tides have pulled lots of flatfish out of the marshes and lakes. Efforts for black drum along the sea wall and on the piers has produced lots of fish exceeding the 40-inch mark. Tossing crab and mullet well out into the deeper water attached to slip sinkers and maintaining a tight line has worked best for those wanting to tangle with these beasts.

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service – 361.983.4434
Targeting big trout is the name of the game in March, for Lynn. “We do a lot of fishing around mud and shell this time of year. We'll fish more around grass if the weather warms up for several days, but we spend most of the month fishing close to oyster reefs in bays like Mesquite and San Antonio. If the water is high and moving, we'll target the fish right on top of the main concentrations of shell. If the water is lower and not moving as much, we spend more time throwing in the guts and depressions adjacent to the main parts of the reefs, where the bottom is mostly mud, with some scattered shell. Paul Brown Lures, especially the floating ones, work well when we're fishing areas like this. Because they sink so slowly, it's possible to work them over the shell at the right speed without snagging on the bottom. This is also true when we're fishing the warming trends, throwing them over grass beds in shallow water in the back lakes and coves. Conventional topwaters do work well at times this month, especially toward the end of the month. When April rolls around, we'll throw them more often.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
This month, Blake gets back to fishing all the time, and sees the start of a transition from muddy backwater areas to places with more grass and sand on the bottom. “This is a great month to target both trout and redfish in really shallow water, tight to the cordgrass stands, especially on the south shorelines of the bays. We get a lot of strong onshore winds this time of year, so the water tends to hold up best on that side of the bays. In places like Aransas, Mesquite and San Antonio bays, all of which have firm sandy stretches dotted with grass beds on their south shorelines, the fishing can be great this time of year. Small topwaters work well some of the time, especially if it's not too windy early in the mornings. Dark soft plastics with bright tails work well too, especially during the brighter, windier parts of the days. On days after fronts when winds are light, fishing out in the middle around the shallow shell reefs can be great. As we head into April, topwaters start working better on a regular basis, and we usually catch some of our biggest trout of the year.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – [email protected].net – 361.563.1160
Everything is headed up during the month of March. The water and air temperatures are on the rise, and the fish are moving up into more shallow water. Catch rates normally rise as well, when spring arrives. Though the water is warming up, I'm still wearing my breathable waders and my ForEverLast Ray Guards. I don't look for areas with muddy bottoms; now the search is for areas with sandy potholes with some gravel in them, in water less than three feet deep. I'll also key on areas where I see lots of mullet jumping or swirling around on the surface and where slicks pop along grass lines, drop offs and close to rock formations. Topwaters work well this time of year. I throw MirrOlure SheDogs in natural colors a lot, and switch to slow-sinking lures like Catch 5s if I get a lot of blow ups but not many hook ups. Other consistent lures this time of year are Bass Assassin Texas Assassins and Die Dappers in colors like trickster, salt & pepper silver phantom, sand trout and chicken on a chain. March is a windy month, and if the wind wrecks the water clarity, I switch to live shrimp under an Assassin Kwik Kork.

Corpus Christi / Joe Mendez—www.sightcast1.com—361.877.1230
When spring arrives, the fishing for big trout and redfish in shallow water becomes the norm. “We see lots of big trout mixing with the redfish in the shallows this time of year,” Joe says. “Water temperatures are perfect for the fish to lounge around in places where there's barely enough water to cover their backs. We catch most of our fish after seeing them first, usually on flats with lots of grass, but some bright, sandy areas too. Throwing soft plastics in natural colors rigged on light jigheads usually works best to target trout and reds by sight-casting, making sure to keep the lures out in front of the fish, and not splashing down too close to the fish, so they don't spook. If strong winds muck up the water, or when cold snaps send the fish into deeper water, we like to make controlled drifts around grassy edges at the perimeters of the shallow flats, or around rocks lying just offshore on places like the Kenedy Shoreline, and throw soft plastics rigged on heavier jigheads to keep the lures down in the water.  In these situations, lures with contrasting dark and bright colors work better than natural colors.”

P. I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361-877-3583 | Oceanepics.com
In March, when spring starts, we begin to see various species of fish migrating along the Texas coast. Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated are the jack crevalle, the bulldogs of the sea. Pound for pound, jacks show strength equal to or superior to any other fish. During spring, jackfish make their way inshore in large numbers, feeding on many different species. When they're running, nothing attracts their attention better than live mullet about 6 to 8 inches in length. At times, these brutes can be seen patrolling through clean, rolling waves. If so, lures usually work well to catch them; I've lost count of how many I've caught on topwaters, swim baits and spoons. In addition to the jacks, plenty of redfish should show up on the beach this month. They readily take both live and fresh dead mullet, also cut whiting. Pompano will still be around through the month, and sheepshead and black drum usually show up toward the end of March. Dead shrimp or shrimp-flavored Fish-bites work well to target them. As March bends toward April, sharks become more plentiful as well, with bulls and scalloped hammerheads replacing the sandbar sharks of winter. We also see some of the biggest blacktips of the year this month.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza
Snookdudecharters.com – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000
Expect tides to be lower than normal this month and keep an eye open for unexpected debris scattered by Hurricane Hanna. Also, remember it's easier to run aground on these tides. Fishing behind the cabins in the Saucer area should be productive, especially close to the edge of the ICW. If water temps fall below normal, casting into the deeper water works best, letting the lure sink and working it slowly. Often, the bite is light, or impossible to feel. The deeper potholes both south and north of the Pipeline Markers also produce well on low tides. Parts of West Bay and the dumps north of Bennie's Bar usually hold fish too. Heading north, key areas include the stretch between Cortese Island and Jones Cut. Early morning, I like to work the shallow break between the sand and grass, then work my way out to deeper water over grass later in the day. Drifting the color change in even deeper water can work well in colder temperatures. The west shoreline from Century Point to the mouth of Glady's Hole is usually good when winds are light, especially for redfish in the shallows. Some should be tailing by the time spring arrives.

Lower Laguna Madre—South Padre—Port Isabel
Aaron Cisneros | tightlinescharters.com – 956-639-1941
We've had a warm winter in South Texas, and February has started off the same. Our flats have been covered with fish, full of life. We're having our best trout bite at the beginning of incoming tides. We're catching good numbers and quality fish in one to three feet of water, throwing KWiggler plum/chartreuse Ball Tails rigged on eighth-ounce screw-lock jigheads. We've been working them pretty slowly, to keep them close to, or in contact with, the bottom. Most potholes where we're finding one trout are holding at least a few. Finding plenty of bait has been the main key to locating the trout. The redfish bite has remained consistent along shorelines with ample bait presence. Like the trout, the reds are lurking in the sandy patches and potholes. KWiggler Willow Tails in dirty jalapeno have worked wonders to trick the reds, which have been a bit more aggressive than the trout, willing to strike the lures worked faster and closer to the surface. When floating grass becomes a problem, swimming soft plastics through the middle of the water column prevents dredging up strands. Seems these patterns should hold steady, as the winter ends and even warmer weather arrives with spring.