Reports & Forecasts: April 2008

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
April is the month that fish will start biting on the south bank of the lake. The Old Jetties and all oyster reefs south of there will be excellent hotspots. West Cove will also get hot this time of year. With rising water temperatures over these relatively shallow reefs, topwaters will work very well. Bigger trout will be easier to catch this time of the year simply because the weather is more settled. Birds will start picking in the middle of the lake, so throw shrimp-colored jigs. A good choice is a D.O.A. shrimp under a Cajun Thunder popping cork. Any other jig that is glow or pearl will do fine. I would suggest quarter or even eighth ounce jigheads. Redfish will be hungry as usual. These can be found along the east bank around the wiers at Grand and Lambert Bayous. They can also be found along the south bank in cuts coming out of the marsh and in the ponds behind the wiers. Good colors for reds include avocado with a red tail, avocado with a chartreuse tail, and black with chartreuse tail. Adding spinners to soft plastics often results in more bites.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
Galveston fishing has been great at times, but not particularly consistent, says the head of Silver King Adventures. "Had some good days in both East and West Bays lately. Found some nice fish up shallow in East Bay one day. Caught a trout pushing seven pounds on a Catch 5 while I was headed back to the boat. Stopped and fished there 'til dark and had quite a few more bites on quality trout. Caught seven more in fact, up to five and a half pounds. Went back the next day and couldn't buy a bite! It's just like that this time of year it seems. West Bay has been a little steadier. The coves were pretty good a couple of times when the tide was higher, for both trout and reds. Caught forty five or fifty trout in one spot one day. We were getting them on red Bass Assassins and the 809 series Mirrolures; it's black back/pink belly. They were just solid trout, you know, two and a half pounders, but there were lots of them. Trinity has some potential too. Caught some nice reds over there on tails out of the boat, but the trout bite was slow."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim says that the fishing in East Bay has been good more often than not in recent weeks. "We're seeing that typical late-winter, early-spring pattern where the trout bite shallow right at the top of the high tide, and they'll stack up in the bayous on the low tides. I caught one right at seven pounds this morning, and she was right on the bank. Tide had come back in from the really low levels it had been stuck at for a few days. Best bite for us while wading has been on Catch 2000s. Redfish are still biting good in the marsh as well. Several days, I've limited out and left them biting. They aren't the upper-end slot fish generally, just marginal keepers up to about twenty five inches or so. But the fishing for them has been pretty much a slam dunk. Another impressive thing lately is the number of big trout coming out of Rollover. The guys are catching them behind the bridge in that deep water. You have to time it right; the turning tide is best, and strong current or wind will mess it up. But they've had some really big fish, including one confirmed over ten pounds."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Fishing has been affected by low tides in Randall's area lately. "It's been a little off with these tides we're having. Lots of places where we normally run our boats are high and dry right now. We are catching some fish, but we're having to work harder for them than we really want to. The glass minnows have shown up; the fish are full of them. We are just waiting for the schools of bait to lead us to the fish. I expect to switch over to an evening type of charter sometime soon. This time of year the afternoon incoming tides are often the best, bringing the bait schools in and stirring up a bite." When looking for migrating schools of minnows, Randall says he likes to key on terns, or "liar birds." "They need to be fighting over stuff and making lots of noise. When you find them frenzied like that, they are on the minnows and the fish will be too." On a separate note, he says he's excitedly awaiting the arrival of his new boat, a JH Performance B 240. "It's going to be great, I know it." He'll be powering it with another Evinrude Etec. "Best motor I've ever had," he says.

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service | 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
"I spend most of my time in West Bay in April," Tommy says. "One of the things we look for is the glass minnows to arrive. Keying on them is almost always best in the afternoons. If we can locate them by finding the brown pelicans and the terns, we'll usually find the trout and redfish in there with them. You can't hang your hat on it, but it happens with some regularity in most years. The typical drill in West Bay in spring has us wading shallow early with topwaters, then working our way out over the grassbeds as the day heats up. We also key on some of the guts next to the sand bars when we find rafts of bait and/or slicks in those places." His advice for fishing East Bay is similar. "My best days in East Bay in April are days when winds allow for wading the mid-bay reefs. We start off at daybreak with topwaters, then shift to Corkies or other suspending baits, throwing them along the breaks and out into the deeper water, working them slow and low. The later it gets, the more we go to the Sand Eels like we do in West Bay."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Fishing has been consistent for solid keeper fish so far this month. Baitfish of all varieties have started hatching out and the fish have been among the bait. We have lots of small glass minnows, grass shrimp, and finger mullet in the local bays right now. Locating brown pelicans, terns and gulls has been the key to finding fish lately. Wherever the birds are seen tearing up the water, the fi sh have been in the vicinity. Redfish continue to feed on Berkley Gulp shrimp like it is the real thing; new penny and nuclear chicken have been the best colors this month. The trout bite has been best using rattling corks dangling pearl/pink tail Hogie shrimp rigged under about eighteen inches deep. The flounder have shown back up on area shorelines, and we have been gigging some solid fish up to 23 inches, with most fish around the 17 inch mark. I look for the bird activity to pick up considerably this month with the best bite coming from East/South Bay. The flats around the river also normally stage some good bird activity in the month of April.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn says he will be fishing mostly grass in April. "I like to fi sh in Mesquite, West Matagorda and Ayers Bays this time of year. I'll target grass whenever I can. The grass may be on top of a sand bar, in a gut, or associated with shell reefs. Mostly, we like to stick close to the hard bottoms in spring. I'll be throwing a lot of topwaters at the fish, mainly the small ones like the Super Spook Junior. I favor a chrome one with a blue back in that lure, especially on bright days. On darker days, I throw the black/chartreuse head She Dog a lot, it's a killer. That and the black Super Spooks. Of course, we'll be targeting bigger than normal trout because this time of year is one of the best periods for catching them, but there will be plenty of redfish and flounder mixed in with them. The redfish like the topwaters sometimes even better than the trout, but we also catch lots of them when we switch over to soft plastics, especially the Gulp, which has proven to be incredible over the last couple of years. The flounder, redfish and trout all like those things as much as live bait it seems."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake says he's been finding the big trout and the redfish in the same shallow areas. "The bigger trout are up shallow with the redfish most of the time. We are catching them along shorelines in less than waist deep water, sometimes knee deep. They are relating to grass surrounded by mud mostly, occasionally sand. As we head into warmer weather in April, sand and grass will probably hold more fish than the mud. In April, I like to fish the bays with lots of bayous and drains along shorelines with a good mix of bright sand and dark grass. Aransas, Mesquite and San Antonio Bays all have such areas. I'll stay shallow most of the time, targeting the bigger trout. Topwaters are of course my favorite way to catch them, and I'll make a concentrated effort to get 'em that way, but I won't hesitate to pull out the old Sand Eels if the blow ups aren't coming or if they're weak for too long. Over all, the topwater bite has been off this year compared to last, but that can change. Typically, warmer water will bring more action on the floating plugs."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
Winds, tides and sargassum will determine the fate of surf fishing in April. Tides tend to be high during the first week of the month. Sargassum is already present and will probably be present throughout April but how much and in which areas of the beach is unforeseeable. Look for areas without excessive sargassum and with visible food chain activity. Many fish species are available in April including most of the shark species common to the area, large jack crevalle, slot redfish, black drum, sheepshead and whiting. Little tunny, Florida pompano and speckled trout are possible. Fishbites and fresh dead shrimp fish on the bottom works best for the crustacean feeders and a variety of lures, live and cut bait for the fish eaters. Speck rigs and Manno lures work well for sightcasting the little tunny. Watch for nesting turtles and avoid driving over mounds of sargassum decomposing at the water's edge. Good Fishin'.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The tide levels have been really low in March, but that is the only thing that has been down. The water temperature has been up, the water clarity has been better and the fish catching has been easier. I have been finding the fish in shallow water, two feet deep or less, with a mixture of gravel and mud bottom. On my charters, I have been seeing many trout in the 20 to 24 inch range, with a few reaching the 30 inch mark, and I think this is a good sign of things to come in the future. The trout have been really going after Bass Assassins in bone diamond and plum/chartreuse rigged on eighth ounce jigheads, although at times I've had to fish with quarter ounce heads in order to be able to feel the lure because the strong winds tend to pick up the braided line, keeping the lure up on the surface of the water. There seems to be no shortage of redfish, as we have been catching good numbers consistently, almost everywhere in the Laguna Madre with the same lures we're using for trout. This pattern should continue through April.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | | 361.937.5961
Joe plans on doing as much fishing down south as possible in April. "I'll be spending as much time in the Land Cut and in Nine Mile Hole as I can. Also, Rocky Slough and Summer House are always good this time of year. Most of the quality trout and redfish are shallow and there's lots of good flats in those areas. When fishing the Hole, I like to make power drifts and troll around some looking for surface signs of the redfish schools, even sightcasting at them if the water's clear enough. At Summer House, it's much the same drill, working the potholes in the grass and looking for nervous water to give away the location of the schools. In the Land Cut, it's important to stay close enough to the edge to be able to present your lures right along the dropoffs. The fish are usually shallow, but close to the edge in there. At Rocky Slough, I like to stay close enough to the rocks with the boat to reach them with the casts without spooking the fish that are there. If the water's murky, it pays to suspend soft plastics under corks when fishing any of these areas."

Port Mansfield | Bruce & Brandon Shuler
GetAway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000
Bruce says the fickle weather has made for inconsistent fishing in the second half of winter. "We've caught some big trout, as always this time of year, but with the rapid fluctuations in water temperatures and depth, it's harder to stay on a consistent bite. Most of the big trout have been predictably located with the redfish, and they are shallow. There has been some topwater action, but Corkies have been better over all. We've been mostly on the west side, but in April, we'll switch more and more over to the east side. We'll have an influx of tide runners on that side, and the boat traffic on the west side with the crowds of spring also seems to relocate some of the fish away from that side. Shallow potholes will be the key for most of the big trout this month. We'll stay with smaller, subtle lures like Corkies, small topwaters and Bomber Long A's when winds are lighter. But most of the time, with typical strong winds of the season, we'll throw the big, noisy topwaters like Super Spooks, She Dogs and He Dogs to make a lot of noise in the chop."

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
The patterns this winter have been completely the opposite of what we've become used to during the last decade. Specks are now the "go to" species for limiting daily, and redfish are more difficult to find in large numbers. We're throwing Cajun Thunder corks trailing slightly longer (20 inch) leaders with Gulps on quarter ounce jigheads. The whiter colors of Berkley three inch Gulp shrimp are working best for trout and reds, especially when the wind muddies the water. We've had a few days conducive to chunking topwaters; the favorites are Top Pups and Super Spook Jrs. in chartreuse/black and red/white. As we glide into spring, weedless gold spoons will become our choice for redfish, but we'll downgrade our corks to Mansfield Maulers or the smaller Cajun Thunders for more rattle to tempt trout and toss more straight Gulps in the potholes. Freddy says, "We're expecting the tides to become more favorable this month. Some wind is great for drift fishing, but we've been getting pounded with gusts up to 40 mph, which can make it hard to spot the holes."